What's in this session?

  • Brady grew up attending a small Baptist church - they advertised in the newspaper (0:39)
  • Now there are so many options for churches (1:50)
  • Brady's experience looking for a counsellor (2:27)
  • According to Forbes, 97% of people look for local organizations online (3:48)
  • According to HubSpot, 46% of all searches on Google are local (4:02)
  • 89% of surveyed participants admitted to searching for a local business on their smartphone once a week or more with 58% searching at least daily (4:19)
  • Discovery happens online (5:44)
  • Always accessible (6:24)

Show notes and resources

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The Transcript

Brady Shearer: Pro Church Daily is brought to you by Nucleus, a new kind of website builder for churches. From single click templates to advanced integrations, Nucleus is unlike anything else. Nucleus opens on March 20th. Head to nucleus.church to join the launch list. Why just have a website when you could have a Nucleus?

Alex Mills: Well, hey there, and welcome to Pro Church Daily. It’s 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. Today, we’re talking about the most important marketing tool for every single church.

Brady Shearer: I grew up, Alex, attending a very small Baptist church out in the country.

Alex Mills: Nice.

Brady Shearer: When I saw small, I mean 25 or less. There was no PA system. We had one acoustic guitarist, overhead sheets, and everyone would just sing acapella. (singing)

Alex Mills: What was your tambourine to congregant member ratio?

Brady Shearer: True story.

Alex Mills: Far too high I assume.

Brady Shearer: No, I had to fight to use the shaker. I was getting into like drums in my teenage years. I as like, “Guys, please let me use the shaker,” and they’re like-

Alex Mills: No, it’s too progressive.

Brady Shearer: It was too progressive, so I just sang (singing). This is the church that I attended. The reason that I bring that up is because we had a single marketing tactic at the small Baptist church, white steeple at the bottom of the hill, with 25 people and no PA system, and Brady’s singing “Days of Elijah.” We advertised in the local paper.

Alex Mills: Of course you did.

Brady Shearer: Every week it was in the bottom right section where the rest of the classified ads were.

Alex Mills: Church directory.

Brady Shearer: Exactly. It did not work exceptionally well for us, but that was what we did. It was pretty simple. There was really only a couple of options. Get inside the Yellow Pages and the phone book, newspaper ad. That’s about it.

Alex Mills: We did it too.

Brady Shearer: Today things are very different. There are so many options. We’ve got social media, email, text, direct mail, radio, television, mobile apps, print materials, content marketing. It can feel intimidating for churches. I want to set the record straight that there is a singular most important marketing tool for every single church, and that is your church’s website. Beyond and before every other possible thing that you could do when it comes to marketing, or outreach if you don’t care for the word marketing, when it’s connected to a church, your website is the single most important platform that you have.

Not too long ago, I was looking for a counselor. I wanted to go see a counselor for the first time. I was excited to do some deep diving into, “Who is Brady?”

Alex Mills: Nobody knows.

Brady Shearer: Nobody wants to know. That’s why I had to pay a counselor. Of course, I didn’t know where to begin. What do I do? I go onto Google and I start searching counselors in Niagara. I visited a number of different websites. I think that relating looking for a counselor to looking for a church is pretty similar. They’re both very intimate experiences. They require a lot of the individual that’s kind of stepping out to attend, show up for the first time. It’s uncomfortable, unfamiliar, maybe a little bit awkward.

I ended up choosing a counselor, not with the most credentials, not with the best reviews, not with the most reviews … I chose the one that had the best website, that had some reviews, and most importantly for me at least in this instance, was I was able to book a time online. I found a website for another counselor and I was sold on them, gave them a call, didn’t pick up. Gave them another call, didn’t pick up. Sent an email, didn’t respond. This counselor, on the other hand, had an online booking form, I showed up, there he was, we had a great first experience together.

That is how so many of us are discovering things online and taking steps into areas that are unknown to us previously. We head over to the search engines, we pull it open and we start looking. We’ve got data to back this up. According to Forbes, 97% of people use search engines to look for local organizations.

Alex Mills: [crosstalk 00:03:54] everybody.

Brady Shearer: Everybody does this. 97%, that is literally everyone, 97%, crazily overwhelming. Another stat, this one comes from HubSpot, 46% of all searches on Google are local. Not just are a lot of people doing it, but a lot of people are doing it in volume. There’s a lot of searches, almost one in out of every two on Google is local.

