Church Marketing Strategies - How Do I Reach New People Online?

Church marketing is changing.

Making a meaningful connection online can be a significant challenge for churches.  In a landscape of competitive distraction, where Netflix and other digital streaming platforms reign supreme, there is a largely false pressure for the church to provide entertainment over sustenance.  

The stark reality is that churches are competing for more than just Sunday morning. As a church marketer, you now compete 24/7 alongside a behavior of distraction. And in the 24/7 competitive world, most churches have yet to arrive as thought leaders.  

Yet we all know that the world craves the gospel and that the message of Jesus is full of hope. We can all attest to countless stories of the life-changing transformation of the gospel in somebody’s life.  

The good news is that once you have a clear mission statement of who you are as a church, then you are ready to get your online presence elevated, and you are ready to compete. Because what you have in Jesus, nobody else has. And if you don’t have a clear identity yet, check out more information on Christian Branding.

So where do you find the people?

1. Church Marketing on Google

Church marketing on Google means keeping up on the latest trends. Did you know that one out of every six searches at Google is a brand new term that they’ve never handled before?  This is what keeps Google relevant.

Saying that people can be found on Google is fairly obvious.  With a dominating share of search engine queries, Google is the clear choice to find people online.  But what you may not realize is just how large of an online economy Google has built beyond its core search engine.  This is where YouTube, Waze, and Google Maps reside. Yes, YouTube is a Google property and by itself is the second-largest search engine in the world.

The first step that most churches take on Google, is Google Ads (previously known as AdWords).  This pay-to-participate advertising platform can be an effective way to reach seekers of information.  A word of caution however, while extremely accessible, this platform is also significantly complex.  And as a result, it can be easy to waste money unnecessarily. And yes you can reach search queries on YouTube on the Google Ads platform too.  

In addition to search engine marketing, Google Ads features robust display advertising through its ad serving technology (previously known as DoubleClick). One of the best features of Google Ads is remarketing.  This technology allows you to serve display advertisements to previous website visitors as they consume media on the web. When handled correctly this is a great strategy for keeping your church top of mind.

While Google Ads is immediate, perhaps a better first step is search engine optimization. SEO requires a deep understanding of your title tags, header tags, meta descriptions, and the ability to impact your page load speeds. It also requires an understanding of other factors that impact the Google search algorithm such as directory listings.  There are hundreds of elements that can impact your search ranking.  So while it is a great place to start (the only cost is your time), it is also a longer-term strategy.

Tip: make sure your content is localized and useful to your audience.  If you want to show up for “city church,” (where city is your city), then this content needs to be on your website.  


2. Church Marketing on Facebook

The brilliance of Facebook is that they have essentially created their own internet.  Like Google, Facebook has a number of powerful digital properties in its portfolio in Instagram and messaging platform What’s App.

Facebook is an essential platform for churches because of its robust targeting features, high level of online community connection, ability to broadcast, and potential for content to go viral and reach new audiences. Church marketing on Facebook can be highly effective.

Watch parties and live broadcasts are examples of how church marketers can distribute content and boosted posts can create additional reach in the community, or with people who have common interests.

Groups and Business Pages allow churches to represent their brand, and share meaningful content.

Integrated services with Instagram can make posting updates super easy.

While Facebook can be more text-heavy, Instagram is a visual platform.

Facebook and Instagram Stories represent a powerful way to communicate specific calls to action.

Instagram TV offers longer-form video and broadcast capabilities for your most loyal fans to engage with your “best of” content.


3. Church Marketing on YouTube

Church marketing truly has the opportunity to shine on YouTube. But it’s super competitive. Every minute there is more video content uploaded on YouTube than the average human lifespan.  This is a powerful platform that is integrated across devices and that features all of the data knowledge and targeting power of Google. 

With only 100 subscribers, a church can create it’s own custom url, and with 1,000 subscribers they can become a publisher who monetizes their content.

YouTube SEO is a tad more straightforward than Google Search, with thumbnails, descriptions, custom banners, and tags being the bulk of the heavy lifting.  But what really sets your church apart is the quality of your content.

YouTube content doesn’t need to be overproduced, just watch a famous “YouTuber” explain their 75 foods you thought were vegan but aren’t, and you can see that there’s room for authentic and straightforward content on this platform (206,000 views for that particular video).

What your content does need is utility.  Useful content is why YouTube started. 



Final Thought

Each of these platforms provides church marketers with tremendous scale, immediate accessibility, and a wide range of strategic complexity.  If you are considering an in-house strategy we’d love to offer you a 30-minute free consultation.  It might be a better use of your time to hire a church marketing expert like Fearless Influence than to go through the painful growing pains of learning new technologies.