Hosting online events is a powerful way to connect people who may never be able to meet face to face. It’s an excellent method to distribute information in a seamless process, and you may include a larger number of people than any venue in the world could hold.
Here are 4 types of online events I’ve personally led or participated in that you could try, too! Read More
As we approach the 4th of July, I was thinking about freedom. Freedom is a great blessing, one that many people do not have. But we can offer freedom? Read More
(Updated on 2/24/2011)
Some people believe the church can be more effective by utilizing processes most commonly and effectively used in business today, including marketing. In fact there are companies that specifically help churches develop a logo, a slogan, a website, brochures, and a multi-faceted marketing campaign much the same way other companies develop these elements to launch a new business.
On the other hand, some people abhor these practices and think the church should stay as far away from them as possible. They believe marketing is deceptive, manipulative, superficial, worldly, and yes – evil.
And then there’s the middle ground where I think most of us find ourselves. We want our churches to reach more people in our communities. We want to express the passion and love we have for God and people. If people would just come to a Sunday service, we know God would show up and touch their hearts and show them the amazing life they could have with Him in it. We want to let people know about the opportunities God has for them, but it’s so hard to get people’s attention in this media-saturated culture. We want to reach out, but we don’t want resort to hype, gimmicks, or starkly corporate tactics.
Is marketing the way to do that, or is marketing evil?
(Updated on 2/17/2011)
In the past when a family was looking for a church they would talk to their friends or maybe check the yellow pages for churches in their area. Then they might visit several of those churches until they find one they like.
Over the last several years Internet search engines have made tremendous improvements in what is called local search, that is the search for businesses or organizations in a specific geographical area. Now if you search for something and include a city in the search phrase you’re likely to see results that include a map with some virtual push-pins in it. With one click you can get a phone number, driving directions, pictures, and even read reviews of the place of your choice. As a result, people have been ditching their yellow pages in droves and searching online for restaurants, retailers, and even churches.
In fact, way back in 2008, a survey showed that for the first time more people were using search engines (31%) than a physical phone book (30%). However, the results revealed something bigger. When all the Internet sources were added up (search engines, local search, local review sites, social media), over 60% of all people started their search for information about a business or organization online. That was in 2008. Today a much greater percentage of people go online to find things.
Today someone who is looking for a church – let’s call him Bill – will most likely start his search online. Bill uses a search engine like Google, Yahoo, or Bing, to find the listings of churches close to his home. He looks at their listings starting with first listing and reads the reviews he finds in the search listing. Then he visits many of those church’s websites. Based on what he reads, hears, and watches on those website’s Bill quickly rules out most of the churches without ever stepping foot in them. Then he picks 2 or 3 that seem to be most like the kind of church he’s looking for. He attends a Sunday service at those churches. Hopefully he likes at least one of them and gets involved in that fellowship.
Let’s take a closer look at this process
Church Marketing Online is a new website being launched today by OurChurch.Com. The purpose of Church Marketing Online is to help churches make better use of the Internet in their marketing, evangelism, and outreach efforts. We’re doing that in two ways.
First, we’ve developed the Top Church Search Rankings service which puts a church website at the top of the search results on Google, Yahoo, MSN, and Ask for the phrases people search when looking for a church. This is key because most people looking for a church these days start their search online. And while most churches today have a website, very few have been optimized for search engines and very few churches are monitoring their search rankings and making adjustments on a regular basis to ensure people can find the church website.
Second, we’re launching this blog where we’ll be posting articles about church marketing, Internet evangelism, and search engine optimization in an effort to help pastors and church webmasters better understand how to reach the people in their communities online. Not only will we discuss purely online church marketing strategies, but also how to maximize a church’s offline outreach efforts (personal evangelism, random acts of kindness, billboards, postcards, etc) by coordinating and complimenting them with an online efforts. The cornerstone of the CMO blog is what we’re calling CMO University. This is a series of in-depth articles we’ll be publishing over the coming weeks for the purpose of giving busy church leaders an understanding of Internet technologies and their application to church marketing and outreach.
Thanks for stopping by. Please a comment and let us know what you think about the new site and let us know about any comments, questions, or issues you want to discuss regarding online marketing and outreach.
In His Service,
Paul Steinbrueck, CEO