Omni-Channel Church

What Is an Omnichannel Church?

No doubt your church marketing and communications teams use a variety of channels to communicate with members and prospects alike. But do you have the capability to direct only relevant messages to the right people?

That’s an omnichannel approach to church marketing. This marketing strategy allows you to zero in on your target market more accurately, providing them with relevant information without bombarding them with irrelevant messages. Let’s look at the advantages that an omnichannel marketing strategy can bring to your church, as well as the disadvantages of the status quo.

Using Only a Multi-Channel Church Marketing Strategy Limits Your Effectiveness

In earlier times, a multi-channel strategy was your only option to promote your church and its ministries. In a multi-channel church marketing strategy, you might be using a variety of channels, but you’re blasting the same information on all of them. So, your prospects, new members, and longtime members are all receiving the same messages on every communication channel.

It’s annoying for them – and ineffective. How will they sift through all those messages to find one relevant to their needs?

And, like any other cookie-cutter approach to communication, your messaging will take on a generalized tone. That’s precisely the opposite of the personalized approach a church needs to connect with the hearts and minds of its members and attendees.

Why an Omnichannel Church Marketing Strategy Yields Better Results

An omnichannel approach to church marketing allows you to personalize your messaging to reach people with the exact information they need at that point in their faith journey. With today’s church technology, you can use member data to segment your audience into various categories, such as:

  • Seekers and unchurched visitors
  • New believers who haven’t undergone baptism
  • Newly baptized believers
  • Men
  • Women
  • Children and youth at different stages of life
  • People interested in short-term missions
  • Musicians
  • Regular attendees
  • Lay leaders, such as deacons and elders

That’s only a few suggestions. With audience segmentation, a church can choose categories relevant to its unique ministry and funnel only relevant messages to each audience. You’ll get the right information to the right person – and you’ll send those messages at the right time on your recipient’s preferred channel.

That’s the beauty of an omnichannel church – and it can transform your ministry through more engaged church members at each stage of their faith journey. Reach your engagement goals with personalized messaging that address each member’s needs.

Taking the Great Commission into the 21st Century

Jesus was a master of communication. He knew exactly which time and place to approach each person – and in which context. He wooed the fishermen right as they worked with a simple, “Follow Me, and I’ll make you fishers of men.” Direct, to the point, and relatable.

As for the scribes, Pharisees, and other prominent leaders in His community, He stymied their haughty intellects with a dazzling display of logic and theological truths in the very temple they ruled. And, when one of them, Nicodemus, came to Him at night, Jesus answered Nicodemus’ question with a thought-provoking answer, knowing that to be precisely what this intellectual needed to eventually drive him to faith.

And as Jesus’ core group – His disciples – grew in faith, Jesus taught them deeper theological insights, preparing them for the time that they would take the Gospel message to the world, the Great Commission. Unlike Jesus’ preaching to seekers and unbelievers, His messages to those faithful disciples were meatier and took place in private settings.

In other words, Jesus Himself used the first-century version of omnichannel communications to get His points across. He knew – and leveraged – the right communication channels for each person at the exact time they needed it. The result? Member engagement that stood firm against persecution and trials that would be almost unimaginable in 21st-century America.

Although we’d be the first to admit that Jesus had the advantage of being omniscient, we do have the gift of living in the 21st century – where we can leverage leading-edge technology that allows us to use member data to guide each person with messaging relevant to their needs – and lead them toward taking the next step in their faith journey.

How to Leverage an Omnichannel Strategy to Drive Church Member Engagement

Omni-Channel Church

Image via The StudioC

As church growth and member engagement professionals, we’ve discovered that specific channels work better at different stages of a person’s faith journey. When you segment your audiences, you can best utilize each channel to its maximum potential. The diagram above traces a believer’s journey from awareness to the point at which they are capable of guiding others into a deeper relationship with Christ.

The Awareness Stage

In the “real world,” people might first become aware of your church by driving by your campus and seeing your church signage, billboard ads that advertise evangelical campaigns, print ads in a newspaper or local magazine, pamphlets that your members might hand out during community festivals or evangelical campaigns, or a chance conversation with one of your members.

In the digital world, they will likely encounter your church on their social media feeds or through a Google search. So, it’s essential that you shore up these channels with seeker-friendly language. Avoid churchy jargon in your offline messaging, as well as your website and social ads, like the plague. Communicate in plain English – and you’ll connect with them on their level.

