Reaching beyond your immediate circle and social networks online can seem daunting. Stretching the already limited outreach budget to put it into something like an online advertising campaign can be risky, with no promise of a return on your investment.
But with some well-placed, well-timed ads, traffic can be driven to Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, websites and, yes, even to your front door without breaking the bank.
Facebook ads can be targeted by postal code, location, ages, genders, interests, or other demographic dimensions. You can use these segments to advertise directly to potential youth group members or users who share an interest in the subject of your next event.
Running a Simpsons-themed Bible study? Target fans of The Simpsons.
Want to maximize your Easter or Christmas attendance and reach new families? Target your event advertisement to local Christians and Anglicans.
As a bonus, ad traffic can lead to organic traffic. Each ad-driven “like” on your parish’s Facebook page increases the possible reach of each post or event to a larger network of people. The points of entry into your parish community increase exponentially.
Google Ad Words is another avenue to reach people outside of your network with well-timed advertising campaigns. Easter and Christmas campaigns, for example, can create a point of entry for those looking to try a new church or come back to church on a major feast day. You can target these ads similarly to Facebook ads.
Highly targeted ads can mean you spend money to deliver the message you want only to the people you want, whether it is Google or Facebook. It can cost as little as a few dollars a week to advertise special events to a specific audience, or you can create a more general ad to reach people in your area searching for more general terms such as “Church Service” or “Church, insert your city here”.
A small investment in a well thought-out advertising strategy for your online presence can have profound and dramatic effects on your parish’s reach and growth potential in spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ.