I travel a lot for my job helping churches communicate better. Walking through airport terminals, I’m struck by the amount of busy people. All of them with places to go; they’re on a mission! People moving in various directions almost colliding into each other. Stores and kiosks with glittery things encompass the hustle trying to get people to engage with them. Dozens of messages (retail, informative and security) drone constantly as everyone walks from gate to gate.
It’s a microcosm of life. And your local community.
Marketing messages everywhere. Busy people ignoring most of them.
How can your church create a message that’ll break through to your community? We can learn from the airline credit card companies. You know, the ones who try to get customers by standing next to a kiosk in almost every terminal.
Here’s what we can learn about getting the attention of your community:
- Enter into the customer’s world. It doesn’t matter how busy the terminal is, you usually get interrupted by a person at the kiosk. They speak over the other sounds and often step out into the flow. They don’t wait for “them” to come to the kiosk. But what they say is critical…
- Talk Benefits. They don’t lead with “want another credit card?” because the average person walking through an airport isn’t seeking more debt. Instead, they say something like “would you like a free trip anywhere we fly?” or “would you like a gift of 50,000 points?”. This interruption, the interruption of a pure benefit to a traveller, is always met with… sure! But there are always concerns…
- Calm Fears. When people are flowing from one gate to another, schedule is always on their minds. It could be an amazing offer and I’d still say “I don’t think I have the time”. So, the kiosk marketers often are heard saying (once someone looks their way), “It’ll only take 5 minutes”. Once the person moves to get the solution, they tell you the whole offer, but only then…
- Don’t lead with what scares them. Some call this bait and switch; but I call it effective communications. Lure them with something they need but then tell them how they can get it. I’m not saying to blindside or trick someone; just get their attention with what gets their attention.
How does this help your church? Our communities are full of people busy with lots of goals. The church needs to interrupt their lives and speak above the noise. How? Determine a common goal or common concern that’s plaguing them; then provide a path to their goals or a solution to their concerns. Something you’re really good at. Don’t lead with church, ministry, or christianity— lead with something that’ll get their attention. THEN make the turn to Jesus. Calm the fears they’ll have because of their perception of “church”. We’re not a closed or crazy group of fanatics. We truly follow after Christ and have experienced grace, forgiveness and real life.