Combine Personalization and Automation
You need to go far beyond the newsletter. There is nothing wrong with putting new visitors in an automated email campaign — where they get a trickle of emails going from a Thank You to information on Small Groups to an invite to a major event.
We love it actually, there is a lot of value in using automation as a bedrock of your communications framework.
But, some people get carried away. Next thing you know, their communications seem robotic and impersonal.
Thus, you need to make a personal connection part of your first week of interacting with a new visitor. We are a big fan of sending out a hand-written postcard or a small gift card in the mail.
The little personal touches will go a long way in our overly impersonal society.
Stop Making Your Church the Hero of Your Branding
Branding is not logos. They are a part of it, but branding is the story and language that surrounds your organization. Most churches make one fatal flaw on their website and social networks — making it all about their church. “Let’s grow to 5,000 people!” “Look at what our church did!” “We are really amazing!” “The only church in town with two cotton candy machines.”
While it’s okay to talk about what Jesus did through your ministry, you do not want to come across as self-promotional all the time. No one wants to join an organization like that.
Instead, we recommend bragging on Jesus and your people. I know this seems simple, but so many people don’t do this in their communications. You want to invite a person to join your mission. You do this by making your accomplishment statements personal to your people.
Leaders Need to Become Online Influencers
Revenue put towards influencer marketing has increased by 17% in just this year. Simply put, influencer marketing is a type of marketing that focuses on using key leaders to drive your brand’s message to the larger market. This is pivotal, because people connect more with other people than brands.
This means that your leadership needs to take their personal online footprint seriously. They need to start seeing their posts as a reinforcement of your church’s online branding. A heavily-shared post on a personal profile will get far more traction than one on a brand’s profile. That is just the nature of the network.
Thus, we heavily encourage church leaders to engage on social media, curate a blog, film relatable videos, and post snapshots of their lives.
Don’t just communicate “you’re invited to my church.”
Communicate that “you’re invited to be my friend.”
Add a Communications Director to Your Team
We saved the most important piece of advice for last. Social media, photography, videography, and communications as a whole tend to be tacked on to someone’s job description.
It’s something to do when “they find the time.” This means it is no one’s real priority.
This needs to change.
There needs to be someone working with your team, volunteer or paid, that their primary ministry is to tell your story online. This stuff is not easy. It requires strategy, forethought, and dedication.
Find a gifted individual and give them the freedom to explore creative ways to share the story of your church.