So you’ve read my previous post and either been busy ensuring you’ve met all the recommendations or you might be thinking, ‘yep knew all those!’ What other tips can I suggest? Well, hanging huge banners outside your building is one that Friends House did last summer…
However, much of what is next will be very personal to your area, your meeting and your possible clientèle. If you are based in a small low income rural town with lots of competition offering similar services, than your marketing will be different from a busy market town, or an inner city building with dozens of rooms.
First step – do some research!
Make a list of your existing hirers and where they came from (if known).
- Decide how many hours/sessions/rooms are available and supportable with your current admin/caretaking set up or how you would cover any additional requirements.
- From there you can estimate how much work might be sensible to fill those gaps.
- Look at the vacancies you have – are they all morning or mid afternoon? Could the meeting offer unpopular gaps to local groups at a discount? Drop in centre, adult education groups etc.
- Look out for other venue’s marketing, decide if it is successful and if you can adapt any of it to your building.
- Make a list of what possible advertising outlets there are locally – not just newspapers – think blogs, review sites, festivals, podcasts or radio shows, contacting schools, training organisations and local businesses who might want office space.
- Are there any places your meeting could advertise it is available – perhaps at the Fresher’s Fair, or the local community festival, having a stack of ‘rooms available’ leaflets next to the ‘all about Quakers’ leaflets is fairly easy to arrange.
Review these possibilities – asking yourself what the Meeting would be comfortable with and what would be appropriate for your building. Just starting the discussion within the Meeting might turn up more suggestions, information or even the decision that the building is busy enough!
You might want to work out what costs are involved with each booking – and ensure that your hourly rate covers those. If not that needs to be reviewed too – but that is a topic for another post.
Another set of decisions you need to consider – what sort of people and groups do you want to attract?
- Ad hoc groups, who use the building as flexible space?
- Regular groups who book a block at a time?
- A mixture of the two?
- Only community and non-commercial groups or are you willing to allow commercial groups?
Think about other venues locally that you and others might visit, especially how are they decorated. A fresh coat of paint, clean windows and tidy noticeboards goes a long way towards making spaces feel welcoming. A place where others might want to hold classes or meetings.
All of the above sound as if they are just marketing but they are also a way of ensuring any enquirer looking for a spiritual home can find out that Quakers exist. Then discover where the nearest Meeting is and when they arrive feel excited to find this clean bright and welcoming place. First impressions are so important, you want to ensure no one is put off even before they cross the threshold.
Discussing these topics can help members of the meeting to think about how to prepare your meeting house to welcome newcomers too. Once inside it is easier to find that welcome pack of leaflets and information from a tidy lobby or point out useful courses on a recently sorted noticeboard and of course it is useful for both hirers and enquirers to know where the loos are!
Not forgetting – all of these improvements don’t have to cost much and can be considered inreach, as well as outreach and marketing. After all, even faithful long standing Members and Attenders will be happier to walk into a clean, tidy building with flowers in the garden!
As always if this is something you or your meeting would like some help with – don’t hesitate to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org
This is the third in a series of three for number one click here
or for two click here