What's in this session?

  • How do I reach people, apart from Facebook ads, how can I reach people within our own city? (1:05)
  • Is it better to have all of your registrations in one place, or is better to keep people on your website? (7:38)
  • Do you have any ideas on how to deal with the practical realities of posting stories about your kids on Facebook? (12:40)
  • If apps are going away, what is the solution we can use that would have the necessary functions like secure giving, joining groups, signing up for teams… all the church app perks? (17:02)

Show notes and resources

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The Transcript

Brady: Today on the Ask Brady Show, we talk about three ways of promoting your church that are 100% free.

Well hey there Pro Church Nation, and welcome to the Ask Brady Show, episode number 40. We’ve got four questions for episode 40, from the people of Pro Church Nation.

I’m joined as always to my left, your right, it’s Roxanne.

Roxanne: It’s true.

Brady: Sure it is. Behind the camera, the editing wizard himself, Joe [Decks 00:00:47]

Joe Decks: [inaudible 00:00:51]

Brady: [inaudible 00:00:51] and the man with the camera, Alex Mills.

Alex Mills: Thanks. It’s not really as special as it sounds, because I work here, but I’m here.

Brady: All right Roxanne, take us away with the first question.

Roxanne: All right, the first question comes from Chris, and he sent in a video.

Chris: Hey Brady and Roxanne. My name is Chris, and I’m the senior pastor of a church in northern California, about 20,000 people or so in our city. I listen to a lot of your guys’ podcasts and I follow you on social media. I’ve redone a lot of our website, and I’ve also have been aggressive on Facebook. We have about 180 people that like us, and about 170 or so that follow us.

We’ve been the senior pastors for a little under two years. We started out with 18 people, now we’re about 30 or so. We got some young families coming, which is nice. A lot of the people that we have following us on Facebook don’t necessarily live in our city, we have a few that do, and a few people that share, but for the most part within our church, they don’t share things as we would really, really like them to.

My question is, how do I reach people, apart from Facebook ads, how can I reach people within our own city, the one-off person, what are ways that we can encourage our congregation to share things, and how can I reach people, apart from Facebook ads, because we do that too?

Thank you guys. I appreciate of all your guys’ help, and appreciate all of the resources that you guys provide. Thank you guys, and we’ll talk to you soon. Bye bye.

Brady: Thank you Chris for the question, and thank you for all the additional details and context that you provided, per your unique church situation, super helpful in allowing me to answer this in a more individual and precise way.

It’s great to also hear that you’re already doing Facebook ads. Now, I love that you said that your city is about 20,000 people, because that’s almost the identical size of the city that Jonas, Roxanne and I grew up in, the church that we served in was in that city. None of the three of us actually lived in that actual city, and that’s kinda similar to what you said.

I don’t know if your city is similar. This city was named Alliston, where we grew up, about 20,000. Then there were these little towns on the outskirts, that a lot of us lived in, but the high school was there, a lot of the main stores were there. If you needed to hit up Giant Tiger, Giant Tiger’s Canadian, right?

Roxanne: I’m actually not sure. Jonas is saying, “Yes”.

Brady: I feel like they always had that … Yeah, nice. I wanted to drop some Canadian context. If you needed to hit up Giant Tiger for some bulk candy, you knew where you were going, into Alliston. So I know what it’s like to serve in a city of that size. Our church was the biggest in the city, and we were around 300.

Let’s talk about ways to grow and reach your city beyond Facebook ads. We’ve talked a lot about Facebook ads, let’s talk about some other promotional methods. First thing that came to mind was search engine optimization.

One of the best ways to be discovered, especially in a city like yours, where you can grab that number one spot, is to rank number one for the name of your city plus the word church. To use our city as an example again, the one that we grew up in, that we no longer live in.

Alliston church, if that was searched in Google, you’d want to show up number one. Search engine optimization is a beast when it comes to just all of the different options, but if you do a little bit of googling, search engine searching, you’ll be able to find how to search engine optimize, especially use the keyword, local search engine optimization, and you can get some actual additional tips. Very different for us, the way we do SEO, because we’re an online business, versus you as a local organization. SEO is the first thing that comes to mind.

The second thing that comes to mind is, if you’re already doing Facebook ads and SEO, you could consider Google Adwords, but if you’re doing SEO in the city of your size, I think that you could get the number one response in Google, and thus you wouldn’t need to do Adwords.

As a non-profit, assuming that you are an official non-profit, you could get the $10,000 per month Google Ads grant that they give to non-profits. They’ll give you up to $10,000 a month of free ad spend, as a non-profit, one of the best free things out there for churches, so you could get into Google Adwords that way.

