Most Common Church Marketing Problems
The most wonderful thing about churches is that every one is unique. A church after all is just a building. It’s the parishioners, the staff, the spirit that makes it come alive.
Some churches are very well resourced, both financially and with volunteers. Others struggle to keep their doors open. But no matter which end of the spectrum you fall on, you know that your church means the world to the people inside of it. And that feeling is something you want to share with the community!
So, aside from administrative struggles, what are some common marketing pain points that keep you from growing and sharing with your community? If you’re a staff member or volunteer at your parish, you might identify with some of these five common church marketing problems.
- Lack of assets like original photography
- Unmonitored and unvisited social media
- Outdated website that’s difficult to find and navigate
- No system for communication (email, texting, etc.)
- And finally, a lack of a marketing plan or no marketing at all
In the digital age, it doesn’t behoove anyone to ignore technology as a marketing tactic. Just because you’re not traditionally “selling” a product doesn’t mean you don’t need (and deserve) to have just as competitive an online presence. Which brings us to one of the most common questions we get from marketers…
How can you keep up with changing technology and continue to market your church successfully?
If you’re willing to spend, you can buy yourself the right people and tools who can take your church marketing to the next level. But the beautiful thing about digital marketing is, you don’t need to be the biggest spender to make the biggest bang.
All you really need is a dedication to learning, researching what other churches are doing, and an open mind. Successful marketing is all about a willingness to try.
The best tip we have for keeping up with the changing technology out there is to know that new doesn’t always mean better. There’s some merit to sticking with the basics if that’s what works. But know there are small improvements that can be made to them. And you want to look for marketing software and platforms that stick with what they know and constantly building on it.
For example, just because amazing developments in artificial intelligence have been made, doesn’t mean your church needs robots. However, if you’ve seen success with email marketing in the past, perhaps find ways to integrate those campaigns with SMS.
How do you make your church website stand out?
With sites like Wix, Weebly, WordPress, and Squarespace, anyone can become a web designer. You don’t need to have a background in coding to make a beautiful and functional website.
When it comes to making your site stand out, that could mean two things. One, how does your site get noticed among the competition. And two, when people are on our site, how do we make it memorable. We’ll go over some tips for both.
Bring more visitors to your site with SEO
When it comes to getting noticed on the internet, SEO (or search engine optimization) is the name of game. You want to discover keywords that people who might be looking for you would type in. For example, “christian youth group in Denver.” Then, ensure your webpage has plenty of them so Google determines your page is valuable enough to arrive one the first page of a search.
Additionally, making sure you have plenty of Google reviews will also convince search engines that your church is something people should see. So be sure to encourage parishioners to give you a review!
If you want a little extra help mastering SEO, here are some of our favorite tools:
SEMrush – This all-in-one SEO tool lets you identify keyword opportunities and run a complete SEO audit of your site.
Unbounce – Optimize and test different landing page designs for conversion optimization and web traffic testing.
Alexa Traffic Rank – Check your websites rankings and popularity relative to all other sites competing against you.
Make them stick around with good design and content
The most important thing about building your website is making sure it feels like you. You want the essence of your church to show through!
Some great ways to do this are:
- Have engaging bios that show the faces of the staff as well as some information that makes them personal.
- Utilize video on your home page. Investing in video content is an investment in them most engaging and high performing media out there.
- Update your website regularly with content like photos and blog posts. When someone visits your website you want them to see that it’s a dynamic space that has the most up to date material.
- Have a solid mega menu that makes your website easy to navigate and search.
- Showcase your parishioners! When someone visits your website they want to be able to visualize themselves as a part of everything. This is the best way to paint that picture.
These tips paired with colorful, visually stimulating and effective material, will ensure you have a knockout website.
Innovative Church Marketing Solutions
While we’ve preached the importance of not reinventing the marketing wheel, it’s also important to be innovative and fresh. If you want to surprise and delight folks who stumble on your page, finding creative ways to stand out is important.
There are a few simple, inventive ways your church can step outside the norm and make a statement with your own personal flair.
How can social media be part of church marketing solutions?
While some for-profit companies use social media as more of a marketing tool, your church should think of it instead as a virtual extension of your community. By focusing your brand more of lifestyle, the marketing aspects will come naturally.
