Pastors across the world are beginning to learn something important about the internet. It is a fertile field waiting for the right seeds to be planted.
They are growing their churches and expanding their communities with something most of us consider to be just for business: Google AdWords and the Google search engine.
The Top 5 Reasons That Your Church Needs to Use These Tools
- The first reason is not about you; it’s about the people you serve or could be serving if you could connect with them. Where do these people look for what they need? In Google. “Google” is no longer just an online term. It has been a word in the Oxford English Dictionary since 2006. It means to search the internet for an answer, and like it or not, that is where many people go to get answers today. With Google AdWords, your church could be one of the top answers to their search.
When you place an ad, you are placing your information in the answer results on a Google page. You pay for a particular word or set of words like church, friendly church, or New Haven church. When someone searches for one of the keywords you purchased, your paid ad appears on the results column above the non-paid results for that search. Try it with hotels. Google the name of your hometown with the word hotel after it. Unless you live in a very small town, you will see results with the word AD in a little green square at the beginning of the list before other results.
- You can control your budget easily with AdWords. To place your ad high on that list of results will require you to bid on those keywords. The highest bid goes to the top. The good news is that using AdWords for churches has not caught on with everyone yet. Unless you live in a metropolitan area, you can probably bid only a small amount for the right to be in the top tier of results. The first choice you will make with your budget is how many keywords to buy and then how much to bid on each one.
You will pay for the ads on a pay per click (PPC) basis. This means you only pay if someone clicks on your ad. Compare this to other advertising: print, billboard, or television. There, you pay whether anyone takes the time to read the ad or not. Here, you know that the person is at least interested in what you are offering. Can this get out of hand? It could, but you will also be able to limit how much you are willing to pay per day so that you never go over budget.
- You have a lot to offer, why not let people see it? You may already be spending time, energy, and money on a great website for your church. But who is it reaching? The best content in the world may not be seen by more than a handful if your site doesn’t reach the first page of a Google search. Instead, your ad will lead them directly to your website. From there, they can see how inviting your church is. They may want to visit, and they may just want to stay.
- You can target who sees your ads and when they see them. If a searcher looks up the term church, you can target that search by the zip code of the searcher and even schedule the ad for a weekend when they may be looking for a church to attend. Invite them to visit you when they are reaching out for that invitation.
- As a church, you may qualify for free ads. Google is currently offering $10,000 grants for nonprofit organizations and churches to use with Google AdWords. It is a philanthropic effort on their part that is giving many churches the opportunity to open their doors and websites to many people they might not otherwise reach.
Find People Who are Searching When people use Google to search for a church, they may be looking for a new church home, a church to visit while traveling, or a likeminded community. There is a reason that they typed in the keywords that led them to you. They are searching and have questions, and your church may be able to help them find answers.