We’ve got a ton of additional podcasts that we’ve done, and one was with Chad Hugghins, H-U-G-G-H-I-N-S, I believe is how you spell that, something close to that, Chad Hugghins. We did one with him, and he runs an agency where he works specifically with churches, helping them with that Google Ads grant. You could listen through that podcast for some ideas on that.

Finally, being an integrated part of your community is probably the most important, most longterm strategy. It’s not gonna yield a ton of short-term results, probably in years one, two, but years three, four, five, and beyond. This is how you position yourself as a church, as a cornerstone in the community.

With the size of city that you are ministering in, you’re the perfect sized city where you’re not so big that you as a church will just kind of be forgotten, everyone will be like, “Oh, that’s the church on the hill as you leave the city on the west side.” That was kind of how everyone knew us, because you’re a city that’s a certain size, people know you. What you can do is get involved with all the community events.

What I love about small towns is all the fun, like yearly festivals, ours was called Potatofest, short-termed by the high school kids to Potfest, and that’s not just a funny name, that was kind of what it was for, it seemed. Of course, we have no personal experience in that.

Roxanne: It’s true.

Brady: Truly, I’ve actually never done any drugs. The yearly festivals, my small town, we were like the honey capital of Canada. Our town’s name was Beeton, yes, a little on the nose, B-E-E-T-O-N, which is of course Bee Town originally. Come on Beeton, be better than that.

Roxanne: [inaudible 00:06:45]

Brady: We had the Honeyfest every single year, we also had the Beeton Fall Festival, that was kind of the carnival. There’s so many community events going on, that’s what’s great about living in a small town. You want to be a part of those, as many as possible.

Short term things you can do. Number one, SEO, get that number one search ranking for your city name plus church. Number two, look into that $10,000 per month free ad grant from Google Adwords, it’s gonna give a ton of resources that you won’t have to spend a dime on. Then number three, being involved in your community as a cornerstone organization. Bit more of a longterm approach, not gonna yield too many results in year one and two, but it is more important I would say, than the first two, but those are more short term.

The great thing about all three of these strategies is that they only require elbow grease and are 100% free.

Roxanne: Yeah. All right, question two comes from Nathan.

Nathan: Hi Brady and Roxanne. My name is Nate, and I’m the director of media at the gathering place, here in North Syracuse, New York. My question is about event registration.

We use Eventbrite for all of our registrations, so everything from paid events like conference registration, to free events like welcome coffee for recent visitors to our church. This is great, it keeps all our registrations in one place, but it’s a click that takes people away from our website.

We host our website on Clover, and they recently released a form that we can embed in any of our pages, so that we could do registrations right there. My question is, is it better to have all your registrations in one place, or is it better to keep people on your website?

Also, now that you completed your circuit of Major League Baseball stadiums Brady, I think your next thing should be to do a circuit of Triple-A stadiums, you should start right here in Syracuse, New York, so let’s set that up. Thanks guys.

Brady: Thanks for the question Nate. I think that the underlying theme of what you’re asking is, should we have all of event registration in one place? The question is, absolutely yes. We created Nucleus as a platform to make this easier for churches, for that single purpose.

Churches often will segment their next steps into the lobby, phone number, email address, talk to a pastor, go to our website, use our mobile app. We’re like, “Look, just centralize it all in a single location.”

If you’re able to do that on your website, great. There are so many different ways that you can accomplish this, and so I think it’s less about, “Do we go with Eventbrite, do you we go with Clover forums, or do we go with Nucleus?” It’s more about what is going to be the best solution for your end-user? It’s gonna be the simplest.

I think this is an important distinction, because a lot of churches in this instance will think too much about how easy is it for me and my staff? We think, “I like Eventbrite because we can have email notifications for instance.” I’m just making this up, hypothetically, “And that way, it’s easier for us to manage the sign-ups and direct them into the place they need to go.”

I’m not saying that the workflow, and user experience, and ease of use for your staff and volunteers shouldn’t be considered, but I think that you should over index on the user experience when it comes to your congregation.

Think 75% about that, 25% about your experience, because right now, we’re in a place, and Nucleus is aiming to change this, as we continue to build up the platform, but we’re in a place right now, where a lot of the times, we have to use multiple to tools, and either connect them via API or an existing integration, but currently, a lot of those don’t exist. We’ve got all these different tools that are kind of coming together and we’re trying to put them to play nice with one another, to just accomplish a single task.

