What's in this session?

  • The story (0:30)
  • Step #1: Promote an event, not a church service (4:18)
  • Step #2: Target those 18-65+ within a 10 mile radius of your church (5:28)
  • Step #3: Landing page with a form (5:52)

Show notes and resources

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The Transcript

Alex  Mills: 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 talking about how a church of 150 people spent $109 on Facebook ads and got 241 new visitors.

Brady Shearer: This is an email I got from a member of Pro Church nation, and I will read it out to you directly. It says, “Hi Brady and the team. Just wanted to update you after using your guide on Facebook ads for an Easter event we ran in our South London church of 150 last week for Palm Sunday. We ran two services, and our attendance increased to 446 people. But the important measure is that we had 241 visitors. As some church team attended both services, which skewed the numbers slightly, but right around 241. As you can see from the advertisement below, the event was called Farm in the Church, and we had an indoor farm for Palm Sunday and utilized our connection, one of our church members is a well known British based former pop band member, now farmer and TV presenter, which certainly helped. We think that as an estimate 40% to 50% of our visitors came via the Facebook ad. Undoubtedly some came through invitations personally. Here’s the link to our landing page.”

And then there’s some data on here, “clicks to the website, 280, cost per click about $.38, total cost $109, targeting everyone 18-65 years old within our geographical location give or take within five miles of the church. Hope you are encouraged, Brady. We are so excited with the impact. We did a big push for people to come back to church for Easter Sunday this week and sign ups and a cinema ticket giveaway. Thanks and God Bless. From, Johnny.”

Wow. So, pretty exciting.

Alex  Mills: Yeah. I wouldn’t even know what to do with that many visitors.

Brady Shearer: Yeah, it’s like too much of a good thing. We wanna talk about Facebook ads because Facebook ads present us the single best promotion and advertising platform that has ever existed in human history. There’s three reasons for this. One, simply put, the attention is unmatched by any other platform ever. Seven out of every ten American adults is active on Facebook, more than a billion users, and it’s not just America. For instance, that case study was from Britain, from London, and it works everywhere. That’s the first thing. You’ve got huge attention. This is why Facebook is superior to radio and a billboard, for instance. And there are other reasons, but this reason alone shows why it’s vastly superior. There’s just more people.

Second reason is that it’s under priced. I was talking with a church of about 70 people, rural church. He said he spent $5,000 on a billboard. $5,000 on a billboard. That’s a church of 70. This church spent $109 on Facebook ads. The under priced amount of Facebook ads is drastic when you compare it to traditional advertising, billboards, radio, video, print, mailouts, whatever it might be. Facebook ads is just so, so much more affordable.

Third and final reason has to do with the digital nature of Facebook. If you print out a mailer and send it out, you get one shot. And if you call your pastor’s wife Derby instead of Debbie–real example–that’s what you do, and you’re introduced to the neighborhood as Pastor Derby. That’s how it is. With Facebook, like all digital, if the creative isn’t working, swap it out. You can run multiple creative ads, A/B tests, compare it, and this allows if you mess up or you screw up, which you will because such a platform takes a little bit to learn, you can change and adjust on the fly. Print is permanent, digital is not.

So, how can you do this in your own church? There’s three simple steps to making this happen. This individual from Pro Church nation, Johnny, was inspired by a guide that we put together of another church, and that guide similarly was called “How a Church of 120 Spent $78 on Facebook Ads and got 47 New Visitors”. That was an American church. We have made that PDF download available for free in the show notes. No opt-in required. Just click on the link. You can access the full PDF. It’s in the show notes. Click it, access it, read through it.

Three steps to making this happen at your church. Step number one, you don’t want to promote your church service. This is the key. What did Johnny and his team do? They promoted Easter on the Farm. Farm at church. Farm and Easter at the Church Farm.

Alex  Mills: There’s a farm inside of our church.

Brady Shearer: It wasn’t just a regular service, and the reason for this is to make this work you need to stop the scroll. You gotta understand with Facebook, unlike with Google search, people are not searching for your church. They’re scrolling through their feed learning about cat videos and then your event pops up. It’s naturally disruptive and annoying. You need to promote and ad where you find the intersection between what your church can offer the world and what your audience would value. Generally in church there’s an intersection in three different areas. In order of best use, you’ve got parenting, Easter on the farm, you’ve got marriage, and you’ve got finances. Three areas everybody cares about, everyone knows is important, and three areas where the church can uniquely speak into offering biblical wisdom that Jesus demonstrated through the scriptures.

So, you want to promote an event, a special event that isn’t just come to church, because if someone’s scrolling through the Facebook feed, that’s disruptive and annoying and they don’t want to attend your church you’ve already lost. That’s the first step.

