Loneliness and stress are on the rise. Prolonged pandemic-enforced isolation is taking its toll. Ultimately, the cumulative stress and shared trauma of the last year have aggravated minor inconveniences into major problems.
Relationships at every level are showing the strain.
- LegalTemplates, which offers customized legal documents, has seen a 34% increase in sales of their divorce agreement compared to 2019.
- Blue Cross Blue Shield reports that alcohol consumption has increased by 23%.
- Finances are tight as the unemployment rate has risen from 3.5% to 6.7%.
As their marriages, mental health, and finances bow under the weight of COVID-19, Americans are hungry for hope.
Those in crisis often turn to the internet, to social media and search engines. Sometimes they’re able to fully articulate a question (“how do I help my child, who misses his friends?”), but most of the time they simply scroll and scroll, hoping to stumble across something or someone who can alleviate their problems and pain. They’re looking for words of hope that they may not be able to articulate until they appear on their screens.
Extending Your Reach
The first step is to reach people where they are—their devices. The average person spends around three hours per day on their smartphone according to Entrepreneur Magazine. Acting on Jesus’ call to go out and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-19 and Acts 1:8), we are tasked with actually moving toward people. If those you want to reach are online, meet them where they are.
If you want people searching for answers to find your church—whether on social media or the first few pages of search results—you generally need to do one of two things:
Option 1: Be tech savvy.
Using your enormous talent and skill to create ads and leverage algorithms. Anything less, and the typical person who views an average of 5,000 ads per day, won’t ever see your content.
Option 2: Have an enormous budget.
Capable of paying the thousands of dollars that successful ads on search engines and social media platforms often require.
If neither of these options feel within reach for you, you’re not alone. Most pastors went into ministry to nurture disciples, build relationships, and lead people into loving and trusting relationships with Jesus Christ. Few of you set out to become digital marketing experts or financial wheeler-dealers spending the majority of your annual budget on ad buys.
So how can you focus on what you do best while still reaching new people?
Imagine a day when someone new signs up for a parenting group at your church, citing a Facebook ad that spoke directly to their concerns as a mother as their first point of contact.You had forgotten those ads were even running. That forgetting, that freedom from keeping marketing at the front of your mind, allowing you to put your energy into that parenting group—that’s the goal.
So How Do We Get There?
One company helps pastors gain this freedom to forget. With savvy web designers and ad developers, GlooConnect, featured in Barna’s City Toolkit, harnesses the power of search engines and social media. They help pool the resources of many churches so that together they can afford, felt-needs-based ads on the front page of results. This results in the big-C Church coming together as they did in Acts 5, sharing all they have to promote the greater good, reaching others with the gospel and helping the searching find a church home. Ultimately, GlooConnect does the work of connecting people to churches, freeing you up to focus on teaching, preaching, and pastoring, just as you’d likely prefer.
Meet people where they are.
GlooConnect’s targeted ads on social media meet people where they are—in more ways than one.
They meet them in their virtual spaces, like Facebook and Instagram.
They meet them emotionally and personally by addressing their needs and the questions they’re asking.
As someone interacts with an ad, they’re led to a directory of local churches. There, they can see your church and learn more about the specific ministries you offer that match their needs.
This church directory powered by GlooConnect showcases each church equally, regardless of congregation size or marketing budget. Viewers are able to evaluate churches, big and small, to find the one that best suits their needs. Imagine if congregations worked together to show your community a caring and loving church that wants people to flourish. And imagine if that was supported by compounding donor dollars and professional, agency-level ads. All the while, this system is working in the background, run by experts, so churches don’t have to spend another minute or dollar trying to learn how to do this well.
Many hands working toward a greater good.
When people come together—when churches come together—the amount of work saved and good done shapes whole communities. We know this because it’s already happening with great success. As churches pool their resources and GlooConnect builds the bridge between people and churches, what grows then is a local community absolutely committed to the betterment of the whole as they love their neighbors and find those who need church most. The connectedness of community churches creates a united front—one that declares love and extends a meet-you-where-you-are welcome to its neighbors.
South Florida: 2.2 million impressions and counting
To see how it all works, let’s look at South Florida. In 2020, GlooConnect ran around 100 Facebook, Instagram, and programmatic ads promoting Christmas services in the region. Here’s how it broke down:
- Pooled resources totaled a $27,000 combined ad spend
- The campaign saw over 2.2 million ad impressions
- More than 19,000 people clicked through to see the church profiles and programs
- In the end, over 300 people connected to local churches and programs who may not otherwise have found a church at all
Phoenix: Where 500+ people are finding a church home
It’s not just in South Florida where GlooConnect is having a Kingdom Impact. Campaigns have also run in Phoenix.
- 50 local churches rallied together in Phoenix
- A $59,4000 combined ad spend was amassed
- The campaign ached nearly 162,000 people
- 527 new people connected to churches they could call home
Kansas City: Finances shaped around faith
After success in Florida and Phoenix, GlooConnect went to KC.
- The Kansas City campaign resulted in 4.9 million ad impressions
- The posts accrued 389,383 engagements
- 334,165 total people were reached
- The number of households that stated they look to their faith to inform financial habits and priorities increased by 21%
These aren’t just statistics—they’re real lives. They’re the heartbeat of your calling, pastor, as they represent the sheep you long to shepherd. This collective approach doesn’t generalize your church, it helps it shine. And, rather than having to work out marketing strategy and ad buys with your current, all-too-busy staff, GlooConnect allows you to “set it and forget it.”
GlooConnect isn’t one more thing you have to worry about. Using this service means there are ten fewer things you have to think about.
Join with Churches, Shape Your Community—for Free.
With GlooConnect’s team comes marketing expertise, design acumen, and for many, a $0 price tag. Kingdom-minded donors in several American cities (Kansas City, Dallas/Fort Worth, and all of South Florida, with new areas steadily coming online) want to see churches win. They have covered the cost for local churches to join GlooConnect for a whole year. That’s how strongly they believe that this service will create an incredible return on investment in the lives of their community members as the funds—normally between $1,000-1,700 for a church per year—are pooled together.
With a self-evident approach that stands to benefit every city-based church, GlooConnect matches donors who want to help their cities thrive with local congregations so that ultimately all churches, even those financially strapped, can share the gospel with their communities. GlooConnect brings churches together in sharing Christ’s love, helping individuals find their best fit in a local church, and they do so by leaning on the experience of partners like Barna and the Global Leadership Network.
You may be wondering if you even need this service, especially if you’re already familiar with ad buys and marketing best practices. In a small town or rural area with a low density of churches? You may not! But in a larger town or city, a collective ad buy stands to benefit your congregation exponentially. When churches in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, combined their resources for a $27,000 GlooConnect ad spend, they saw a remarkable return on their investment—over 2.5 million ad impressions, four times the typical Facebook campaign performance benchmarks. It’s a great addition to any strategy—a strong asset to churches that already have a solid, individual marketing approach, and an opportunity to enter the online marketing world strong for smaller churches unable to focus on marketing themselves. GlooConnect’s collective approach leads to collective good—for pastors who want to focus on ministry not marketing, for donors who want to invest in local churches, and for the people in our cities whose real needs will be met with a connection with real hope.