This week the Catholic Marketing Network trade show was held in Chicago. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend so I had to rely on the Internet for my news about the event. This turned out to be an educational experience because there was almost nothing posted on-line about the show.
I checked out the CMN Facebook and Twitter feeds and both were silent. I realize that the CMN has a very small staff so social media updates are not as high on the list as other critical projects but I think there should have been some mention of their event of the year. Some of the publishers had some pictures on Facebook and Ave Maria Press even posted a video. The problem with all of these efforts is that there wasn’t any coordination so for the bookstore owner that couldn’t attend or even the Catholic general public, there wasn’t any way to grasp what actually was happening at the conference or what it was.
I think I’m going to see if there is some way to coordinate news from the conference next year.
This lack of publicity about the CMN show leads into my main point today – evangelization. You as a store owner need to think about your store as a center for evangelization. Pretend for a moment that your store is called “The ____ center for evangelization” instead of “The _____ Shop”. Would that change how you view your mission? Would it change the activities you engage in and promote?
Here are five tips to making your store more evangelization focused.
- Give something away – holy cards, pamphlets, fliers. Make sure that your customers always walk out of the store with something to educate them about the Faith.
- Keep your displays liturgically seasonal. Your customers may not really be aware of the liturgical seasons. Be sure to have things displayed in the front of your store to promote upcoming Catholic liturgical events.
- Offer a class – Liturgy of the Hours, Great Adventure, etc. Apart from the cost of the DVD and finding the place and time, this is a very inexpensive way to spread the Faith and you may get extra shopping from people buying workbooks and browsing your store.
- Sponsor a speaker at a parish. This doesn’t have to be very expensive and you can usually get a table at the parish to display your products during the event.
- Hold a book fair at a parish. This probably takes the most work but it gets your Faith tools in front of people who may never otherwise visit your store.
Are you doing things to evangelize and not just sell Catholic stuff? I’d love to hear about it. Also, if you went to the CMN, what did you think? What interesting things did you come away with?