People are checking out your church online. They’re visiting your website and your Facebook page. They’re scrolling through reviews on Yelp. And they’re downloading videos of last Sunday’s sermon.
You don’t yet know these people exist, but your online presence is shaping their decision to give you a chance. In fact, decision making through online research alone has become so ubiquitous that in 2011 Google named it the Zero Moment of Truth.
Between 2011 and 2017, though, we hit a content ceiling. People are now spending 4.7 hours per day on their phones, reading about something they saw on a TV commercial or searching for a nearby business (or your church!). We have no more time to consume additional content. Instead, we’re looking for meaning amidst the noise.
Today, Google is talking about micro-moments of truth. There’s the I-want-to-know moment, the I-want-to-go moment, the I-want-to-do moment, and the I-want-to-buy moment. At MediaFusion, we believe God is in the micro-moments, and we want to help you win every one of them for your church and for the kingdom of God.
Winning your micro-moments means local people can find your church online, learn all they need to know with a few easy clicks, and see your logo and brand name over and over again. To do that, you need more than a website, a social media presence, and a live stream. You need online advertising. It sounds expensive and complicated, but it doesn’t have to be.
Take Google AdWords, the search engine behemoth’s paid advertising program. It lets you optimize your internet marketing campaigns to attract geo-targeted customers … or in our case, church members. Although the business-oriented pay per click (PPC) model can be affordable for a ministry, Google also offers a grant to qualifying nonprofits for $10,000 of AdWords free each month. Churches that qualify for the grant can realize big benefits for zero dollars down.
Jena Miles, a five-year veteran of church online and a digital ministry strategist, says, “We recommend ministries target their Google AdWords campaigns first to searchers within a 5-mile radius, then to those within a ten-mile radius, and finally to those within their city and state as a way to grow their digital media ministry in their local community first and then expand to one that’s a little broader.”
What kind of content does your Google AdWords campaign need?
The outstandingly good kind. We recommend hiring a credible freelance writer and a designer to work with you to develop quality content. To do online advertising right, you’ll need lots of content, more than you may think.
“Provide multiple versions of an ad to test which ad copy is performing best by enticing the most clicks and bringing the most traffic,” says Michelle Phillips, Inbound Marketing Strategist at Waypost Marketing in Greenville, SC. “You can set up static text ads or ones that change based on date or keyword, and, over time, AdWords learns from your campaigns and will start displaying only the best performing ads within an AdGroup. Which ad will perform best depends on a multitude of factors, but unless you experiment with different copy, you’ll never be able to nail down the messaging that truly works best for you.”
One serious benefit to using Google AdWords—it proves that online marketing has merit in digital ministry. You can get an idea of how many people are using the ads so it allows you to remarket intelligently using social media.
And speaking of social media, once you’ve done your duty on Facebook, head over to YouTube. Video is the hottest trend in content distribution. Live stream your service, then close caption it and upload it to YouTube. You may also be able to take advantage of YouTube’s nonprofit program, which offers free donate buttons, call-to-action overlays, and goal tracking.
Remember that your digital media mission isn’t to have a big hairy online presence for its own sake. You want to get people inside your church and connected face-to-face in meaningful ways with a community of believers. That takes a plan. Jena Miles says, “You have to have conversations from strategy to ad to social media to getting people in the door.”
In the internet age, digital media ministry isn’t optional. But it isn’t easy, either. That’s why we created a brand-new, totally unique resource called Growing Your Church Using Digital Media. This e-book is short, FREE, and filled with helpful strategies for integrating live streaming and other digital media into your church’s existing ministries.
Download the book and let us know what you think. Do you have additional tips for using Google AdWords, YouTube, or live streaming to enhance your church’s growth plan? We’d love to hear them, so feel to share your ideas on social media and tag us.