Church Marketing and Communications Round Table Pt 3

In last week’s post, Church Marketing and Communications Round Table Part 2, we found out what the most effective forms of marketing have been for our experts and how they track the effectiveness of SEO.  This week we are going to look at the real-world effect of all this online marketing.  How has online church marketing helped their churches and changed people’s lives?

Participants:

Steve Fogg - Steve is Communications Manager at Crossway Church in Victoria, Australia.

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.

Josh Burns - Josh is the Director of Web & Social Media at Park Community Church in Chicago, IL.

7) For most churches, getting people to their website is nice, but getting people through the church doors is much more important. What have you done either in your marketing or on your website to encourage people to make the transition from website visitor to real-world church visitor?

Steve Fogg - We have created a special ‘I’m new’ area of our website to help people understand more about us and what they can expect from a typical weekend. We also provide life-stage community links that is designed to help a person take a relevant next step.

Brandon Cox - We’ve tried to build a bridge between the information on the web and the people whose faces a visitor will see on Sunday. We try to communicate “what to expect” in a bold way as well as including pictures and videos of real people from our church on our site to let people know we’re more than a business on the web – we’re real people.

Josh Burns - We recognize that web design and ease of navigation is a large part of the decision making process in choosing a church. Hence we have committed a large amount of resources to ensuring that the design of our website is attractive and easy to use. So the design alone is a large part of this strategy for us. We also do something that is not common on a church website. We recommend other churches in Chicago that we believe can help move someone along in their walk with God. We want people to trust us, and we know that Park may not be the right fit for everyone, but at the very least we want you connected to a biblical community, wherever that may be.

We have found that these things cause people to come visit us for the first time, good design, and building trust.

8) What real-world effects have you seen from the SEO you have done?

Steve Fogg – N/A

Brandon Cox - I was sitting in a restaurant recently when the waiter came over and saw our church logo on a sheet of paper next to me. He excitedly asked, “Are you with Grace Hills Church? I like you guys on Facebook!” We had never met before, but he showed up at church the following Sunday. He had discovered us in a web search and had been keeping up with us purely online. Our face-to-face meeting motivated him to take a step and show up in person.

Josh Burns - I meet people on a regular basis who have visited Park for the first time because they found our website through a Google search. If that’s not real-world, then I don’t know what is. Then we must do the work of connecting into biblical community, and that is when the life transformation takes place.

9) Do you track how real-world church visitors found your church? If so, how do you track that?

Steve Fogg - We have a Connections Pastor who’s sole job is to journey with people into the life of the church.

Brandon Cox - We listen, but we do not poll. We probably should ask how people heard about us, but we prefer to try to have conversations instead of collecting written research.

Josh Burns - We include a space on our visitor Contact Cards that asks how they found us. One of those checkboxes is “Found our website”.

I will be posting the next set of questions and answers on Thursday as we wrap up the church marketing and communication round table and get the tips and advice from our experts.

Have you missed any part of the discussion?  Go back and start from the beginning with the first part of the Church Marketing and Communications Round Table.

Discussion:

  • Do you have any questions or comments about the responses here today?
  • What about you and your church?
  • What has your church done to help turn website visitors into church visitors?
  • What real-world effects have you seen from your SEO and online church marketing?
  • How do you how real-world visitors found your church?

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 .

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