Digital marketing for churches might not be a common word you hear online. Still, you do hear digital marketing all over the internet. If you want to grow your church or ministry’s online visibility through the internet, you talk about digital marketing for Churches.
The statistics are increasing daily, and people want to connect online more than ever. The internet world is accessible to everybody, and people are using it.
As of January 2022, over 300 million people were said to be using the internet in Africa. Statistics are increasing daily, with a little over 100 million in Nigeria. These statistics are rising every day. Surfing the internet is now one of our major daily activities.
What does this say about marketing? It means there is an opportunity for churches and ministries to reach millions through the internet.
In the business sector, marketing has always been a way of making your services or products known to your audience, connecting with them irrespective of where they are. Likewise, for churches and ministries, it is a way of getting our Christian content to believers and unbelievers in the digital world.
What is Digital Marketing
It is also known as online marketing and internet marketing. It is the act of promoting your church’s visibility through digital platforms such as social media (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube), websites (personal websites, blogs), search engines (Google, Bing, Yandex), mobile apps, emails, and other electronic devices.
You can do digital marketing online and offline. Though, is different from the traditional marketing done via billboards, flyers, vehicle branding, newspaper, and radio.
Digital marketing is essential for churches and ministries that want to thrive online in this modern age. In this age, a ministry or church must think of having at least a social media page, if not a website. It is taking your church or ministry to where people are found.
A website is an integral part of digital marketing. Getting a reliable web hosting, a domain name (read here on how to choose the right domain name for your church or ministry), and website design can also help your digital marketing strategy
Digital Marketing vs Traditional Marketing for Churches and Ministries
You might have a conflict of interest between traditional marketing and digital marketing. In this session, I will explain the difference between the two.
Churches and ministries still take advantage of traditional marketing today with billboards, flyers, and all but digital marketing, if done correctly, is the best way to reach out to people.
In simple terms, traditional marketing is for a local audience, while digital marketing is for a global reach.
|It is the traditional means of publicizing using channels like newspapers, magazines, flyers, and other local media.
|It is the act and art of promoting businesses and churches online through digital platforms
|Hard to measure
|Easy to measure through an analytics plugin
|It is more expensive and less expensive
|It is less expensive and more effective
|It cannot be modified
|It can be modified
|Audience and members engagement
|You cannot relate with the audience and members easily because it cannot be measured
|You can get your content to a specific audience and create relationships with them
The significant differences between traditional marketing and digital marketing for Churches
- Traditional marketing is static, while digital marketing is dynamic. To get the attention of your audience or members, you can use different creative ways, graphics, sharing the testimony of others, storytelling, videos, etc., unlike traditional marketing, where the primary publicity tool is printing.
- Measurement is easy with digital marketing. With digital marketing, you can easily measure your results using analytics or insights tools, unlike traditional marketing, which is problematic.
- Traditional marketing is expensive, and its audience is local. With digital marketing for churches or ministries, you can reach larger audiences.
Traditional marketing though still necessary is losing its value to digital marketing because of its limitations.
The Different Types of Digital Marketing for Churches?
As explained above, the dynamic nature of digital marketing gave way to different types.
- Search Engine Optimization
- Content Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Pay Per Click
- Email Marketing
- Search Engine Marketing
- Affiliate Marketing
- Influencer Marketing
- Online Local Directories
Let’s have a quick look at the meaning of each of them
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization is optimizing your church or ministry website to rank in search engines (Google, Bing, Yandex, etc.). I may be talking about Google a lot because that is the most used search engine in the internet world.
You get free traffic to your church or ministry website by ranking on Google. Websites, blogs, infographics, videos, etc., benefit from SEO.
Let’s look at it this way, someone types “sermons on righteousness and forgiveness,” and one of your pastor’s articles shows up on Google. The website discusses the search term, and the article is written to satisfy such curiosity.
There are different types of SEO
- On-Page SEO
- Off-Page SEO
- Technical SEO
- Content Marketing
It is a means of communication through various forms of Christan content (infographics, articles, ebooks, audio or visual) to educate people, grow your church website traffic, and get church visitors.
The heart of content marketing is creativity and storytelling. Content marketing is being underutilized in Africa because of our focus on the broadcasting model.
Content marketing can be done through the following:
- Articles (blog posts)
- Images (Infographics)
- Social Media Marketing
It is an act of using social media to communicate with your audience and church members, grow your church website traffic and invite people to your church.
You can find billions of people on social media. With this, it has become a powerful tool for advertisement.
As the name implies, social media is a place to interact with your audience instead of broadcasting. You can build relationships with your audience, educate them about Christ and turn them into members.
The social channels used for church marketing and communications are
Knowing social media platforms is key to choosing one suitable for church or ministry.
4. Pay Per Click
Pay Per Click is a technique of using an advertiser (Google, Bing) to drive traffic to your church website by paying them anytime your ad is clicked.
