A commodity is a product that’s indistinguishable from the many others available. In the commercial world, commodities are chosen based on price rather than quality. It’s not what a church should be known for: “just another church”.
Is your church viewed as a commodity? Are you perceived like other churches in the area? Does Google think you’re similar to the thousands of other churches?
Oh, you’re quick to say “we’re so unique” because you know the ministry nuances. But does the community or congregation differentiate you? Do they know why you’re unique? Do they care? Or do they think you’re “just a church”? This isn’t good.
If your church is viewed as a commodity, then a potential guest needs to choose between you and the other Google results. Not based on price (like a business product) but, for the church, it’s usually based on proximity, a cool website, a celebrity pastor, or a great looking logo.
But you’re more than that. Aren’t you? Here are 4 steps to fix this commodity issue. You need to be more than “one of the many”. Don’t risk being expendable.
- Identify how you’re unique. Different stands out. Sometimes for good, sometimes for bad reasons. Instead, make “different” work for you. If you compare yourself through the eyes of an outsider, what makes you unique? When a guest leaves after experiencing your church, what would they say you’re known for that’s different than when they visit other churches. List as many authentic (genuine) things as possible.
- Know why you’re desirable. What on your “unique” list SHOULD you be known for? The filter? What’s needed? If you disappeared, what unique thing would they miss most? Start by identifying what stereotypical group (personas) you’re targeting. Trying to appeal to everyone, you’ll risk being ignored by everyone. Instead, target a growing, large community group so it’s easier to meet needs and attract a broader group (as you become known for something). NOTE: normally an unchurched, won’t be looking for something spiritual; but instead, something else they’re pursuing in life that you can connect to ministry (and Jesus). Concentrate on that!
- State it so it’s discoverable. Don’t assume anyone knows the one unique, desired thing that you do well (your thread). State it simply and consistently in all your communications. If you’re not tired of saying it, you’re not doing it effectively! Once they hear this authentic, unique, desired reason for attending, your congregation will start using that language to invite others. Extend your thread into keywords that are controlled (and used) so Google connects their searches to your website.
- Make it all memorable. Be creative. Speak in a memorable way. Don’t use too many words or make it sound philosophical. It needs to sound like words that your audience would say (or search for). And so simple that it can be used and remembered. You’ll stand out and not be a commodity.