The way the church meets, communicates, and spreads the good news of Jesus has changed tremendously over the past 2,000 years – from the hand-written letters of the Apostles to the 140 characters on Twitter.
That doesn’t mean the Gospel’s message has changed, or that people need Jesus any less. But how people find and engage with the church is completely different than it was even 20 years ago.
To effectively reach and engage with new, existing, and future members, churches need to understand and take advantage of modern technologies.
The reality today is that people almost exclusively use these technologies to find and connect with a church. Since pastors don’t have time in their busy schedules to learn how to build a new church website, implement SEO, and create and maintain social media accounts – this presents a challenge!
That’s where Impact Group Marketing can help.
This article will walk you through the digital marketing checklist your church should use to reach your community and grow.
There is an unending list of options for churches regarding digital marketing, but the channel that surpasses them all is the church website.
Why is your church’s website your most important marketing tool?
1. Attracts Potential Visitors
Most people will visit your church’s website before they decide to visit it in person. They make their first impression of your church based on your website.
It’s also where they find information about your location, service times, and your church’s vision and purpose.
2. Informs Your Members
Your website is also an information hub for your congregation. Members come to the site to find out about events, ministries, and volunteer opportunities. It encourages them to participate and get connected.
Considering how important a website is to your church, it’s surprising how inexpensive it is to build and maintain an exceptional one. That’s another reason why it’s your church’s most important marketing tool.
4. Always Available
When the church office is closed, and the bulletin has been thrown away, visitors and members can always find the information they need on your website – 24 hours a day.
If you want to grow your church, attract visitors, and engage existing members – you need to be on a social media platform like Facebook or Instagram. Social media can be a powerful asset for your church’s outreach ministry, and it’s a great way to keep current members connected throughout the week.
Facebook is essentially free! Ask your members to join, and they can help spread the word about what your church is doing. You can also share content from your website there, which increases the likelihood that visitors will check out your website – even if they find your Facebook page first.
Many people actively looking for a new church will check out a church’s social media pages before they plan an in-person visit or watch a service online. Social media also keeps members engaged and excited about upcoming events and services.
Additionally, active social media accounts help drive backlinks to your church’s website and organic search engine optimization (SEO). Google frequently pulls in social profiles to Google My Business (GMB) listings which is important for local SEO. We’ll talk more about GMB later.
If you’re new to social media, we recommend starting with Facebook and Instagram since they are two top social platforms. Both are user-friendly and make it easy to share content.
Private Facebook Groups for Members
In addition to a church Facebook page, you can also create Facebook groups. Your Facebook page is a public profile that anyone can see and should be more outreach-oriented. Facebook groups are private and provide a huge opportunity to build community among your church members.
You can establish groups for specific ministries and functional teams to share needs, and church leaders can post urgent information. You can also create as many Facebook groups as you’d like – from parents of preschoolers, choir members, the softball team – the options are endless. The benefit of these individual groups is that you can communicate targeted messages to only the appropriate people.
Google My Business
Another important (and under-used) marketing tool for churches is Google My Business. It helps boost your search rank, and it’s free! The best part is it’s simple to use and supports your other digital marketing efforts, like your church website and social media.
What is Google My Business? It’s an online business directory created by Google. Since Google created it, it integrates with Google Search and Maps – making it an essential part of optimizing your local SEO.
Google My Business posts are highly effective. And since most churches rarely use them, you’ll stand out even more. GMB posts include a picture, 100-300-characters of text, and a Call to Action (CTA) button with a link to your website or other landing pages.
You’ve probably seen GMB listings when you’ve searched for a business on Google. They typically show up as some of the first search results. When you click them, you see relevant details such as location, hours, reviews, and images, if available. People are more likely to visit in person or check out your church’s website and social media pages when your GMB listing is detailed.
Why should a newsletter be part of your digital marketing strategy? Here are a few reasons newsletters are essential:
1. Simple and Inexpensive.
Email is a secure way to communicate quickly with your church members. You’ll also save time and money that you’d otherwise spend on less effective methods like printing flyers or addressing and stuffing letters.
2. Everyone Gets Your Message
If you send an email newsletter, every church member will receive it. They may not check your website regularly to find out what’s going on. And not everyone will get to see your social media post before Facebook and Instagram’s algorithms push other messages ahead of yours.
3. Effectively Reach Different Groups
Email lists allow you to send specific emails to specific groups of people, so they only receive relevant emails. This way, you can effectively reach the right people!
This checklist will help your church grow and increase its digital presence. But for each area mentioned above, there are a host of other options. Knowing where to start can be one of the most challenging aspects of digital marketing.
If this seems overwhelming, you might consider finding a marketing company that can at least help you clarify your church marketing strategy. It’s often best to leave the highly technical aspects of your marketing strategy with a professional marketing team like Impact Group Marketing.
Contact us today to learn how we can help your church reach people and impact your community. Are you ready to use these digital marketing channels to fulfill your church’s mission?