The Consideration Stage

As people contemplate visiting your church, they’ll probably give your website a good lookover. Make sure that it’s welcoming to unbelievers and seekers – and free of anything they might consider weird – such as times of fasting and prayer, foot washing, or other standard Christian practices that could appear strange to people unfamiliar with Christian rituals. Keep that information behind a login in a members-only section of your site to avoid any misunderstandings.

Similarly, they might visit your social media pages – so make sure they’re welcoming, too. Feature fun events, youth ministries, and other attractive facets of your church’s social life. Use consistent terminology – and always provide definitions for terms that they might not be familiar with.

The Evaluation Stage

At this point, they’ll likely visit your church, either in-person or online. Make sure that your in-house signage is clear so they can find their way to your auditorium, the nursery, and the restrooms. Engage your most welcoming volunteers to greet them – and consider offering refreshments. There’s nothing like food and drink to make visitors feel welcome.

Additionally, Sunday morning isn’t the time for the theological jargon-heavy sermon. As Jesus did, make your sermons so down to earth that a child could understand them.

Do, however, get your visitors’ contact information so that you can follow up with email and text messages. As for online attendees, make sure that your sound system and other technology work properly to avoid glitches. Always end with a welcoming invitation that appeals to both seekers and those who are already Christians and are looking for a church home.

The Commitment Stage

They’ve evaluated their options and have committed their life to Christ. At this stage, they’re ready to take the next step in their faith journey, usually baptism and formal membership in the church. Here’s where a mobile app, combined with The StudioC’s church member engagement platform, can help them take these crucial next steps.

When a new person is ready to make that commitment, be sure to have the pastoral staff or lay leaders at the ready to guide them. Although spiritual counsel is by far the most crucial aspect of this encounter, those who you task to counsel new members should be able to advise them on the benefits of using your church’s mobile app. Those benefits include personalized messages tailored to their specific needs, interests, and the next steps they need to take to move forward on their faith journey.

It’s like having a “church in their pocket” that they can carry with them at all times, even when they’re on the go. When you pair your church’s app with The StudioC’s member engagement platform, you can provide your members with icons, virtual badges that help them see what step they need to take next, beginning with baptism and church membership.

The Engagement Stage

With audience segmentation, the StudioC engagement platform can provide each member with relevant messages that meet their unique needs and pique their interest, including the suggested next steps in their discipleship journey, such as more frequent attendance or regular giving. For instance, a new female member whose interests include music could receive invitations to participate in both a women’s Bible study that fits within her busy schedule and in the church’s choir or worship team.

On the other hand, a newly baptized high school boy who’s a sports enthusiast could receive an app-based notice about the church’s upcoming basketball tournament and an invitation to connect with your church’s high school youth group and Sunday School class. And, your church leadership teams can monitor both of these new members’ progress in their engagement with activities that interest them, sending reminders as needed to drive members to deeper involvement.

That’s the beauty of The StudioC’s audience segmentation – it’s THAT personal – and drives more engagement than bland, all-inclusive messaging. So, it pays to drive your member traffic to the app first, then other channels as needed.

With The StudioC’s church app interface, each member will have a personal dashboard to monitor their progress along their discipleship journey. Your pastoral staff can keep an eye on these dashboards to see when a person might need a word of encouragement to take the next step.

Make your app the central hub for member communications, and you’ll see interest – and engagement – rise to new heights.

Disciple-Making Stage

As your people mature in their faith journey, they eventually reach the point where they can effectively guide newer Christians along the road to deeper faith. Some of these mature Christians can even advocate for the faith among doubters, as did the early Christian leaders after Jesus’ mandate to proclaim the Word to the nations, thereby growing your church organically from the ground up.

The StudioC’s omnichannel approach to ministry enables you and your staff to interact with your members on a deeply personal level — and do so at scale as you grow your congregation. With this suite of digital tools, your pastoral staff can gain insights into the spiritual health of your members while informing and connecting with their church members.These tools never replace the in-person aspects of your ministry. In fact, they enhance your ability to do so, giving you deeper insights into their spiritual journey. Use The StudioC’s platform to implement your member engagement strategy – and you’ll grow your church in both its commitment to its mission and in number. Schedule your free one-on-one call with the StudioC team today to see what it can do for your congregation.

Like this article?

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkedin
Share on Pinterest

Leave a comment

Scroll to Top