[This article is part one of an ongoing series by Ryan Holck for ChurchTechToday called: Church Communications on the Cheap. We hope you find it useful!]

There’s something amazing about seeing the pieces come together for a church promotion – especially when it’s on target and under budget.

Unfortunately, I haven’t always been that lucky.

For years I took a Field of Dreams approach ,”if we build it they will come,” but they didn’t. I assumed the best way to get the message out was sheer volume. Deliver the information enough times, in enough ways and the right people will respond.

Church Comm Cheap pt 1There were moments of success, but in retrospect, the results were mediocre at best. The haphazard approach caused information overload in our services and advertising budget stress.

I needed a solution, and fortunately it was easier than I expected. It comes down to a series of questions I ask before starting a creative project. This 10-15 minutes of planning saves hours in creative time and cuts down on missed details and reprints.

The 4 steps to budget friendly success are…

1) Know Your Goal

Why are you doing this? (is there a passion behind it, is there a problem that needs to a solution)

What do you hope to accomplish with this event or opportunity?

What story are you trying to tell through this event or opportunity?

What does a win look like?

What does a lose look like?

These questions reveal WHY we’re doing this.

2) Know Your Details

If you were sharing with someone unfamiliar with your church, what information would be vital? (Who, What, Where, When, Why, Registration, Cost, Contact Info, etc)

This question reveals WHAT you are going to share.

Don’t skip this step or answer it in your head. The act of writing it down often reveals details you have missed or thought unnecessary.

Follow it up by typing out the details so you can share them with your team and audience.

3) Know Your Audience

Who do we want to attend/participate?

Where do they spend their time?

How do they communicate?

Where do they get their information?

These questions reveal WHO you want to reach and HOW you can share with them. (ie. Students use text messages, email and social media. Retired people use printed invitations, phone calls and limited email. This will change as more tech-savvy, baby boomer retire.)

4) Know Your Budget

What can you spend on promotions?

Given your audience, and budget, what ways will you communicate?

Which ways will take priority?

These questions reveal HOW you will share with them.

Don’t be scared away if you have a small budget. It doesn’t mean no promotions, it just means you have to be smart about them. Promotions are more affordable today then ever before, if your willing to be creative.

These questions are the foundation for your communications. Over the next few months we will look at how to take the answers and put them into action. I’ll share user friendly ways to keep your message on target and under budget as Church Communications on the Cheap continues.