Church Marketing Ideas

Kent Elliott

What in the world is connected TV (CTV)?  Most likely,  you’ve heard of one of the most popular connected TV devices: Apple TV.  But there are many more that millions of households use to stream all kinds of video content on their smart TV’s and smart phones.  If millions of people are using it, where is the church? I think it is important that the church, which, by the way, has the best message/content on the planet, should be center stage on all of these platforms.  Why all?  Because many of the households will have one or two of the major devices and you want to make sure you are not missing any household in your community.  For example, if a household only has Amazon Fire TV and you choose to only have Roku and Apple TV, then you will be missing a family that needs to hear The Message. 

So why pay for something when there are other platforms like Facebook and YouTube that are free to stream your content?  First, I encourage you to use these free social media platforms to post and boost about your digital video content.  I recommend using “teaser content” or as some might say, “the drip before the drop” content that is only 2-3 minutes or less.  Combining the power of these platforms’ followers, search engines and the ability to boost and target regions and demographics allows you to capture the intended prospects attention and direct them to your CTV apps. 

Once you get your prospects’ attention, then you can drive them to your own private channel free from ads, negative content and distracting video recommendations. This gives a better user experience so the viewer is not easily sidetracked by any other unwanted content. 

Your first priority as a church for streaming is to find a platform that allows your church to have its own private channel that you have full control over.  One option is FaithStream.  

FaithStream helps churches and ministries build and maintain Netflix-caliber connected TV apps on the most popular streaming devices like Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, Android TV, IOS and Google Play.  You can find more information at www.faithstream.video.

  

Kent W. Elliott

President and Lead Consultant 

FaithWorks Image Consulting 

www.faithworskimage.com

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Kent Elliott

Methods of reaching our community has changed over the decades.  As we all know, there is nothing better than reaching those already in our circle of influence we come in contact with on a weekly basis.  This would include coworkers, neighbors, fellow classmates and also hobbies that allow you to interact with others.  This has always been one of the greatest ways to reach those that do not know Jesus.  We could borrow a marketing term and call these “warm leads” that are easier to convert (pun intended). 

But what about the very cold leads?  These are leads that that you have never met, you are not sure if they are even interested and have a very low conversion rate (same pun).  Because of this, you have to use a totally different approach.  The methodology to reach those “cold leads” has to be reaching the thousands, not the handful.  Why is that? Simply put, it is going to take many more leads to convert the few.  In order to do this, you have to have find a solution that is cost effective, so you have a better ROI (another borrowed business secular term).  To get the best return on your investment, you must find a solution to reach the multitude for a great price.

In a recent blog I wrote called, “Reaching Your Community Through Streaming”, I talk about the social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram and the incredible opportunity you have to reach tens of thousands of households and individuals for very little money.  I use them and I recommend you do the same.  Not just posting any content but being intentional about targeting relevant substance (not just upcoming events) that will draw the attention of your city and community you are reaching.  This is very important, and every church should have it in their marketing budget to spend “x” amount of dollars a month on boosting.    Should you stop with just social media?  As the infomercial guy says, “wait, there’s more!”. 

Have you ever heard of Connected TV devices like Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and Android TV?  These devices are known in the technical term as OTT (over the top), however, in simpler terms, they are streaming devices that easily connect to your home TV or are built into your Smart TV.  These devices allow you to develop and launch apps that you can stream your church’s video content on.  I cannot express how important this is for the church as a tool of evangelism. Many people may never enter the doors of your church until they experience a service online.  When they are able to come to your service digitally first, there is a higher possibility that they will visit you in person.  Think about it this way, they may never hear the message of the Gospel if we do not penetrate the walls of their homes through these connected TV apps.

Your first priority as a church for streaming is to find a platform that allows your church to have its own private channel that you have full control over.  One option is FaithStream.  FaithStream helps churches and ministries build and maintain Netflix-caliber connected TV apps on the most popular streaming devices like Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, Android TV, IOS and Google Play.  You can find more information at www.faithstream.video.

