Jamie Jean Schneider Domm
Digital Strategist for the North American Division.
The “Rule of 7” states that a person needs to be exposed to a message at least seven times before they’ll take a desired action, such as register, RSVP, attend an event, read an article, or participate in some other meaningful way.
We should expect that our audiences experience marketing messaging and content overload just like us. It’s estimated that the average adult is exposed to over 3,000 marketing messages a day! Therein lies the challenge. To cut through the clutter, we must utilize a multi-channel, multi-platform approach. Also, consistency with your branding, as well a regular messaging schedule will maximize effectiveness. Channel refers to the communication medium, such as radio, print, TV, and social media. Platform refers to different kinds of social media such as Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram. Truly effective communication strategies work across all channels and platforms to reach people where they are, with one goal or message.
This is often referred to as integrated marketing and may utilize the following channels:
Social media should be part of a comprehensive communication strategy that incorporates both traditional media and digital, working together to maximize impact. In most cases, social media is not used in place of traditional forms of communication, but in addition, as a means of amplifying your message to a larger community.
For churches, you’ll most likely want to leverage: in-person interactions and conversations, website updates, text messages, flyers, podium announcements, emails, and your social media profiles. Together, all these efforts help communicate your church brand, and it’s important to consider how the combination of these communication tools reflects your message, mission, and, ultimately, Christ, hopefully drawing people to the gospel. Being strategic is just being intentional with how you orchestrate all the different ways to distribute information and using effective methods of presenting that information. If you find yourself struggling to make sure your membership is informed about events and opportunities, understanding and implementing this multi-channel principle will help improve awareness among your congregation.
But with the busyness of life, how can you ensure that your audience prioritizes your messages? Your content must be read before it can have any kind of life-changing effect. To stand out, your messages should communicate directly to the reader in a way that is relevant to their life, situation, or needs. Messaging like: “This will make your life easier/help you with a problem,” or “Here’s a chance to learn how to eat healthier/help the community,” or “Here’s an opportunity to gain some insight on that nagging question you have,” is strong, engaging content.
It’s not enough to communicate often and in different ways; your messages will still not be effective unless they are framed in a way that meets the needs of your audience. Another way to think about this is to seek to understand the motivating desires and core values of your community. Then create programs, ministries, and content that serves them. Too often we create the programs and content that we assume our audience wants, and don’t end up with the results we were hoping for. When we combine a strong communications strategy with carefully chosen programs and messages, we can increase our chances of being successful.
Shape your ministry goals around the needs of your audience/community, then develop your communications strategy to achieve the desired results.
The main takeaway I want you to understand for your strategy is that repeated, consistent messaging from multiple communication channels is the key to having an informed audience or membership. In addition, those messages must serve your target audiences in a meaningful way.
We now have more resources than ever before to reach audiences and reinforce our message. But with all the digital clutter, it might take up to a thousand tries to reach someone just seven times! Therefore, it’s important to keep at it and develop relationships with those you are trying to serve. Post your questions in the comment section below!
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