It’s late on Saturday night, and my 13-year-old son is in the next room watching a gripping Star Wars movie.

And yet I’m sitting in my office struggling over why certain ads bring in lots of religious candidates and why some don’t. When we get names for $5 or $10 each in ad spend, that’s good. But sometimes the cost shoots up like a skyrocket, and the names cost $15 or more. That’s not good for us or our clients.

Good photos can attract vocation candidates

We might put up five such ads and see which ones perform the best. In the old days, you would spend a thousand dollars or more on a print ad in a Catholic publication. If it flopped, you were back to square one. Today, you can find out if the ad is working after spending $10 or $15.

Above are two such ads that were very successful last month in attracting young men and women to our “Is God Calling You?” quiz. Why did they do well? When I was in high school taking pictures for the school newspaper, our adviser told us, “get an action shot.”

Action is important, and both of these photos show intense scenes. The first ad shows a novice engaged in a lively conversation with a candidate. The novice is happy. Those who view the ad can easily picture themselves in the place of the candidate in the photo.

Use photos of happy religious, and liturgical scenes

In the second ad, the priest is devoutly kneeling in front of the altar at the beginning of Mass. The altar boy follows suit. The vestments a great-looking, and the ornate beauty of the church adds to a breathtaking effect.

Combined, the two photos were the best, and all the ads together for these two communities brought in 87 candidate names in May.

These kinds of photos are those that the candidates like to see. It draws them to want to take our quiz. So keep your camera handy, take lots of good pictures, and post them on Facebook for all to see.

Watch also my video in my article, “Two vocation candidates, and how we found them.”

You might also like “Catholic vocation advertising – a whole new ball game.”