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How to Reach the Right Audience with Your Communciations

How to Reach the Right Audience with Your Communciations

The majority of ministries your church offers don’t apply to everyone present on a Sunday morning.

So what is the easiest way to make sure we communicate with the right audience every time?

3 Questions to Help you Reach the Right Audience

1) Who are you trying to reach?

List all the attributes that describe who you want to reach with this communication. Include items like: age, demographics, sex, groups they are associate with, etc.

2) Where do they spend time?

List where they spend time time on a regular basis. Think about things like physical locations as well as online.

3) How do they communicate?

List out the ways they use both to communicate and to receive communications.

Older congregation members get information primarily through newspapers, weekly bulletins, personal invitation, phone calls.

Younger generations gets information through email, text, social media, web.

Putting info about a youth event in the bulletin is only going to be seen by a couple teens, but sending details out through social media and text will get a high response.

At the same time, emailing your older congregation and expecting a high response rate isn’t going to work. Sure they might have email, but it’s not their preferred communication platform.

Don’t waste your time and resources creating promotions that will be ignored. Look over the lists you have and identify the areas you will focus on to reach that audience.

When in doubt,  remember to deliver communication to your audience, where they spend time, using channels they already use.

Have a Church Communication Question You Would Like Answered?

Using church communications to reach your community

Question: What are some of the most effective ways to reach people in the local community, outside my church?

Answer: The most effective way to reach your community is through the communication channels they are already using.

Start by looking around to determine where people go for information on a daily basis. When you learn where they are spending time, start speaking into the space.

 

When God called Moses at the burning bush, He didn’t say…

“I want you to be ready, I’m going to send Pharaoh and his leaders to your door. When they get here, start talking.”

No, God said… “I want you to GO.”

And God was faithful to provide Moses with the words to speak.

 

We need to take a similar approach to our communications.

We can’t expect people to come to us any longer. We have to go to where they are and speak truth into the space.

Then, and only then, can we expect people to investigate us.

If you don’t know what communication methods your community is using, starting asking questions.

Research how different age groups are communicating to get an idea of where people are spending time.

Then, put concentrated effort into reaching people through those methods.

Don’t feel pressured to be everywhere at once. Concentrate on one communication method and do it REALLY well.

Spend time making relationships and fostering existing ones in that space. When you feel like it’s working well and people are connecting, THEN and only then do you add another communication method.
 

5 Questions to Know What to Communicate, Every Time

5 Questions to Know What to Communicate, Every Time

One of the top struggles I see is with churches Knowing What To Communicate. Here’s what I mean.

We spend hours creating amazing ministry opportunities designed for life change. We announce it on Sunday and put it in the bulletin, but people aren’t engaged. Uncertain about its importance, and with a busy schedule, they put off committing until the last moment, and don’t attend. It’s the exact ministry they need right now and they pass on it!

Why?

Maybe it’s because we gave them information without inspiration. We talked about an event without inspiring them by sharing what was in it for them.

So how do we change this scene?

It’s going to sound crazy, but it starts with asking the right questions. They lay a foundation for what is coming and give us guardrails to keep us on task.

There are five questions to help you…

Know What to Communicate, Every Time

1) What problem, need, goal are we addressing with this event / opportunity?

Let’s face it. Most people are self absorbed. Sometimes it is just plain narcism but most of the time it’s busyness.

Think through your past week… what got your attention enough to make you stop in your tracks?

Most likely it was something that addressed an issue you have or need to solve.

Our church and community is no different. They are are always asking “What’s in it for me?”

When we can articulate the problem we solve or benefit we offer people will listen.

2) If I had no prior knowledge about this event / opportunity, what information would I need to take part?

(date, time, location, who its for, cost, registration info, etc.)

A solution without information is useless.

“Join us Wednesday for bible study!”

Uhhhh, that sounds great but I have more questions now that when we started.

Is it for men, women, students?

Is it at the church, a coffee shop, someone’s home?

Is it in the morning, evening, lunchtime?

What are they studying and how does it apply to me?

We often approach church events, especially reoccurring ones, from the standpoint of a connected person rather than a guest. When we think about the person who wants to connect but needs more details everything changes.

3) How can we share about this event / opportunity in a way that makes it accessible to the unchurched?

“Join our Wednesday night Bible study on the book of Proverbs beginning next week!”

For the churched that might be enough, for the unchurched, not so much.