Finally, this one’s also recorded by HubSpot. They did a survey of a bunch of different participants asking them, “Have you searched for a local business in the last week using your smartphone?” 89% of the surveyed participants admitted to doing that. 58% agreed and admitted, not just to doing it in the last week, but something that they do almost every single day.

Alex Mills: I was going to say that. I think I probably do it every day.

Brady Shearer: You would be one of those 40 or 58% [crosstalk 00:04:43]. This just goes to show how pervasive that search online is in the way that we do things. This is only going to increase. If you think about your church demographic … And maybe it’s not full of millennials. But we’ve looked at the average time spent on at least social media, when it breaks down per generations, Gen X actually spends more time each week on social than millennials. Even those 50 plus spend on average four hours every single week on social.

This isn’t a thing that’s only for young people. But with that being said, if you don’t think that this type of statistic and data is only going to increase in the coming months, years, decades, then you’ve got to be kidding yourself. Because millennials, this is how we operate when we’re looking for things. Gen Z behind us is only going to exacerbate that and do it even more.

You’ve got to come down to this basic understanding. Why is your website your most important tool? Well one, it’s 100% owned and controlled by you, right? No one is going to take that away from you.

The second thing is that discovery nowadays happens online. First impressions are made online. Before someone ever steps foot into your building on a Sunday morning, and what it’s like for them to drive into the parking lot for the first time and shake hands with a greeter, and figure out where to check their kids in, and then find a seat for the first time, and then the music starts, and then what happens? Before any of that can happen nowadays, they’ve already checked you out online. They’ve already formed a first impression of you. For many, they’ve already made a decision solely on your website alone whether or not they’re going to attend your church, whether or not they think you are a good fit for them, they are a good fit for you.

The other thing to consider about a website is that really it’s the only property that your church possesses that’s open and available 24/7 365. Your building closes at 5:00 P.M. on weekdays and it’s closed on the weekends except for Sundays on average. Your staff are not available 24/7. Maybe one of the pastors is in case of emergency. But aside from that, they work nine to five. That’s it as well. Your website, 24/7 365. Whether I’m in the break room at 11:00 A.M. trying to register for a small group, whether it’s Saturday night and I’m a new visitor looking for a church, or whether it’s 1:00 A.M. and I’m just wanting to a recent message because I’m feeling lonely and hopeless and I need some hope, your website can be there to facilitate that.

Alex Mills: Yeah, for sure. I think it’s something that gets overlooked. We touched on it last week, talking about the three marketing tools. You talked about website and email and Facebook, but there are so many. Like you said at the beginning of this episode, there are so many avenues that we can market our church and get the word out there. Especially to smaller churches that are predominantly volunteer run, that can seem daunting. “Where do we begin?” Well, don’t overlook your website. That doesn’t have to be more complicated than that. Start with your website.

Then once you master that and you have a great web presence, then you can move onto email and Facebook and start going a little wider. But let’s not overlook our website. This is our, like you said, our front door. It’s open all the time. This is where our first impressions are made.

Brady Shearer: So let’s start there. It’s not nearly as like cool and sexy as some other platforms, but it’s just way more important. The ROI there just overwhelms pretty much every other platform.

Alex Mills: For sure.

Brady Shearer: That’ll do it for today’s episode of Pro Church Daily. But we want to help improve your website, so we’ve put together this really cool download of seven church website page templates. We’re talking a plan of visit template, a kid’s ministry template. These are the types of templates that have prewritten copy, prewritten structure. This is exactly how we would structure these pages, these most important pages on your website. On one of the pages that I mentioned, a plan of visit page. This is a page that every single church website needs. We’ve broken it down into a five-part framework. This is probably the most important page on your website when it comes to making first impressions.

Someone lands on your website for the first time, they’re a potential new visitor. They need something just for them. You can create a page called “Plan of Visit” that’s going to walk them through, “This is exactly what you can expect and plan for when you visit our church in person for the first time.” You’ve got prewritten copy, prewritten frameworks. Giving it away for free. The link to access these prochurchtools.com/nucleus. prochurchtools.com/nucleus is the place to get access to those.

Thanks for watching today’s episode of Pro Church Daily. We’ll see you tomorrow.

Alex Mills: Hey, thanks for listening to today’s episode of Pro Church Daily. If you haven’t already, head to prochurchtools.com/nucleus to download our ultimate library of church website page templates. Prewritten copy, structured the exact way we would do if we had these pages on our websites, prochurhtools.com/nucleus is the place to download those.

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