10 Weeks Until Easter: What’s Your Church Doing?

Christmas is over. Mother’s Day is still a little ways off. But there is a buzz going around the church office. Easter must be soon. Ten Sundays between now and Easter weekend, to be exact.

Easter is the highest attended weekend of the year for churches. We have a unique opportunity to reach those we normally wouldn’t reach with the very best news (ever!). What is your church doing to celebrate Easter and Lent? We would love to hear what your church is doing to communicate its Easter services, how you’re celebrating with your community, how your messages will be branded, what you are doing to follow up with your new guests the week after, etc.

Join the Easter conversation on the Church Marketing Lab or here in the comments section. As you’re developing the look of your Easter marketing pieces and sermon branding, be sure to upload your images to the pool in the Lab, as well—a great place to get feedback and to inspire and encourage other creatives!

Courtesy of: ChurchMarketingSucks.com

The above is written by: Laura Bennett
Laura is a Georgia girl living in Chapel Hill, N.C., as a freelance graphic designer and communications consultant. She has served as communications director at The Fellowship (formerly Two Rivers Baptist Church) and is a Creative Missions alum.

Responsive Design is Responsible Design

This society is on the verge of becoming completely… as in 100%… mobile. Sales of smartphones and tablets have overtaken desktop sales. Mobile internet usage is expected to eclipse desktop usage as early as next year.

So our question to you is… Is your website responsive?
If your answer is yes, then congratulations and we’ll see you at our next blog post.
If your answer is no, then this is a great time for an “upgrade” on your current model.

 What is a responsive website?

A website that is responsive adapts for optimal viewing on all desktop and mobile devices. Desktops/laptops, smartphones, e-readers, and tablets all have various screen resolutions, screen sizes, operating systems, and supporting browsers.

Before responsive design, businesses resorted to creating multiple websites… one for desktops, others for mobile devices. Now, you can have your site built once and work seamlessly across all platforms and screens.

The benefits of responsive web design are obvious. Besides only having to build one website for your business. Websites that aren’t optimized for mobile can severely hurt your traffic… and by extension, potential sales. Since nearly everyone in the world is using their phones or tablets to connect online, a website that “doesn’t work” on their device is a major turn off. A responsive website is the easiest way to ensure you are reaching all of your visitors and potential customers no matter where or how they access your site as well as giving them a great user experience regardless of the device.

Frankly, this is one wave of the future you should be riding.

Are you ready to take responsibility and be responsive? Let us know… we can help!

How to Create a Facebook Page

Web Faith Media Facebook PageHaving a presence on Facebook is an incredibly easy way for a Christian ministry, church, or movement to accelerate it’s reach. Not to be confused with a personal profile page, a Facebook page/fan page can serve as a great connection point, allowing you to engage with a greater number of people on a daily basis. These two videos will help you get started.

This first video will walk you through the initial steps of creating your fan page.

And this next video from MagneticTV will walk you through all of the basic controls and settings you’ll need to pilot your fan page like a pro.

The 12 Essentials of Church Communications

This is a guest post by Tim Peters from Sayge Communications

The church is the hope of the world. As church leaders we have the responsibility of communicating the greatest message known to mankind; the only message capable of changing a person’s entire eternity.

The weight of that responsibility is both profound and incredible. It moves us to action and demands that we communicate it well.

Yet oftentimes, churches have a difficult time communicating this message because they don’t understand the basics of church marketing and communications.

Think about it … Is your church clear on who they are and where they are going? Does your church use social media to nurture and grow relationships? Has your church spent unhurried time developing a brand that resonates with people in your church and community? Does your website accurately communicate the uniqueness of your church? Have you evaluated and observed what guests experience on a Sunday morning? Does your community even know you exist?

These things may not seem significant,

but they are critical. In fact, they are essential.

At Sayge, we have spent years researching and identifying the 12 Essentials to Church Communications and have developed a resource that equips Church Communications leaders to master them.