A study in Proverbs means nothing to them because they don’t know what the book is about or that it’s even in the Bible.

Making something accessible to the unchurched doesn’t mean we have to water it down. It means we have to make it understandable.

How do we do that?

Tell them about the event in a way that applies to them and shows the benefit of participating, regardless of their biblical knowledge.

We could share about the same Bible study like this…

“Life can be confusing! Join our adult Bible study as we talk through practical ways to gain wisdom and understanding. Wednesdays, 7pm, Main Office Lobby”

4) How does our community get information about events / opportunities?

Every community has its own communication culture. A way it shares information on a daily basis.

Through personal invitation, social media, community events or online, your community is listening.

The question is whether your church is speaking in the spaces where people are listening.

Unsure of the ways most commonly used by your community to communicate… go ask them.

The gospel is too important to mess this up.

5) How will we deliver the relevant information using the communication channels our community is already using?

Now that we know what we want to say and how people are listening comes the fun part.

Pick an area (or two) and begin sharing.

Don’t feel the need to do everything at once, just get started.

Become part of the ongoing conversation and offer life through the solutions your church offers.

As people see you care and have solutions to the issues they face your church will grow.

Action Plan

Pick an upcoming event / opportunity and answer these questions.

Share about it based on the benefits of participating and see your church grow.


Have a story about how these principles changed your church communications and grew your congregation? I’d love to hear about it. Send me a message today.

Social Media: Reach your community for $1 a day

Social Media: Reach your community for $1 a day

For many churches social media is a struggle.

Will you use it to…

Build relationships?

Inform people of events?

Connect with your community?

For some churches the answers comes naturally while others struggle.

If you’re wrestling with the roll social should play in sharing with your church and community I have some suggestions for you.

These will help you capitalize on the best ways to get your message heard while keeping your effort on task and budget.

In 2014, Pew Research Center released a study outlining

  • 74% of online adults use social networking
  • 71% of online adults use Facebook
  • 23% of online adults use Twitter

statistic from http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheets/social-networking-fact-sheet/

Numbers like that show incredible promise for online ministry potential. At the same time, the implications are huge because it means one thing…

Getting your message heard is a growing challenge

According to Facebook, “On average, there are 1,500 stories that could appear in a person’s News Feed each time they log onto Facebook. For people with lots of friends and Page likes, as many as 15,000 potential stories could appear any time they log on.” statistic from  https://www.facebook.com/business/news/Organic-Reach-on-Facebook

Facebook knows users would never sift through that volume of content so they rank posts based on interaction and response levels. The better the interaction the more users see the content in their feed. This results in a user seeing approximately 300 items in their News Feed instead of 1500.  statistic from  https://www.facebook.com/business/news/Organic-Reach-on-Facebook (include funnel graphic)

The ramifications are, most of your churches posts will only be seen by 3-6% of your followers.

This poses a significant problem when you want to build a thriving community.

Twitter has similar issues. According to the Twitter blog, “brands that tweet two to three times per day can typically reach an audience size that’s equal to 30% of their follower base during a given week.” statistic from https://blog.twitter.com/2014/introducing-organic-tweet-analytics 

While the reach percentage is better than Facebook it still isn’t great. At its heart, Twitter functions best as a real time delivery system. It has been compared to watching ‘live tv,’ versus a DVR. If a person is online at the time you post, the content is seen. Tune out and it’s easy to miss information.

So how can you use social media advertising in a budget friendly way?

Facebook

The growth of Facebook and changes to their business model means going forward, most churches will need to Pay to Play. While it’s easy to complain and question why a ‘free’ service would make you ‘pay’ the reality is, Facebook is a business. For them to continue to exist they need income. With that income comes research and marketing tools. Those tools are the thing that makes our church outreach more effective than ever before.

There are 2 features to help with this…

Boost Post

Boost_Post_example

  • Create posts like you normal would and watch the reach (how many people interact with it)
  • Chose the posts that people interacted with the most and pay to boost them
    • Target your post to reach your church or community
    • Costs as little as $1 per day
    • Increases the likelihood of being seen by your fans and community

Power Editor  – Facebook Ad Creation Program

Power_Editor_example

  • Pick a budget
    • Per day or per campaign options
    • Costs as little at $1–5 A Day
    • More effective reach for $30–40 Per Campaign
  • Create a delivery schedule
    • Length of campaign
    • Days of week for campaign
    • Time of day for campaign
  • Create an ad
    • Text
    • Image
    • Link to follow
  • Send it out
  • Track the results with Power Editor analytics

There is no other advertising medium that allows you to speak to your specific audience for so little money.

