Most churches do not immediately think of Google Adwords as an avenue for marketing or promotion. There are just so many web searches daily for church-related terms that it seems like it would be too difficult to get relevant web traffic for a reasonable cost. And while Adwords may not be the best tool for reaching a general audience looking for churches, there is a lot of potential to reach local people looking for things your church is doing.
The General Church Growth Perspective
Let’s just face it, getting valuable general attention to your church through a Google Ad may not be an easy or cost effective strategy. The primary reasons are the high levels of noise, competition, and ongoing cost involved. However, if you have a specific denomination, affiliation, niche, or following then you may have what you need to effectively use geo-targeted Adwords to get specific attention and impact church growth.
The key is to find a way that sincerely communicates your value proposition to those around you who would be most interested in you. And if you use very specific targeted keyword combinations and make use of the negative keywords tool to eliminate some of the less targeted traffic, you can get a worthwhile ROI.
Shifting To Ministry Promotions
Search engine marketing (SEM) shines in an area that I call ministry promotions, which is simply getting the word out of what your church does in the community. In some ways this is a combination of church marketing and event marketing. Whether it is an outreach to help people in need, a youth concert, or a Christmas pageant, you need to get the word out to those who would benefit from the activity. Adwords can be an effective tool to reach people with these unique messages.
Getting Support From Church Leadership
Adwords is great for these date-based tasks because you have a specific event, immediacy, a target audience, and a deep underlying purpose, which are all the pieces you need to develop a campaign. Plus it is easier to get approval from church leadership to allocate resources to promote an event for a month than to dedicate finances to an ongoing campaign. After all, one of the hallmarks of good Christian leadership is stewardship. But if you can demonstrate value and fruitfulness, then you are much more likely to receive support for future initiatives as well.
Google Adwords is a unique tool to reach and connect with your audience, and like any tool it can be used well or used poorly. But there is no substitute for having the right tool at the right time used the right way.