What's in this session?

  • Alex's success story (1:01)
  • Step #1: Understand the nature of how users are using Facebook (2:43)
  • Step #2: Find the intersection between faith and culture (3:40)
  • Step #3: Landing page with sign up form (6:33)
  • Step #4: Immediate follow-up (7:40)
  • Success story (8:00)

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 a 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 500 years. I’m your host Alex Mills, joined as always by the boss-man it’s Brady Shearer. Today we’re talking about how to run Facebook ads for your church.

Brady Shearer: Facebook ads Alex are, in my opinion, the absolute best platform for outreach for your church, marketing for your church, whatever word that you care to use, when it comes to reaching the people beyond the four walls of your church into the community, people who are unaware of you, people who are aware, but aren’t yet connected. What makes Facebook ads so amazing is first, it is under-priced compared to a billboard, compared to traditional media ads like radio and television. It is drastically affordable, as you’ll see, even for smaller churches. Which is amazing. Digital has given every church kind of an even playing ground. It used to be like, “Well, we don’t have five K to buy this billboard, so we can’t do this.”

Alex Mills: Let me give you a quick success story, because I work for a smaller church that you’re referring to. For the longest time we did newspaper ads. It’s just something that we did. It was like set it and forget it. You pay the bill every week. It’s in the church directory in the local newspaper. It is what it is. We never saw any traffic from that, but it’s what you do. All the churches, local churches in the church directory. It’s what you do.

Brady Shearer: Accurate.

Alex Mills: What do you do when church newspaper folds?

Brady Shearer: Wow.

Alex Mills: It’s gone. So a few months ago the local newspaper, it folded. So we weren’t spending this ad money anymore. So, we had a church picnic a few weeks ago and I said to our people, I said, “Hey, give me half of that ad spend that we were spending a month on newspaper ads. Let me run a Facebook ad.” They gave me half of it. We saw like 15 new visitors come to the church picnic and about 25% of them came directly from that ad.

Brady Shearer: You didn’t even tell me this.

Alex Mills: Yeah, I know. So it’s just like this Facebook ads, you understated it in your intro. That like this is so … The opportunity that we have as churches, especially smaller churches like myself, with Facebook ads right now it’s unmatched. I think it’s unprecedented. I don’t think we’ve had an opportunity like this ever before. So I’m pumped up to talk about Facebook ads.

Brady Shearer: Okay, if I understated it, allow me to overstate it. It is the single greatest outreach platform in human history.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: Why? Number one-

Alex Mills: I believe that, actually.

Brady Shearer: Number one, the attention. The amount of people on Facebook in your community, seven out of every ten American adults active on Facebook. That is unprecedented. Then you combine that with the affordability of it, not only does it have the attention, it has the accessibility for every church.

So let’s talk about four step strategy for running successful Facebook ads for your church. How do you do it? Well, the first step is understanding the behavior of Facebook.

Alex Mills: Yeah, of course.

Brady Shearer: You gotta recognize that when someone’s on Facebook they don’t wanna hear about your church.

Alex Mills: Nope.

Brady Shearer: They are scrolling to see their friends and their family. They’re enjoying, they’re mindlessly scrolling. If you want to succeed with Facebook ads, you have to understand the people are not using Facebook the way that you search. So, if you ever run search ads, Google AdWords sort of thing, you know when someone’s searching for church in Niagara Falls, it makes sense that you would show up and they would be like, “Oh, Okay good. A church in Niagara Falls.”

Alex Mills: Right, cause they searched for it

Brady Shearer: Their behavior is very different. On Facebook they are not looking for ads. They are trying to be entertained. They are trying to make it through another day of hard work. Okay? So, you can’t just jump in there and expect to succeed just by clicking Boost on your latest post.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: You need to have a strategy. So that’s step one, understand the behavior of the user that’s actually using Facebook. Step number two is to find the intersection between faith and culture. So what do I mean by that? People are scrolling through Facebook. They’re not looking for your church. They do not care about your Sunday service. They care about themselves. So you need to find something. You need to identify the intersection between what they care about and where your church can offer value in their life. So to give you some examples of potential intersections between faith and culture, you could do a kid’s camp. Oh, free childcare for my kid? I like it. You could do a Fall Festival. A free outing for my family? I love that. You could do pictures with Santa. You could do marriage, parenting, or finance courses. Elements that the Christian faith, the Bible, and Scripture speak directly to that the church as an organization can facilitate, but intersectional areas that the average human being in your community is also gonna find value in.

