Building An Audience From The Ground-Up

building your church audience


Let me guess: You’ve got a got clear calling and a killer ministry. You’ve prayed over your goals, and you’re ready to launch. Or, maybe your ministry is already up and running, but you’d like to expand your reach. Where on earth do you start? How do you find folks in need of your ministry who are just beyond your grasp?

When I moved to Nashville to pursue a career as a singer-songwriter, I had my own sound – I had demos. From there, I developed my visual brand and thought long and hard about who I wanted to reach. But how would I find them, grow them and keep them interested?

Let’s back up a minute. Before you can build your audience, you need the right tools in place. And THEN…you need a plan.

Who Are You?

Jesus became one of us, made Himself known and shared a consistent message before He carried out His mission. He made Himself accessible to us and shared stories. What is your message and what is your story? Have you shared it with others? Do you have a consistent mission statement and visual brand across all digital platforms?

As faith-based businesses, we need to be authentic, professional and accessible. People need to know we’re serious before they can take us seriously. Invest in a strong logo design and solid website if you can. (Psst! If you’re at ground-zero with no budget, we hear you. Start with professional photos, a Facebook Page and a simple WordPress blog.)

Bottom line: we live in a digital age. So, however fancy, having an online presence and a professional, consistent brand will put you in the best position possible to grow your audience!

Who Are They?

knowing your crowdYou need to know your audience. Who are you trying to minister to? Who would benefit from your good or service? Give them a name, a story and a lifestyle. Seriously! Mine is Evie. She’s 20, lives for music discovery on Spotify and shops at Forever21.

Knowing your audience will help you know where to find them and how to develop strategies to grow them. For example, if your audience is mostly young people, you should have a hip brand and an active, engaging presence on Snapchat and Instagram. If your audience is mostly older folks, have a clean, elegant logo and focus your energies on Facebook and Twitter. If you’re trying to reach multiple age groups and demographics, make sure your brand is fresh but timeless, and have multiple strategies in place so that you’re reaching each target. Knowing where your potential customer hangs out online and knowing their interests will get you insight into their world so you can better fit their needs.

Content Is King!

Now that you know your audience, how do you engage with them? One word: CONTENT.

Remember that content is king. Always be thinking, “what can I share?” One thing that has remained true throughout the history of the world is that people like stories. Start by sharing your story with them! They want to know, truly. How did you receive your call to this ministry? Who has it affected? What is your process? What inspires you? Professional photos and videos are great visual content to share as well.

But even the most hi-quality content has it’s place. It’s good to know which platforms are best for sharing different types of content.

Platforms

building your church's social media audienceIf you have new and exciting news, in my case, I’ve discovered that email and snail mail are the most effective and direct way to reach my audience! At all my appearances I try to collect a number of email addresses, and I send an e-newsletter every time I release new music, have a sale or post a new music video. I use MailChimp (they offer a free package), but Constant Contact is another good tool. Email and snail mail are good tactics for big news or VIP content. A good rule of thumb is to do a mail-out no less than once a quarter, no more than once a month. Again, this goes back to knowing your audience. Stay on their radar, but don’t bombard them!

Keeping a consistent blog is another way to engage your followers. Whether through your website or a simple WordPress site, blogging is a fantastic tool to up your SEO-game and speak more in-depth about topics that pertain to your audience. What issues do they face? What areas would they like to grow in? What are their interests? What advice can you offer them? Blogging is a great way to offer deeper insight to your customers.

For everyday engagement and exposure, social media is the best tool. I know, I know, it makes some of us cringe, but the more consistently your content flows here, the more people will discover and benefit from your ministry. Reward your followers with VIP content (think: behind the scenes) or giveaways! Visuals like photos and videos are always engaging and are the most shareable among followers. Weekly hashtags like #throwbackthursday or #foodiefridays give folks consistency and something to look forward to. If you’re feeling adventurous, try Facebook Live and Instagram stories!

Crowdsourcing isn’t for every business, but if you have a product you’re offering customers, this is a wonderful way to connect with people, raise funds, create buzz around your business and, most importantly, get folks involved in your ministry! Use that handy email list along with your social media and blog platforms to let folks know you’d like them to be a special part of your story. I personally recommend Kickstarter, as I’ve used them to raise funds for my albums and watched my audience grow tremendously!

Whichever platforms you choose, it’s important that you are active and consistent, posting and updating regularly on each channel!

Quick Recap:

  • Have a professional, consistent brand, a strong online presence and a clear message
  • Know your audience and tailor your online strategies to where they are
  • Content is king. Share your story through e-newsletter, snail mail, a blog and social media
  • Consider a crowdsourcing campaign for added hype and funds
  • Keep all lines of communication open and active

Pray. And Then Watch It Grow!

When you open doors, God will make it clear which doors He wants closed. Keep fueling the fire and fanning the flame, and trust that the Lord will bless your work! Remember that it’s a process, but God is faithful. Trust in Him!

Rebecca Roubion is a Nasvhille based singer songwriter who also does project management for Epic Life Creative. You can check out Rebecca’s site here or follow her on Instagram or YouTube or right here!

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