  

Kent W. Elliott

President and Lead Consultant 

FaithWorks Image Consulting 

www.faithworskimage.com

 

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Kent Elliott

One trend we’ve seen this year is many churches using streaming as a response to the current events we’ve encountered in 2020.  Unfortunately, most churches did not see the importance of investing funds pre-Covid-19 in the space of streaming.  This resulted in a lot of scrambling for hardware and software without any budgets for streaming and churches putting something together so their church members could not miss church. Now that we are months into this pandemic that we thought would be over by now, we are still seeing cases spiking in certain regions.  Now what do we do?  How should we respond as a church when it comes to streaming?

First and foremost, we need a long-term plan.  We must think BIG picture and not just, “we need to try to survive during this season”.  Like it or not, the need for streaming is not going away, but it is the future of the church in how we reach, communicate and connect to our congregations and our communities.  I am not just talking about posting sermons and worship. But also streaming relevant content that connects with people that do not attend your church.  For example, stories of lives being changed and how your church is making a difference in your communities is key.  This might be showing a recap video of a backpack give back program or showing how a family’s marriage was not only saved but flourished because of the church.

Finding the right platform is also critical for the destiny of your content.   What do I mean by that?  When you use a public platform (or free platform) you are subject to that platform’s environment.  In other words, the quality of your streaming content could be easily limited because of network congestion or third-party advertisements. 

Your first priority as a church for streaming is to find a platform that allows your church to have its own private channel that you have full control over.  One option is FaithStream.  FaithStream helps churches and ministries build and maintain Netflix-caliber connected TV apps on the most popular streaming devices like Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, Android TV, IOS and Google Play.  You can find more information at www.faithstream.video.

  

Kent W. Elliott

President and Lead Consultant 

FaithWorks Image Consulting 

www.faithworskimage.com

 

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Kent Elliott

What is the future of reaching our communities as a church? How do we reach the most homes at the best cost per household? Many churches have already left the traditional direct mail marketing approach.  Direct mail marketing still works when targeting small number of households in a targeted area (close to the church) through Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) by USPS. This is a great idea for special events like block parties. But it is not the most cost-efficient way to reach your whole city/town.

So, what is the answer?  Simply put, digital marketing.  Many churches have jumped on the bandwagon of using social media like Facebook and Instagram to boost content for special events and beginning to realize the importance of engaging “socially” with relevant conversations.  You can reach tens of thousands of people with very little cost per household using targeted demographics.  If you are a church and are not using this method, START NOW.  If you are a church and this is something you are already doing, don’t stop.  Matter of fact you should increase your budget to do more.  Don’t just use “seasonal” digital marketing.  Make this part of your monthly marketing plan.

Streaming should be part of your overall digital marketing plan as a church.  One strategy for using social media is to drive people to your digital private channel across all Connected TV (CTV) platforms to be able to view your video on demand (VOD).  The message of the Gospel can reach homes of people that may otherwise never hear it.  Times are changing and so is how we reach every house that God has called us to reach.  Most people feel more comfortable first experiencing a service online through streaming before they walk through the doors of your church. 

Your first priority as a church for streaming is to find a platform that allows your church to have its own private channel that you have full control over.  One option is FaithStream.  FaithStream helps churches and ministries build and maintain Netflix caliber connected TV apps on the most popular streaming devices like Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, Android TV, IOS and Google Play.  You can find more information at www.faithstream.video.

  

Kent W. Elliott

President and Lead Consultant 

FaithWorks Image Consulting 

www.faithworskimage.com

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Mindy Brock

What makes a good website checklist?

How Does My Website Measure Up?

This year we are celebrating 15 years in the faith-based marketing space! Wooo-hoo! Our motto around Faithworks is to always put a high value on creating the right brand for your church, non-profit or business. This isn’t just our mission statement on our website, but rather the lens we look through while working on every client project. I know first hand the end result, products and services we give our clients isn’t something that they can get on these cheap, quick project based websites. We spend time getting to know the true heartbeat of our clients so we can give them the best quality representation of their brand. All while getting your project completed on tight deadlines!

