Church Recommendations Matter

Church Recommendations Matter

November 19, 2014 by

People trust people. More than marketing, advertising or publicity, people trust one another. Recommendations, opinions and reviews are way more valuable than any marketing you can do. Church recommendations matter.

Jeff Ferazzo with Constant Contact shared these stats at the recent Minnesota Blogger Conference:
Church recommendations: Who do you trust?

Recommendations and online opinions get way more credit than advertising. Word of mouth is where it’s at. And that’s nothing new. People are always asking their friends. These days we just have more and more options to get other people’s input. The same is true for church.

If you want to get people to check out your church, you need to care about church recommendations.

How Do You Get Church Recommendations?

“Having positive reviews where people will be looking for a church is a huge help.”

OK, so church recommendations are important. How do you get them?

  • Ask for them: If people like your church, they’re happy to talk it up. All you have to do is ask. They’ll gladly give a church recommendation.
  • Show people how: While people may be willing to give church recommendations, they don’t always know how. Give people detailed directions to make it easy. Where do they go? What do they click on? Do they have to be logged in? Walk them through each step.
  • Make it easy: Knowing how is one thing, but you can still make it even easier. What should they say? How long does it need to be? Are they even qualified to give a recommendation? Answer some basic questions and give some examples of what they might say. Ask some questions that will prompt the response you’re looking for: What do you love about our church? When you first came, what made you decide to come back? Why would a friend love our church?

Where Do You Use Church Recommendations?

Church Recommendations on GoogleChurches aren’t books on Amazon or restaurants on UrbanSpoon. Where do you use church recommendations?

Public Sites

Well, there actually is a church review site—ChurchRater.com. Though it’s not exactly widespread (I counted only 20 churches rated in all of Minnesota) and is unlikely to be the first choice for church shoppers.

But there are church reviews on plenty of places people frequent, including Google, Yelp and Facebook pages. In fact, simply Googling your church will likely pull up your site as well as some reviews. Are those reviews positive? Or are they going to keep people from even checking out your church?

Your Own Site

Having positive reviews where people will be looking for a church is a huge help. It’s great to have church recommendations in those public places like Google and Yelp. But you can also collect church recommendations on your own site. That might sound a little weird, but it’s really because we’re used to calling them by a different name.

Once upon a time this wasn’t a marketing idea, it was part of church: testimonies.

We’d take time to share stories about what God was doing in our lives. That’s what a lot of church recommendations are, simply sharing how your church has impacted your life.

So collect those stories and share them on your site. Not only is it good content to help someone decide to check out your church, but it’s encouragement for your congregation too.

Final Advice on Church Recommendations

  • Bad reviews: Your church is a public entity and not everyone is going to love it. You might get some bad reviews. Don’t sweat it. See if there’s anything you can learn (like your greeters were over-eager or your congregation was too cold—the kind of things Unwelcome: 50 Ways Churches Drive Away First-Time Visitors could help you with) and move on. Don’t get hung up on negativity or differences of opinion.
  • Focus on the positive: If you are struggling with negative reviews, drown them out with positive ones.
  • Don’t micromanage: Having good church recommendations is clearly important. But don’t obsess over it. If your people feel like you’re berating them for a kind review, they’re just going to get annoyed. It’s kind of like the grade-grubbing student. Don’t be that kid.

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Kevin D. Hendricks


When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998 and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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One Response to “Church Recommendations Matter”

  • Bryan Chalker
    November 20, 2014

    haha, love it: “Once upon a time this wasn’t a marketing idea, it was part of church: testimonies.” …just as marketing is called “promoting” and “announcements”


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