Twitter

Because of the nature of Twitter paying isn’t the only option. You can start by making sure to…

  • Post multiple times a day to hit the 2-3 post minimum for 30% engagement
  • Use a scheduling service to free up your time
  • Hints:
    • Don’t copy and paste the same tweet (retweets are allowed but duplicate posts are discouraged)
    • Address the same topic in multiple ways and post them throughout the day
    • Use hashtags for your posts
      • Interact with other people utilizing your hashtags
    • Use shortened links to send people to your website
      • bitly.com or goo.gl offer free services for this
      • allows you to track which posts worked and which didn’t
    • Include images to increase engagement

If you come to the conclusion that reaching everyone in your target is the best way to go then check out…

  • Twitter AdsTwitter_Ad
    • Pick a campaign objective
    • Choose an existing tweet or create a new one
    • Target your audience
    • Schedule delivery
    • Pick a budget
    • Launch your campaign
    • Track your results with the ad dashboard

Overall, the cost for connecting with your audience through social media is incredibly low.

I encourage you to try a daily budget of $1-5 and see what type of difference it makes.

I’d like to know what kinds of results you have as you dive further into telling your story through social media. Let me know in the comments section below.

 

Email: How to reach your church through their INBOX

Email: How to reach your church through their INBOX

Let’s face it, there is nothing glamorous about email.

For many,  it is a necessary evil that invades our space with info we’d rather ignore.

But, done well, email gives churches a way to tell their story in a user-friendly way that members are already engaged with.

The question is how do we do it well? What steps can we take to keep cost low and deliver a quality email people want to open and read?

We need to understand…

The Power of Email

Email is the communication medium of choice for several reasons.

  • low cost
  • ease of setup
  • its personal (goes to the user)
  • its part of our everyday lives
  • its transactional (people can interact with you)
  • email has nearly 3x as many user accounts as Facebook and Twitter combined (2.9 billion)  statistic from https://blog.kissmetrics.com/email-crushes-social-media/

A look at the total emails sent every day vs the number of social media posts its even more staggering.

Email_infographic

 

With reach far exceeding social media, email has the potential to be a powerful communication tool. If we know how to use it.

Unfortunately, email has some…

Challenges

Personal email plans, like the kind you get from Yahoo, MSN, or Google, are created to send messages to small groups of people. Try to send a large group message and you run into trouble.

Email providers track every message that passes through their systems. They don’t read them, but they measure…

  • number of recipients
  • percentage of emails opened
  • number of links clicked
  • number of undeliverable emails (bad addresses, typos, etc.)
  • number of emails marked spam

Each of these areas has a point value assigned to it. Below a specified point value your email goes through. Hit the next level and your emails go into the junk mail folder. Exceed the final level and they label you a spammer and block your account.

If you’ve ever fought to get your account unblocked its not fun. My IT buddy has done it several times and its a long, ugly process.

Solutions

There are two options to help get around this.

Option 1: Church Email

  • Create a dedicated email address that is only used for church communications
  • Write your email
  • Format your content
  • Copy and paste names out of your contact list
  • Send the message to a small number of recipients, every 5-10 minutes, until your list is complete. (Every provider has different rules for number of emails and time between matching subject lines.)
  • Use a tracking service, like Sidekick, to make sure people are opening your emails ($10 a month)
  • Track and purge bad addresses from your contact list regularly
  • Pray you don’t get banned

Option 2: Email Service

  • Import your email addresses
  • Pick a template
  • Write your email
  • Send your message
  • Let the service track
    • opens
    • reads
    • clicks
    • bad addresses
  • Watch your email analytics to know what is working and what’s not
  • Contact tech support when you need help

Most likely, Option 1 is a slightly different angle on your current approach. Before you discount Option 2 take a look at the breakdown.

Email_infographic2

 

If you have fewer than 2000 email addresses in your list MailChimp is free. You get access to their basic tools and analytics with options to upgrade if you need extras. They take the headache out of Option 1 and keep your email from getting flagged. And, for the price, you can’t beat it.

Email is the communication medium of choice. While I haven’t addressed the importance of writing engaging content,  I hope this post helps you share your story in budget friendly ways and avoid the most common technical issues.

 

This post appeared first on ChurchTechToday.com