Digital evangelism 2021: The Definitive Guide
Digital evangelism is an exciting field to be in right now and as the digital world is growing faster than ever, it's important to push our limits.
Church attendance was in decline before the pandemic and will continue the trend post-COVID-19.
The Internet is playing a big part in this decline and it's not stopping there. Digital evangelism is crucial if churches want to survive in 2021 and beyond.
This blog will look at why digital evangelism is important, and how churches can effectively communicate through technology.
What is Digital Evangelism?
Digital Evangelism is a concept of sharing the gospel through digital media. It encompasses a lot of things, including social media, mobile apps, and websites.
Why is Digital Evangelism important for the Church?
Digital evangelism is very important because online communities are more important than ever, and churches need to make sure they are a part of those communities.
As we move into the future, the world will only become more digital. This means that the Church will have to change with the times.
Types of digital evangelism.
There are 7 main categories for digital evangelism: Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Evangelism, Content Evangelism, Email Evangelism, Mobile Evangelism, Pay-per-Click, and Digital Evangelism Analytics
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the digital marketing terminologies but you must know that there’s no single digital evangelism but many tools that contribute to digital evangelism.
Here is a brief overview of each type of digital evangelism
1. Search engine optimization (SEO)
If you want to reach more people online, you must look into Search Engine Optimization.
SEO is a very important digital evangelism task for any church or ministry.
Search engine optimization is a combination of two important aspects of marketing: content and keyword.
Content is king and the content is only as good as your keywords. Making your content easy to find by the right people is what SEO is all about.
2. Social media evangelism
Social Media evangelism is a phenomenon within the Christian and Non-Christian community. It is the act of telling others about Jesus Christ through any available social media platforms.
Some of the most popular social media platforms are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Clubhouse, WhatsApp, and Reddit.
Getting up and running on social media is fairly easy as long as you are ready to create content and engage with your audience online.
3. Content evangelism
Even though many churches are putting out a lot of content online, they are not finding success online because of the content they are putting out there.
That’s why you need Content evangelism, a process of producing relevant, high-quality, and engaging content for your ministry.
If you need more information about how important content is to your ministry, please read Digital Marketing for churches 2021.
4. Email evangelism
How do you reach your audience in 2021 and beyond? This question is troubling churches across America and the globe.
Email evangelism is an essential part of digital evangelism. It is the act of sending evangelism messages to a group of people via email.
Email remains one of the best ways to reach and connect with your members and the best part is that it is easy to implement and cheap to get started.
To help you get started, here is an article that highlights 15 awesome email evangelism growth hacks.
5. Mobile evangelism
Mobile devices are changing the church experience and many people now rely on their mobile devices for their church calendars, sermon notes, and even prayer requests.
A mobile evangelism app is one of the best ways for you to connect with your church members.
It will allow you to communicate directly with your members without relying on third-party tools like emails and social media.
By using the mobile notification functionality, your members will be alerted every time you publish something to your app.
6. Pay-per-click (PPC) for digital evangelism
Have you tried door-to-door evangelism lately? How about street evangelism?
If you agree that people go to Christ for various reasons, then you should know that Christians have different needs.
Therefore, you cannot feed everyone the same message without considering where they are in their Christian journey.
One of the reasons why the ministry of Christ was so successful is that he was relevant at every level. He knew what people needed to hear and how to deliver the message.
We too can preach relevant sermons by feeding people the right message according to their level and needs.
Pay-per-click (PPC) is a great way to evangelize to your current members and new ones. It is very effective for ministries as they can target audiences that are very specific to their church or ministry.
7. Digital evangelism Analytics
As a church leader, you probably have a pretty good idea of how to reach out to your congregation and engage them with a contemporary message of hope and love.
In the physical church, we have something that cannot be replicated online and that is fellowship and instant feedback you get when you are up there preaching.
Having preached a few times myself, I can say that nothing comes close to the feeling you get when people are responding to your call. You can feel the spirit moving around the congregation and that encourages you to preach on.
But that’s the physical church, when it comes to online church experience, you don’t get anywhere near that experience.
However, the analytics tools give you an idea of how people are interacting with your content and you can use that data to create more content.
How will technology affect the church?
Technology is moving at a rapid pace and the next “big thing” in the digital world is just around the corner.
While the benefits of new forms of communication have been seen by millions of people, the church is yet to adapt—especially when it comes to evangelism.
Christian organizations have always been hesitant to embrace new forms of digital engagement because they are unsure of what to expect.
