Archives For church marketing

modernized-tithing-texting-kiosksAs the Church has progressed into the 21 Century, many of its functions have been modernized.  We have guest services instead of ushers. Our fellowship halls in the back of the buildings have become Café’s and lounges in the front of the Church. Our music has moved from Hymnals to Projectors. Yet with all the modernization the Church is going through, one thing remains etched in the stones of the past – Our systems of tithes and offerings.

Fewer People are carrying Cash or Checks

Fewer and fewer people in today’s society pay with cash or checks. We even find that Millennials are using credit cards at an all-time low, as well. This leads to a dilemma for Churches. How do we get people to give tithes and offerings, when their only choices of giving are cash, checks and sometimes credit cards?

Here are some surprising trends in Consumer Spending:

  • 2 out of 5 people carry less than $20 on their person (Bankrate)
  • 38% of consumers NEVER write checks. Another 20% only write a few per year (The Financial Brand)
  • 6 in 10 Millennials do not have a credit card (Washington Post)

These trends will eventually become a tipping point to where the tithe and offerings payment options offered do not reflect the payment methods people have with them while at Church.

A New Approach to Giving

It is true that people carry less cash, write fewer checks and carry less credit card debt, but there is one interesting fact. They all have money in a bank. The issue is the way they spend money. Their payment methods now consist of paying bills and buying goods online with a bank card.

Knowing this, we can create a system that capitalizes on the congregations ability to pay electronically. Better yet, we can make giving even more easier, increasing the revenues that come into our churches. Even better, giving doesn’t have to be done in a 5 minute devotional time in between Worship and preaching. It can be done at any time in the lobby or on their cell phones.

Part 1: SMS Text Messaging

Everyone has their smartphone in your service. A lot of them are using You Version to follow the message. Knowing they do mobile banking, why not offer them an easy way to tithe?

Enter www.kindrid.com. This service, and others like it, allows Churches to setup giving via Text Message. You have seen these in various forms, most notably the Red Cross. You have seen their advertisements for, “Text #XXXX to donate $10.”

With this solution, your Church sets up a giving number. You then include this number in bulletins or during announcements. People text the amount they want to give to the number and they are done. It is fast and simple for both the Church and the congregation.

Part 2: Congregation Based Giving Apps

Tablets are taking the World by storm. Combining these with smartphones, we can account for nearly every person attending a Worship service. We can make it as easy to give as creating an app that allows them to give right from their smartphone or tablet.

How do you create a giving app without spending a fortune to develop it? Well, there is an app for that. It’s called www.givelify.com. Givelify offers Churches a branded app for tithing and offerings. Pricing varies, but it is priced the way a credit card transaction is priced: example – 2.9% + $0.30 per donation. Users are used to this, since this is how paypal charges its fees.

The trick is getting people to download the app. The trick is to use QR codes. In your Worship service handouts and in announcements, place a QR code that leads to the app install. A simple click of the camera and the app is installed. From there, the user can give anytime he or she feels led.

Part 3: Giving Kiosks

Giving Kiosks are beginning to gain traction with Pastors. Why limit giving to the actual Church service, when you can allow people to give before and after service, as well? A giving kiosk will stand in the foyer area of the Church and provide visitors the easiest way possible to give their tithes and offerings.

They consist of three parts, an ipad, giving app and a stylish modern kiosk. SecureGive offers this as an all in one package. It can be seen at http://www.lilitab.com/pages/solutions.

SecureGive did a survey of Churches that used its services and found that giving increased by 27%. The study also found that the offerings given on the kiosk were 20% higher than non-kiosk giving.

With these applications in place, Churches can encourage giving from the front of the Church to the back of the Church. Thanks to technology, not only can we make giving easier, we can do it in an affordable manner.  All of the solutions mentioned are cost effective and provide a very low barrier of entry so that every Church can get in and test these new ways of giving.

 

 

Social Media PlatformToday’s post is from Jason Caston who helps to equip churches as they connect their ministry with the online community. There are many resources are available on his blog ichurchmethod.com. I recently asked Jason to share with us some of the up and coming social media platforms that have gained popularity.

An interesting transition is happening in the world of social media, Facebook is undoubtedly the king of the hill and Twitter is up there as well but the popular new kid on the block is Instagram and it’s here to stay.  Instagram now has 200 Million users, over 20 billion photos shared, 1.6 billion likes daily and 60 million photos posted daily (instagram.com/press).  With this type of impact it’s no wonder that Instagram is one of the best social media platforms we use for our ministry (our main ministry account is instagram.com/bishopjakes).

