The building and maintaining of an online presence is a cornerstone to your ministry’s success. From the improved visibility of your brand as you recruit and enlist fans to the positive outcome in growth, being well-represented online will be well worth your time and investment.
With all the great marketing options available to ministries, it’s easy to become paralyzed. Focus on these 4 important elements to stay on track and reach your goals.
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” -Simon Sinek
Regularly, you must diligently remind yourself of the ‘why’ of your ministry. What is the purpose in your being in ministry? What is the reason that you do what you do?
As you focus and determine the core of your ministry’s mission and purpose of existence, the ‘what’ of that which you do can follow course. This exercise can then permit you to better understand and know ‘how’ to position yourself in the market as well as ‘where’ to promote your ministry in order to reach your targeted audience.
Thus, the definition of your ministry’s ‘why’ sets you apart from others and provides you a better focus–on those you serve and how you serve them.
With this focused attention on your ministry, you may now objectively begin an effective climb up the “digital Mount Everest” before you, in order to create a solid and effective online presence for your ministry.
A professional and well-thought-out online presence is not an option. You must have a website that serves to present a vital touch point for all of your marketing efforts. A well-designed and functional website that clearly communicates your ministry’s ‘why’ is critical.
First impressions are significantly important. As prospective ministry partners stumble upon your website from their local search queries, your website (or lack thereof) is making an impression on these prospective partners.
Responsive mobile is a must. More and more people are actively using their smartphones and other mobile devices to access the internet while they are on the go. Your website experience must be responsively designed and optimized for the various mobile device sizes.
- Local Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Local search is so very important to the success of your local ministry. If you are not showing up online, you are not an option for the 92% of people who use the internet to conduct local searches.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most cost-effective ways to reach a large percentage of your audience. When implemented correctly, SEO does well to direct prequalified and targeted customers, who are ready to buy to your website.
When website visitors enter a search term within their search engine of choice (i.e. Google, Bing, AOL, etc), your optimized website has a stronger opportunity to appear on the first results page. Potential visitors may then see and click your link in order to access the specific information that they are searching.
Consider the fact that 50% of mobile searchers use Google to find a nearby product and store and then visit that store within a day of the search. Making your local ministry opportunities visible to those searching is definitely worth the time and effort.
You can help local search engines and new visitors find your ministry online by simply keeping these SEO tips and reminders on radar:
- SEO needs to be integrated in all of your digital marketing efforts.
- Your online user experience is important, so create the best online experience as possible for your visitors (i.e. easy website navigation, responsively designed & mobile friendly, remove any 404 Error pages, implement necessary 301 Redirects, etc.).
- Your current ministry partners and vendor relationships can help you earn authoritative inbound links from their relevant websites. Ministries should regularly assess the low-hanging fruit of your relationships to determine which of your constituents may authentically be able and interested to link to your website, providing a resource to their website users.
- Your local-market ministry has added SEO potential when you integrate a hyper-local SEO approach with the local-market aggregators, and claim your ministry on Google My Business, Yelp, CitySearch, etc.
- Social Media
Social media marketing remains a game-changer in the natural ways that the various platforms actively work to connect and engage the local community members on behalf of your ministry:
- Brand Awareness. Your social media channels are excellent platforms to communicate your ministry & brand’s messaging and content to your online communities. The outlets create an easier and more accessible way to reach current partners with your promotional and informational messages while also connecting with new users in your local region.
- Brand Loyalty. 53% of Americans who follow brands on social media are more loyal to those brands according to Convince & Convert.
- Improved SEO. With the search engines calculated algorithms, social media continues to play a more significant role. Google and other search engines are now calculating their rankings using social media presence as a significant factor.
- Customer service. For ministry marketers, social media platforms have become much more than marketing and promotional platform opportunities. As they develop a strong and loyal audience within the social communities, ministry brands can engage and serve their followers through timely and thorough customer service.
Implementing these essential elements will help your ministry grow and thrive online.
For more information about how you can optimize your website to gain more website traffic, please check out my “How to Increase Blog Traffic | SEO Techniques” article.