Alex Mills: We did this for the ad that I just mentioned for our church picnic. In house we always called our annual church picnic. But when I ran this Facebook ad, I decided, “I’m gonna call this a community picnic.” Then my big headline with fun emojis was Free Hamburger And Sunshine, or something like that. I talked all about what we’re offering for kids. Like, there’s a bouncy castle, there’s food, all this stuff. I found that intersection between, like Okay it’s summer. People wanna get outside. People love food. They love free food. Kids love bouncy castles. You have kids. By using that language, a community picnic instead of church picnic, it was more inclusive as opposed to exclusive. We saw results. So yeah, this one’s huge. Finding that intersection between faith and culture. Once you start thinking that way, you’ll see these things everywhere. You’ll see, “Oh, yeah. I can connect this with this. With what this person is going through on Facebook to what we’re doing at church.” You can create ads around that. But yeah, this one’s vital.

Brady Shearer: The church institution has for centuries, since its existence, since its inception, has been a part of the community.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: It’s been that foundational cornerstone of every community, especially in North America. The reason for that is that the church is not just considering its own self interest. It’s about bettering the community as a whole.

Alex Mills: Of course.

Brady Shearer: If you’re thinking, listening, watching this and being like, “Okay, but I want to save souls. I want people to get connected to Christ. This doesn’t have anything to do with that.” You’ve gotta recognize that every relationship takes time. If you want to use Facebook and actually take advantage of the greatest outreach platform in the history of humankind, you need to play by its rules. You can’t just jump in and say, “Hey, wanna get married?” Okay, no, no. Let’s build a relationship first. Show me that you can bring value to my life, and then that is the in that you need to get people connected to your church and becoming fully integrated members of your community and finding hope in Christ.

Alex Mills: That’s it.

Brady Shearer: But it’s gotta start at that intersection between faith and culture.

Alex Mills: So I click on an ad. Where do I need to go next?

Brady Shearer: So, that is very important, because a lot of people don’t understand that when you’re running a Facebook ad, you need to bring them to your website and then present them with an opportunity. So, for Pro Church Tools we do this, where you land on our website. We say we’ve got this amazing free download. Enter your first name and your email address and we’ll send you this download. Because now, you’re part of our email list. Now you can join Pro Church Nation. Now you can be a part of our community.

Similarly, what your church wants to do, first you find that event, what we call a bridge event between faith and culture, that intersection. They click on an ad. When the person clicks on an ad, they land on your website. They land on a landing page built specifically for this bridge event. There’s a sign up form there where they say, “Do you wanna come to this event for free? Just fill out your name, email address, and who’s coming and we’ll send you all the details as a follow up.”

Alex Mills: Awesome.

Brady Shearer: That’s step four. The follow up after this sign up form is actually filled out. This is where you send an email automatically. You can use a free tool like MailChimp. We use Convert Kit at Pro Church Tools. They send a follow up email with all the detail. So, let’s say you’re doing the fall festival. Someone signs up to attend for free. They say, “Hey we’re gonna bring four people.” You send the follow up email, “Hey Jenna, so excited that you’re gonna be joining us at Fall Festival this year. It’s happening at this address, at this time, when you come make sure to stop by our VIP tent to pick up your free goody bag.” Something like that.

Alex Mills: So good.

Brady Shearer: It’s a simple four step process. If you are not convinced this will work for your church, we wanted to point to a success story that we highlighted on episode number 87 of Pro Church Daily, it’s called How A Church Of 150 People Spent $109 on Facebook Ads and got 241 new visitors. Now, it’s probably unlikely that you’ll get 241 new visitors spending $109, but that’s an example of just how powerful this platform could be. Again, that’s episode 87 of Pro Church Daily. Alex shared his experience with Facebook Ads just in the last couple of months with his church, also a church of less than 100. So this is an extremely powerful platform.

In the episodes of Pro Church Daily that come after this. We’re gonna actually be sharing real examples of Facebook Ad campaigns that church’s have run, because we really want this to be accessible to you. We wanna show you exact examples of how church’s have done this when it comes to how do we target, how do we actually do good ad creative, and all this, you know what tools do we need to use. So, this is kind of the overarching strategy of Facebook Ads, episode number 170 of Pro Church Daily. In episodes 171, 172, and 173, we’re gonna keep doing a deeper dive into Facebook Ads to give you a complete strategy. So, go check those episodes out if they’re live already. If not, make sure to check out.

The featured resource that we wanna highlight. We talked about your church’s website and how you’re gonna use that for Facebook Ads, the home page of your church website, we’ve got this infographic called The Perfect Church Homepage infographic. It uses eye tracking studies to identify all the important necessary elements of every church website homepage. It’s a free download. It is linked in the show notes for this episode of Pro Church Daily. Thanks for watching. We’ll see you in another episode.

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