Identifying Your Community Persona

Building an ideal customer profile is a common business practice whose goal is to identify the type or types of people the business caters to. This involves identifying needs, wants, pain points, and more. This type of study into the minds of their customers helps businesses to market more effectively and offer products and services that really meet the needs people have.

So how does this relate to your church? Quite simply, if you can learn to identify those you serve best in the community, you will better understand how to attract them to your church and meet their needs.

Step 1: Understand your current members and visitors

The best way to start is by simply getting to know the people who are already interested. In the business world, this would be your “core customer.”

Create two polls/questionnaires:

  • The first should go to your members. Ask them for basic information about themselves and their family plus questions about what they like about the church and why they became a member.
  • The second should be on your visitor card. Ask them some basic information about themselves, if they visited alone or with family, how they heard about you, what ministries they are interested in, etc.

Step 2: Start with demographics

There is plenty of primary research out there regarding most towns. Check out these resources to truly get to know who is in your area.

  • US Census Bureau
  • Barna Cities Research
  • City and/or County websites

In the event you aren’t able to find what you’re looking for…you can do some research of your own.

Step 3: Go beyond demographics

Now that you know a little more about them, get into the nitty-gritty characteristics and qualities of those in surrounding areas.

  • Wants
  • Needs
  • Education
  • Location
  • Anything else that makes your audience unique

Step 4: Keep a constant reminder

Post a “profile” of this visitor persona around the office. It offers a constant reminder of the type of person you’re serving, praying for, on the phone with or emailing all day long. This can boost your outreach, efficiency and productivity. If leadership truly knows the needs of the visitor, they can:

  • Meet the community needs better.
  • Build relationships better.
  • Communicate better.

Now that you’ve identified your target visitor and are keeping them in mind each day, the next step is to actually learn how to reach them effectively and help meet their needs.

If you ask most churches, they are genuinely seeking how to reach their community. Identifying your target visitor through building a community persona is the first step.

Next you need to figure out how to reach those you have identified and meet their needs. One important way to achieve this is through generational marketing. Each audience is shaped by different life experiences, traditions and values and should be communicated to using the appropriate and effective channels.

Baby Boomers (1946 to 1964):

  • Boomers adopt technology with enthusiasm. They are willing to try new brands/products
  • They make up 1/3 of all online users, social media users and Twitter users, and watch the most video
  • 96% of baby boomers participate in word-of-mouth or viral marketing

Generation X (1965 to 1976):

  • View 75% of the direct mailers as valuable
  • They are more connected by mobile technology
  • They value transparency
  • Celebrate diversity, avoid references to heritage and tradition
  • Likes to research while shopping online. They read more reviews and visit more opinion sites

Generation Y (1977 to 1995):

  • Value texts and emails as top means to communicate
  • View phone calls as an invasion of privacy
  • Highly visual and prefer stories told through visual elements like videos and photos

Now that you know who you’re reaching and how to communicate with them, it’s time to get out there and meet needs! Here are a few ideas to discover community needs and discern who in your church can meet them.

  1. Connect with city officials to find out what aspects of the community are lacking in funds, such as:
  • Local parks
  • School needs
  • Community gardens
  • Food pantries
  • Pregnancy centers
  1. Decipher giftedness within the church by enacting old school spiritual gifts surveys and accessing the church database to discover careers/passions of your church body.
  1. Select the project that intersects most with the generational needs of your community and the giftedness of your church.

By taking the time to really get to know the makeup of your community you can better reach them in their daily lives, meet their needs and attract them to your church.

Learn more about which marketing methods will reach your audience most effectively through this free Church Marketing eBook.

*Learn more about generational marketing by checking out the articles we pulled this data from:


Jason is the Director of Content Development for The Unstuck Group. He graduated from Liberty University with a degree in Marketing and a Master of Arts in Christian Leadership. He also received an MBA from Lynchburg College. Jason was a Marketing Consultant for over 7 years. He currently serves as Communications Director at Free Chapel in Gainesville, GA.

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