A church’s social media strategy should be user driven and mostly feature your people, facility, and staff. This will not only incentive your current members to actively engage with your pages, but it will deliver an enticing preview to potential new members.
Here are some unique ideas for working social media into your church’s marketing solutions:
- Live stream some of your masses! Especially during slower summer months when folks are out on vacation.
- Use Instagram’s question feature to allow for people to submit prayer requests.
- Have open, frank twitter Q&A’s where your pastors can field some of the internet’s biggest religious questions.
- Feature a family of the month and give other various shoutouts to active members of your parish.
- Create fun graphics with relevant scripture (as well as your church’s branding) and encourage people to share it on their own pages/stories.
Engaging in these kids of tactics not only helps market your church, but it positions you as thought leaders in the religious community.
How does church management software help address marketing problems?
If you’re unfamiliar, church management software (ChMS) is software designed specifically to help religious groups manage and automate some of their day to day operations. It makes things like managing membership, sending emails and other forms of communication, event and community management, fundraising, finances, and report generations a lot easier.
ChMS acts like a well-rounded staff member of your parish 24/7 which is make makes it a great solution for common marketing problems you may be facing.
The downside is, ChMS can get expensive. The good news is, there are some other alternatives, such as text marketing, that can help you automate a great deal of your most cumbersome tasks for a fraction of the price.
Finding the Right Church Marketing Tools
Online marketing tools are designed mainly to help you save time and spread resources. But with so many out there, how do you determine which is right for your needs? Our advice is to base your decision off of your goals. What would you like to achieve more (or less) of?
To help you organize your thoughts, we’ll break down some of our favorite tools and organize them based on some of the most common goals we see with churches across the country.
Church marketing tools for reaching the local community
- Geo-targeted social media ads: when developing ads for Facebook, Instagram, and Google, you can specify the audience you want to reach. By setting geographic limits you can specifically target folks who are local.
- Text marketing: one of the biggest things about texting is that it’s personal. By setting up your church with a local number, you can ensure community members feel connected to someone they trust.
- Events: the benefit of wanting to reach a local audience is that you have them right in your backyard. Take advantage of that by bringing people into your facility with events like spaghetti dinners or movie nights! By making your parish a hub of activity you can make a name for yourself among the community.
Church marketing tools for increasing attendance
- Landing pages: these pages are detailed mini-versions of your website. Think of them like a digital flyer-it has all the information perfect for sending to someone you don’t want to overwhelm. Utilizing unique landing pages with information a first time visitor would want and promote links to them through some of the social media and traditional advertising methods we’ve already touched on.
- ChMS communication tool: this is an instance where church management software comes in handy. Utilize communication features to follow up with visitors and identify leads you can share material with to try and entice them to come visit your parish. Some tools that may be helpful include:
- Breeze ChMS
- Servant Keeper
Church marketing tools for building discipleship
- Create educational material: creating a physical or digital educational resource library is crucial if you want parishioners to feel enabled to go out and speak on your behalf. There are great tools out there, like canva, that can help you create some beautiful graphic designs with no experience needed!
- VIP Communication lists: wether it’s through email, SMS, or a private Facebook page, create a space for people who are interested in getting involved to share their thoughts and hear some of yours. The more supported people feel, the more empowered they’ll become.
Final Thoughts on Digital Marketing Solutions for Churches
When we encounter people who are engaging with digital marketing for the first time there are two common questions we receive. How can my church determine which digital marketing solution will work best and how can churches make full use of the potential of digital marketing to help them grow?
Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell if these solutions will be a 100% hit unless you give them a try! However, the response we’d give to both of those questions pertains to the opportunity that exists within the digital marketing sphere.
All digital marketing tools are a result of what you put into them. If you weave your mission, values, and message into what you’re doing, you will deliver value. It’s all about how you make it your own.
So, go out and give one of them a try. Or better yet, find tools with the ability to integrate so you can try out multiple at once!
We may be a bit partial, but text marketing is a great intro into the world of digital marketing. And the best thing? You can try it out for free! No cost and no commitments up front. Just the opportunity to see what we can do for your church. Give it a try!
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