“Oversubscribed” by Daniel Priestley @Sam’s Book Club

Sending people to an online Bible school hasn't worked in every culture in this digital world. Pastor Sam shares the hard lesson in this campaign.

Marketing September 9, 2020

Get your marketing strategy to work for your online ministry! Just as a business learns to use effective marketing, we must do likewise with digital evangelism and, in so doing, will find online subscriptions and customer engagement become “oversubscribed.” 

Daniel Priestley, the bestselling author and entrepreneur, wrote his book Oversubscribed to help business owners ensure demand for their products. It includes an online marketing strategy to bring customers to you instead of you going to them. Incorporating the lessons from this book into church marketing and today’s digital ministry is what Sam’s Book Club aims to do.

Pastor Sam Neves, Associate Director of Communications at the global headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, shares how the underlying strategy found in this book is useful to the General Conference Communications department. The discussion showcases how you too can use effective marketing for church business, ensuring excellent customer interaction.

Customer Engagement, Connection, and Interaction

Sending people to an online Bible school hasn’t worked in every culture in this digital world. Pastor Sam shares the hard lesson in this campaign. One concept that Daniel Priestley brings out is the idea of excellence, over-delivery and delighting your customers – the ones who want to engage with you. 

Delighting people is not easy. One of the online marketing tips is to offer something that the people need. When you have the market offering they are looking for, people will come to you. You can offer what is already available, but not everyone will accept it in the same way. 

In digital evangelism authentic connection is incredibly important. Pastor Sam shows the Facebook analytics where the most engaged and interested in online dialogue are men aged 18-24. This may be surprising to some, but the question is: where do these people go when they are sad or in need of prayer? They go online looking for a social media page to which they can connect.

Because there is real-time interaction when you respond to them individually, people will see that you are not just randomly posting but investing in them. Increasingly people are participating, joining groups and sending their prayer requests. People in the world today are craving connection. They love to be heard and cared about, and this is precisely the identity your online ministry should demonstrate.

In the light of Oversubscribed, Jesus seems to be saying the same thing. Focus on a small subset of people who are willing to work with you and agree with your values. There’s no need to try and reach every human being with this particular product, campaign or project organization. 

Marketing Funnel for Church Marketing Strategies

When you advertise an event, for example, interest may be high but only a few can participate. People will then start to think about what makes the event exclusive. We have learned about supply and demand in our early education but one thing to bear in mind is that people love limited editions and exclusivity.

One example is the world-famous gadget brand Apple. Before they launch a new product the release date is announced which creates customer anticipation. People wait for hours to buy or even take a look at the new product, making use of the digital marketing funnel.

What do People Value?

Pastor Sam shares the book’s concept of missing something: people get more upset over losing 10 dollars than they are happy to have gained 50 dollars!

This begs the question about payment methodology in the context of Bible study, the Book Club discusses. Should people be charged a nominal amount for something and receive an item worth more than the amount paid, like a Bible, for example? 

‘Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.’ Matthew 6:21, KJV

Generally speaking, people don’t place high value on things they are given for free. Pastor Sam relates an experience he had as a local church pastor.   When a man came and told him he wanted to leave his wife, Pastor Sam challenged the husband to spend a quarter of his salary on his wife every month for three months. “Buy her something really special”, was the advice he gave to the husband. Sure enough, at the end of three months there was no more talk of divorce because the husband had spent his money where his heart lay.

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