Church Digital Marketing
Storytelling is an age-old means of communications that have still not been approved upon. Jesus taught the disciples using stories and these same stories continued to tell today all over the world. A successful church digital marketing strategy is one that incorporates their unique missional story to inspire and invite others into their mission.
Stories connect and they are memorable. Stories are educational and sticky. Some of the best leaders, coaches, teachers, and pastors are dynamic storytellers. A great story harnesses creativity and imagination and they can be powerfully persuasive.
We all live a life of constant stories. We live in stories all day long. We sleep and then dream in stories. We share stories all day as we connect with peers and family. Stories are the velcro to our relationships. After a long day at work, we turn on the tube to relax and watch another story. Stories are the one constant that all humans maintain each and every day.
A great story is like an appendage to our body. To be separated from our stories would be a catastrophic loss. Our stories are us and we are our stories.
Humans have been telling the same stories for millennia. Author Christopher Booker claims there are only seven basic plots, which are repeated over and over in the film, in television, and in novels with just slight tweaks. There is the “overcoming the monster” plot (Beowulf, War of the Worlds); “rags to riches” (Cinderella, Jane Eyre); “the quest” (Illiad, The Lord of the Rings); “voyage and return” (Odyssey, Alice in Wonderland); “rebirth” (Sleeping Beauty, A Christmas Carol); “comedy” (ends in marriage); and “tragedy” (ends in death).
The Science Of Stories
Stories make all of us participants rather than spectators. We are moved to emotion, thought and action during movies. This is why we cry, laugh, feel anger and almost jump out of our skin during a frightening scene.
Stories are about tension! No one ever remembers a story of someone having a great day. A story with tension and emotion isn’t a story at all.
Church Digital Marketing
Does your church have a story? The answer is YES! The more important question is, “What is your church’s unique story?” There are two problems with storytelling. First, not knowing your unique story and second is telling multiple unrelated stories. Stories must help people connect the dots. Many churches aren’t good at telling their stories with repetition so that their stories sink in and can be retold.
Family Church in West Palm Beach is a GREAT storytelling church. They love to tell stories of life transformation, broken lives mended and restored. This might take you 10 minutes but it will be the best 10 minutes that you have invested recently.
Church Digital Marketing & Story Telling
The above stories from Family Church are all representative of the foundational Family Church story. These stories do not just happen. Family Church is very intentional about sharing the gospel and discipleship. As a result, they have hundreds of stories like these.
Having a story is one thing. Capturing your story on film is another thing. Making your story “easily sharable” is where church digital marketing begins. Family Church has an Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook accounts for each of their campuses. Videos like the above are posted on their social media platforms prior to services and members are encouraged to share, share, share (NOT LIKE). Family Church’s digital marketing strategy has its primary focus on Facebook due to its local influence surrounding West Palm Beach.
Two things happen when members/attendees of Family Church share these videos.
- Multiplication- Imagine the local reach when hundreds of people share these videos with their friends. People who have never visited Family Church or even heard of Family church gain a first impression from a TRUSTED FRIEND. This is POWERFUL as everyone understands the value of product reviews today.
- Message- The gospel message is communicated to hundreds that might never attend church. There is not a more important message than the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection for those far from God. Imagine the power of this message coming from a new Christian (not a pastor).
- Money- Most marketing today costs a lot of money. To get the word out about your church in your community can be a costly undertaking. Billboards, mail outs, magazine ads, and even online advertising can cost thousands and thousands of dollars. A church digital marketing strategy can save your church a lot of money by harnessing the multiplication potential of your entire church.
- Ministry- Do you have church members that want to share the gospel but find it difficult to do so personally? Most pastors might say that the percentage of people in their church is the majority. A church digital marketing strategy like Family Church’s allows more people to get involved in gospel ministry.
- Media- Everyone knows that video content is the fastest growing media today. Placing gospel content in a video format places the gospel in a receivable format for the unchurched.
- Management- We are all steward of what God has given to us. When most churches make a video like one of the above videos from Family church usually are shown one time and then forgotten forever. A church digital marketing strategy allows a church to maximize the ministry tools that they have already spent time and resources making.
- Mode- The church always seems to be a bit behind the times. Your church members may not even know how to articulate it but they expect your church to be online. Everyone else that is important to them relationally is online. The church without an effective digital marketing strategy is allowing everyone else’s voice to be heard except theirs. The church cannot be silent and they need their message heard more than once a week on a Sunday morning.
- Mission- Every church has a mission of reaching their “Jerusalem.” Each church has a regional responsibility to reach out and grow. Unfortunately, many pastors are missing the most effective way of reaching new people in their community.
- Marketing- Many pastors bemoan the fact that their church is not growing while other churches in the area seem to be getting all the luck. The fact is that churches today do market their church in some fashion. Church not growing? Not having many guests attend your services? Maybe it’s time to dismount the current marketing strategy for a more current and effective one. Consider your options: TV, Radio, Email, Phone, Billboards, Mass Mail Outs or Digital Marketing. Of these seven which one do you feel you can most afford and which one will be the most effective?
- Motivation- Everyone wants to be involved in something much bigger than themselves. What does it look like to harness your churches full support around a particular mission initiative? Projects like a church digital marketing strategy provide a great opportunity to involve EVERYONE. Students, singles, young and old couples, senior adults, the deaf community and every nation. Sure there are a few that don’t do social media but really is that going to stop you?
Do Not Miss It
A powerful, viral church digital marketing strategy is exclusively about content. It doesn’t come across as a commercial and it doesn’t cost a lot of money. When you think about your church’s digital marketing strategy that involves video think about these keywords:
- Authenticity- Fake is out (it always has been).
- Story- Show, don’t tell. Let the story impact your message instead of forcing an agenda that isn’t comfortable with the person being recorded.
- Brevity- Shoot for a minute and thirty seconds (approximately). If you are much longer than this then keep editing.
- The Parts- Intro protagonist, build tension, climax & resolution.
- Personality- Family Church does a great job of just letting people talk thereby capturing their personalities. Personality makes a good video great.
- Think Airplane- Have a takeoff, a flight, and a landing. Discuss these three parts prerecording.
- Ask Questions- During the actual recording ask questions. Set people up to tell the most important parts of their story. If they mess up do not stop them (They will lose confidence). Let them finish and simply re-ask the same question just a little differently.
Share Your Everyday Church Life
Does your church have baptisms, missions trips, community service projects or other fun events? If so pay some to record the event. You will be amazed how everyday events make great, memorable videos that your people will want to share with their friends.
Digital Marketing – 3 Step Process
- Start where you are- You do not need to start with a $10,000.00 budget. You can start with a vision, an iPhone or a GoPro. You have someone in your church with a passion for digital marketing.
- Simplicity- Do not roll a comprehensive 10-year strategy. Start with a simple plan to promote two or three simple initiatives. Never despise small beginnings. Start small and see where things go.
- Have Fun- Have fun, laugh and relax. The more pressure-packed initiatives like these are in the beginning stages the less likely that they will work longterm.
Digital Rocket exists to create effective marketing ideas that work.
Most churches do not have a digital marketing strategy. When you boil it down to it’s simplest form a church digital marketing strategy is really about each church telling their story. You aren’t competing with other churches or trying to tell their story.
Be proud of what God is doing in your church and work to share that story to the best of your ability in your community.