In order to be effective on Social Media you must have a strategy, and Instagram is no exception.  Before we post a single graphic or video, we make sure we have an overall strategy for Instagram and an idea of what we consider success.  Overall, our strategy for Instagram includes consistently posting photos/graphics and videos that are inspirational, informational and conversational.  Now let’s break that down, first thing we make sure is that we have a consistent flow of content and posting between 2 – 5 times daily.  Next, we want to post inspirational content that uplifts and inspires our audience, we also want to post informational content that keeps our audience updated on things going on with the ministry.  Lastly, we want to make sure we keep our posts conversational by responding to comments and questions as often as possible.

Now that we have our strategy laid out, we have to actually create and post the content.  Devotional memes are created using our graphic artists or apps like Tweegram, we basically take the daily devotional we post on Facebook or Twitter and add it to a meme and post on Instagram.  When we have events we make sure we create flyers or posters that we post on social media, including Instagram.  Normally, our flyers are 900×1500 and we make sure we have a 600×600 version created for Instagram.  One of our most engaging posts are based on our Sunday services where we take an action shot of our pastor and add a quote from his sermon to the photo and post it.  Also, we take 15 second clips from his sermons and post those as well, which for some people is the only ministry they receive and we understand how powerful this platform can be.  Lastly, one of the things that our audience loves most is the personal and family moments that are posted by our pastor, Bishop T.D. Jakes.  Whether it’s a banana pudding he baked for his family or a hug he is sharing with his children, people love to see his transparent moments as a father, husband, family man and regular individual.

Overall, Instagram is yet another platform that our ministry uses to visually tell our story as a ministry.  We have so many individual stories from our members, leaders, staff and volunteers that showcase how impactful this ministry is and how great the gospel can be.  And the best part of it all is through all of the photos, videos, devotionals, quotes and everything we post, God gets the glory.  Amen.

Jjasoncastonason Caston (@jasoncaston) is the author of The iChurch Method (ichurchmethod.com). Additionally, he is also the Digital Platform and Innovation specialist at T.D. Jakes Ministries.

 

Pinterest Pinboards of Churches

 

One of the last social media platforms for churches to consider is Pinterest.  Several months ago, when I took a look at compiling a complete list of churches using Pinterest as a part of their social media communications toolset, there weren’t that many to list.  My twitter buddy @djchuang also took a swipe at listing churches on Pinterest recently you should be aware of.

But there’s plenty of reasons why Pinterest is something all churches should take a look at.  Here are some of them:

  • The average Pinterest user says on the site for 98 minutes per month. That’s more than 1.5 hours to capture their attention.
  • 20% of all US women are on Pinterest.  And 80% of Pinterest users are women. Guess who also typically makes the decision for which church to attend in a given family?
  • Pinterest users SHARE content – 80% of pins are shared content.
  • Unbelievable growth – From 9/2012 to 9/2013, there was a 60% growth in web traffic referrals.
  • 4.8% of Americans are using Pinterest at work.

Today, there’s a bunch more that have jumped on the bandwagon.  Take a look below at the 150+ churches with Pinterest accounts and active on the platform:

Complete Updated List of Churches on Pinterest

Continue Reading…

One of the biggest tools you can utilize in your communications when trying to get people to consume content, sign-up for your program or attend an event is SOCIAL PROOF.

So what is it and how does it look like when put into action on the web?

Well, social proof (of some nerdies call it “information social influence”) is taking a scenario where the end user is given some choices (buy something, attend something, sign-up for something, etc) and presenting some traction data, show the other people “like you” are doing X, Y or Z.  Basically. this helps people psychologically take the risk to move in the same direction as the others doing so.  Usually, this is more effective in circumstances where the choices might be a bit ambiguous or if there isn’t a clear demonstrated need to participate (it’s not mission critical).

Shopping is one environment that is a great example.  Here’s a great example of Crocs using it in a customer email blast:

 

social proof with social media - facebook twitter pinterest

 

Do you see how they are presenting the highlighted products based on the “MOST ______ed” across the three major social networks?

But it’s not limited to shopping obviously. when you provide social proof, it taps the assumption that the people around you are making good choices and removes some of the needed decision discernment.  Social proof increases confidence in the behavior being presented as a successful one.

