It’s not about the cover…

Larry WitzelMarketing Practices

When I talk with pastors and church leaders about some of the success God has given us in evangelism marketing—2x, 3x and even 4x previous response rates—one of the first things I often hear is, “I want to see these covers!”

Now, we’re happy to show you handbill covers. After all, the art and design is an important component to an effective mailpiece. (You can even see a few of our covers on our evangelism marketing website.) But there’s something important you should know:

It’s not about the cover.

An effective evangelism mailer has dozens of components—things like headline, subtitles, event description, meeting titles, and the call to action—and the more these work in harmony with each other, the more effective it is. The cover has one purpose: to get an interest to open the mailpiece. It’s an important role, to be sure, but it’s not the end all. In fact, it’s far more important that the entire piece magnify a single message, whatever that is.

Furthermore, just because a cover works in one part of the country, doesn’t mean the identical piece will be effective everywhere. There are significant differences between urban, suburban and rural cultures; between red and blue states; between the West Coast, the Mid-West and the South. And when you don’t account for these differences, you risk reducing the effectiveness of the handbill.

For example, when we first created the “Apocalypse of Hope” cover, we wrote the language targeting a suburb of Portland, Ore., a notoriously “unchurched” region. When a pastor in Mississippi, hearing about how effective that design was, asked to run the same piece for his series, we made significant changes to the language. We had to do that in order to better reach that target area. The covers look the same, but the inside was radically different. In both cases, we saw response rates of nearly 3 per thousand.

Effective marketing is a science. You can’t just duplicate what someone else has done someplace else and expect the same results. Here at SermonView, we work with you to craft the best possible mailpiece, making the subtle improvements that give better results.

Why go through all the trouble? Because better marketing means more people at your event. And isn’t that what you want?