We believe this high-quality standard is the same in the digital marketing space. Your website should be the hub that all your digital marketing strategies are connected back to. We have put together a winning website checklist that meets our highest quality standard.

My website has….

  • A unique look and feel that is the best representation of your mission as a brand online.
  • An attractive mobile responsive website that looks good on any device.
  • Monthly traffic analytics installed to track what pages your visitors are looking at on your site
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO). – This helps to get more of your target audience to your site, organically. And to rank on the first page of Google for your unique keywords.
  • A Content Management Solution (WordPress) – This allows website owners to make content updates without having to pay a web designer to do minor weekly/monthly content updates.
  • The most up to date website software and is running the latest version of PHP on the web server.
  • Website security protection on the backend to help prevent hackers and spammers from getting into your site.
  • An SSL certificate installed so your site is secure and won’t be a reason some browsers hide my site.
  • A daily backup plan so you won’t lose your website, in the event of hackers or server issues.
  • A high website grade overall, including performance, SEO, security. This tremendously helps your Google rankings.

As you can see there is much more that goes into web design and digital marketing experience as a whole than just a great design. We want happy clients that want to stay with us as we provide the best digital design services! Contact us, if you want us to get your site up to the highest standard of performance, SEO and design!

 

Article written by Mindy BrockGraphic Designer at Faithworks Image Consulting

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Mindy Brock

Have you ever asked yourself, “What is SEO anyway and why should I be doing it? Does nonprofit SEO really matter?” Search Engine Optimization is optimizing your content and messaging so that it is easily readable. Because search engines find and rank your content and website based on your consistent listings, it is vital to work on these SEO tips. You want visitors to your website and online business, to reach a specific audience with your message right?

With over 15 years in the marketing industry, with emphasis on faith-based clients, we have come up with 9 proven local Nonprofit SEO strategies that are the basic foundation to any searching listing success. And did we mention they are free?! Our mission is to help YOU get your message and mission in front of the right target audience! Once these strategies are implemented on your website, you can rest assured it will increase your organic traffic to your site.

Most people who search on the internet use search engines like Google. Search engines want to give their users the best experiences while on the web. This is where Search Engine Optimization comes in. They will rank your site based on how well you are doing these 9 things.

In this article, we are going to show you how to rank higher by focusing on local Nonprofit SEO strategies.

  1. Verify Google My Business Listing. Google offers a free business listing profile. Their motto is “So you can stand out and bring customers in!” Once a Google My Business listing is verified your website shows up on Google Search and Google Maps. Verify your listing here: https://www.google.com/business
  2. Local Listings. If your listing appears consistent on several listing websites, they will rank you higher. SEM Rush offers a free tool that shows your listings on several websites. Check your listings for free here: https://www.semrush.com/listings-management/start
  3. Reviews. Another way to gain higher rankings is by utilizing customer reviews on these main listing websites. Ask your friends/congregation to write you a review on Google and Facebook!
  4. Get Backlinks. Start sending Public Service Announcements about your next event to your local news outlets. Ask your blogger/local media contacts to link back to your website. Search Engines really rank based on how backlinks you have to your site. This can also be achieved by guest blog posting!
  5. Google Analytics. Add Google Analytics to your site to measure your traffic and see how your audience found you. This is a great free tool to measure how many eyeballs you get on your site, how they found you, what device they are using! Check it out for free here: https://analytics.google.com/analytics/web/
  6. Website performance. How fast is your website loading? Do you have large images that take a long time to load? If you have a WordPress site there are quite a few performance plugins you can install for free. Hubspot offers a free tool for checking the performance of your site: https://website.grader.com
    Go ahead check our website out here too!
  7. SSL Certificate for your website. With all the spammers and fake websites out there, search engines are really working to increase security on the web. One of the ways they do this is hiding any websites that do not have an SSL Certificate installed. Most deluxe hosting packages come with free SSL with every domain. Contact us if you’d like us to check into adding one to your site!
  8. Metadata. Yes, Metadata is still a thing, although it’s hidden it’s still a crucial practice to be doing. If you have a WordPress site you can install Yoast plugin to do this for every page on your site. Also, it’s a great practice to name every picture on your site as well as add metadata and focus keywords on all pages and blog posts.
  9. Google Tag Manager. Add Google Tag Manager to your site to measure your traffic and see how your audience found you. Using marketing tags on your site. Install Google Tag Manager here: https://tagmanager.google.com
    Your target audience is searching for your message and we want to help you optimize your web content to answer these popular search queries. Whether it’s “Hey Google, what’s the best place to worship near me?” or “How do I get involved in missions in Haiti?” Whatever your message, these tips can help get your message to the right audience. We believe utilizing these basic strategies is a good start to start seeing your web traffic increase with your target audience. There are many free tools out there to use to make the web a safer and overall better experience for everyone.

