Church Marketing Round Table Follow Up Tip – Church Reviews

We live in a culture where the most influential information we can receive is a recommendation from a real person, especially someone we know and trust.  No longer is a good description on a web page or a catchy slogan enough.  We want to know what real people think about a product, service or…church before we make a decision.

Your Church NEEDS Reviews
We generally understand that product reviews are helpful, but most people don’t think about reviews when it comes to churches.  We seem to think that people should just come because of our mission statement.  However, if we step out of the virtual world into the real world, why do most people end up visiting a church?  It’s because someone they know recommended their church, usually in the form of an invitation.

It’s true in the real world and it’s true in the virtual world.  In the virtual world most recommendations either occur personally in a social network like Facebook or generally in a review someone posts on a church’s listings.

Where To Get Reviews
The most beneficial place to get reviews are on any local listings that your church has.  (If your church doesn’t have any local listings, then you really need to create them.)  The most important of these sites are Google Places, Bing Business Portal, Yahoo Maps, Judysbook, Yelp, CitySearch, and InsiderPages.  There are several others that are also good, but those are a good place to start.

How To Get Reviews
Simply setting up listings does not ensure that people will post reviews.  So, how do you get reviews?  The most effective way is the simplest, just ask.  Churches have the great benefit of having a pretty big group of people who are more than happy to support the church.  In addition to asking, it’s also a good idea to make it as simple as possible for them.  Even well intentioned church members forget or may not do it if they aren’t sure how.  Here are some ways to make it easier for your members to post reviews:

  • Create a page on your website that links to the places they can post reviews.
  • Include instructions on the page with the links on how to post a review.
  • Have computers available at the church for people to use before they leave.  If you do this, it’s also good to have someone available to assist people.

Reviews Help Search Rankings!
Yep, you heard right.  In addition to helping to convince people to visit your church, positive reviews also help you to rank better in the search engines.  That means more people seeing your listings, more people being convinced by reading the reviews, and, thus, more people visiting your church.  This is especially important for churches in larger cities.  If you live in a city with dozens or even hundreds of churches, reviews can be the difference between whether you rank #1 for churches in your city or number 100.

Don’t Fear Negative Reviews
There are a lot of churches who don’t want to set up listings or encourage people to post reviews because they are afraid that someone will post a negative review.  If this is your church, I want to encourage you to move beyond that fear.   It’s like not asking people not to talk to their friends about your church because you’re afraid they’ll say something negative.  You wouldn’t do that in the real world, so don’t do it in the virtual world.  I can’t say you won’t ever get a negative review, but you will get far more positive reviews than negative (if you get any negative reviews).

Go Do It!!
This is something that you can do this weekend.  So, don’t delay.  Make sure you have your church’s listings setup and get your congregation posting reviews this weekend.  If you still have questions, post them below.  If you would prefer, we can also do this for you.  If you’d like us to setup your church’s listings, go to the church marketing service page and submit a request for a free consultation.

Share Your Thoughts

  • Do you have questions or comments about getting reviews for churches?
  • If you’ve worked to get reviews for your church, let us know how it went and what worked for you.
  • Do you have concerns about reviews?  If so, let us know.

Kurt Steinbrueck is the Director of Marketing Services with OurChurch.Com. He also serves on the leadership of Family of Christ Lutheran Church in Tampa, FL. You can find him on Google+ as .

2 Responses to “Church Marketing Round Table Follow Up Tip – Church Reviews”

  1. PaulSteinbrueck Mar 14, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    Great post, Kurt! This is so important but so many churches either don't know to do it or don't make the effort when it's really not that hard to do.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Citations: The Secret Sauce of Local SEO | Christian Web Trends Blog - Mar 21, 2012

    [...] Positive Reviews.  Ratings and reviews, both on the search listings and other local listing sites can have a significant impact on your rankings.  The more the better.  This is one of the ways you can overcome not being located in your city’s town hall building.  You can read more about the importance of positive reviews in my previous post, Church Marketing Round Table Follow Up Tip – Church Reviews. [...]