The 12 Essentials Church Marketing and Communications are:

Vision Identification

Vision Identification is clarifying who you are, what you do, why you do it and where you are going.

Brand Standards
Brand Standards are the compilation of documents where articulate your key communication messages, establish a visual identity and explore ways to protect your brand.

Communication Strategy
Your communication strategy helps you determine what, when and how you will communicate.

Project Systems

Andy Stanley says, “The systems down the hall trump the vision on the wall.” If you don’t have systems in place, standards and strategy mean absolutely nothing.

Social Media
Learning to use social media to reach the lost and to extend the influence of the church isn’t just a good idea; it’s a must.

Web Essentials
Today’s church visitors will most certainly check out your church on the Internet before they attend for the first time. Your website should be a web experience, not just a website.

Guest Experience
Your first time guest experience is critical to guests returning to your church, and possibly to any church.

Audience Connection
Ever been disconnected on the phone but not realize it until you have finished speaking?  Then you understand the importance of making sure you are connected to your audience.

Volunteer Mobilization
You have an army of creatively gifted people who attend your church every week. Learning to recruit, train and mobilize them will catapult your communications ministry to levels you never dreamed possible.

Creative Leadership
Creative people are not easy to lead and motivate.  Understanding how to lead creative people, and those in authority over you who lack creativity is critical.

External Marketing
Most churches make the same marketing mistakes: the message is not unique; the content is not inviting; and there’s no long-term strategy in place. If that description fits your church’s marketing, it’s time to make some changes.

Storytelling Principles
At the end of the day, stories move people.  Effective storytelling is always more effective than just another event announcement.
The good news is, you don’t need hours of research, big budgets and countless cups of coffee to master The Essentials of Church Communications. The Sayge monthly training resource replaces the hours of research you’ll spend looking for great marketing and communication resources. And it contains the wisdom of some of the greatest church communication leaders in our nation today.
Each month you will receive a coaching video, comprehensive eBook, and hands-on application tools to help you master the 12 Essentials of Church Communications; and all at a price that won’t break or even stretch your budget.

Check out Sayge if you’re ready to master the basics of Church Communications.

How Churches Use Social Media

Web Faith Media came across the info-graphic below on Mashable the other day, and I thought you’d like to see it. Created by Buzzplant, the infographic examines how churches are using social media. Take a look at the graphic and compare its findings to the usage patterns of your own church — do you feel like you’re on par, ahead of the curve, or lagging behind (purposefully or otherwise)? Whatever the case, the findings are pretty interesting.

Church Website Audience

… targetting your church website

Aiming at two groups of people
The most successful church websites are those designed with their target audience clearly in mind. Your target audience is simply those people who you hope to attract to your site. Good church websites are hard to create because they must reach two target audiences, not just one. The key to ensuring that your website works well is to design according to the different needs of these two audiences.

Your first and most important audience is those people who are not yet Christians but who are considering coming to your church. The church website offers them an ideal way to find out about the church, and the Christian faith, in an anonymous way before taking the plunge and coming along in person. Your site needs to be accessible in language and style giving these visitors a positive impression.

Your website’s second audience is your existing church members. This group is less important than the first, simply because there is probably little which you can place on the website that they don’t already know, or can’t easily find out from another source. So do provide information relevant to church members, but not at the expense of making the site inaccessible to your main audience of non-churchgoers. Everything you put on your site says something about your church, consider whether or not putting the breakdown of last year’s finances and lengthy minutes of the annual church meeting are a good idea (the answer is ‘probably not’).

Providing relevant content
The key to good design is to ask yourself what the members of each target audience are looking for when they visit your website. Potential visitors to your church may want to know:

  • Is this church weird, or do normal people go as well?
  • What do Christians believe?
  • Why do people go to church?
  • Where is the church?
  • How do I get in contact?
  • What times are the services?
  • Which service should I go to?
  • What events/activities are they running that interest me?
  • Are there facilities for children?