 

Billions Served social proof example

There are many ways social proof can be offered.  Five different ways social proof is expressed are:

  1. Crowd-based social proof –– This is the Crocs example above.  Using the masses to signal suggested choices is highly effective.
  2. Celebrity or high influencer social proof — traditional endorsements leverage the high-profile individual’s brand equity by association to provide the proof to the audience
  3. End user social proof — This can be featuring user reviews.  Displaying Zagat or Yelp review counts and specific examples is an example of this.
  4. Expert or authority social proof — Using the testimonial of a sector expert or someone positioned with authority on the category or topic related to the behavior being proofed
  5. Personal friend networks social proof — you’ve seen Facebook ads feature specific friends within your own personal network that have already “liked” or purchased something.

Whether you are trying to increase the effectiveness of your donor development communications, registration for specific events or fundraisers, or even take up a new praxis or discipline, social proof can be a powerful tool to employ across your communications efforts.

What specific marketing communications project are you working on now that could benefit from integrating social proof?  Share your live examples and we can help brainstorm how to maximize the impact.

  • The average person takes 2-3 seconds to decide
  • Clutter is the single biggest enemy that we have (as church marketers).
  • Your name matters more than ever.  Packaging matters more than ever.
  • The platform — the way you deliver the message — becomes just as important as the message itself.

Why am I so passionate about better communications efforts coming out of the Church? Because there’s a cool ending whenever someone really hears Jesus’ story.

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” ~Matthew 4:19 NIV

Video HT: Your Jesus Story

Whenever we engage in church marketing activities, we all want the gospel to be the centerpiece of the message.

But if you step back and take a look at much of the communications coming out of our churches — to both (A) people within the church body as well as (b) those that are external in the community outside the church walls, a realistic assessment will reveal that there is a lot of clutter.

Does your church use a lot of “insider” language?  Have you fallen into the trap of simply recycling materials year after year?  If someone that has never been to your church read anything you’ve published, would they be confused about what you want them to do and what the benefit is to them?   Has your basic messaging become overrun with too many other random details that make it hard to see the big pitcture?

ineffective church marketing

Here’s a video that demonstrates well what I believe happens with a good majority of church communications today:

Upon reflection, is your church more like Apple or Microsoft?  Be truthful and share your reactions.

Pinterest is taking the social media scene by storm.

The platform’s users are overwhelmingly women (90%!) as of now. In 5 months, the has gained over 15 million new users.  WOW.

One of the stats that stand out about typical Pinterest behavior that speaks into the potential from a word of mouth marketing perspective is that 80% of of the content on Pinterest is shared content — that’s the essence of what social media is about.   Contrast this with Twitter users, where only 1.4% of the content is passed along (via Retweeting) by other users.

What to make of this?  It means that the chances of content to spread has huge potential on Pinterest.

The mad rush from business is taking place as new teaching content starts to emerge about how to take advantage of the traffic referrals that can happen with content introduced to the Pinterest ecosystem.

Take a look at this infographic that shares some of the interesting aspects of the Pinterest social media platform:

Infographic on Pinterest Basics

The question that arises of course is, what about the church? Can Pinterest be seen as an effective vehicle for church marketing?

I’ve been spending time on Pinterest over the last several weeks now and have started to formalize some approaches for sharing content which in turn drives traffic to the site where the images were originally picked-up.  I hope to share some of these practices in the near future here.

But in the meantime, here is a round-up of various posts that have started to explore how Pinterest might be relevant to church communications:

YouTube is the #2 search engine on the web today.

In the time it takes you to read this post, over 100 hours of video have been uploaded to YouTube.  That’s because over 48 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube.com every minute of every day.

And people are watching a lot of it.   Viral video campaigns have changed our culture with millions and millions of video views.

And as we become a YouTube nation, viral videos are changing themselves.
YouTube Viral Videos in Church Marketing

So what makes a video go viral?  There are tons of people studying the phenomenon.  Here’s one guy that might be worth your video view — his job is to go to work each day and watch YouTube videos all day long.  Kevin Allocca is the “trends manager” at YouTube (as if trends can be managed. LOL).  But anyway, he recently spoke at TED sharing his 3 insights for why and when videos go viral across the Interwebs.

Check out his TED talk and see if you agree with him:

I believe the church marketer has the opportunity to produce messaging (and in video format too) that hits upon the points Kevin shares in his presentation on viral videos.  What can your church be doing to become the tastemaker locals come to trust and follow?  I’m talking about becoming the curator of excellent content, highlights of life in your city, and interviews with interesting people in your community.   Becoming relevant to the people outside your church walls is one way of gaining attention and trust as a contributor to community life in your city.

Now wouldn’t that be a totally unexpected yet refreshing role for a local church?