Global SEO

If you are an online business, like we are at Faithworks Image Consulting marketing agency, without a physical address, there is an entirely different set of strategies to implement. Here at FWIC, we offer SEO and other digital marketing services for churches, nonprofits, and businesses. Contact us for a free quote if this is something you want to learn more about!

Article written by Mindy BrockGraphic Designer at Faithworks Image Consulting

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“Teamwork makes the dream work.” You’ve heard it said and you’ve most likely said it yourself. It’s a popular and some might even say “cliché” saying. But the reason why it’s a popular saying is because it’s true. Anyone who has undertaken a project or led an organization can attest to the fact that teams are essential in reaching goals and getting the job done. Teams not only make light work but the reason why teams are essential is that they exponentially increase the impact of a leader’s vision. When putting together a team in ministry, it is vital that you assemble the right players with the right goals. This goes for recruiting a youth team or even starting a church social media ministry. Here are three things to keep in mind when assembling a team for your ministry:

Pick the right players.

Were you ever the last one picked for the kickball team at recess? In the moment, it doesn’t feel great. But as we get older, we get some perspective. When putting together a team, we want the best or what we perceive to be the best, even if it’s for a third-grade kickball team. When putting your ministry team together, you want the best of course, but you also want the best fit. You want someone that can work well with others and contribute as a whole. Look for someone who is known for working with others and has a track record of willing to show up when needed. Also, someone is a good fit when they’re involved with the requested role to some degree. For example, if you are looking for someone to manage your church’s social media account, you want to recruit someone who is already active and familiar with social media. Picking someone who works well with others and already has some experience in the role is a recipe for success.

Work together, play together

When building and cultivating a team, it’s important to provide opportunities for fellowship and collaboration. For example, if you lead a videography team at your church, schedule a monthly or quarterly Saturday where the team can go out on the town, shoot film, and catch lunch afterwards. When a team has a chance to work together or just hang out in a casual setting, it will make your effectiveness that much greater. The culture of a team is something that has to be created intentionally.

Pick the right goals

It’s vital that you give your ministry team the right goals and assign roles to the right people. For example, if you are a student pastor and leading your team, you want to be intentional about your goals. Team meetings should have a specific purpose of fulfilling your overall vision for reaching your students. Are you just planning for events or are you being strategic in how you’re meeting the spiritual needs of your students? It’s also equally important to assign the right roles. If someone in your group lacks in administrative skills, they may not be the best person to manage the calendar or build an Excel sheet. Having a keen eye for people’s capacity and ability to serve is a crucial skill for any leader to learn. As mentioned in tip #2, take the time to invest in, train and get to know your team. As a leader, it’s one of the greatest investments you can make.

