Expanding your Online reach

In June 2014 we started live streaming our Church services.  The primary reason was to test out whether or not there was an appetite for an Online Campus of New Life.  We hoped we were right that this was next step for us to take at a Church but we used the vacation season to test this out.  Well, our assumptions were correct and we realized that a real, Online Campus was our next venture.  So, in September 2014 we officially began an Online Campus.

By “began” I mean we started a Facebook page, Twitter account and YouTube Channel.  It was our hope that through those channels we would expand our reach organically.  That happened, but it was and is a slow process.  A few “like”s here, a few follows there, but nothing too substantial.  Even with out Online Services were doing well and growing, it is a slow process.

That is when it dawned on me…it’s hard for people to follow, like and watch your services if they don’t know about it.  Duh, I know.  I mean, word-of-mouth and content marketing was going well, I was just looking to make a bigger splash and reach the tens of thousand of people that I thought would just discover us.  After all, that is what it seemed like all the other Online Churches were getting.

images-6So I started looking into using Facebook Ads.  Now, I’m not a marketer in any way so I didn’t have the foggiest ideas how do an ad on Facebook.  But remarkably, it was a very easy process. I spent a total of $75.18 and created 3 different ads using 3 different images.  2 of the ads were for just 1 day and the other ad was for a full week.

And here is what I got out of it…

  • Total reach of 21,452
  • Website clicks of 350
  • Cost per click at 0.12 cents

That’s not too bad in my book.  After all, we spend a lot more money on postcards and other forms of advertising. So, to spend just over $75 and get this kind of reception, I was please.  So pleased, that I decided to do it again.

This time, I did 2 ads…one for Good Friday and the other Easter. I upped the spending to a total of $250 for a week’s worth of ads.  Here are my results…

  • Total reach of 302,159 (that is NOT a misprint)
  • Website clicks of 2,815
  • Cost per click at 0.09 cents

And it seemed to bear fruit, at least online, as we had more turnout on our Easter services online than what is normal for a Sunday.  And, our “Online Only” Good Friday service was a big hit.

Two things I really like about Facebook Ads.  For starters, you can target a very specific audience with these ads.  For instance, if you wanted to do an ad specifically towards moms under 30 with 2 kids and a part-time job, you can do that!  If you wanted to target men who like to go to the gym but also drink beer, eat fast food and watch chick flicks, you can!  It is amazing how specific you can get with your target and reach the right people for your church or ministry.

Secondly, money, or lack of money is NOT an issue.  If you don’t have a lot of money to spend on Facebook ads, that’s ok.  You can spend as little or as much as you want.  Now, the more money you spend, the more people you are going to reach. But, even if you have $2 a day, you can still expand your reach.  I know, I just did this for the YM Sidekick Facebook page.

So, I have learned a lot doing Facebook ads and I know I am going to keep on doing them. The bottom line is if you want to expand your reach online and get your church or ministry in front of more and more people, use Facebook Ads.

Have you tried Facebook Ads before? What has been your experience with them or any other online ad program to expand your reach? Share below or on social media. Make sure you use the #ymsidekick hashtag to join the conversation.

Tom Pounder

A father of 4, Tom is the Online Campus Pastor as well as Social Media Director at New Life Christian Church in Chantilly, VA. He blogs, vlogs, periscopes and podcasts regularly about student and online ministry stuff. Check out his work at YMSidekick.com and on iTunes (search YMSidekick).

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