UTAS O Week Mission 2016 — Part 3: Promotional methods

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We used the grant money for this mission to explore a range of promotional methods, to test and see what worked and what didn't, what we'd invest in and what we wouldn't bother:

1. Radio

1.1 Things we learned

  • We didn't have a good enough assessment plan in place to really judge its effectiveness. I suspect if we were to really explore its effectiveness we'd have to put a lot more money into it, to try a whole range of different approaches, durations etc.

  • The biggest benefit was building a relationship with the Christian radio station. This has opened up all sorts of opportunities for us: they are keen to have us share testimonies on the show, to provide freebie merch for our 2017 O Week showbags, and they helped us gain free stuff from Dominos and Woolworths.
  • We didn't meet anyone who first hear about us from the radio. About 50% of our first Citywide Gathering said they had heard the advert.
  • Some new students came to our event, excited that they had just heard our ad on the radio.
  • I suspect for radio advertising to really make an impact we'd need a longer campaign time than one week.
  • I suspect that the best way to really test it would be to tie it to a very concrete action: like a 'deal' they can cash in on if they quote a key word from the ad, maybe?
  • We only mentioned the name of our ministry at the start of the ad. If we ever did it again, we'd make sure there was a callback at the end of the ad.
  • I drove around during O Week with the two radio stations on my car the whole time and only heard them once. So it's a low likelihood that people will heard it.

1.2 What we'd do next time?

  • We wouldn't go for paid advertising again, but instead seek to get interview slots on the radio stations, preferably multiple shows. This is free and probably as effective. It just takes more time.
  • We would also explore the uni magazine 'Togatus' and be more proactive there.

2. Facebook

  • We set aside a budget of $300 for Facebook advertising and tried a whole bunch of things. This included asking questions, boost pre-existing posts, paying for adverts.
  • We also did other things: like posting key Facebook Events on the Facebook Pages of local churches and youth ministries.
  • We already had a very active and effective Facebook presence, with lots of 'Likes' and a rich approach to promotions.

2.1 Things we learned

  • We got lots of new Likes on the Page, lots of Message enquiries sent to the Page, and lots of people telling us that this is how they first found us. 
  • It's important to understand and use Facebook well, to maximise your reach. 
  • Videos and photos perform well: especially if you can tag people in them.
  • Wait for a post to start performing well 'organically' before 'boosting' it.'
  • Develop multiple audiences: target parents and pastors in Australia, or uni students at UTAS. Use things like 'AFES', and 'John Piper' and 'Hillsong' to target to Christians.
  • You can target everyone EXCEPT people who already like your Page to reach new people and not waste your advertising on people who already know you.
  • Spending more on a short-time frame is better than spreading it out over weeks and weeks. That gets a bigger impact quicker.
  • We got a good return even just from $20 stints.
  • If you pay for a radio ad you get free Instagram advertising.
  • Paid adverts (as opposed to boosted posts) get little interaction so these are more for raising awareness.
  • To Boost events, you need to make sure there is a minimal amount of text in the Facebook Event's cover image. This might require extra design to satisfy this.

2.2 What we'd do next time?

  • I have been telling everyone who will listen that Facebook paid advertising is a really cost effective way of raising awareness. I was indifferent to it before this experiment, because we did well enough orgaincally. But now I'm sold.

3. Corflute signage

  • For about $250 we bought two thick cardboard corflute picket signs to promote our public events.
  • Because we use a church building for our Citywide Gathering, right beside the university, it made sense to stick these signs out the front and the Parish Council gave us permission.
  • We designed signs that would work for each event for the entire Semester to save money.
  • ​This is a pretty low-cost ongoing awareness raiser that we will continue with.

4. Bulk SMS

  • We have been using SMS Global for 6 years as a way to communicate with our group members, along with our bulk email lists and Facebook. I'm not sure if they are the best or cheapest on the market but they have served us just fine.
  • Uni students respond really positively to SMS promotions, which surprised me.
  • We end all messages with [unsub@ufcutas.org] so that there is an easy way to unsubscribe. We haven't paid for a fixed mobile number up to this point.
  • This dovetailed naturally with our larger promotional needs for this O Week Misison.
  • We had also moved to Elvanto from Church Community Builder at the end of last year and this has given us convenient integration with SMS Global - so that we don't have to enter the data in two places and we can SMS people straight out of 'People Flows' and stuff.
  • In our experience (more of this in future posts), cold phone calling students, even if they have given us their number, is not just unusual, it is actually unwelcome now. So that method of follow up is over. Better to use SMS and Facebook, along with email.

5. Postcard fliers

  • We asked a very talented graphic designer to design really attractive postcard fliers for us and we used these throughout O Week, along with a more comprehensive prospectus that we make available at our events and in our O Week showbag for those who want to find out more.
  • A local business has recently offered to do extremely cheap, professional-quality colour printing for Not For Profits, so we have seen our printing costs really shrink.
  • We did fliering at all the orientation classes, the week before Semester began, but otherwise have done very little fliering or postering.
  • We make sure these fliers link to our website and Facebook Page on the reverse side.


Perfect example in action

This year we were delighted to meet two girls who received fliers at an orientation event, then looked us up on Facebook, found out about our Pizza Parties and came along. There they heard about our Tuesday morning 'Breakfast Sessions' sermon and our 'Christianity 1A' course and came to those. One of them has now professed faith in Christ and the other is really interested!

via Blog - Christian Reflections http://ift.tt/25KaS79 (NB: to comment go to http://ift.tt/1FyvdLS)