In today’s graphic design landscape, the very small to small religious organization or business remain under-represented. While this article could focus on only the small business, we turn our attention toward a niche we are very passionate about and that is small religious organizations. While small religious organization numbers could be perceived as minnow in size, their ability and message is often life-altering, impactful and needed. In other words, they may not be mega in patrons but their message is often mega in substance. Yet because of size, access, and budgetary constraints, they are often unable to carry out their mission of reaching their intended audience due to the lack of a budget for professionally design marketing material.
Although we've targeted small religious organizations, this article really applies to the thousands of small businesses that either lack the ability to establish a budget for professionally designed marketing material or fail to recognize its importance and impact.
So! You’ve written the vision and made it plain. In business terms that means you've created the business plan, obtained proper funding and launched the organization. Now, how do you attract customers? How do you get patrons? Do wait for them to come knocking on your door or do you go to their doors and knock? There is nothing worse than having a valuable commodity yet no one knows that it exists. The digital landscape continues to evolve and like any sound business decision, credence, planning, and budgeting must be given to the things that expand the frontier of the organization, the products, and services offered by the organization and light shed on the value of the commodity offered through the organization.
Never have we seen the importance of capturing business more beautifully illustrated than in the parable of the lost sheep. The writer Luke in the Gospel of Luke relates a parable told by Jesus about lost sheep.
Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
The moral of this parable is conversion. And conversion is the goal of marketing. Business measures marketing in terms of conversion. The principle is sound because it is derived from scriptural principles that are 6000 years old. So what is Jesus saying? He is stressing the importance of going after the un-churched or in business terms, the new customer; in other words, marketing. The question here is are you willing to go after that one lost sheep, the new customer? Do you recognize the value that the one lost sheep or new customer brings and understand that by going after the one, it leads to others?
Marketing is an introduction to your business or religious organization. First impressions mean everything! Poorly designed visual assets diminish the opportunity to begin the conversion process. Often assumptions are made about your business or church organization based on what is seen.
So what is marketing and what does professionally designed marketing materials created by Graphic Designers do for your business or church organization? Professionally designed marketing material are visual assets that can then be used to build intrigue, generate interest, peek curiosity and bring the viewer into an experience. Graphic Design is a visual language that is used to convey ideas to different audiences. It demonstrates the excellence with which the organization functions.
As we look at marketing and the church historically, we find a couple wonderful examples in the late Evangelist Billy Graham and Paul Crouch. Billy Graham was a master at using the graphic design styles of his day to promote and bring attention to his crusades all over the world. Extended resources were used in the effort to publicize Billy Graham Crusades. Later Paul Crouch was given a vision from God that further emphasizes the importance of advertising and promoting religious events using television as a medium. Paul Crouch founded the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) in 1973 and it grew to become the largest Christian Broadcasting Network. Clearly, God understands the importance of getting His message out using marketing. In fact He said it in His word in John 14:12.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
Hey! What is Jesus talking about? This Scripture can be puzzling for some. However, what He is saying is that because of advances in technology, churches are able to reach more people today than ever before. One of the ways this is achieved is through marketing.
Many small businesses and church organizations are intimidated by the concept especially in view of how larger organizations are using marketing. They may fear they cannot compete. But we say to you, “Do not despise the small beginning” but “do begin.” It is imperative to begin somewhere. The key is to work within your own budget even if your budget is very small. Local and freelance designers are often willing to work with the small organization. You may not be able to afford professionally designed video marketing but may be able to afford professionally designed flyers. Flyers remain the most effective and cost-effective marketing tool in existence.
There is no better time than today to turn the tide on under-representation within your small business or church organization and enter the halls of the represented. Afterall, what you have to offer the world is more valuable than most of the things we currently buy and buy into. Take your place!