COVID-19 and Beyond
I want to give you some practical ideas of things you can do from a marketing standpoint during the COVID-19 pandemic, once we’re through it, and into the next crisis. (Oh, it’s coming, it always does.)
Let’s get started:
1. It’s not about attendance, it’s about opportunities
The church in America has long been about counting those butts in seats. I get it. I really do, especially from a marketing standpoint, but we can’t be about that life anymore. At least, not right now.
If you look at your analytics on Facebook Live you might see some amazing numbers. I’ve known churches feeling good about hitting thousand of viewers. The problem is, many people stop there and are happy. What they don’t realize is that 80% of those are 3 second views. Those 3 second views are definitely opportunities but not really attendance.
Capitalize on those opportunities! Use adds to retarget 3 seconds views. Find out at what points you see the biggest drop off in your videos, compare different weeks, and try new things at those points and see if it can grab more people’s attention.
2. Think small
In the world full of social distancing and stay-at-home orders we’ve got to start thinking small. Let’s get back to our roots and go to house churches. Institute Zoom groups, Google Hangouts, or Facetime.
Here’s a weird one, try to do a small group on a video game. Play Call of Duty and talk about Jesus. Let’s meet people where they’re at and feel the safest.
3. Do it different
Let’s talk about your services. We know it’s tempting to do services in the same format we’ve done them since the beginning of time…or 1930…either way. My advice, make it short and sweet.
Being online is a whole different animal. When people walk into your doors on a Sunday and sit down, you’ve got em. They’re less likely to bounce early because of social pressures and an immersive experience. Online they know you can’t see them. That’s why your numbers can fluctuate so quickly.
Try doing one song and a shortened message. Maybe start off with something unexpected and attention grabbing. Try a 20 minute service. The point is…experiment! Try new things. You don’t necessarily need 60-90 minutes to get the message out. The nature of online is come and go unless you’re extremely interested. Again, look at your analytics and try things based on the data you’re seeing.
4. Let it go (Sorry to all the parents out there who just got that song out of their heads!)
This goes hand in hand with the previous tip. We talked about experimenting but what happens if something doesn’t work? Let it go. Maybe it started off working great but now you’re seeing it rapidly falling off. Before you cut it experiment with it but don’t waste a lot of time on it. If it’s not moving you forward it’s holding you back.
5. Consistency is your friend
This can be a tough one to reconcile with experimenting and letting it go. Not everything blows up right away. Also, not everything that dips is dead. You really have to dive in make data driven decisions. One thing you definitely don’t want to do is become inconsistent.
Consistency isn’t just about doing the same things at the same times. That can be part of it but it’s also consistency in quality. You want to be consistent in giving your audience great content that engages them. Changing things doesn’t have to be bad but constantly cutting things before they have chance to flourish, being erratic with posting schedules, and always jumping to the next best thing will end up hurting your credibility with your audience and Facebook’s algorithm.
No matter when you’re reading this, even if the COVID-19 crisis has long passed, there is always going to be a struggle to get your message out there to those that need it most. We’re all constantly bombarded with messages begging for our attention and asking us to connect. You know how difficult it can be to find the time and energy to build strategies, pour over data, and craft messages that compel your audience to action and see actual growth as a result. I encourage you to take that time, it’s important. If you just don’t have the margin in your schedule find someone to help, a business or a person. It’s just not something that can be put off if you’re going to connect your community with God’s story.