In last week’s post, the first part of the Church Marketing and Communications Round Table, we discovered what church marketing the participating churches were engaged in and whether they do the marketing in-house or with a professional service. This week we are going to look at how their online church marketing has compared to their offline marketing, what they have found to be most effective, and how they track the effectiveness of their SEO.
Brandon Cox – Brandon is Lead Pastor and Church Planter at Grace Hills Church in northwest Arkansas. He also serves Rick Warren and Saddleback Church as Editor and Community Facilitator for Pastors.com.
4) How have you found online marketing to perform compared to offline forms of marketing (e.g. yellow pages, fliers, mailers, newspaper ads, billboards, etc.)?
Steve Fogg – In social media, it’s very much a conversation rather than a broadcast medium so the level of engagement is easier to measure, but we do very little other traditional marketing. In Australia this would mostly be a turn off rather than positively received.
Brandon Cox – Because we live in a community that is business-driven (it’s the home of Walmart) but where the competition in the social advertising sphere is relatively low, we’ve focused on using online ads instead of competing against some of the corporate firms and premium pricing on traditional advertising in our area. We have yet to use direct mail or newspaper advertising. We do print flyers and cards, but we distribute them through our people by hand.
Josh Burns – Most people who come to our church find out about us in one of two ways. Either through our website/social media, or a referral from a friend. We hardly have any newcomers who find us from any type of print materials, fliers, etc.
5) What have you found to be the most effective form of online marketing for your church?
Steve Fogg – Engage. Engage. Engage.
Brandon Cox – We’ve found natural, social Facebook sharing to be the most effective promotional method for church events and church website content. It trumps every other kind of promotion we’ve tried by a longshot.
Josh Burns – So far the most effective has been SEO. Most people find our website through a Google search. A close second is probably Twitter and Facebook.
6) If you perform SEO, how are you tracking the effectiveness of the SEO? If so, how? For example, are you tracking search rankings, do you track website traffic, are there specific goal conversions you track, etc.?
Steve Fogg – N/A
Brandon Cox – We do occasionally check SERP’s for terms such as “church in northwest Arkansas” and “new church plant in Bentonville” and other similar keywords and phrases. Our goal is to be in the top few results and thus far, we’ve been fairly successful. We also gauge the effectiveness of our email marketing and Facebook posts by checking our click-through traffic.
Josh Burns – I do checkup on our web traffic, and keep it in the corner of my eye, but I’ve found that it is easy to get caught up in the numbers game if I focus too closely on those things. They can be helpful at times, for example, if we have one page that is getting more traffic than others, that can affect the way we go about improving that page and the rest of the site.
I will be posting the next set of questions and answers next week as we look at the real-world results of the participant’s online marketing and communication.
- Do you have any questions or comments about the responses here today?
- What about you and your church?
- How have your online marketing efforts compared to your offline efforts?
- What have you found to be the most effective form of online church marketing?
- How do you track the effectiveness of your SEO?