The truth is that we live in a dynamic world where things are constantly changing. One thing may work today and be deemed absolute the tomorrow.
The world around us is fast and instant and when we have questions that need to be answered, we want the answers instantly.
The church needs to be at the forefront of providing those instant answers to the people that need them and you need technology to do that.
From medical breakthroughs to home entertainment, tech innovations have changed the way we look at the world.
The question is, how will technology affect the church?
While the church is not a technology-driven institution, it is affected by the surrounding technology and the changes the world is experiencing right now.
It is safe to say that the church has been forced to use technology and the question should now be, “how do we use this technology to win souls for Christ?”
What the church needs to do now to prepare for digital evangelism.
The world is on the verge of a digital revolution and this revolution is shaping the way people interact with each other and the church is yet to embrace this digital revolution.
Unlike the church doctrines that are shaped by common beliefs of a particular group, digital evangelism methods are standard and straightforward and must be followed in order to have a successful online ministry.
Here are pieces to digital evangelism
- Build a digital evangelism team — a dedicated team of designers, content writers, content creators, social media managers, and digital marketers.
- Identify some problems you want to solve — The bible is full of solutions, therefore you must strive to solve people’s problems.
- Validation — Once you’ve found a problem you want to solve, validate it to make sure people really need the solutions you are offering.
- Define your personas — You will be helping individuals and so it’s important to define who this individual is and how best to help him/her.
- Discover your member's needs and challenges — Do you know what your target audience is struggling with? How to find them and the type of help they need?
- Prescribe the right solutions — The gospel is like medicine, you cannot prescribe medicine before you know what the problem is.
- Analyze and grow — A way to analyze how the audience is consuming your content.
Digital evangelism skills
A few years ago, any church would get away with a few volunteer street or door-to-door evangelists, but that changed during the pandemic when the evangelists had no other way but digital to reach and connect with the people.
If your evangelism effects rely on door-to-door evangelism, it’s time to diversify and join the digital evangelism phenomenon therefore, you must consider hiring some digital marketers to complement the evangelists' work.
We went out online to check how churches are adapting to digital evangelism, and we discovered that a lot of churches are hiring digital media teams for their evangelism efforts.
It’s amazing to learn how many open positions for digital church. Below is a screenshot from indded.com
We found pages upon pages of churches looking for digital marketers and designers for their ministries. You will even be more surprised to learn how much churches are willing to pay for these positions.
Why every church should have a digital marketer.
In the past, church leaders mainly relied on word of mouth, pamphlets, sermons, and many other traditional marketing methods, however, that has changed.
For a church to grow, we need to utilize the best marketing strategies, and that is digital marketing or digital evangelism.
If this is your first time hearing about digital marketing for churches, let me be the first to tell you that digital marking is a lot of work. It is actually a full-time job that needs to be done by a paid staff and not a volunteer.
Here are some basic skills you should look for in a digital marketer.
Skills every digital evangelism marketer should have.
They say that the only constant thing online is change itself. This is true for digital evangelism as well. The person who fills this position must be flexible and ready to change with technology and trends.
The person you hire to fill this position must know how to do the following 7 things:
1. How to write SEO copy
Search engine optimization or SEO copywriting is the art and science of writing copy for websites and landing pages to ensure that your website appears high in search engine rankings.
2. How to create an email marketing strategy
Your email marketing strategy is a plan that lays out the direction you want your email evangelism to go in. It helps to identify the goals you have for your ministry and how email evangelism fits into that.
3. How to use PPC to market your ministry
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising allows you to present your ads to potential members based on their search keywords.
4. How to build and nurture your online members
Acquiring new members is only one piece of the puzzle, the other is nurturing them to make sure that they continue to grow and draw closer to Christ.
A church that does not have a nurturing strategy is like a leaky bucket. You will do everything to bring people in but you will not keep them in.
Digital Nurturing requires someone who understands the Christian journey and also one whose able to segment people according to what stage they are in.
5. How to create a winning social media strategy
A social media strategy is the roadmap that you need to start and run a successful social media campaign.
6. Keyword research
This is a process of finding out keywords that have good search volume and good competition. Keyword research is the first step to content marketing and digital evangelism.
7. Monitor and analyze results
Finally, you will need someone who can take the results, analyze them and make suggestions on how to increase your reach and impact online.
5 Types of digital tools you need for digital evangelism.
Unlike relying on boots on the ground, digital tools allow you to automate some tasks so you can concentrate on engaging with your audience.