Many church websites do not answer this type of question. We try to help all Web Faith Media partners maximize their sites’ potential by providing ongoing quality checks. When looking at other church websites we often come across those which look good, but don’t rate highly because they are not focused on the needs of non-churchgoers. By contrast, a good church website is aimed primarily at those who do not yet come to church.

The sort of information church members may look for on the website is very different. They are more likely to ask questions like:

  • Who is preaching next Sunday?
  • What is coming up in the diary?
  • Is the prayer meeting on Tuesday or Wednesday?

Since the questions church members ask are so different from those asked by other visitors, it is almost impossible to write one page which is interesting to both sets of visitors. Either you end up giving church members information they already know, in which case they won’t bother looking at the website very much, or you confuse potential church visitors.

We strongly recommend that all church websites have a page called ‘Visitors’ high up on the main menu. Within this page you should outline in plain English a few facts about the church and what a visitor can expect. Potential visitors to a church can be simply put off by not knowing what to expect at a church service – a visitor’s page gives them the information they need to be confident enough to come. See further information on the Plan Your Church Website page.

In addition to a visitors page you should try and avoid using ‘in-house’ language, if for certain reasons you have to use a word such as ‘liturgy’ or ‘Eucharist’ then an asterisk with an explanation will really help – but where possible avoid cliquey words. If necessary have different pages for different audiences. For example, to tell people about the Sunday services create one page containing the basic information which an enquirer might need to know (e.g. service times, crèche etc.), and then provide a link to a second page which contains detailed information for church members (e.g. who is preaching, crèche rota etc.). Alternatively, place more in-depth information towards the bottom of the page so new visitors do not have to wade through too much material to read the key points. If this is done throughout the site then you will achieve your aim of providing a website which is welcoming and informative for both your casual visitors and your church members.

An additional audience
There is a third group of people who will visit your site, namely those people who are already Christians but who don’t attend your church. Perhaps they attend another local church and are looking to share resources with others, or perhaps they recently moved into the area and are looking for a new church. Whoever they are, there is no need to design your website specifically to reach these people. If you have followed the advice given above, your church site will already welcome them and provide all the information they need to know.

Where To Start

Welcome to Web Faith Media. If you’re interested in learning how to build a better web presence for your congregation, you’ve come to the right place. I’m Brother Euclid Herbert, and my not-so-secret passion is helping religious communities of all stripes leverage the Web.

So many congregations are intimidated by the Web. It’s understandable. Few have the resources of e-commerce, many of our leaders grew up long before the Web was a twinkle in Tim Berners-Lee’s eye, and the Web itself changes at a breakneck pace. And then there are all of the other priorities tugging at a congregation’s coat. Increasingly, however, congregational leaders realize it’s imperative to have a good website.

The good news is building the Web is not just manageable, it’s a potential source of joy to all involved. Just get the backing of leadership, find the right people to do the various jobs, get organized and be informed.

Speaking of being informed, below I’ve broken this blog’s more substantial entries into a few categories.

Start Here

Welcome to Web Faith Media. If you’re interested in learning how to build a better web presence for your congregation, you’ve come to the right place. I’m Brother Euclid Herbert, and my not-so-secret passion is helping religious communities of all stripes leverage the Web.

So many congregations are intimidated by the Web. It’s understandable. Few have the resources of e-commerce, many of our leaders grew up long before the Web was a twinkle in Tim Berners-Lee’s eye, and the Web itself changes at a breakneck pace. And then there are all of the other priorities tugging at a congregation’s coat. Increasingly, however, congregational leaders realize it’s imperative to have a good website.

The good news is building the Web is not just manageable, it’s a potential source of joy to all involved. Just get the backing of leadership, find the right people to do the various jobs, get organized and be informed.

Speaking of being informed, below I’ve broken this blog’s more substantial entries into a few categories.