How do Wisdom and Selling go together?
Welcome to Wisdom Selling. So if you are like me, you are always wanting to learn more. Well here is the deal about selling. It is the desire to exchange something you have, for something of more value to you. You may have an idea, a product, a service which people will want to pay for, allowing you to make a profit. You have to seek out people who might want it, and convince them it is worth the price you are charging. Or like me, you may just have a little wisdom, and are looking for someone who values it enough to want to use it. My value received in return is the joy of your feedback. So, I am selling wisdom. The cost to you, your interest. I want to help others as well. Visit the links page and shop for some good deals. Any profits on money you spend there will be used by Wisdom Selling to support non-profit businesses in developing their strategies.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Why churches need the web!
Imagine for a moment having access to the living room of all the families in your community, attention to your message, and opportunities to investigate your church for potential fit and attractiveness to their needs and wants.
What would you do with that moment where a family is trying to decide where to go to church this weekend, or even to go at all? What would you want them to know about your church, your ministries and how important what your church has to offer can be to them. Among other priorities:
· You would want to capture their attention, and lead them to the message quickly and effectively, so that the moment is best used.
· You would want to prick their hearts so the Holy Spirit finds an openness to change.
· You would want a call to action for them, whether to come to your church or another.
· You would want to clear up as much confusion as possible for those who don’t yet understand the purpose of being a part of a church.
· You would want to share the gospel should the opportunity present itself.
In the early church, people were face to face this way all the time, and lives were changed in ways that we still benefit from today. However, in our current era, people have become much more disconnected physically. The gathering in the neighborhoods in the afternoon, dinners together with friends, hanging out at the park have traded places with video games, extra work and time on the worldwide web.
The worldwide web has become such a force in our society that the government has considered terming it a right – that all Americans should be able to access the internet. Increasingly, people with all types of different economic and educational backgrounds, different age and career demographics, are becoming dependent on the web to provide them information. Whether it is where to eat, what to wear, when the movie is playing, even up to the moment news, people are spending much more time on the web, looking for solutions to their problems and ways to improve their lives.
Recently, a report was issued with serious implications for the neighborhood church. The number one way that new members of a community find a church now is via a web search, followed by investigating the website of the church for a match to interests. Increasingly, reliance on neighbors and friends is being verified with a web visit. The web allows the reader to unlock some of the mystery behind the sanctuary doors without having to actually open them. A church without a website is likely to miss out on consideration, unless their physical presence is so overwhelming that people are drawn to it by driving by.
However, a church without a web strategy may be just as likely to miss out on a potential life changing opportunity as they may confuse more than clarify. However, when words like strategy are used, there can be a fear of the church becoming more like a business than a group of people. This is a valid concern, but in actuality, much of what goes on in business closely parallels efforts of the church.
Consider these examples.
Strategy – When Christ sent out the 72, he gave them a specific set of goals (share the good news), as well as tactics to achieve the goal. He discussed the competitive environment (rejection) and the wise use of resources (don’t take a bag), as well as how to handle objections (wipe the dust off). He was clear in his plan, and kept everything simple. This description is a definition that would work well in business to describe strategy.
Selling - SELLING is about understanding what you have to offer, finding those who might want what you have to offer, have something they are willing to exchange with you that you value more highly than what you are giving up. In witnessing, we are bringing the good news. We want to give it away, but we have to find those who will value it high enough to give up their old life through repentance and acceptance. We often use stories about how valuable our faith is to us, to create a bridge to what is valuable to the non-believer in the expectation that God will take control of the outcome.
Marketing – This is about knowing our products, knowing who our customers would be and ways to find and influence them. This is about presenting products in a compelling manner so that the sale can take place. Churches focus on this all the time, by having members reach out to their neighbors, having welcoming members, making sure worship is focused on the right things, and offering bible study to help people understand God purpose and plans.
Competition – of course the church has competition from human nature, as well as the inherent evil on the world. As big a distraction now though are the alternatives that capture the minds and hearts of those the church desires to reach. People expect to be captivated, entertained and served, based on what the world tells them. The idea of serving, worshipping and accepting the Good News often looks like more work than benefit compared to the other things in their life.
The question then becomes, what is the role of the internet for the local church? In strategy development, the first thing that needs to happen is to define the problems that need to be solved. Each problem may require a different solution, but getting them all out will identify any potential synergies.
Here are a few key problems to be solved, that could potentially be addressed in some way by a web presence.
1. The church needs more people to be aware of the existence of the church who might consider attending.
2. The church needs the community to understand more fully what they stand for, in order to create interest in attending.
3. The church wants to share the gospel in as many venues as possible.
4. The church wants Christians to grow daily
5. The church has programs and scheduled events that they want people to know about and participate in
6. The church provides services that they want the public to be aware of.
7. The church has groups within the church that have a need to better connect, inform and interact.
A website is not going to be the solution to all of these problems, but it can certainly be a contributor to the solution. However, planning in advance how to use the web and determining what works well together, versus just starting a web page can be of great advantage. A church that already has a web presence may consider this problem solution approach in making modifications and improvements.
The first priority is to make the main thing the main thing. It seems like such a simple concept, but is often lost in the need to solve so many problems. Which of the problems are most important to solve, and which go together. Which problems need to be solved but may not offer any synergy or may even detract from the overall goals.
Consider these as examples.
A church has existed in a community for several years, but has not been able to connect to the local neighborhoods the way they desire to.
They might consider a website that is focused on the mission of the church, the people who are members who are local, programs that benefit the neighborhood whether they join the church or not. They might customize the look of the website to include local color, and might use local media, social sites, billboards or other methods to reach the locals.
A church wants to be at the top of a search when a new person comes to town.
They might consider a website that has lots of content describing their philosophies, programs and ministries, and work with search engine optimization so that when someone searches for churches in their community, they are on the first page of the search. They might get advice to prevent things like only referring to themselves as a worship center, where the keyword most used is church, or leaving out denominational connections which are other keywords.
A church wants to have pages for each program, such as choir, men’s ministry, etc.
They might work with a free website organization to develop pages directed to the ministry, and then link as appropriate the main site. This allows for a unique look, and does not “clutter up” the site that is for new interested people.
A church wants to put out the teachings of their ministers for webcasts, purchase, etc.
They might consider a separate website with links, so that the keywords for the teaching site are focused on what would be searched for. This also allows for using a purchasing site while keeping the main site from having the complications of payments.
A church wants to have a set of pages that are for helping someone to understand the gospel better, or for daily Christian living.
They might consider segregating this information on separate pages so that they can be focused and not contain attention robbing information while the critical information is exchanged.
The bottom line is an understanding that different solutions may come about with separate activity, which may or may not be linked. It is not necessary to build everything into one website, especially with the availability of free websites for churches and other ministries.
While the actual web design may be done by a layperson, the staff will want to set the strategy and direction based on the priorities of the church. From there, on-line solutions can be developed, which may involve consulting or experiences of others as available. Churches can then enter into the living rooms and offices of the very people they want to reach, and better serve the community while seeking opportunities to grow the kingdom.
Chris Byrd is an author, mentor and marketer with Wisdom Selling. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.