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5 Marketing Lessons from a Hipster Church

April 14, 2014

Easter eggsThere are basically two kinds of churches.

First of all, you have the “traditional” churches like your grandmother went to. They have a minister who wears a robe (or at least a suit), a big ass organ with pipes, and a hymnal with songs that are all 100-years-old. They light candles.

A “hipster” church is different. The pastor wears a soul patch and you call him by his first name. The music minister is a dude who used to sing in metal band — he kicked booze, but still has long hair. They play rock songs instead of singing traditional hymns and everything is backed up by lasers and smoke machines.  And sometimes there is a mall-style “food court” complete with a coffee shop and juice bar.

Eternal Hellfire – A Good Marketing Strategy?

It used to be that the threat of “eternal hellfire” went a long way in packing the church with people every Sunday. That and judgement from neighbors…

But most people care little about either these days.

So what’s a church to do?

5 Marketing Lessons from a Hipster Church

A couple of weeks ago, as I was walking up to my house, I noticed a plastic Easter egg in the door. Inside was a bouncy ball and this piece of paper…

Easter service1


Easter service2


A few days later, I found another egg with the same contents in my yard. And smart marketing like that gets you a place on this blog.

What they did right…

1. Fun – Easter eggs are fun. Finding things is fun. Balls that bounce are fun. This offer has all of these things. Plus, unlike most door-to-door religious offers, there was no pressure.

When you have a good offer, you don’t need pressure.

How good is your offer? How fun is it?

2. Ethical Bribe – The bouncy ball is a good start, but when you attend an Easter service at this church, you’ll also get a Starbucks gift card.

What do you think the lifetime value of a churchgoer is? $5 is a bargain to get somebody in the door.

If you do business online, you can do something similar for almost free. For example, I’ll give you access to a video that will teach you how to write and publish a book in 90 days (or less) when you sign up for my mailing list. The cost is for that is negligible, but the value for you is potentially very high.

3. Followup – When I found the first egg, I thought it was a clever promotion. When I saw the second egg I had a closer look at the offer.

Followup is common in the online world thanks to autoresponder services, which do the work for you. And if you’ve ever been late on a bill and had a “Second Notice” (or multiple followup notices) via postal mail, you know how effective it can be.

People don’t respond to initial offers for a variety or reasons — they’re busy, tired, broke, or whatever else. When you send them an additional message to remind them you want their business (or in this case, their souls), you’re likely to get a better response to your offer, even if it’s the same one you initially sent.

4. Multiple Buying Options – When you go to the website listed on the flyer, you’ll find the offer is available at “5 Locations” and via “31 Services.”

This church is making it easy for you to attend. And unlike the other Baptist church I analyzed a few months ago, the location listed on the map is only three minutes away from my house, not in a different county.

You could walk there.

Like sleeping in? There is a night option.

Want to wake up early? They’ve got you covered!


How can you make it easy to buy what you’re selling?

5. Timely and Limited Offer – Having a limited offer is great, but we all know there are plenty of “limited offers” that aren’t limited at all. If you’re selling a “limited quality” product for example, you can make more of them. And there are plenty of companies that will extend a “final deadline” to buy, which completely blows credibility.

Because of these things, people are skeptical.

One solution to keep skepticism at bay is to connect what you do with an event, which won’t be able to be repeated, even if you wanted to.

Easter only happens once a year. Sure, you can attend church the following Sunday, but it won’t be like this.

Even if you’re not able to connect yourself to an event that can’t be repeated, stick to your “limited” offers. When you make a limit, stick to it to build a good reputation to help you sell more product in the future.

You may be able to squeeze out a few more bucks in the short run by extending a deadline or making more product available than advertised, but you’ll lose that extra money on future trades because you’ll lose the trust, confidence, and business of your customers on additional offers.

Final Thoughts

Nashville has a church on almost every corner. It’s a very competitive business, much like your business is likely a very competitive business.

How do you stick out? Bring in personality, make things fun, and give people an experience they can’t get elsewhere. That’s what Long Hollow Church has done.

ABOUT THIS SERIES: Every Monday, I analyze the good, bad, and ugly about the marketing behind a common business or famous personality. See other posts in this series here and, if you have a request for something (or someone) you’d like me to analyze for this series, contact me via Twitter.

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