Effective Evangelistic Advertising

Effective advertising for an evangelis­tic effort may be considered under five heads:(1) Subject title;(2)The personal invitation;(3)The newspaper;(4)The window card;and(5)The billboard.

By M. R. BAILEY, Evangelist,. Rockford, Illinois

Effective advertising for an evangelis­tic effort may be considered under five heads: (1) Subject title; (2) The personal invitation; (3) The newspaper ; (4) The window card; and (5) The billboard. Before we enter any of the avenues of advertising, we should know that our subject is of special in­terest to the public. For unless our advertis­ing arrests the attention and creates interest to know more about our subject, our money is wasted.

The Subject Title.—In planning for ad­vertising, we should always keep in mind our aim. If we expect to attract the people and hold those who are religiously inclined, we should plan our titles in such a way that they will not only catch the eye, but grip the mind and the heart. For instance, the title, "Heaven," would appeal to any religious per­son regardless of his creed. Sometimes it is well to reach out for those who are not church members. In doing this, we should select some topic of news interest such as "Japan Marching West."

Many times a short title is desirable and more convenient to adapt to any one of the four methods of advertising named. One word can be printed in bold type or painted, on a billboard with greater force than many words. A short title attracts the eye and more effectively conveys the thought than a long one. Many people today read as they travel. Decisions to attend a lecture or not to attend are made quickly,

The title should contain the theme of the lecture. After the people have heard the lecture and are satisfied that the subject was ably presented, they will go home and ad­vertise the next meeting. This is the most effective form of advertising for an effort. Personal advertising costs nothing, but it re­turns big dividends. Sufficient time should be taken in choosing a title. Boil it down, make it the subject of the theme; and then make the theme the outgrowth of the title.

The Personal Invitation.—Our Saviour well understood that the personal appeal was always most effective. While He gave the general invitation, He never neglected the per­sonal touch. When we have impressed the need of similar personal work upon the minds of the people in our churches, we have gone a long way toward effective advertising. There is much talent in our churches lying idle. Many of our people are not doing their part in publicizing evangelistic efforts. They hesitate to speak to their neighbors and invite them to the meetings. We should do all we can to help them to become more active in all kinds of missionary work. One way in which they can help is by distribution of printed cards, postal cards, bills, letters, or written invitations among their friends.

Whatever form of advertising we may se­lect, it will be of benefit to our people to have a part in the effort. However, if printed matter is given out on the Sabbath to church members for distribution during the week, we should not be surprised to find much of this expensive form of advertising still in the homes of the people when we visit them. If we watch closely, we will find them making use of it in taking notes or for scrap paper. Should we not supervise this part of the work more closely to make it effective? The band method is often found to be the best for dis­tribution of all kinds of literature. Every band should have a leader who gives personal supervision to the work. Then not only will this work be done, but it will be done at a stated time. When the church responds, it will bring results.

Members in our churches who cannot or will not visit homes with the invitation, will often write addresses on postal cards or letters to be mailed. This method not only helps our people to become active, but brings good results. As it has been increasingly difficult to find church members who will work from house to house, postal cards and duplicated letters have been used to a greater extent during recent years. It is often found that only a small proportion of the church members will work at any time; so we must usually seek some other form of advertising to supplement what they do.

The Newspaper.—The newspapers of our larger cities have such a high advertising rate that their use is almost prohibitive. Yet in the smaller cities the rates are such that they can be used. Some of the smaller papers will even reduce the cost to churches. When we think of the great number of homes visited by these papers in this newspaper-reading age, we are convinced that an advertisement properly written will bring excellent results. Careful thought should be given to the location of the advertisement in a newspaper. Some have found the radio page a good location for Saturday evening, and the church page for Sunday morning. By thus changing the loca­tion of the advertisement, we reach a larger group of people than if it were kept on the same page for every insertion.

After the meetings have been in progress for a few weeks, and an audience has been secured, it is advisable to cut down the size of the notice. When this is done, it is also in keeping with good taste to cut down the size of the accompanying photograph. By having a very small photograph, possibly one inch square, it is possible to use it with a one-column advertisement. Newspaper advertis­ing is being used more extensively every year. This would indicate that it is one of the very best forms of advertising. The newspaper should also be used for write-ups of the evan­gelistic sermon, as this is good advertising, and serves to bring the truth to many people who do not attend our meetings.

The Window Card.—Window cards can be used in some cities to advantage. If the store­keepers will accept them and keep them in the windows for a few days, this form of adver­tising will accomplish much. We are living in an age when people do more window-shopping than they do actual buying. If they see a notice of the meetings in nearly every show window, it will induce them to attend.

The Billboards.—For tent meetings, a V-shaped board which can be read from both directions On the street on which the tent is located is practical. This board can be about four by ten feet. Eighteen inches depth at the top can be used for the permanent name of the meetings, and the rest can be used for daily subjects. If the titles are short and are written in bright colors and large type, they can be seen at a great distance. Signs well-printed on strong material can be used the second year.

As the effort progresses, it is well to drop out part of the advertising. If, after some particular type of advertising has been dis­carded, no change is noticed in the number of people attending the meetings, it can be con­cluded that that form of advertising was of little or no value. By taking a census of the congregation to learn what form of advertis­ing brought each person to the meeting, it is possible to judge quite accurately what type of advertising can be eliminated with the least loss. Whatever form of advertising is used, it should be the best possible. It pays to use good paper and good ink to produce good printing, and to use the latest methods. By noticing what others are using, and observing your own results, you can soon learn what is best. God's message should be clothed in a quality garment, even though it costs a little more.


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By M. R. BAILEY, Evangelist,. Rockford, Illinois

November 1938

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