If You Build It, Will They Come? Some Thoughts on Reaching Clients
One of the most common questions I get as a Care Net Center Services Specialist is, “How do I reach clients?” Whether it is the abortion-minded client or individuals in any town looking for any of the services our centers offer, center personnel are focused on reaching that client!
Often times this question comes with a mixture of concern and frustration. Centers may begin to question their processes and programs whenever they see a downturn in client visits or are simply not seeing the type of client they are passionate about... and yes, are even prepared to see! Apart from getting our staff in line, our board on board, our volunteers trained, and our facilities painted that perfect calming color of. . .gray, or is it eggshell white? Better yet relying on the calming colors of Feng shui such as blue, green, yellow, pink, purple, and white for the purpose of enhancing trust?
Whatever! You just want to see clients, right?
According to Care Net's research, dollar-for-dollar, the most effective way centers can reach at-risk clients is through digital marketing, especially keyword advertising. But those efforts can be complemented with additional techniques. Following are some tips I think you might find helpful, along with a healthy look at God’s Word to keep us focused:
Tap into the power of storytelling
We all know that word of mouth is the best way to get our message out, so I suggest we harness the power of storytelling. Tell your center’s story and the stories of your clients often, boldly, and perhaps in a way you haven’t before. Consider unique ways to share with your community what you do by sharing the stories that really matter and that need to be heard. One idea is to use client photos and videos in more places than at your annual dinner. Try producing a very short video (30 seconds or less) with text (so it can be watched with the sound off). Distribute the video to partnering agencies, churches, and businesses and share it on social media.
Power to the Brand
Establish clear brand guidelines for the center regarding design, tone of voice, color scheme, and personality. Take special care to ensure that all center personnel and board members clearly understand the brand and prioritize brand consistency when publishing and presenting anything that will be seen by the public. If it is not inline with your brand guidelines or up to par in terms of quality, tweak it until it is just right!
Consider hiring a professional to assist in this process, if your budget allows. If your budget is limited, don’t let that stop you! Find a student needing to build a portfolio and work closely with him or her on this project. This kind of collaboration will benefit both parties and your center may make a new friend of life too.
Consistently identify your primary beneficiaries
Consistently and purposefully evaluate programs and services. Ask: are these programs empowering your primary beneficiaries with help, resources, and the truth they need to make an informed decision about their pregnancy? Provide resources for making healthy choices while offering the love and grace of Christ as you serve them with excellence. Ensure that each member of your team understands how your mission and vision is laser-focused on these clients. The success of your ministry programs depends on focusing on the needs of your beneficiaries and choosing to do those, sometimes few, things well!
Remember—The center can’t be all things to all people
Center leaders will do well to remember what their purpose is: sharing the center's vision in the community, building teams and processes to meet client needs, and perhaps most importantly know when to refer clients for church and community resources.
When you can't do it all (and you can't), there are still ways you can help clients beyond your own services. Here are a few examples:
- Provide churches with information about Care Net's Making Life Disciples so they are equipped to welcome your clients
- Build an up-to-date list of community resources.
- Develop a mentoring program for clients who want to take an extra step in improving parenting or strengthening their relationships.
- Enlist the assistance of professionals to provide needed supplemental services such as professional counseling, prenatal care, birthing classes, and more.
Give it to Jesus
It goes without saying that the foundation of Care Net pregnancy centers is faith in our Heavenly Father. Whatever means we use, ultimately, we rely on our great God to bring clients in and match them with just the right team member to meet their needs. It is a battle though, right? Then let’s prepare ourselves for the victory we know is ours in Jesus Christ. Take a look at Joshua Chapter 6, and Joshua’s battle in Jericho as our inspiration:
- Arm yourself daily (vv 3,9)-- While Joshua had an army armed with swords, we have God’s Word which is sharper than any sword. Stay in the Word! We will never possess victories without it.
- Stay close to fellow warriors(v13)-- Surround yourself from within and without with those dedicated not only to reaching clients making difficult pregnancy decisions but dedicated to living in victory. Staying connected to fellow believers, in personal and corporate Bible study, having accountability partners, meeting with sister pregnancy centers, and attending professional conferences and meetings (like the upcoming Care Net Conference in Atlanta, GA).
- Stay on course (v 3,14)-- Continue to walk in the center of God’s will. Never give up! Don’t lose hope. Remember that the battle is the Lord’s and He is always faithful.
I would love to hear some ideas from you that have worked for marketing to clients! When you comment here, all of us benefit from your brilliance and the wisdom God has given you.
Terry Williams is a Care Net Center Services Specialist and National Trainer, providing training for Boards, staff, and volunteers. A veteran of more than eight years as a pregnancy center director, Terry is a current board member at Texas Alliance for Life. Terry also mentors teenagers, young adults, and women. Terry is called upon frequently to provide key testimony for pro-life legislation at the Texas state capitol and has been involved in several events and communications regarding pro-life legislative issues.