I’m of the position that you should not, I repeat, should not look for that all-in-one tool. I have never found an all-in-one tool that actually does good. It usually does a ton of things poorly. I am totally a fan of using specialized tools, and allowing them to play nicely together.

The problem with the church space right now is that our software is often not as robust and sophisticated as mainstream software, because church software companies aren’t backed my millions of dollars of capital, and investing funding and seed-rounds, so we do things more slowly.

We’re just getting to the point where I speak with software companies all the time in the church world, where they’re beginning, and now they’re at the point where we’re ready for integration, so I think this is gonna change.

At the end of the day, you want to sit down and imagine what it’s like for someone within your church. What is it like for them to sign up? Make your decision on how you’re going to allow sign-ups to happen, whether it be through Clover forums, Eventbrite, or if you;r listening in Pro Church Nation, some other tool that you’re using. Think about what it’s like for them.

Don’t make the decision based on how easy it is for you as a staff. Because at the end of the day, you might need to be the intermediary between tool A and tool B, that don’t play nicely together. I would suggest that you put in the extra work, that manual work, to make it easier for your congregation and thus, improve the UI and thus, get more submissions, versus going with a tool that’s easier for you, the staff, that might not be as nice to use for the congregation, and then receiving less submissions.

That is the cardinal rule to follow. When it comes to decision making, one, get to the point of centralized form submissions, everything in one place, as simple as possible. The reason for that is, you can always give one call to action, one next step to your congregation, not, “Go talk to Pastor Andy, go call Sister Roberta, go to the website, go email this individual.” No, it’s always, “Go to this URL. This is the place, every time.” Very nice.

Then two, put the user experience first. Put the experience of your congregation first, and don’t make a decision based on your staff and volunteers, and the ease of use for them. Make it based primarily on the ease of use for your church.

Roxanne: All right, third question was sent in by Adam.

Adam: Hey Brady, hey Roxanne. My name’s Elizabeth, and my dad is a pastor who’s a big fan of you guys. Anyhow, he likes to put stories on Instagram and Facebook. He likes to tell stories about the things I do that remind him of his relationship with God. That’s pretty cool because he’s able to help people on social media, because you said you should.

I’m gonna reach a certain age where I’m not gonna think that’s very cool, when everybody in the whole church knows the stupid thing I did last weekend. Do you have any ideas for, to deal with the practical realities of posting stories about your kids on Facebook? Thank you. Bye.

Brady: Thanks for the question Elizabeth, I applaud your father’s efforts in continuing to get questions on the Ask Brady Show.

Roxanne: It’s true.

Brady: This is a smart way of getting it done. Firstly Adam, a couple of thoughts when it comes to your question. I feel like the well of stories that you could use, should not rely entirely on your daughter’s mistakes and foibles. I feel like there’s a lot of different directions that you could take that in.

Secondly, your daughter looks about one year oldish, and so what, you’ve got a good four years before she’s gonna be upset, my brother. You’ve got another 48 to 60 months of using her stories as fodder for your actual promotions, and announcements, and Instagram stories.

Finally, I think that if you’re looking for an example, and this is more of a serious response, if you’re looking for an example of someone who does this well, incorporating their family, and being funny with it, and poking fun without crossing the line, I think Carlos Whitaker is one of the best people who does this.

He does a ton of great stuff with his family, and he has no problem poking fun at his two daughters or son. Yet he also allows them to poke fun back. If you’re looking at how to manage this type of dynamic when your kids get older, talking young kid, pre-teen and teen, I think he’s kind of a perfect example of walking the line.

At the end of the day, you want to have fun with it, and allow yourself to poke fun at your kids, but then most importantly, and more frequently, allow that inverse to work as well, where your kids can poke fun at you. I’ve seen this, I don’t think it will be as much of a problem with the millennial generation as it was with previous, but that’s just a prediction.

You see with older types of individuals, especially grandparents, not as much parents, but still with the generation that would be my parents, where sometimes you can’t poke fun at them because of respect issues. My grandfather does this sometimes, where he won’t like it when people poke fun at him, and so I’ll purposely try to poke fun at him more.

Grandpa, I know you listen to the Ask Brady Show, and so I’m purposely saying this. We’ll have family gatherings, and I’ll purposely try to poke fun at him because I know he doesn’t like it. Is that a problem with me? Of course it is. I should stop, but I can’t.

