Some good news for designers is that 2019's plethora of new audio, lighting and video options have church technical leaders looking to update their systems.
That means ample opportunities for designers. However, it also means more companies are entering the industry and competition has never been so fierce. That’s why it’s important for a design company to properly market its services to churches and stand out among the throng.
Shaun Miller, worship technical arts director at Rolling Hills Community Church in Franklin, Tenn., a one-time AVL integrator who worked on church projects, says quick response time is a key to landing business in the church space.
“We are a society of instant response. Whether it’s on social media, email, or a phone call, it’s vital to communicate timelines and stay in touch with clients,” he says. “That leads to positive responses and referrals.”
While some may think all they need to do is offer the best price, this is not something that has much marketing merit. Miller notes prices plays only a fraction in the equation of what churches will look for, and it’s really about understanding what they want. That’s why a designer who clearly understands the vision and mission will better drive the technology.
“I look for response time, relationship, and whether they understand what we’re trying to accomplish,” Miller notes.
Here are five tips companies should consider for marketing their services.
Don’t think of a church as just a regular client. Get to know the leadership, ask questions, and really show an interest in its message. “That relationship is key,” Miller says. “When you are more like a teammate than a vendor, it means something to them.” Plus, building that relationship leads to other jobs because churches talk to each other and are quick to point out good and helpful work.
Sometimes the best marketing is done by just being in front of people with photos of past jobs and thoughts on the industry, and obviously, sites like Facebook, Instagram, and even Twitter are great ways to do that. Post things that people will want to share, whether it’s information about the latest technology or a snapshot of a cool design in a church setting. “You need to be social and add value to the internet,” Miller says. “Offer advice, join user groups, and get your message out there.”
When working with a church you need to be willing to listen and compromise some of your own thoughts for their vision, even if it means it’s not the perfect design idea you had. Miller notes that most churches are not run like Fortune 500 companies, so you can’t think of them in that way. “They are usually run by a small team of people who are overwhelmed,” he says. “Find ways to add value to them and to reduce their burden. That may look different depending on the church and their needs.” By showing them upfront that you are willing to talk with them about ideas and collaborate on an approach, you are showing them that you are a company they can trust and work with.
For designers and integrators to really get noticed, they have to go to where those in the worship space are looking and operating. “Be present where churches are looking,” Miller says. “Conferences and events are great ways to get in front of key people.” There are also a bunch of new smaller events where they can have a better interaction with churches, so designers need to seek out these smaller worship conferences, creative conferences, and even leadership ones.
A worship client is different than some other commercial facilities, so you should create special marketing materials with the church segment in mind. What might be exciting to the owner of an entertainment facility might be off-putting to a church leader, so be sure to think about your presentation wisely. Do a background check on the church’s vision and mission and, when trying to covet their business, talk about the things that are important to them. This will show that you’re viewing them as more than just another potential client--and will often lead to you being hired.
Article by Keith Loria at Church.Design
Subscribe to our mailing list to receive updates on our latest news and events.