Are you looking to reach new people and grow your congregation? Maybe you’re a new church with aggressive growth goals or perhaps your church has hit a plateau when it comes to growth and doesn’t know how to move forward. Having an engaging website with a strong multi-channel online presence is a great strategy for drawing in new people and reconnecting with past visitors who may have drifted away from the church. While traditional forms of outreach are still important, most people do their church shopping online. Below are some church outreach ideas to grow your church online in a meaningful way on everything from social media to paid search advertising.
Before you can move on to other church outreach ideas to grow your church online, you have to start with the basics. Your church’s website is often the first impression a person has. It’s likely that most new people that visit your church have already checked out your church’s website and might have even streamed a service or downloaded some free resources. If your church’s website is difficult to navigate, outdated, or loads too slowly, new users will quickly exit the site without ever considering visiting your church.
Having a user-friendly website that’s engaging with warm and welcoming content, inviting imagery, and relevant calls to action drastically increase the chances of a person choosing to attend a service in the future. This is especially important if your church is looking to draw in more Millenials. Some simple design updates or content refreshes can go a long way in helping your church grow!
Once your website is up to current best practices, local search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the best ways to reach new people within the surrounding community. Local SEO enables your church to show up on Google. If your church is optimized for Local discovery search queries, it will show up within the results when a user searches online for something like, “church near me”. These types of searches show that the user has the direct intent of finding a church nearby.
The key main components of local search include Google My Business, landing pages, and online citations. Google My Business is a free listing that allows your church to show up within Google Maps, local search results, and the sidebar knowledge panel. Once your church has a listing, it’s important to get it verified and keep it up to date with relevant information. Landing pages targeted to users searching online for churches increases the likelihood of these pages ranking for discovery keywords and showing up within SERPs. Finally, citations include getting quality backlinks to your site in the form of local directory listings or other high authority domains.
Target Felt Needs Using the Google Ad Grant
Next up on the list of church outreach ideas to grow your church online is by running a felt needs campaign in Google Ads. By targeting users online searching for felt-needs keywords and answers to tough questions, you’re able to reach the unchurched when they need it most. Targeting felt needs keywords is a great way to get your church’s ads in front of people who could greatly benefit from your church’s resources and need the love of Christ but aren’t actively church shopping. Some of the key strategies for capturing new people via a felt-needs ad is by using highly-targeted landing pages specifically optimized for these search terms and using a felt-needs subdomain to better organize these landing pages in one central place.
Have you ever been looking at an item on a website and then continue to be followed around the internet by that product? If you have, this is called remarketing. Through the use of tracking pixels, your church can retarget users who have previously engaged with your church online and remind them to watch a sermon or attend a worship experience in person through Google or Facebook advertising. Retargeting campaigns are a great growth tool because they can be used to draw back in people who may have drifted away from your church. Retargeting campaigns can also remind church shoppers who might have checked out your website without converting to watch a service on Sunday. A great time to run retargeting campaigns is around special events or holidays like Easter and Christmas where people are more open to going to church.
Get Active on Social Media
If your church doesn’t already have active social media accounts, now is the time to start. Social media is a great way to capture new people, especially millennials and Gen-Xers. By posting shareable content on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Youtube and frequently interacting with followers, new people can discover and get a glimpse into your church’s culture.
A great way to optimize your reach on social is through paid advertising campaigns. Advertising on Facebook or Instagram easily allows you to get in front of users with a message of hope who may be mindlessly scrolling on their phones and feeling depressed from seeing a false perception of reality. Additionally, YouTube campaigns allow your church to reach users who are streaming videos that have similar content or searching for felt needs keywords like, “meditation for anxiety”.
You’re Invited Ad Campaigns
A “You’re Invited” campaign is a great strategy to reach new people. By running a campaign on Google Ads targeted specifically to new people with warm and welcoming language telling them, “You’re invited”, users feel a personal connection, increasing the likelihood of them clicking through. It can feel intimidating to join a new church so having a direct invitation to visit makes people feel included and like the church is excited about them coming. If your church is eligible for a Google Grant, it can be used for a “You’re Invited” campaign.
Sermon Series Ad Campaigns
If your church’s pastor is doing a sermon series, running a supporting online campaign through Facebook or Google is a great strategy to draw in more new people. A sermon series campaign generates excitement around the series and encourages people to watch a message online or attend a service in person. Sermon series campaigns are especially helpful for online growth since a user is more likely to continue to want to watch the next sermon within the series and become more engaged with the church long term.
Start Growing TodayIf you’ve found these church outreach ideas to grow your church online helpful and want to speak with a digital marketing expert, get in touch with us by giving the team at Missional Marketing a call at 480-420-2007. We are excited to partner with you to take your church’s online growth to the next level!