I think the only way this works, is if you can make fun of yourself, then you can make fun of others. This is a leadership thing, not just a familial thing. When my team makes fun of the fact that I’ll often do this, and look at my hand, it’ll be like, “Do we have time to that?” When I’m not wearing the watch, and I do it all the time, literally, “Guys, when are we gonna have this project done?” And they’ll be like, “You don’t have a watch.” And I’ll be like, “I know.” Now it’s a thing where they make fun of me.

They should make fun of me more frankly, because being the public face of this company, and doing as much actual content that we do, audio, video, articles, you start to develop certain habits that you frequently go back to. One thing that I say all the time, I noticed that I said this on Sunday, doing hosting for church a lot was, “With that being said.” It’s one of my favorite transition points. I noticed, I was like, “Man, you said that three times in one segment, you need to find another one.” So then the final service, I switched it out.

There are so many tropes of Brady that you could make fun of, and my team doesn’t do it nearly enough, I encourage it. The watch one is great, “You’re not wearing a watch, idiot. Why do you keep looking at your wrist?.”

This works when you can make fun of yourself, then you can poke fun at others, and there’s a free exchange of fun poking, that’s what you wanted to do. Again, your daughter is one, and you’ve got probably a half decade before you have to worry about it, unless of course, you have other children.

Roxanne: It’s true. All right, last question comes from Steve. He says, “Really great and disappointing at the same time in regards to the church app topic. We’ve invested a ton of money with both Subsplash and Pushpay. What’s the solution then, if apps are going away, to still provide an intuitive, user-friendly experience for secure giving and being connected to all things church related, such as watching messages, joining groups, signing up for teams, all the church app perks?”

Brady: It wasn’t my intention to talk about this for a third week in a row, but Steve did post this in the comments, with the hashtag #askBrady. At first, I thought he was actually trying to set me up to talk about Nucleus, because it feels like that’s what it was, but I don’t think it was.

The reason that we built Nucleus was as partly, an alternative to the traditional mobile app. The reason that apps got so popular, and continue to be popular, but the reason that they became popular in the first place was, apps were able to do so much, that a traditional, typical internet browser could not.

With the advent of HTML5, and more advanced web languages, that’s no longer the case. You can do anything that you can do in an app, in a mobile browser, and so, why use a mobile app at all? Integrate it into your website. That’s kind of what Nucleus is all about, using your website as the one-stop shop for all of these kind of advanced things that websites don’t typically do, sign-ups, integrations, giving, event registration, watching robust media content like messages.

Now, websites can do that, so let’s create a website builder that allows for that, and is all built into one, so you don’t have to pay for multiple platforms, and so you can do it all in one. That’s what Nucleus is all about.

We’re not open right now, we are gonna be relaunching in the new year, but just yesterday, yesterday? Two days ago, we launched the new version of Nucleus to our existing users.

Just to tell you a little bit of the story of Nucleus, we opened up for the first time on April 25, 2017, and we were open for one week. Basically, we were inviting beta users onto the platform, to become what we call charter churches, because it has a nice alliteration. What is that alliteration when it’s the first two letters each? That’s like-

Roxanne: Are you sure that has a different name?

Brady: I don’t think it does, but I think we should come up with one. That’s like pro alliteration, charter churches. We had more than a thousand join us in the first week, and so we shut down registration after that first week.

Like I said, we’re gonna be reopening in early 2018, which means we’ll have spent about 18 months, and more than half a million dollars developing this platform, and we’re only gonna have been open in those 18 months for seven days.

We’ve been doing everything behind the scenes, why? Because I have a problem where if I am not fully behind a product, and I 100% believe in it, and know that it is great, I can’t promote it, and I can’t sell it.

It really helps with integrity of our company, but it doesn’t always help with our finances. It’s not great to spend $500,000 plus of your own money, and get very little in return.

Roxanne: That is bad business for sure.

Brady: But we don’t have a CFO, I am the CFO. I should fire myself from that position. Point being, it’s great for the end-user, and we just released the second version of Nucleus.

One of the great things about it getting 1,000 users in one week is, you feel good about yourself. One of the terrible things, is getting 1,000 people criticizing your work, that you’ve spent a ton of money on, and put in your heart and soul over the last year.

What was great about it in the longterm, aside from my hurt feelings, which are inconsequential to the user. Who cares about Brady’s feelings? Only Brady. Sometimes Roxanne, because I bother her with them, but point being is that we took all of our user feedback, and we’re like, “Hmm, this is what people want, this is what they wanted. There’s crossover there, but there’s a bunch of things that we don’t have yet. We need to rebuild this platform from scratch.”