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Of all the aimless wandering that takes place in my mind in a day’s time, design holds a healthy percentage. I can’t help but look at the objects and places that I interact with and ask myself questions like, “How was this made?” or “What material is this?” I will just blame this characteristic of mine on the artist which created me. After all, don’t we turn out just like our father?

With design stubbornly residing within my brain, it’s nearly impossible for me to escape the question, “Are we creating an outlet for creatives in the Church?” These creative tendencies of mine used to leave me conflicted, feeling as if there was no use for them in the church. I had a preconceived idea of what ministry should look like. Sure we have the art of music down, and we swing dowel rods and put on skits, but where does a painter, app developer, or videographer fit in the mix? We may embrace creativity, but to what extent? I’m not suggesting we embrace all forms of art or push an everything goes mentality by any means, but perhaps there is a chance for new creative opportunities in the church.

To The Church

The ideas we are communicating haven’t really changed since the beginning of time. Just open up a Bible and you will find the same battle between morality and immorality that we face today; it’s nothing new. However, the way in which the world communicates is changing rapidly. I can remember hearing the racket of that electronic beep and static sounds coming from the home computer when I was about sixteen. This was the first time I had experienced communication on the world wide web. It was so foreign yet so exciting. The world seemed so vast yet so accessible. The possibilities were endless.

Love or hate the new dynamics of communication, it seems to be here to stay. It is the way in which people communicate in the twenty-first century. According to a report, ICT Facts and Figures – The world in 2015, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) predicted that 3.2 billion people, or almost half of the world’s population, will be online by the end of 2015. (http://www.itu.int/en/ITU-D/Statistics/Pages/facts/default.aspx) This creates unprecedented opportunities and challenges for the church. We have an opportunity to reach the masses with the gospel message, and the challenge of combating the immoral message of those with the same communicative opportunities. After the resurrection in Mark 16:15 Jesus has an important message for his disciples; “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” In an ever-shrinking world due to greater connectivity, we have a greater opportunity to go into the world, and preach to every creature.

Creative Opportunities

How are we communicating the gospel in the information age? I remember a message Darrell Johns taught entitled “This and That”. He stressed the importance of our methods changing while maintaining the integrity of our message. It’s true that methods must change. Just as human behavior changes, the way we communicate with the people God has called us to minister to must adapt. Below is a list of some underutilized areas of opportunity in the church.

Videography

Film has the potential to be a powerful tool for the church. Videography is a unique form of storytelling that can transform a person’s thinking. Quality camera shots, a real-life testimony of Grace, and a compelling musical score can have a major impact on the life of a sinner. More than ever we are feeling the impact of video. Viral videos have taken over social media sites. In an article published by INC magazine, they point out this interesting statistic, “Posts with videos attract 3X more links than text-only posts.” (http://www.inc.com/larry-kim/visual-content-marketing-16-eye-popping-statistics-you-need-to-know.html) Think about that the next time you analyze the effectiveness of the scripture reference you posted to your church’s Facebook page. The above article also states that “People are 85 percent more likely to buy a product after viewing a product video.” Now, we aren’t selling people products per se but we are selling them on a message; the most powerful message we can offer.

Photography

Photography has always been a powerful tool in our history. Monumental moments and stories have been told with a single picture. A range of photography jobs is needed in the church including studio photography, photojournalism, event photography, and fine art photography to name a few. Images of foreign fields can inspire a need for giving. Event photos of worship or healing can build faith. Fine art photography can bring a story in scripture to life. Also highlighted in the above article is, “Posts that include images produce 650 percent higher engagement than text-only posts.” Images bring to life and create engagement in the message we preach.

Illustration

When I first started working at Pentecostal Publishing House I quickly realized the need for good illustrators. Nearly every curriculum job that goes through PPH would benefit from the work of a good Apostolic illustrator. There are certain needs within the Apostolic movement for illustrations that mirror our interpretation of scripture. Sites like istock.com can be a good resource for illustrations, but why not create an opportunity for an apostolic illustrator to use their gifts.