Step number two, targeting. You wanna target those … Let’s say this. Facebook has crazy targeting, and you can do so much. You wanna keep it basic to start. You can get more advanced as you do more Facebook ads. Start with targeting those that are 18 to 65+ within, let’s say, 10 miles of your church’s geographic location. Target people that are close enough to your church that they would be willing to drive.

And then the third step is you need a landing page with a form. When you are creating a Facebook ad, you’re creating a link on Facebook, essentially. There are other ways that you can do this. The most powerful is still creating a link where someone clicks on the link and they are redirected to another page, a page on your website. You can build it with Nucleus, you can build it with, hopefully, any church website builder.

Alex  Mills: You can build them with MailChimp now for free. They do landing pages for free.

Brady Shearer: That’s true. You can build one directly with MailChimp. And the reason MailChimp does it, and this is important to the page you wanna build, is you wanna have a form on there to capture the information. And this is how you track your Facebook ads to see how well they’re working.

Let’s say you have 100 click throughs from your Facebook ad to your landing page with a form, and that form is basically you saying, hey, we’re hosting Easter on the farm, we’d love to host your family for free. Fill out the form below and you’ll be our special VIP. Give them an incentive to fill it out. You’ll be our special VIP, and when you arrive we’re gonna give your kids a free grab bag that is normally $5 or something. Now, there’s an incentive to fill the form out.

Let’s say 50 of the 100 people that visit that page, or 40, anywhere above 25% is a good conversion rate for this type of Facebook ad platform strategy. They fill out the form, and now you know how many people are expected or willing or hopeful that they’ll come on that special event day. You can trigger a followup sequence. You could give them a call the day before. There are so many different things that you can do here to make it better, but that is the simple three step process that, one, you want to create an event, sponsor an event not church related, the intersection between what your church can offer and what an audience would value. Step number two, target those within a 10 mile geographic radius of your church. And then step three, create a landing page with a form where you can track signups, 25% or above is a great signup rate, trigger a followup sequence, and followup with those people. Then they come to your church, and then your church followup sequence can take it from there.

Alex  Mills: Yeah. And you know what’s interesting about this Facebook ad strategy, and I learned this myself by going through some of these free case studies that we have, is that a lot of these strategies, all three of these steps are a little bit counterintuitive, at least for me. I would think, oh, I’m gonna advertise my service. I’m gonna use our sermon graphic as the ad. No, don’t do that.

Brady Shearer: Grave digger.

Alex  Mills: Yeah, don’t do that. And then I get to step two and you say target within a 10 mile radius. My intuition would say let’s spread this radius as wide as it can get and target everybody so I can have a bigger radius and I’ll reach more people. No. Like you said, target the people within a small radius that are actually going to like walk to your church or drive to your church.

Brady Shearer: And one side note to that is it’s completely dependent on if you’re in rural or urban. So, if you’re in Manhattan, an 10 mile radius would not be good. And if you are in rural Montana, it might need to be more than 10. Urbanites in Manhattan are used to walking a block or two. Maybe ruralites in Montana are used to driving 30 minutes at least, so that can vary, but it’s a good starting point.

Alex  Mills: Yeah. And then having a specific landing page is just smart. When I first started making Facebook ads, I was like, oh, I’ll just visit website and they’ll land on our homepage and see our website.

Brady Shearer: Don’t send them to your homepage.

Alex  Mills: No. Have a landing page that they can take a call to action, you can capture their data and connect with them and facilitate a next step so that you actually find them visiting your church. But the thing that gets me about Facebook ads, it’s the return on investment for the price that you’re gonna spend, it’s unlike anything else. It really, really is. And now’s the time. It’s never been easier to target the people who need to be in your church, so I think that these steps are really gonna help people take action on that.

Brady Shearer: We love hearing case studies like this, so if it’s about Facebook ads or anything that you have put into action, this stuff works. I receive DMs all the time. I tried this thing that you said in Instagram, and it worked. I was like, “Of course it worked. What do you think, I’m just making this stuff up?” We’d love to hear your case studies and share them because it really gives confidence to other churches, like, “Wait, this stuff actually does work. Maybe I can use this to convince my senior leadership to take a step.” And then once something works, that’s what’s so powerful, then you’re like, “Wait”. When I first made a dollar online, I was like, “If I can make one, why can’t I make a billion?” Probably not a billion.

Alex  Mills: But I can make two.

Brady Shearer: But sometimes you just need to break that barrier. You break that four minute mile and suddenly everyone else is. You just gotta have that belief first. So, send us a case study. And if you’re listening or watching, make sure to download this case study linked in the show notes.

That’ll do it for this episode of Pro Church Daily. We’ll see you tomorrow.

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