The advertisers will place your ad on search engines, social media platforms, or third-party websites, and you pay a fee whenever someone clicks on your ad.
When you visit a website or blog, and you see companies or churches’ advertisements, especially from Google, at strategic places, it is called Google Adsense. The process of setting up that ad and Google running it on third-party websites is referred to as Pay Per Click.
These ads also show on Google with the tag (ad).
Pay Per Click is one of the digital marketing campaigns for churches that can be highly targeted though expensive, for small churches.
5. Email Marketing
I guess you can’t go a week without receiving emails from a company to get your attention or interaction or even asking you to make a purchase or a Pastor you signup to their email list. That is email marketing.
Email marketing is a mass communication method with your members and audience through their emails.
It is typically used for discipleship and evangelism.
Companies offering email marketing services
6. Search Engine Marketing
Similar to PPC, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a way of advertising on search engines. While PPC might involve other third-party websites or social media, SEM focuses only on search engines.
When someone is searching for a church online or a particular Christian product, ads appear on search engines alongside other organic search results. Those ads are done through SEM.
It’s a technique used for placing targeted ads on search engines. When I mean search engines, I mean Google and other search engines.
7. Affiliate Marketing:
A performance-based type of advertising where you receive a commission for advertising someone else’s product. The commission will be received only when the person you refer has successfully purchased through your link.
It is one of the new and effective ways of marketing that works for both sides. It is similar to influencer marketing, where you influence a person to buy a product.
This can be used for a Pastor’s book, or a church material that is up for sale
Affiliate marketing channels include
- Posting affiliate links on social media platforms
- Hosting video ads
- Promoting affiliate links on blogs and websites
8. Influencer Marketing
Influencers are people who control a massive Christian audience on social media. They are called kingdom influencers. They can be singers, comedians, or anyone with a large social media audience.
They have the power to persuade people because of the authority they command online.
9. Online Local Directories
Google My Business and other directories are in this category.
You can have your church listed online without having a website. Google My Business makes it happen. Having your church listed on Google Business is also a way of digital marketing for churches and ministries; it is entirely free.
If your Church or ministry still needs to be registered on Google My Business, it is time to get it there. Visit the Google Business website and follow the steps.
The Importance of Digital Marketing for Churches and Ministries
1. Measurable. You can measure how you are doing with your ads, where the traffic is coming from, and their behaviors.
2. Global audience. You have the whole world to yourself. With the internet, you can reach anyone from the comfort of your office.
3. Target specific audiences. Even though your target audience is global, you can target a specific audience through their demographics, age, interest, and location.
4. It is Cost-effectiveness. It can fit into your budget. You can run a digital marketing campaign no matter how little you have.
5. Easy to adapt. You can hire an agency, but it is not compulsory because you can learn how to do it yourself.
6. High conversion rate. Due to the measurable rate, it’s easy to convert. It’s like getting your ad directly to your audience.
7. Easy Engagement. You can engage your audience at every stage of the campaign.
Tools Used For Digital Marketing for Churches and Ministries
Whether you are just starting your online journey or you are in the middle of it, these digital marketing tools below will be of great help to your church or ministry
As we have explained, email marketing and communications above, MailChimp is an excellent tool for email marketing relatively free for beginners and easy to navigate. This tool is essential for Pastors by sending emails to their members outside church hours
The first time I got to know Trello, I was thrilled that such a tool exists. Trello is an app for organizing your work alongside your team. You can manage and organize your tasks with already-made templates.
Managing all your social media accounts differently can be tasking. Hootsuite will help you manage all social media from one account.
- Google Analytics
Specifically for websites. Google Analytics will help you with insights into the traffic on your church website.
- Google Site Kit (for WordPress)
Connecting your website with WordPress is made easy with Google Site Kit plugin. The plugin is made by Google to automatically connect your website to Google tools such as Adsense, analytics, and search console.
- Google My Business
Google My Business helps list your church or ministry on Google. Even though you don’t have a website, with Google My Business, you can quickly get your business on Google. Visit the website and follow the prompts.
This is all you need for your keyword research. With Buzzsumo, you can find the right keywords for your website or blog. You can subscribe to the 30-day free trial, and with the premium account, you can find related and competitors’ keywords and analyze your keywords.
- Rank Math (for WordPress)
If you have a WordPress website, Rank Math is a free SEO plugin for your website. Everything you need to set up SEO is right with rank math.
- Google Workspace
Google Drive, Gmail, and Google meet are some apps from Google Workspace that are useful in keeping files, communications, and video conferencing. Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides are also helpful in the documentation.
This is a creative app for designing beautiful Christian graphics for social media and digital marketing campaign ads. Content, they say, is king. Canva is an excellent tool for designing motion and still graphics for your church or ministry.