Advertising at houses of worship: affordable and effective

By Correy Stephenson

The Daily Record Newswire

Sole practitioners and small firms are not known for the size of their advertising budgets.

So spending less than $100 a month for a year and getting several clients by advertising at a house of worship can be an affordable and cost-effective way to increase business.

"Dollar for dollar, it sure beats other ways of marketing," said sole practitioner Daniel J. Adler of Joliet, Ill.

Adler has advertised in the weekly bulletin at his Catholic parish for more than 15 years and has received a number of clients who tell him they chose his services because of the ad. He pays less than $100 per month and is locked in for a year at a time.

John W. Olmstead, president of Olmstead and Associates, a legal management consulting company in St. Louis, Mo., said many of his clients have had success advertising at their house of worship.

Advertising in a bulletin at a local church, synagogue or mosque is a "fairly inexpensive piece of advertising that can be effective for solos and small firms," Olmstead said.

He cautioned that it won't work for all lawyers and every practice area.

First and foremost, not all faiths or denominations approve. For example, while most Catholic parishes allow advertisements, Baptists don't believe in generating revenue that way, Olmstead said.

Lawyers should also remember their audience, he said. Adler agreed, noting that his ad references "family law" and not "divorce" out of respect for Catholic teachings.

Olmstead also advised lawyers to check the existing advertisements.

If there are a number of other lawyers in the congregation who are already advertising, that could limit the amount of calls a new ad would get, especially if the other lawyers have been advertising for a while or are involved in the church community, he noted.

Most importantly, for the ad to be truly effective, Olmstead said lawyers should be engaged in the particular community where the advertisement is placed.

"Don't just be a pew-sitter," he said. "Be involved and engaged and take part in committees and you will get a better return on the investment."

Like all other forms of marketing and advertising, "it all works together," Olmstead emphasized, but advertising at a house of worship is a "fairly inexpensive piece that you can integrate into a larger marketing plan."

Published: Thu, Aug 19, 2010

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