Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Your Church Should Have a Webite

A website needs to be a place to store.
by Russ Ward
"Your church should have a website." That is the refrain echoed by many supposed experts in marketing churches. That advice is then usually followed by, "and engage in social media." While in general terms what they are saying is true, that sentiment often overlooks the fundamentals of marketing and public relations.

For instance, one of the first credos of professional public relations and marketing is "First, do no harm." Unfortunately, in the rush to complete a website many churches are hurting their efforts. Just one example I recently found was a church website with a photo caption that read, "Making homemade pizzas." Harmless enough, but the photo above the caption was someone holding a big snake!  Not very appetizing to say the least and that mistake could leave a bad taste in someone's mouth in more ways than one.

Additionally, harm can come in other more subtle forms, such as not knowing the purpose of the website before you start to build it. Without a specific purpose you will never know if it is accomplishing your goals. So, the first step to making a website is to ask the question, "Why do you need a website?" Without the answer to that simple question your site will not produce the results you desire.

There are many purposes for church websites: inform the congregation, be visible on searches, give the youth minister another thing to do, prove you are hip, demonstrate your desire for missions, inform the community about your church, and general outreach are just some. At Speiro Communications we feel that all of the above can be accomplished to some extent but the overarching purpose of a Christian Church website must be to reach the unsaved in your own community. We need to be about sowing seed. Keep in mind that this is not an overt sales pitch to the lost, but a velvet glove approach. Remember the advice that Jesus gave to his apostles before sending them out was to "be as shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves." We must learn to speak with purpose, gently.

Identifying who you are speaking to through your website is the second step. In marketing terms this is called the target demographic. By understanding the audience of your website you can tailor your content to match those that will be reading it, hearing it or viewing it. This means that a website for a rural church may be different than for one in the suburbs or city. The generational make-up of a community may alter the design. This does not mean that you ignore other demographic groups, but it does mean that we start focusing our efforts more effectively and we begin to think, more critically, about who we are talking to and how we can talk more effectively.

Once you know why and who, you can start thinking about the message of the website. The message should reveal the purpose to those you can reach in your community. A simple message is often expressed in a vision statement or mission statement. However, the professional designer of a website knows that the message is not just represented in the words, but also in the design, color palette, font choice and layout.

The purpose, target demographic and message should come together to speak to your community about Jesus and His church. Once you have worked through this process, then your church is ready to have a website!

If you need help with the above contact Speiro Communications. Our mission is to help Christian Churches sow seeds in their community.

For more info on Speiro Communications click here.

If you have questions call us at 618-201-1534 or email us at info@speirocom.net.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Speiro - Reaching Your Community with Techology

When contacting church leaders to do research, we recently spoke to a pastor at a large Midwestern Christian Church and discussed the need for our services. He said that marketing and social media are desperately needed. But, he went on to say that at the Christian conferences he has attended, they were usually long on advice but short on information the local church could use to implement a plan. In the breakout sessions about reaching into the community the discussion leaders always say, "You have to have a website, engage in social media and have a plan to use current technology to tell others about Jesus Christ and your church."

The problem is that many of the seminar leaders are long on advice on what to do, but rarely understand the nuts and bolts of accomplishing what is needed especially in the medium and small sized churches. These churches have limited resources, limited staff and no real training as to how to accomplish marketing goals and implement plans. Also, very few churches have a paid professional on staff that understands current technology and if they do, they are not professionals at using that technology for measurable results.

There is no doubt that there is a real need in churches today.

That dilemma for the churches is what led to the creation of Speiro Communications. Speiro comes from the Greek and means "to sow" and our guidance for our new venture comes from Matthew 13:3-9. We as Christians and by extension the local church is called to sow! But in our current culture, the church in many respects has fallen behind the technological curve and we struggle with speaking to our own communities and specifically the Millennial generation.

Speiro can help with a plan, content, web creation and assist with social media. We can help you sow seeds into your community.

For more info on Speiro Communications click here.

If you have questions call us at 618-201-1534 or email us at info@speirocom.net