Updated August 2017

It’s no secret that, thanks to smartphones, most of the world regularly accesses the Internet. Half of the world’s population now has a mobile subscription, and by 2020, the global penetration rate will be approximately 60%.

You might be a smartphone user yourself, so the reasons why people use smartphones may seem obvious.

But to put it in concrete terms, according to think with Google, people turn to their smartphones to search Google, YouTube, social networks or their email when they want to better understand something, find something nearby, buy something using their mobile device or learn how to do something.

If you’re a digital communications and marketing pro, you should sign up for our twice-monthly email:

This is important for churches and nonprofits.

When your audience has an immediate want or need and they turn to their mobile device for answers, they need to find your organization there, with the information, connections and hope they are trying to find. If you aren’t getting found, you can’t accomplish your mission.

Remember also that 39% of non-profit donors reported looking up an organization within 24 hours of seeing a video ad. Most donors—87%—use search on their mobile devices (to which they are nearly always connected), to learn more about the non-profit. Following search, 75% of donors go to the non-profit’s website to learn more about them before deciding whether or not to give.

So how can you get found?

Here is an incomplete-yet-regularly-updated list of digital marketing ideas for churches and nonprofits:

Hold a 24-hour digital event to raise awareness and money for a campaign. For example: Hour 1: Periscope with a spokesperson, Hour 2: Facebook “Ask Me Anything” chat on your Facebook page regarding your mission, Hour 3: A livestreaming event via your website, Hour 4: Matching donations, Hour 5: A Twitter chat with a special guest, Hour 6: Invite an influencer or musician to do a live Instagram story and so forth.

Seriously consider investing in Facebook Ads and Google Adwords. These work.

Create YouTube videos that tell compelling, visual stories of the work you’re doing.

Create super useful webpage content—infographics are an example—that other sites will want to link to.

Create a mobile texting campaign—either a text-to-give campaign or as a way to share essential updates—allowing people to opt-in to mobile text messages.

Create an inspiring and educational Instagram feed, sharing stories of the work you’re doing.

Create a podcast that is engaging to on-the-go listeners and gives them tangible takeaways.

For every podcast, include Show Notes as a post on the blog. Here is an example. This will help with SEO and also alert people who have subscribed via RSS that a new episode is available. For every video, post the transcript on the blog for the same reasons.

Create an email newsletter.

Make certain your website is mobile ready AND its navigation is simple and clear. This also means having a simple message and clear call to action. Search engines like Google will reward you for giving people a great online experience.

On that same note, make certain page URLs are user-friendly—clear, descriptive URLs. This helps search engines find and index your content more easily.

Create YouTube ads.

Create quick bites of valuable content, accompanied by excellent images, and share them across digital platforms.

Create a Q&A tweetchat that happens once a week or once a month and answers common questions around specific topics.

Host a monthly livestreaming show on Facebook Live.

Publish a Facebook page for each church location so that local addresses and service times will show up in Google search results (you can control posts to each location page from the main page).

Create friction-free areas of your website that make it easy for people to sign up or buy—no hassles whatsoever, especially for mobile users.

Create an excellent Google My Business listing.

Partner with popular bloggers, invite them to work alongside you in your mission and write about their experience.

Partner with influencers who are willing to also to work alongside you in your mission and perhaps share photographs of their experience.

Contribute online articles to the media, giving readers a clear picture of a problem they may not deeply understand and ways it can be solved.

Conduct a media campaign around a specific trend, issue, launch or event.

Guest blog on high-traffic websites (Christianity Today is an example).

Devote a special section of your website to pictures or video from your audience and their involvement with your church or nonprofit–perhaps attending special events or doing on-the-ground work. Link to it from your home page so website visitors can get to it quickly. This gives people an idea of what it’s like to be involved in your ministry.

Ask volunteers to post pictures of themselves working with your ministry. If they’re a donor, perhaps ask them to shoot a 10-second video using their smartphone telling why they chose to donate to your organization. Give them a special hashtag to use so people can easily find these posts on Instagram or Facebook.

Promote any user-generated content. Make it a campaign. You could even turn it into a contest. Have fun and leverage digital content marketing to make champions of your audience.

Consider creating a Facebook Messenger chat bot that allows you to get important pieces of content to many potential donors quickly, chat one-on-one with people and answer questions and recommend donor levels to people based on their responses.

For Christian-based companies, consider developing a Facebook Messenger chat bot so you can share product content, make product recommendations, interact with people directly and allow them to purchase your products from within Messenger. If you have an event coming up, you could even use the bot to allow people to purchase tickets and add the event to their calendar.

Use augmented reality to encourage people to interact more with your church–like groups signup or helping children memorize scripture.

This page will be regularly updated with new ideas. Come back again! If you have questions or comments, please let us know on Facebook or Twitter and use #missionfound.

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