|Placing your church within an arm’s reach|
Mobile strategies that work!
By Eric Seiberling
Mobile messaging and applications are the latest innovations your church can use to reach a wider audience. In today’s busy world, this technology enables you to reach people while they’re on the go.
Many people believe mobile is just a fad … the data suggests otherwise.
Whether for teens in the United States or people in the Philippines, mobile devices are becoming the primary method to connect, communicate and relate to one another. Mobile provides real-time connectivity, 24/7, in the palm of a hand.
Mobile usage is growing. Every region of the world is experiencing very rapid spread of mobile usage. Smartphone penetration is growing exponentially worldwide. Cisco Systems Inc. forecasts that global mobile data traffic will grow 26 times over the next five years. Mobile is here to stay, and here is the proof.
Are you ready to place your church within an arm’s reach?
In the Great Commission, Jesus calls us to reach out to all nations — even when it means trekking into unfamiliar territory. We need to reach people wherever they are. A mobile strategy can help connect people to your church.
Make your website mobile. More than 40 percent of users access the Internet through their phones. We need to create our websites in a format accessible by smartphones and other mobile devices. If Wordpress powers your website, try BuddyPress, WPTouch Pro or WordPress Mobile Edition. Look at Mashable’s article for other tools to create a mobile website.
There’s an app for that. If you want to go one step beyond a mobile website, try making an app. AppMaker provides an easy way to make an iPhone app. Appsbar can help create apps for both iOS and Android operating systems.
Reach out and text someone. Text messaging is becoming the primary method of communication around the globe, especially for youth and young adults. You can use tools like Txt Signal, Tatango or Church Texting Manager to send mass text messages to advertise events, send reminders and request prayers.
Connect via QR (Quick Response) Codes. QR codes are two-dimensional matrix barcodes that can be scanned or read with your iPhone, Android or other camera-enabled smartphone. The codes can link to digital content on the web or activate phone functions, such as email, instant messaging and Short Message Service (SMS). You need to generate a QR code (using a QR code generator like Kaywa) and decide where to connect it. It could link to a special-events page to promote a church outreach event or to a YouTube video. Use it to offer directions to your church, “Like” your Facebook page or even send a text message to your church SMS account. Put a QR code on marketing materials, church signage, vacation Bible school registration forms or wherever you want people to find more information or to act. The individual can use a QR Code reader app like i-nigma (all smartphone OS) or Qrafter (iPad) to scan it with their camera and access the “call to action” you created.
GroupMe (and others). One helpful tool for church staffs, youth groups and other teams is GroupMe. This online tool allows you to create a group of 25 people and then do group text messaging and conference calls. It also allows photo sharing. Four to 10 people is the best group size. Create several groups to make communication manageable. GroupMe and other online tools can help your team coordinate events or improve collaboration.
Test … learn … rinse … repeat.
Mobile marketing is not a cure-all for your church, but it can help you connect with your community. Try different approaches and see what works. Start small by using mobile marketing techniques around a single event like your children’s Christmas program. Create a micro-site using Wordpress and then use WPTouchPro to make it mobile. Next, create an app that includes videos, songs the children will sing and pictures from the event. Include QR codes on all posters, invitations and signage for the event.
Take the time to test and refine your approach. This is your opportunity to bring your church within an arm’s reach of your community.
||Eric Seiberling is a digital nomad blogging on church effectiveness, marketing and social media at www.flockology.com. He is also a consultant assisting Fortune 500 companies and non-profits to facilitate change using a people-centric approach.|