This Guide to Digital Marketing for churches is full of insights and strategies for ministries looking to reach more people beyond their social media reach.
But, before we delve into the article, let's first define church digital marketing.
What is digital marketing for churches?
Digital marketing for churches is the process of using digital tools such as social media, search engine optimization, and email marketing for evangelism.
If you are hearing the digital marketing for churches term for the first time or you maybe know about it but didn’t think it applied to the church, then you are not alone.
In fact, very few churches or ministries are using digital marketing strategies to reach and connect with their members.
According to the Center for Church Communication, 76% of churches don't track their marketing efforts. (webfx.com)
If you’ve been part of the church for a while, you know that in the past, the church was always late to the technology party. Whenever a new technology came about, the church completely stayed away from it.
However, this time is different.
The effects of COVID-19 on the church
In early 2020, the church was forced to shut its doors due to COVID-19, and as a result, we had no choice but to quickly adapt to digital worship.
Even though many of us moved quickly into learning and implementing digital evangelism, we were doing so in a foreign space that we knew very little about.
COVID-19 has forever changed the way we consume the gospel.
As the church is planning to re-open its doors, one thing we can be sure to see on the other side are three groups of gospel consumers.
Three types of gospel consumers
The first group of gospel consumers is those who will attend church on a regular basis.
The second are those who had let the church before the COVID-19.
The third group is what we call “hybrid.” this is a group that has now discovered the power of online warship, and so they will only attend church when they want to.
We are no longer confined to our local churches based on proximity. In fact, some churches have seen massive growth in their online church service attendance during the pandemic.
So, the question is,
With so many choices, how does one choose, or how does the church make sure that they remain the number one choice for its members?
Great question and that’s what I intend on answering in this article.
Let me introduce you to digital marketing for churches. In this article, you will learn how to reach more people than you are currently reaching with Zoom, Facebook, and YouTube streams.
This guide will also help you use digital marketing for churches to:
- Connect with people,
- Create interesting content,
- and effectively promote your ministry.
Why you need to know about digital marketing for churches.
First, many Christians want to distance themselves from anything “marketing” because it sounds business-like.
But the truth is that we are marketers for the kingdom. Evangelism is basically promoting the Gospel of Christ. In this case, digital marketing for churches is simply digital evangelism.
If you’ve spent some time on social media lately then you a fair share of death notices due to COVID-19. In fact, I get worried when I see someone’s picture appear on my timeline several times while scrolling.
An average person has had several losses during the past 12 months than at any time in history.
It is in times like these when people look to the churches for answers, and we must provide them.
Searching for Answers online.
During the height of the pandemic, my wife and I were talking about how bad things had gotten at her job. People were dying in large numbers that dead body bags were being stacked in the hospital hallway due to space.
One day, I was scrolling down my Facebook feed and the situation was even worse there. I saw at least ten death notifications of people I personally knew that had died due to the COVID-19.
As I scrolled down, I saw some of my Facebook friends hosting their regular live evangelism streams. One stream was titled, “Walk by Faith,” and another was titled, “Speak to the Mountain: Faith Speaks.”
I am sure these were great sermons because I personally know the preachers, but at that moment I needed to hear something else, and so I continued to scroll down.
I did not find the type of sermon I wanted to hear, and so I changed apps and went over to YouTube and typed in “How to keep faith during the pandemic.”
The search results
Youtube did what it does best, it presented me with so many choices most of which had the right titles.
That day I ended up watching “Faith In A Crisis,” by Bishop T.D. Jakes. It was exactly what I needed at that moment to remind me that God is still in control.
Why am I telling you about my experience?
Well, first, I want you to know that a few days later while checking my Facebook feed, the same sermon stream titled “Speak to the Mountain: Faith Speaks” by Pastor Issac Kubvoruno showed up in my feed.
I had a few minutes to spare, and so I decided to watch it. To my surprise, the sermon was great and would have been the right message for me a week ago when I was searching.
So, the question is why did I skip it in the first place?
The answer is simple, even if the content of the sermon was right, the title did not speak to my needs at that time, and so I passed it.
The Benefits of Church Digital Marketing
Having a strong church digital presence will help your ministry in multiple ways:
- Digital marketing will make it easier for you to create awareness and engagement both offline and online.
- You will be able to convert more members into your ministry and into the kingdom.
- It will help you create value-based content that will kick start word-of-mouth and social media sharing, hence you will reach more people.
I hope by now, you get a picture of what digital marketing can do for your ministry. However, it is not easy to implement especially as a beginner. You need to invest a lot of time, and some money to get started.
But, I can assure you that it is well worth it and if you take some time to read the next few paragraphs, you will be a step ahead.
Digital marketing a broad topic and I wouldn't be able to teach everything in this article but, I have included a few steps you can do even now to improve your digital evangelism strategies and you will see results soon.
Step #1. Know your audience
Many of us are masters at distributing the gospel in the physical space.
In the offline setup, people come to church prepared to hear whatever the speakers have to present.
On the other hand, cyberspace is different because people search and consume content that meets their needs or solves their problems.
Therefore, knowing your digital audience is vital to the success of your ministry. You have to know their struggles and needs. You should know what kind of solution they are looking for and how to provide it to them.
Step #2. Preach Solution based Sermons
The Bible is packed with everyday solutions we need to navigate life and that’s why it is called the Book of Life.
After you discover who your listeners are, their struggles, and needs, it's important to learn what they are going through at that moment.
