Getting your name out there for next to nothing
Believe it or not – it IS still possible to market your church effectively using FREE digital marketing tools.
One of the most common replies I get from Pastors in regards to marketing their churches or ministries online is budgetary constraints. While I give little credence to that as a valid argument and in fact it makes more financial sense to advertise than not, that discussion is best saved for a different article at a later date.
Well what if I told you there are several extremely effective ways to market your ministry online – without costing you a dime?
Below are the top 5 ways that ANY church, regardless of budget, can market themselves to their community and bring in new visitors and touch lives. And even if you’re a church of 5,000 with a huge advertising budget, there are probably 1 or 2 that you might have overlooked in your marketing plans.
1. Google Adwords
Everyone has seen them. The advertisements in Google’s Search results;
Well guess what – you have the opportunity to get your church’s name out there and on page 1 of the search results without spending tons of time and/or money on search engine optimization. Google provides an Ad Grant of up to $10,000 of ad spend per month to qualifying Non-Profit organizations. You can find out more about the program here: https://www.google.com/grants/.
While I’m constantly amazed at the number of churches who don’t take advantage of this program, that is in itself good news for you. That means there are less churches competing to have their ads displayed in your local community – and a much better opportunity to have your name and message front in center of anyone actively searching for a new church home.
2. Facebook Groups
This is probably the best long term marketing strategy going today. I’m sure many of you already have one or several Facebook Groups for your churches. But how many of these groups are focusing on your existing membership? And how many are focused as an outreach tool to your community?
The key is using Facebook Groups effectively in your online marketing strategy is focus on the outward and not the inward. Just think, what has proven itself to be the most effective outreach method to get new visitors into the church? Friendship Evangelism. And what better way to form new friendships than having your existing membership create Facebook groups related to topics they care deeply about. I’ve seen groups that cover bass fishing, sports teams and cooking to name a few.
The topic of the group isn’t important – it’s the relationships formed inside the group and the opportunity to be Christian witnesses to that small ‘community’ that are vital.
3. Facebook Profile
Another key place to increase your ministry’s visibility is on your staff’s personal Facebook profiles. It’s been postulated that an individual’s personal profile on Facebook is the most valuable piece of advertising real estate on the internet today.
You have the opportunity to ‘friend’ up to 5,000 members of your local community and be a witness to them each and every day. You can’t deny the power and potential that this method holds. And do you really need to be friends with 4,999 other pastors?
4. Email Marketing
Most churches communicate in some way with their members via email. But have you ever thought of strategically communicating with your non-members? Practically every successful business has freebies on their website that you can download. Why would they give you a free book or CD? Because they place value in your email. A couple of free email marketing platforms you should check out are Vertical Response and MailerLite.
Google could do away with their grants program. Facebook could suddenly become ‘old’ and be replaced by a new system. But honestly, when is the last time you changed your email address. Email lists are the one thing you have any type of control over in the online marketing space.
5. Content Marketing
Lastly on our list is content marketing. In a nutshell this is nothing more than writing about any topic of interest to your target demographic and providing your bio with the article. You can link back to your church site, your Facebook Page, your Facebook profile.
You can use a separate URL for a blog, post on Medium, etc. Anyplace that is a fit for you and your style/topics. The point is to get your name and the church’s name out there.
While this technique doesn’t provide for the quick results as some of the other ideas do, given time and consistency you might just find that this proves to be one the most powerful.
So there you have it. Five ways you can start advertising your church today. You can choose all five or just one to start. That’s totally up to you. But the key is to start.