What's in this session?

  • Website (2:01)
  • 97% of people search for local organizations online (Forbes) (2:26)
  • 46% of all searches on Google are local (Hubspot) (3:12)
  • Platform owned by you and accessible 24/7/365 (3:34)
  • Email (all stats from OptinMonster) (4:11)
  • 50% more email users than Facebook (4:30)
  • 58% people say email is the first thing they check online each day; only about 15% check social first (4:40)
  • 91% of people use email daily compared to 57% on Facebook and just 14% on Twitter (4:54)
  • 77% of people prefer email for permission-based promotions from brands compared to 4% on Facebook (5:10)
  • Facebook (5:58)
  • As of 2016, 68% of all American adults were active on Facebook (Pew) (6:19)

Show notes and resources

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The Transcript

Alex Mills: Pro Church Daily is brought to you by Storytape unlimited stock video downloads on a single monthly subscription. Head to storytape.com and you can browse through every single video clip we have to offer for free.

Well hey there, and welcome to Pro Church Daily the show where, in 10 minutes or less, you’ll get your daily dose of tips and tactics to help your church share the message of Jesus while we navigate the biggest communication shift we’ve seen in the last 500 years. I’m your host Alex Mills. I’m joined as always by the boss man, it’s Brady Shearer. And today, we’re going to talk about how to build a church communications plan from scratch.

Brady Shearer: Got a DM the other day from an individual in Pro Church Nation talking about how they’ve just come into a place in their church where they’ve kind of been put in charge of setting up a communications plan. The problem is, the church pretty much has no communications plan in place or ever has. And this is a very common situation that many churches find themselves in. And a lot of people in Pro Church Nation can empathize with this individual knowing what it’s like to have a blank canvas, which is great, but also the fear and intimidation factor that comes along with that blank canvas.

Alex Mills: Yeah, where do you start?

Brady Shearer: Every single day we have a new episode of Pro Church Daily that shares, hopefully, a great tip, tactic, or strategy that you can implement in your church. But that’s every single day. That means 365 days of the year, you have perhaps a new thing you could try. It can feel overwhelming. So I wanted to do an episode of Pro Church Daily that basically lays down a foundation, a strategy, for where you should invest the majority of your efforts when you are first figuring out this whole thing in communications. And even if you have something that’s already in place, these are still the three most important platforms where you should be investing the majority of your resources, energy, and time, even if you already have something in place.

So you can use this as a gauge, as a measuring stick for, “Okay, maybe we’re putting a little bit too much energy, time, creative resource into this. At the end of the day, Brady at least believes that the ROI is more going to be found on this side of the equation.” So the three things, kind of the three platforms that every church should have some presence on. And let’s start with the most important. The most important is your?

Alex Mills: Website.

Brady Shearer: Your website.

Alex Mills: Of course.

Brady Shearer: Your church’s website. Your single most important marketing tool. If you don’t care for the word marketing next to church, you can use the word outreach. The most important tool that you have at your disposal when it comes to reaching your community, growing an online presence, and most importantly making first impressions. More important than anything else. Consider this statistic, it comes from Forbes; 97% of people search for local organizations online. It wasn’t too long ago, just last week, that you and I and Brandon and Tristan took a trip to So Cal to do some filming for Storytape.com. We’re in new cities. We are in places that we are unfamiliar with. When we’re looking for places to eat, places to film, places or coffee, what do we do?

Alex Mills: We just hop on the phone, hop on the computer, whatever digital device is in front of us, your watch maybe, and you just search. You use Google, we used Yelp. We used websites that have reviews. And you just use the internet as a tool to determine what’s around here. I’m not picking up the phone book or looking through the Yellow Pages or even asking somebody on the street. I have all the answers I need on the internet.

Brady Shearer: Exactly. And that’s how pretty much every single human on Earth uses Google. This is from Hubspot: 46% of all searches on Google are local. So this isn’t just a thing that you search online for maybe a product that you’re going to buy from an Amazon or a Best Buy or whatever it might be. This is for looking for shops, for churches, in your local area. Almost 50% of all Google search is local.

And the final thing that I want to say about a website is your church staff are unable to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year. Your facilities, your building is not open that often. The only platform that you as a church possess, that is yours to own on your own digital property, is your website. Open and available 24/7. So at 3 AM when someone wants to register for a small group or search for information, looking for a local church, trying to find hope, maybe they stumble across your website.

Alex Mills: It’s your front door.

Brady Shearer: Like you always say. The most important place that you have available.