App Development

Apps are here to stay. Apps bring a level of connectivity and interactivity that developers are still trying to wrap their minds around. For the first time in history, we are able to instantly send funds to support a missionary, or communicate a message across continents from a smartphone. This is something that would have made Paul’s missionary journeys much easier. Imagine Paul pulling his smartphone out of his robe pocket and facetiming the Corinthians. This ministry opportunity is somewhat new, but the potential for interactivity is exciting.

To Creatives

Companies want you on their team. They want to use your God-given gifts to sell their product, or push their brand. The church on the other hand needs your God-given gifts. The examples above are just a few of many opportunities that the church can utilize. But it cannot be done without you. You are a vital part of the revival in the end time. A responsibility weighs on your shoulders. You have been given a gift. How will you use it? Will you slowly slip out of the church because the only creative opportunities are “out there”? Be encouraged! There is hope for your gift. Connect with other creatives in the apostolic movement. Express your passion for the kingdom of God through your creativity. God deserves the use of the talent he has given you.

Article written by Timothy BurkGRAPHIC DESIGNER / WEB DESIGNER at Faithworks Image Consulting

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Stock photos – we can picture them from a mile away. Whether it’s the way that everyone is laughing at the same time in a perfectly lighted coffee shop, or that the family on the couch looks way too happy to just be sitting there; we recognize a stock photo within half a second. Now…wait, you might be asking.. “Is this guy anti-stock photo?” No, let make this clear – I’m not against stock photos. But stock photos have their place. And when it comes to using social media marketing to promote your church, nothing beats real genuine photos.

Now, it might seem intimidating. You might begin to ask yourself “Who is going to take these pictures?” “What if we don’t have a nice camera?” “Will there be a problem if we post people’s pictures online?” We’ll cover some of those basics in a moment. The first question to ask is, “Why?” Why should you use real photos instead of glossy and perfectly posed stock photos? Because real photos tell a story. They tell your church’s story, share your culture and values, and give a glimpse to people who are not a part of your church what it would be like if they were. That’s something stock photos can never do.

Here are some practical tips on using church stock photos for your social media marketing.

  1. Put a disclaimer on your church’s bulletin or weekly communication. Stating something similar to the following: “Photographers may be present at church and at church events, and if you would like to opt out of having your picture used in social media and marketing purposes, please visit the table at the lobby.” This notifies members and guests that pictures will be taken. It also puts the responsibility on them to reach out to you if they would like to opt out of their picture being used. Always consult an attorney for the best practices when it comes to picture release disclaimers and copyright issues.
  2. Be extra cautious when it comes to taking and using pictures of children for church stock photos. To avoid any conflict only use pictures of children from side profiles or wide-angle shots where you are not able to identify children’s faces. Also, avoid including pictures where the child’s name is visible on a name tag or sticker when using for church stock photos. If you do use a picture where the children can be identified, make sure to get permission from the parents or guardians.
  3. Schedule your photographers. If you use Planning Center or any other scheduling software, set a rotation schedule of photographers just like you would with volunteers or worship team members. This ensures pictures will always be taken during services and events which will give you plenty of material to work with.
  4. Cast the vision. Select people who already have an interest/involvement in photography or people who have potential talent and offer them training if needed. Schedule a vision meeting and explain to your photographers that they are not just taking pictures each week but capturing church stock photos. Just like I mentioned above, convey the message that they are sharing the story of your church. They are capturing moments for those who do not attend your church.
  5. Streamline the process. Whether each person has their own camera, or there is just one camera being used for church stock photos, make sure the quality is similar between all photographers. Once pictures are taken, put a system in place where pictures are being onto a hard drive or cloud storage system (ie. DropBox). Whatever your system looks like, it’s important to have one that is consistent and easy to execute on a weekly basis. If photos are not stored consistently, SD cards get filled fast which causes problems such as deleting pictures before being backed up.

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