You see, one of the biggest advantages of the offline church is that people tend to stay and listen even if the sermon is not speaking to them.
However, people have so much power online that they can quickly move to another shiny object if the sermon is not for them.
People want to know what’s in it for them.
That’s why it’s important to know the problems people are going through so that you can offer a solution or cure.
The question is how do you know what people are searching for?
Finding out what your online audience is searching for is easier than you think. In fact, it is easier online than in the physical church.
In the physical church, you have to wait until a church meeting and even though you give people physical feedback papers to complete, not everyone completes them.
Here are some simple ways you can collect information from your online audience and some ways you can use Google to determine what people are searching for.
Asking your audience is the most effective way to know what their struggles are. You will be able to eliminate guesswork and get the information right from your audience.
The only downside to this method is that people don’t always participate in this exercise therefore you might get very little response.
Don’t let the poor response discourage you. The most important thing is that you get a few responses from people who are really invested in the solutions you are about to deliver.
Observe and Research
One great thing about social media is that it gives you all the data you need to figure out what people are talking about.
As you scroll down your social media feed, take note of all the discussions going on. Pay attention to those that have a lot of engagement.
After this simple exercise, you should have a pretty good list of topics people are talking about.
Be relevant and current
The past few years have been full of stories and discussions ranging from civil rights, pandemic, politics, race, and death.
Whenever something is going on, people rush online to get more information and above all to get meaning.
It is for this reason that we have seen so many digital influencers online with millions of followers. The truth is that people often look to the church for answers and when the church is silent, they go to anyone who seems to be addressing the issues.
The world needs a lot of Christian influencers who are willing to speak up and help people process whatever is going on.
So, paying attention to the current news will help you figure out what people are searching for and also help you figure out what message to feed them.
If you need more ways to discover what your specific audience is searching for, please contact us through the contact page or leave us a comment below.
Moving on to the next step.
Step #3. Title your Sermons for search
The sermon title is the most important part of your sermon. Most people will decide whether to listen or move on based on the title.
In the example above, I explained how I missed a good sermon just because the title is not what I was looking for at that moment.
When it comes to the sermon title, you must consider what people are searching for online. What are the questions and solutions people are looking for?
When crafting your sermon title, it is important to remember that we live in a DIY world where everyone is looking for a do-it-yourself solution.
When people are looking for solutions online, they search for phrases like:
- How do I solve this problem...?
- Why is this problem happening ...?
The best way to craft the best title is to imagine that you’re the person looking for a solution.
I would also caution you from using church lingo because most people will not understand exactly what you mean.
For example, you can replace the word storm with that actual problem such as pandemic or COVID-19.
How can you make digital marketing work for your ministry?
In today's society, it's easy to feel a little lost. There are so many “so-called social media evangelists” spreading the false gospel on free media.
As a result, many people don’t know who to trust, what to believe, who has the best answers to their problems, and who can point them in the right direction.
We live in a DIY world where people have learned the art of do-it-yourself everything, including the gospel.
When people need help, they try to do everything possible to DIY before looking for external help.
However, when they look for external help, they also know that not all help is equal. That’s why they do their due diligence to search for the organization that has their interest at heart and one that is rooted in the true gospel.
There’s one problem though, many such truthful organizations don’t exist online, and as a result, people flock to the ones they should be running away from.
Having a church website and some social media presence is not enough to be visible and make a great impact online.
That’s where digital marketing for churches comes in.
Why Digital Marketing Matters for the Church
The digital age has opened up a whole new world for the Church to connect with people and grow its member base.
The Church’s mission is to spread the Gospel and make disciples of Jesus Christ. With digital marketing, the church can expand its reach to people in all kinds of ways, from broadcasting sermons online to social media and email marketing.
There are many aspects of digital marketing, like search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising, and you’ll need to determine which strategies will help you accomplish your mission.
The key thing to remember is that you can use online channels to expand your reach and fulfill your church’s mission with digital marketing.
Why every church should consider digital marketing.
When I was a kid, I remember reading all the billboards and street advertisements from the car's back seat. These days, most people spend their time on their phones as they drive through the city.
A beautiful street sign that so effectively told people of your existence 20 years ago, is simply a sign that nobody reads.
It is safe to say that your web presence now replaces those beautiful billboards and street signs.
If your church or ministry is not on the internet, it does not exist.
Marketing your church online is a great way to nurture your members and reach new audiences and grow your congregation. But how do you do it?
Online marketing for churches can be tricky, and that’s why many churches and evangelists choose to ignore it. But like many things, you can learn a few tricks to get you started.
Church Digital marketing is the future of all digital evangelism, and while most churches have been slow to adapt to the digital age, some are expanding their reach and growing their worldwide memberships.
In conclusion, I want to thank you for reading this article. I know that these strategies may not work for every situation.
I also know that most people will not implement these strategies because that’s not how they do things. The strategies they’re using now work perfectly fine and there’s no reason to change it.
Whatever the case, here is one thing I would like you to do.
Just try it.
Even if your audience is mainly church members, implementing these strategies will help you discover and learn about your audience in ways you never did before.
A professional digital church marketing plan will give your entire team 100% clarity about the goals of the church, how they are accomplished, and EXACTLY what role they play in that plan. (clickmill.co)
And if you are willing to start, here is a list again.
I hope you find this information valuable and if you want more digital evangelism strategies please consider signing up to our email list and learn more about how to implement the delmethod in your ministry.