Second, before we get to social media, and I think this is going to be surprising for a lot of churches, email. Still the, for us at Pro Church Tools, the number one communication resource after our website.

Alex Mills: Absolutely.

Brady Shearer: Email. These stats are all from Opt In Monster, which is a phenomenal email capture tool for WordPress and other platforms, comparing social media, Facebook and Twitter in particular, to email. There are 50% more users for email than for Facebook. There’s like 2.4 billion email users compared to 1.7 billion Facebook users. 58% of people say that email is the first thing that they check online each day. Only about 15% check social first. So people roll out of bed or whenever they’re checking their phone for the first time, they’re going to email before anything else.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: 91% of people use email daily compared to just 57% on Facebook, just 14% on Twitter. People are using email every single day. So if you need to get information out that’s timely, email still the best platform to do that. Finally, 77% of people prefer email for permission based promotions from brands compared to just 4% on Facebook. Meaning people want to hear about promotions when they give you permission, when they give you their email address. They much prefer you send out events and calendar and new information from your church via email compared to Facebook. Now that data is a little bit skewed because people don’t think of Facebook as a platform they use for that, but it just goes to show you how powerful email is. A lot of churches just don’t spend too much time on it. But when it comes to the audience size, when it comes to the frequency of use, and when it comes to actually, according to this data, what people prefer when it comes to communication channels, email trumps Facebook and all of social media, every single time.

With that being said, the third and final platform that you should invest energy, time, and creative resources into when you’re building out your church’s communication strategy, is Facebook. The most important social platform for churches. Not the most important digital platform. Again, website and email still more important based on the data that we have. But Facebook, of all the social platforms, the most important. Why is that? Well, as of 2016, likely this is surely gone up, 68% of all American adults where active on Facebook, the closest runner up social platform, also owned by Facebook, Instagram. And it was in the high 20s, low 30 percentages, according to that report from Barnas. So twice as many people, more than twice as many people, using Facebook. That is the power of Facebook. Why is it the most important social platform? Well, at the end of the day we know that attention is the most valuable commodity that your church can possess. Facebook holds more attention than any other platform.

Alex Mills: Yeah. And you’ve said it a few times today, but I think it’s important just to reiterate one more time, it’s so important that you value these things and prioritize these things in this order: website, email, Facebook in that order. And go deep and not wide.

Brady Shearer: We only have so much time, energy, and creative resources, volunteer resources at our disposal as churches. And a lot of the time we’re wearing so many different hats. So it’s incumbent upon us to invest our energy into platforms that will deliver the most ROI possible. And so it’s important for us to make educated decisions, informed decisions, on where we invest our energy, time, creativity, volunteers, because it is just so limited.

In my experience, churches that excel in digital media do two things well: one is they make informed decisions based on data and two, they try not to over extend themselves. For most churches, Facebook’s probably the only social media platform you need to invest in. And then once you’ve got that figured out, then take a step into Instagram. Like you said, deep not wide. Most ROI can be found when you follow that strategy.

Alex Mills: Yeah, and most people in your churches that are going to be responsible for these things are likely going to be volunteers. Most churches are not mega churches, they’re small churches. People just volunteering their time and their efforts, so let’s like you said, maximize the time that we have available and the effort and really focus on these things.

Brady Shearer: At Pro Church Tools we invest a ton of time into our website, Facebook, and email. But there is one more platform, especially when it comes to 25-34 demographic that’s huge for us, and that is Instagram. I would put that probably number four for a lot of churches. And we’d love to have you join the @bradyshearer following on Instagram. Why? Because throughout the month of February, we are doing a ton of give aways, giving away free stuff, too, to people of Pro Church Nation. But you’ve got to be following my account on Instagram, @bradyshearer. We’re getting closer to the 10,000 mark. Why is that important? Well, because at 10,000, if you are a business account at Instagram, you get the swipe up feature in stories.

Alex Mills: We’re trying to get that feature.

Brady Shearer: I cannot begin to tell you how important this feature is to me. So help us get there, @bradyshearer on Instagram. Follow us and you can be eligible for all of the great stuff we’re giving away throughout the month of February.

Thanks for watching today’s episode of Pro Church Daily. See you tomorrow.

Alex Mills: Hey, thanks for listening to today’s episode of Pro Church Daily. If you haven’t already, make sure to subscribe to the Pro Church podcast for new podcasts like this one every single day. And if you’d like to support this podcast, leave us a rating or review. It doesn’t cost you much, but it means the world to us. Talk to you tomorrow.

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