The short answer is because Jesus told you to do so. In Matthew 28:19, Jesus told us to “make disciples of all nations”. In today’s life, there is no easier way to reach most of the world than through the use of the Internet.
Now, I am not saying you should stop all mission trips or stop getting out and connecting with the people in your area. Let’s be clear. There is no better way to get the Good News of Jesus to individuals, than to meet them face to face and share the Gospel with them. Digital Marketing is just another tool in our belts to help us reach people we may never come into contact with, in our daily lives.
There is Nothing Wrong with Marketing
I hear lots of Christians and church staff members talk about marketing like it is somehow deceptive or wrong. While there are definitely deceptive marketers out there pushing deceptive messages, there is nothing deceptive about marketing itself. Besides, we have the most important message of Truth that everyone needs to hear.
Marketing done right, with sincere motives, is just sharing a message you want others to hear. With that in mind, let’s talk about what digital marketing is and why your church should be using it, in today’s world.
What Is Digital Marketing?
Here is the definition we use on our website: “Digital Marketing is any online marketing used to promote a product, brand, person or organization. From social media and email campaigns to using pay-per-click ads and re-marketing, Digital Marketing is a combination of efforts to raise awareness or help generate leads.”
So, in a nutshell, we are using the available, digital tools to share our message to people who want to hear that message.
Is Digital Marketing Important?
We all know that first impressions are important. Like it or not, people are going to form opinions of your church based on what they see or know about you. Statistics show that a large portion (75-85%) of people will look at your website before they decide to come visit your church. Take that thought and picture your website. Does that make you feel confident or a little concerned?
So, if we know a lot people are using the Internet to search for businesses and organizations, then you need to do what you can to help them find your church through all of the noise, and there is a lot of noise. A big part of digital marketing is finding ways to get through the noise.
Studies show that a person has to see your message 7 times before that message starts to get through to them. Personally, I feel like this number may be a bit low in today’s barrage of information, that we see on a daily basis.
If this is true, we need to share our message regularly and in as many different forms as we can, in order to have an impact.
How Do We Cut Through the Noise?
Cutting through the noise is what digital marketing, done properly, is all about. Here are some examples of how you can use digital marketing to reach your audience, which includes your members and non-members.
Back to the first impressions idea. You need a good website to make a good first impression. If your site is outdated and clunky to use, with information that is hard to find or even non-existent, this can affect what people think about your church in a negative way.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is an important part of any digital marketing plan. SEO is a set of techniques, both on the website and off-site, that work to help your website achieve a better placement in search engine listings.
Our standpoint is that your website is generally the central hub for all of your digital marketing efforts. All roads lead back to this site, which should contain all of the details and information a visitor needs to make a decision to visit your church.
Let’s face it, if your site is way down the list, in a search results page, they will never find you.
Email Marketing and Outreach
Email marketing is both a great way to keep your members informed and a way to reach out to potential visitors, as well. The goal of email marketing and outreach is to build relationships and keep people informed.
Many people have a bad opinion of email marketing because they feel like it is all the same as the spam messages we all receive on a daily basis. Again, there are many less than professional groups utilizing these tools with very improper methods and messages. We don’t have to be one of them.
Take a minute and think about the emails you get. I am willing to bet you receive some sort of email on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, that you enjoy getting. It might be a daily Bible verse or a book club list of newly released books by authors you like. It could be a digest of articles on a topic of interest to you or an update on today’s news. It might even be a weekly sales ad from your favorite store.
All of these are a part of email marketing. They work to communicate a message and to build relationships with the reader. This is called permission marketing, because you have the recipient’s permission to send this information.
It is great for communicating with your congregation and it is easily shareable by your members, to their friends and family.
Social Media Marketing
Social Media Marketing is the use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to reach, build, and interact with an audience that will help generate awareness and share your message.
I think we all are aware of the ways in which social media has affected our worldview and the way we communicate with one another. That makes social media sites a great place for you to share a positive message and reach people who might never find you, otherwise.
Again, a great communication tool, with exceptional sharing capabilities.
One Final Thought
I hope, by now, you can see the value of reaching people through your church’s digital marketing strategy but keep this one thing in mind.
Digital marketing uses a lot of different tools to do several different, but connected, jobs. The key word here is “connected”. A successful marketing campaign of any kind is one that has a unified goal and a plan to keep it all on track. A scattered marketing strategy will struggle to meet its goals.
We have the most powerful message the World will ever need and there are people that we will never meet, who need to hear this message. They may be across the street, across the country or on the other side of the planet. You have a chance to reach them like never before. Let’s do this!