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Build and they will come…

In 2017, it’s more like “build and they will watch or think about coming.”

Whether it’s brick & mortar or a completely digital company or church, people won’t come just because your “open” sign is on. Large corporations and franchises have an advantage in this respect because they either have the branding or the budget to drive leads with little to no leg work.

Small business and especially churches are at a disadvantage because not only are they fighting budgeting constraints and lack of brand awareness but they’re also competing against the large corporations and franchises that don’t have those challenges.

So, how do you get them to come?

Sorry, if you were looking for a one-step simple solution, I don’t have it. You shouldn’t believe anyone who says they do either. The answer is that there’s no one answer but rather multiple small improvements you can make and additional channels you can invest in to increase your brand awareness and drive leads.

Here are my top 3 recommendations for growth:

  1. Branding – Whether you’re a person, small business or church – branding goes far! This is where your brand awareness begins. A consistent look and feel, solid logo and tagline and a brand name and a voice that says who you are is your basic level of branding. Make sure you have it. People will learn about the products or services you offer as they familiarize themselves with your brand. Once they become comfortable with your brand, they begin to trust you. Trust turns in to $ales!
  2. Online Optimization – I’ve said it in a previous blog and I’ll say it again – to succeed, every business needs a strong digital presence. With that comes the need for a good website, social media presence, reviews, online listings and more. Optimizing your presence online is a  necessary step in building your brand. Having a website is not enough anymore. You need to be present everywhere!
  3. Network! – Self-explanatory but I’ll explain. Your network isn’t just the people you know. It’s your potential customers and future members. Stop just putting marketing messages in front of them. Like their posts on social media, support what they support and engage them whenever you can. Stop asking for fans and become a fan; become their advocate and they’re one step closer to becoming your customer.

-Tyeisha

tyeisha@reachmarketingsolution.com

Your Digital Presence

Like street signs or billboards do offline, your digital presence ensures that customers who search online find their way so they can visit in person.

To succeed, every business in the world needs a strong digital presence. 

A complete digital presence includes:

  • Good website
  • Social media profiles & posts
  • Online directory listings
  • Organic search ranking
  • Customer reviews

These things not only need to be present but they need to be correct. On average, 57% of religious institutions’ online listings contain incorrect information!

Why is that? It’s because most small businesses and churches assume that by creating their website, their online presence is a given; not true. In addition, they don’t take the time to set up all of their listings, so instead, the search engines create them for you. And when you allow them to create your listing, you become subject to whatever they scrape together.

Our solution lets you control this. You can control your online presence and ensure your information online is complete and correct.

Do you want to see if you’re among 57% with incorrect listings? Check Now!

Online Stats that Every Church Should Know

There are 3.6 billion people in the world actively online. Whether it’s social media, a wide range of searches or looking for national news, people are online the majority of the day. Their online activity is extremely important to corporations, small businesses and yes, even churches. We’re changing the dynamic of how we’re reaching them so understanding this new communications channel is essential.

Here are some general online stats that every church should be aware of:

  • 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine
  • There are 6,586,013,574 searches a day, worldwide
  • 75% of people never scroll past the first page of search engines
  • Bounce rates increase by 50% if your website takes 2 seconds extra to load
    • Conversions fall by 12% for every extra second that it takes your website to load
  • 86%of people look up the location of a business on Google Maps
  • 1/3 of the world uses social networks regularly
  • 72% of adult internet users use Facebook
  • Twitter has 313 million monthly active users
  • By 2019, mobile advertising will represent 72% of all U.S. digital ad spending
  • 94% of people cited poor web design as the reason they mistrusted or rejected a website
  • 96% of clicks on search engines come from organic listings vs. paid
  • 41% of ranking citations come from inconsistent listings
  • 66% of all businesses have suffered a search engine penalty

SEO and website optimization are essential to your success. The above reasons are why. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: having a website is not enough and optimization requirements are only going to increase as we delve deeper into the digital world.

Every church should be cognizant of digital trends and requirements in order to maintain relevancy online. It’s not something that’s “optional” in our modern world and you don’t want to wait too long to capitalize on this channel.

Tyeisha

Sources:

searchengineland.com, junto.digital, hubspot.com, smartinsights.com

Church Near Me

We all do it.

“coffee near me” 

“bank near me” 

“burgers near me”

“Near me” is one of the most common search terms for any interest. People just want to know what’s out there and what’s close. Most people will try to Google their business by it’s name; and you’ll probably find that you show 1st every time. But most common Googlers (I understand it’s not a word) aren’t Googling you by name, they’re searching for what’s near me. It’s the same when people are looking for a new church.

I’m currently running a campaign for a church and I found that 40% of all leads came from the keyword search “church near me.” Leads being people who clicked on the listing and asked for directions to the church. Prior to this campaign, this church was nearly invisible with this keyword search.

So how do you know if someone can find your church when they’re looking? Let’s try this exercise:

  1. Wherever you’re located at the moment, think of the nearest church to you (don’t google it)
  2. After you have the name in mind, go to Google or Bing
  3. Type in “church near me”
  4. Now, answer these questions: Does that church show in the first 3 listings? Does it show on the map? Does it show at all?