We got some new developers, we built the entire platform all over again, with all the advanced features that people asked for, and the infrastructure, to add a ton of new advanced features on top of the existing Nucleus.

I like to use the analogy shockingly, of a sports team. You can have two teams with identical records, so let’s use football as an example because football’s happening right now. Football, you play 16 games per year. You could have two teams that both go eight and eight. They’re not a great team, but they’re not a bad team, they win half, they lose half.

One of those teams can be an old team that is just at the end of their run, maybe they used to be good. My San Francisco 49ers had a year like this, where they used to be good, but the team’s getting older, there’s internal issues, and it’s just not gonna get any better, it’s only gonna go downhill from here.

The other team could be a ton of young guys. They’re not quite hitting their peak yet, they’re still learning. They’re making mistakes, but they’ve got so much young energy and talent, you know they’re gonna get better.

Nucleus V1 was the old team, where we had maxed out its capabilities, by building it over a year, behind the scenes, with no users. Moving forward, it was probably not gonna be the platform we needed.

The new version of Nucleus is that young, exciting team that’s only gonna go up. On the outside, both have the exact same record. Both look pretty similar, but one has the infrastructure to grow and win in the future, the other did not.

That’s what the new Nucleus platform has. We’ve had an amazingly smooth roll-out so far with our existing users. Everyone is thrilled with the new platform. Now, we’re just gonna keep adding, and adding, and adding.

Your question is this, what other platform should we be using, now that you have to go into a giant church app, and use the browser to find your individual church app, which essentially works like a browser?

Look, ditch the app. Get rid of it and use a platform like Nucleus as your website, as the main thing that does everything. One single landing spot. Every single call to action can be, go to mychurch.com. Everything is there. Not only will this help you show up in search, but it can be your hub for everything within your church.

This is the way that we’re going. This is the direction. Do you think that millennials are gonna want to use paper sign-ups, or are gonna want to do everything by hand, and use these antiquated, old school platforms?

“No, we’re the biggest generation in the world, we’re the biggest generation in the workforce, we’re the biggest generation in the voting world. Your church may not be full of us yet, but it’s gonna be in the decade that we are.” Whether it’s your church or another church.

It’s important now, to start building the infrastructure to allow for technology and digital in your church, because it’s native to us. It’s just the way I do everything, and so if your church isn’t gonna allow for that, it’s gonna be tough.

To use us as an example, I’ve used this before, I’ll say it again. I started going to counseling three or four months ago. The reason I chose the counselor that I did, and I had a dozen different options, is because my counselor had an online booking calendar.

Roxanne: Oh, that’s the best.

Brady: It is the legit only reason I went with him, because I didn’t know what made a good counselor and what didn’t. I’d never done it before. I went with him because he had an online booking calendar, and I didn’t have to call someone, because the first person I did try calling, they didn’t pick up, and I was like, “Wow, that’s no [inaudible 00:24:00] I’m not gonna call back.” Found a booking calendar, I’ve been with him ever since. He got my business, and our relationship, entirely because of his website.

Your church’s website is the most important marketing tool that you have. Your church’s website is the number one way that you’re making a first impression every single week. Sometimes you make a first impression word of mouth, but the majority of the time, it’s gonna happen through your website. Investing in it longterm is the way to go.

We’re building the Nucleus platform for this entire reason, and we’re gonna be reopening in 2018, which is exciting. If you’re an existing charter member, great news, because you are gonna have a crazy discount, and you have access to the platform right now.

If not, mark your calendar for the first quarter of 2018. Just mark off the first three months, just be like-

Roxanne: All three of them.

Brady: March, busy. February, busy. January, busy. Why? Waiting for Nucleus.

With that being said, we’ll close out this episode of the Ask Brady Show. If you want your question answered, you can always send in a video question to the email hello@prochurchtools.com. When you do that, you’ll be sent immediately to the top of the queue, just like Elizabeth and Adam were, as well as the other two video questions asked this week.

Of course, if you don’t mind waiting, you can always send in a text-based question to that same email, or you can put your text-based question on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube, with the hashtag #askBrady.

Thanks for watching Pro Church Nation. As always, we love you, deeply, very much.

Say that you love Pro Church Nation.

Roxanne: I love Pro Church Nation.

Brady: Yes. Nice. Jonas?

Joe Decks: I’m loving chicken grease.

Brady: Jonas said, “I love chicken grease.” We’ll use that as the last thing on this episode, because we’re running off the rails, real quick.

We’ll see you in the next episode. Talk soon.



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