These tools will allow you to create once and use them over and over again even while you sleep, these tools continue to work and convert for you.
The first of these tools is the church’s website. Digitally evangelizing your church shouldn't be limited to your Facebook page or a few Twitter feeds! You should be everywhere online, and the best way to make that happen is to have a website that reflects your church's brand and mission.
If you’re looking to have a successful digital evangelism campaign, you need the right tools for the job. Here are the top 5 types of tools you need to make your evangelism efforts successful.
1. Social media management tools
One of the most important components of expanding your evangelism arm is social media but social media management can be quite challenging for a lot of churches.
Most churches fail at managing social media because the department is run by volunteers who also have other responsibilities. As if that’s not enough, they have to hop from one platform to another just to send a post.
As a result, you end up missing out on great engagement opportunities.
Social media management tools are services that help you to manage your social media accounts. They allow you to create, post, manage and engage with people from one platform.
While social media management is the focus of these tools, they generally do more than just posting, they can also be used for marketing automation, SEO, and analytics reporting.
2. Digital design media tools.
Digital media design tools are powerful evangelism tools. As an evangelist, you have to know how to use them well and how to use them strategically.
Digital media design is a broad field with many applications. If you aren’t sure where to start, consider our top three digital media design tools we use at DelMethod.
When it comes to digital design tools, Photoshop is the most powerful and common among designers but its great power is also intimidating for a lot of users.
Photoshop is also expensive as it has a monthly subscription that makes it unattractive to many small ministries.
Another downside side to Photoshop is that it’s hard to use and you will need an experienced designer or you may have to train someone in your team to use it.
If you are on a tight budget and you can’t afford to hire a designer, then Canva is the best alternative to Photoshop.
Even though Canva has a paid plan it also has a very generous free plan that will work for most users.
With Canva you will be able to create branded graphics, e-books, and social media posts even without any graphic design background. The best part is that Canva has hundreds of ready-made templates for you to use.
If you need to get up and running fast with your social media graphics, then you want to look into Crello, a similar toll to Canva.
Crello also has plenty of templates that will allow you to create professional designs in minutes. The great part is that Crello also has free professional images to use in. Check out crello here.
3. Analytics tools.
One of the things that are under-reported in the digital world is the need for churches to gain analytics to know how their sites and digital media are performing.
If a ministry does not use analytics tools, it will be hard to understand how their digital media is performing.
When we asked pastors and church leaders what their biggest challenges were. They all say that their efforts to reach people online are falling short of the goals they set for themselves.
How can you effectively reach people and make an impact if you can't measure and track your progress?
There are so many analytics tools out there but the boost important are Google Analytics and social media insights. They are both free and allows you to monitor how people are interacting with your content.
4. Content marketing tools.
Content marketing is the process of creating and publishing relevant content on blogs, social media, and other online platforms to increase your online presence and influence.
One of the biggest challenges many beginner digital evangelists face is the influx of content marketing tools out there.
Many spend a lot of time and money trying to figure out which tool is right for them.
Here at DelMethod, we recommend a few tools based on the need but our most recommended tool is Storychief.
With Storychief, you will have one central place to create and distribute your content to all your platforms including blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
5. Email marketing tools.
Email marketing is a powerful tool for churches and faith-based nonprofits to reach, connect and nurture their online audiences.
You don't need a fancy piece of software to get started with email marketing. In fact, a good deal of email marketing tools and services are free to start, so there's no excuse for not starting.
The email marketing tool section also has a wide variety to chose from, but we went ahead and tested the tools so you don’t have to.
The software we recommend for email marketing is Mailer Lite. They have a very generous free plan that allows you to have up to 2000 contacts for free. We hope you will start using Mailerlite for your email evangelism.
Digital evangelism is the future of evangelism. We are just coming out of a period where no door-to-door evangelism was allowed.
I would have loved to the bearer of good news that things will get back to normal soon and that we’ll all be back on the streets, but I’m afraid that’s not the case.
You see over the past year we introduced people to digital evangelism, and they loved it. Please check out a recent blog we wrote, “20 things people love about online church.”
We predict that in the next ten years' time, nobody will be going door-to-door with the gospel. All evangelism will be digital.
We hope you enjoyed the blog post about digital evangelism! It’s always exciting to provide content that is helpful to people, and we try to do it as often as we can. If you have any questions or concerns about our services, please feel free to contact us or leave a comment below.
Thanks for reading!