How to Apply Omnichannel Marketing to your Church?
Your church is no longer limited by its steeple. With the increasing use of smartphones and online platforms combined with the normalization — and even expectation — of digital interactions replacing physical ones, the modern church is becoming an “omnichannel” experience. If you’re just hearing that term for the first time or wondering exactly how it applies to your place of worship, this guide will explore the answers to all of your omnichannel marketing questions.
What Is Omnichannel Marketing?
Anyone with a background in technology or marketing is likely to recognize the term “omnichannel.” It represents a concept adopted by the largest brands worldwide, and it’s coming to your church, too.
The omnichannel approach takes all of the potential channels where a person may interact with your church — be it in person, on your website, on Facebook, or through your podcast — and offers them a consistent, quality experience.
Failing to adopt an omnichannel approach as you expand to new platforms can result in a very disjointed experience for your church members. It can also cause people to question who your church is or even reach a point of distrust or uncertainty if, say, your website experience is far different from all of your other channels.
If that’s the case, a potential donor could be halted in their steps by an “off-brand” website design or decide against signing up for an email list if they’re not sure the website belongs to your church.
While these are basic examples, they begin to introduce the importance of taking an omnichannel approach as a church. Although you may be having a hard time accepting the church’s digitization or communicating it with your congregants, the digital world is here to stay — and embracing it is the best way forward.
Fortunately, the omnichannel approach offers many benefits to the church, providing a more complete, engaging experience for congregants. Here are five perks to consider if you’re on the fence about implementing it.
#1 Omnichannel Marketing Is Already Here
Omnichannel may be a new term to add to your vocabulary, but it’s not a new concept. Brands have long been trying to master consistency across platforms, investing millions into user experience research and content that shapes perception across websites. Your church can learn from their past mistakes and their tactics to help better your approach.
It’s no secret: people interact online, and they want to interact with your church in similar ways. Even if they only attend once a week, the desire to connect with your church is much greater, and a significant digital presence can cultivate that desire. You may even end up expanding to an online campus so that people can continue experiencing your church and its services even if they travel or cannot physically come in.
#2 It Puts The Focus Back on People
All too often, it’s easy for a church to get caught up in content when they expand to online channels. You aren’t just teaching the Word. You’re teaching the Word to real people. Remembering who those people are and what they need from your church is crucial. It’s the only way to find success and sustainable in your community.
Omnichannel focuses on people by making your church think about how it presents content to them. You must also consider how it will be perceived.
#3 It Requires Ministry Coordination
When you implement omnichannel at your church, it can help you identify and break down silos you didn’t know existed. Trust us, these silos are there already. Once you start looking at all of your content as a whole, though, you get staff to coordinate in whole new ways. This applies to your live streams, podcasts, and your online forms.
#4 It Helps You Fill The Other 167 Hours
What are your congregants doing for the “other” 167 hours of their week when they aren’t interacting with your physical church? Omnichannel forces you to think about that. It forces you to come up with ways to get more involved in the day-to-day lives of the people you serve.
#5 It’s The Next Best Tool
The Lord has used many tools to help spread the Word. From the printing press for the Bible to radio broadcasts of messaging. Every new technology has proven to be so effective in spreading the news. Digital is no different, but your church must embrace it. That’s the only way to make the most of it — by investing in the right tools and people.
Before You Adopt Omnichannel Marketing
Ministry leaders who are thinking about adopting omnichannel for their church should spend time researching and understanding the many benefits. However, there are a couple of things to keep in mind when applying the term to your church.
First off, you have to remember that omnichannel marketing doesn’t directly apply. Your church doesn’t comprise clients or customers. Instead, the term in the context of your church should merely help you think about the many channels by which your congregants can interact with your church and how you can better serve them through all of those channels.
By no means should the omnichannel approach diminish your connection with God or your supporters. Rather, it should help you strengthen those ties and meet your congregants in whole new places.
Secondly, you have to remember that consuming content is not the ultimate goal. Again, your church isn’t tracking the same metrics as a for-profit company is when they use omnichannel. Your church’s goal is to engage your congregants with passion. They don’t merely desire to consume more religious services but grow within the community and support your church’s work. Look for an engagement at every level by creating content that encourages sharing, attending, and hands-on volunteering.
Build Your Congregation with DonorWerx
Here at Donorwerx, we coach church leaders every day in the adoption of digital tools. We help walk people just like you through the concept of an omnichannel marketing in church. We also teach how it can benefit your congregation’s sustainable growth. Together, we can help your church thrive.