Ok, so here is an area of marketing that churches struggle with a lot! How do we handle our web presence?
First things first; your church has to have a website, and needs to be updated on Google so that it can be found! Realize that the Yellow Pages are no longer a real form of business location. That means that the only way you can be found is by word of mouth, a drive by, or online.
Realize that only 21% of church attenders actually invite people to church, and very few people go to a church because of a catchy phrase on the sign out front. This means that the web is the most effective way of reaching people.
Your website doesn't have to be perfect, but there are some things that it should have:
1) Service Times:
(for the whole week) If you have a meeting that is not consistent, be careful of putting it on your site. There is nothing worse than having someone visit your service only to find out that no one is there.
Tell people where you are. Many churches buildings have been there longer than many of your possible congregants have been alive, so don't think that everyone knows who or where you are. I recently talked with someone who didn't know where the largest church in our community was and it is on a main road. Never assume that people know where you are.
3) Target Market:
This is if probably the biggest struggle for many churches. You want to maintain an honest website, but you also want to attract the people that you want to come to your church. If you want young families to come, then use photos of young families on your site.
Even if your church has few or no young people, you need to do this to attract the target market (if this is your target market.) This is not deceptive. It should be looked at as sending out a subliminal welcome card. Someone who may not have considered your church may come, and if they do, you can make them feel welcome and they will stay. Then, when the next young person comes, they will see more young people there and the trend will continue.
Make sure that Google maps is updated. You can do this by entering your address on Google and seeing what pops up. You can then edit the location if needed. Remember that almost all of the main GPS systems now rely on Google, so this will make it easy for people to find you.
5) Social Media:
For Facebook, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not use a profile or a group for your church!!!!!! Use a proper page. If someone has already started the other two, you can delete them and merge them into a proper page.
Pages are easier to find and much more welcoming. They also allow for advertising and more ways to reach out. Groups tend to be private and came make an outside feel like it is an unwelcoming club, and profiles are just not the right way to go, ever, for an organization.
Finally, Bible verses are great, but remember that people visit your page to get to know your ministry. So use your page to show off your church family and activities. Let people see that you are alive.
You can do a weekly calendar that looks something like this:
Sunday: We look forward to seeing you
Monday: Service recap, and what did you learn
Tuesday: Bible Verse
Wednesday: Midweek service or youth group reminder
Thursday: Bible verse
Friday: See you Sunday
Saturday: See you tomorrow
It is that simple. You can change it as needed, but that is all you really need.
What is your church doing to improve your web presence? Tell us in the comments below.