In the computer world, there’s three things I’m crazy for. Macs, Quicksilver, and Google. (No, it’s not just search.) Macs aren’t so much church marketing related (except, of course, that they’re better than PCs), and Quicksilver definitely isn’t church marketing related. Google, I would argue, is. A little over a week ago, we asked you, and 12% of you said Google was essential to your church marketing efforts.
This is for the other 88%. Nine ways to use Google Apps in your church marketing.
- Hosted Gmail. Everyone wants their pastor’s e-mail to be @yourchurchhere.org. Google Premium allows for this. Instead of the normal 2+ GB of storage, you get 10 GB. This is great for an organization because you can also easily search through all of these e-mails. Also, you get all the features of Gmail. Labels, filters to set up labels, conversations, starring important mail and availability from home or the office. This will allow you to communicate more effectively within your staff and with the outside world.
- Shared calendars. You can set up your chuch event calendar in a Google and share two ways. One is you can just throw the calendar up on your site. The second is making it a shared calendar. Then, everyone can subscribe to the calendar, and they will automatically see the events on their own calendar. You can also make this calendar available to anyone else so that they can keep up with what’s going on as well.
- Calendars as event management tools. If everyone in your church is using Google Apps, you can set them up as attending an event, and an email will shoot to them asking for their RSVP. Additionally, Gmail’s Google Calendar integration will allow you to shoot Pastor Joe an e-mail that says “Lunch tomorrow at 1:00 p.m.?” and he will see a little icon asking him to add this to his calendar. Quite convenient, actually.
- YouTube to share video. Google Video is still out there, but YouTube is the place to be, and Google owns it. I don’t think there’s a more universal site for videos. Anyone could just put in your church name, and you can make your video available. You can also use YouTube to simply embed the video in your home site so no one ever has to leave there.
- Blogger to set up a blog. We’ve written about this before, but it’s another part of the Google suite of web apps that can be highly beneficial to your church. Maybe switching over to utilizing all of Google will allow your pastor or a staff member to provide a blog for your church’s members.
- Google talk to, well, talk. This one has some compatibility issues. It will be very useful to set up to talk amongst staff members and shoot messages back and forth. Warning: Possible productivity killer alert. I’ve never seen this one tried, but how about a church screen name that the pastor could sign on for an hour a week and people could ask questions under the cloak of anonymity? “Chatting with Pastor So-And-So.” I don’t know if that’s been tried, but it’s something new someone could give a shot.
- Picasa to share pictures. It’s not as popular as Flickr, I’ll admit that. But there is a basic photo editor and the ability to share your photos via email or use the HTML to embed them in your website. A great way to share photos from events or design ideas.
- Google Groups to get people together. Through Google Groups, you can create a forum for discussion or a mailing list. This will be helpful to discuss your new building project, explain an event, provide an avenue for members to ask questions, and contact people with basic information.
- Share docs, spreadsheets, and (soon) presentations. If there’s any document you want to take public to show people that you’re working on, you can set them up as viewers. If you want to allow certain people to work on it, you can set those people up as collaborators. This would be interesting if you’re re-drafting a mission statement or something of the sort that you can give some people access to look in on the process and some access to work on the project with you.
This list isn’t by any means all-inclusive. There’s a hundred other ways you could use or not use Google. Just something to think about and consider using to manage your marketing a little bit more effectively. Is there anything you do to use Google that I didn’t mention? Any reasons you absolutely abhor Google?