Engaging CultureStrategy & Marketing

Should Your Church Broadcast Local TV Commercials?

I’m always thrilled when local churches make the decision to share their story on local TV. In spite of the chorus that “everyone is moving to the Internet,” broadcast television still has a huge audience and I wish more churches had that kind of vision. So if you’re considering buying thirty or sixty second TV commercials, then here’s a few important things to consider:

It all starts with identifying the audience you want to target. I know pastors who are looking for the 20-30 year old crowd, so they advertise locally during Saturday Night Live and similar programs. We’ve worked with a few churches who are focused on reaching men, so they advertise during sports programming. One church client in the midwest advertises on the 6pm evening news because they’re trying to reach more business people.

Depending on that decision, do you want to reach Christians, or non-believers? While we all want to reach non-Christians, even with the larger audience of secular TV stations, your response percentage will be much lower, and their chances of visiting your church pretty small. That’s not to say it’s not worth it, but know the response will be far less with a secular audience.

Advertising on Christian stations or channels will reach a Christian audience, and they are more likely to respond, and probably more likely to visit the church. Plus if you have a very popular Christian program playing before or after your spot (what we call a “lead-in” or “lead-out”), you’ll probably find a huge audience there.

Regarding length, generally speaking, if you have a high profile in the community, a :30 spot is fine. However, if you’ve not been on that station before, or don’t have that high profile, I’d consider starting with a :60 spot because it allows you to share more information and allow the audience to get to know you. Then, after a couple of months, you could shift to :30 spots, which are less expensive and easier to find available slots on the station’s schedule. However, if your budget is better for :30 spots, that’s no problem at all. Better to be out there than hidden under a basket.

Regarding WHEN the spots are broadcast, you need to look again at the audience you’re trying to reach. Remember – getting in front of the RIGHT people is more important than getting in front of the MOST people. So pick the types of channels, programs, and times of day that your best potential audience is watching.

Initially, I like the pastor hosting the commercial. That gets your face out there, and connects a personality with the church. After all, they often make the decision based on their reaction to the pastor, so it’s always good for them to see the pastor and hopefully identify with him.

And as always, if you’re serious about moving forward, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Cooke Media Group. We can give you the kind of guidance and advice that will save you money, and make an impact.

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