Why Personas Are the Heart of Your Church Marketing Strategy
In order to grow, it’s important for churches to understand and align with their people. Whether your church is trying to reach millennials, launch a new sermon series, or simply connect with your people on a deeper level, crafting personas is a sure way to strengthen your congregation and know them better. Here, we explore the different ways in which personas can strengthen your church marketing strategy, and why they should matter to your ministry. Let’s dive in!
So, what's a persona?
Simply put, a persona is a representation that helps you paint a picture of the people you serve. There are plenty of good ways to build them, but most include some combination of the following details:
- Demographics (age, gender, location)
- History (previous or current faith/churchgoing status)
- Goals (what they hope to get out of a church)
- Pain points (challenges in life that lead them to see value in joining)
- Triggers (why they might join a church for the first time or start to look for a new congregation)
- Dispositions (tech-savvy vs. old-fashioned, active vs. sedentary, natural leader vs. quiet participant, etc.)
What Personas Do for Your Church
Church leaders are challenged with serving a variety of people. Crafting personas out of details similar to those above can bring clarity to the amount of diversity your church has and help you form a strategy to connect with specific members in a relevant way.
They Document What You Already Know
Whether you're new to church marketing or a seasoned outreach veteran, there are certain details about your prospect audience that you know well already. Creating personas allows you to spell out exactly what traits your audience has and where some of the key differences lie among your people. Using personas to compartmentalize these details brings clarity to the next moves of your strategy.
They Can Help to Uncover Deeper Insights
Findings about people may surprise you. Research into your current congregation can lend new insights into, say, the technological or volunteering priorities of your people overall. Knowing these priorities among your current and future congregants is a huge step toward making faster, deeper connections, and is a great place to start when it comes to developing personas.
They Create Deeper Connections In Less Time
When you know more about your people, you can align your message to them and communicate it clearly and effectively. Forming personas for your congregants helps you align with them on a deeper level from the beginning. This gives your church's marketing strategy an advantage over previous tactics that may have you starting from scratch when it comes to things like messaging, tone, and voice.
They Help You Identify the Right Channels
Personas guide marketers to the right distribution channel for their content. A well-built persona will include details about how and where they learn new information on church activity and their faith journey in general. Knowing their preferred communication method, whether social media, print, radio, or in-person gatherings helps you deliver the right message at the right time through the right channels.
They Help to Identify Your Audience
Perhaps just as valuable as knowing who's in your ideal audience pool is knowing who isn't. When you create personas, you are able to identify criteria that suggest someone is a good fit for your ministry or marketing. The goal here isn’t exclusivity—it’s to align relevant value to the right people at the right time.
A Stronger Strategy
Plenty of growing churches and church networks are faced with tough decisions when it comes to the who, what, and where of their ministry. Churches we work with tell us about their efforts to:
- Open a new location
- Launch a new sermon series
- Host an event
- Promote small groups
- Get active in their local community
- Fund their vision
Regardless of your ministry’s vision, crafting personas can help you and other church leaders to start with the ‘who’ when strategizing your next move.
The Power of Personas
Crafting personas is a central part of a strong marketing strategy, as they help growing churches establish a clear picture of their people. By building and maintaining them over time, you can focus your outreach on the right people, make deeper, more personal connections, and ultimately, know your people in a more meaningful way.