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Strategic Digital Outreach

A Strategic Opportunity For The Church

How Can We Take Advantage of New Video Ads From Google AdWords?

Cancer VideoThe internet marketing blogosphere was a bit abuzz yesterday with the news that Google’s AdWords program will soon be adding click-to-play video ads as an option for advertisers who have opted into its content network.

I first learned of this from Darren at ProBlogger.net. At first, I gave more thought to how it could be used by internet marketers working for commercial companies, specifically by the catalog company I work for in my day job. But then Rob challenged churches and ministries to think about how this opportunity could be used to further God’s kingdom.

Video Profiles
My mind must be working slowly these days since I didn’t immediately make a connection between this new opportunity and my preferred web strategy for churches which includes the use of video profiles of believers with specific life experiences or interests. However, Rob’s article prompted me to consider more carefully how the new video ads from Google Adwords could be used effectively in a church’s overall web strategy.

That line of thinking resulted in a proposed strategy in which a church would use short video profiles of members of their congregation to entice unbelievers in their local area to consider the value of a local congregation’s ministry in their own lives. Perhaps an example will be the best way to explain the strategy.

An Example
Suppose a church had a group of cancer survivors and people still struggling with cancer in their congregation who met together weekly in a support group. Those who were survivors and those who were still struggling with cancer both had compelling stories to tell of how they first found out they had cancer, their struggles with fear and doubt, and the peace they ultimately experienced through their relationship with Christ.

Why not develop short video profiles of these cancer survivors and sufferers (a healthy mix of both so that we don’t suggest that anyone who is a Christian will ultimately have “peachy-keen lives” with no problems) which tell those compelling stories? Then create a page on the church’s website which features all of those video profiles along with information on the support group and ways in which interested parties can find more information.

Finally, create a shorter version of one of the video profiles (with the most compelling tidbits of the person’s story) and develop it into a Google video ad. If the church doesn’t already have a Google AdWords account, sign up for such an account and then target the video ad in two ways: 1) to the local geographic region (Google recommends a 20-30 mile radius as a minimum); and, 2) to websites which are somehow related to cancer.

The Desired Result
The hopeful outcome of this strategy is that unbelievers in a church’s local geographic area who are suffering from cancer (or who have loved ones with cancer) will be surfing websites related to cancer. Since they live in the church’s local area, the church’s ads will be displayed.

I don’t know about you, but if I had cancer and I saw an ad similar to the example I have shown above, I would be very tempted to click to play the video, and if the stories were compelling enough, I would be tempted to click through to visit the church’s website. If I identified with the expanded video profiles on the church’s website, I would strongly consider contacting the church for more information.

In this way, unbelievers and believers who have similar life experiences and interests can be brought together in face-to-face relationships. Unbelievers become immersed in Christian community, which is the foundation of all effective outreach (cf. John 17:21-23).

Other Life Experiences And Interests
Of course, this is only an example. There are myriads of other possibilities which could be featured in such a strategy — grief groups, age-related groups, gender-related groups, sports fans, gardening fanatics, parenting groups, etc. All these and many, many more are possibilities.

And the master said to the slave, “Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled.” Luke 14:23

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/24/06 at 11:55 AM
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