Many people will answer yes to all 3 of these questions and that’s fantastic! For those that answered no to one or all of these questions, does this surprise you? Wouldn’t you think that which ever church is closest to you, that’s the one that should show first based on distance and relativity?

Real Life Example:

My church is less than 1 mile away from my home (I chose my church prior to living this close). It’s a 3 minute drive and a 19 minute walk. I live in the exact same zip code as my church as well. When I googled “church near me”, here were my top 3 results:

None of these churches are my church by the way. Church #1 is about the same distance in miles but 1 minute shorter in drive time, so it’s what you would expect Google to deliver. Church #2 is further away and in a completely different zip code than my church. Church #3 is slightly further out than my church. It’s also closer than church #2 but ranked lower. I clicked on “more places” and of the top 10 churches that showed on the map, 9 of them were more than a 5 minute drive. In fact, 4 of them were more than a 9 minute drive. Not far, but definitely further than the 3 minute drive to my church. So where’s my church, right? What page did it show up on?

It didn’t. For perspective, this was prior to my optimization efforts for my church so we don’t have this issue anymore but it gave me a real gauge on why people were’t coming in; it’s because they didn’t see us online.

Google decided to show me churches 5-7 miles out and even showed me Churches Chicken that was 2 miles out (close, but definitely not a church). But Google almost refused to show my church that was just 1 mile away. In order to find my church, I had to click on the map and zoom in to the exact street and click on the building for the listing to appear. I had to manually manipulate the results of my search to find my church.

This is the most common problem with churches today. They’re there, they exist physically, but you can’t find them online. Yes, my church had a website – but that was it. These churches that out-ranked my church had websites with regular updates, social media accounts, reviews, pictures and unique content (we’ll talk about this is another blog). But my church just had a website. I asked Google for a location based on distance and it delivered results slightly based on distance and relativity but more so based on who looked they liked better.

Think of Google and Bing like the popular kids in high school (in real life or a teenage sitcom). The popular kids have a major influence on your social standings so you jump through hoops and do what they want to ensure they like you. The more they like you, the higher your social ranking. Search engines are like the popular kids. They determine your ranking so you have to jump through hoops and do other monotonous task to increase it. If they really like you, they’ll show it; more importantly, they’ll show you.

Don’t know what the search engines want? That’s what I’m here for.

Tyeisha

Act Like a Church, Think Like A Business

In 2009, Steve Harvey published a book call “Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man”. It gave women insight into the way men think in order to help them persevere in relationships. In 2012, this book was adapted into a film called “Think Like A Man”. Although the film grossed over 90 million dollars in the box office and portrayed the same relevant narrative as in the book, it missed one key message – “Act Like A Lady”.

Now, I don’t think that portion of the title was intentionally left out. “Think Like A Man” is short, catchy and easy to remember. But leaving “Act Like A Lady” out of the title of the movie morphs the end goal which should be to remain who you are, just become smarter. Changing your way of thinking while forgetting your foundation changes you completely; there are no barriers or boundaries. It’s a “by any means” sort of mindset.

My statement “Act Like A Church, Think Like A Business” came directly from Steve Harvey’s original message. But for me, I think “Act Like A Church” is key to this process of evolving and transforming because when you start acting like a business and thinking like a business, you become a business.

The church should always remain that – a church; a place for salvation and hope. In order to grow, churches must continue be a church but think like a business. This means adapting to the modern business best practices of bringing in leads…I mean souls. These best practices are advertising strategies that reach people where they are – online. Digital marketing is the fastest growing advertising solution and soon to be the only one. Businesses draw people in from online optimization and marketing, so why can’t the church? We CAN!

What many churches don’t know is that having a website alone does almost nothing to bring people in. Here are some of the reasons that your website probably isn’t working for your church:

  1. It’s outdated/old content
  2. It’s only updated a few times a year
  3. There’s no where for people to interact on your website
  4. You don’t have social media linked to your website
  5. Incorrect/Inconsistent information on your website

And the list goes on…

An outdated website isn’t necessarily deterring potential visitors from your church, it’s negatively impacting your ranking online; so chance are, these potential visitors aren’t even seeing your outdated website. But an outdated website isn’t the only thing that’s negatively impacting your ranking. Your website could be updated monthly, even weekly, but inconsistent listings online tell Google, Yahoo, Bing etc. that you don’t have it all together. And they’ll gladly place you at the bottom of the page, or on the next page, for a church that does have it all together.

It’s candid, but it’s the truth. And it’s something that I want to share with churches so that we can begin to leverage the best practices that businesses have already solved for to enhance the Kingdom of God.

Your ranking online is subject to search engines’ algorithms. By no means has anyone determined what the exact algorithm is but most modern businesses have digital marketing guru’s that have cracked the puzzle a little bit. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is very important term that every business (church) should know. It’s how you improve your online visibility. SEO is organic search that increases with:

  • Content generation
  • Correct and consistent listing information
  • Cooperation with Search Engine (Google, Yahoo etc.) algorithm

If you don’t know, well now you know.

Times have changed and it’s time for the church to adopt a new mind for bringing in the masses. It starts with understanding if the masses can find you online. If they can’t, well…that’s what we’re here for. REACH out to me anytime at tyeisha@reachmarketingsolution.com.

Tyeisha