Archives For research

In my previous post, I outlined In order to effectively reach our audience, whether that be a congregation, our donors, or new clients, we must understand what they do online. But so many organizations think they already know what their audience does… From my book:

Once you have identified your potential audience, it is essential that you fully understand their digital habits. This is where so many go wrong: they assume that they already understand their audience and can skip this step. Simply using intuition or a “gut feeling” about it is not acceptable; you must include solid research on your target audience as part of your strategic planning.

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Last time, I explored the idea that we are in a “post-website world.” Because of this, it is important that we learn how to get our message in front of our audience where they are. And the data show that they are on social networks. But this sometimes leads ministry leaders to the wrong conclusion, as I discuss in my book:

Many will look at these data and this shift toward more interactive and social online activity and draw the conclusion that their ministry should build its own social network or other interactive site. This is absolutely the wrong conclusion! If you knew that your potential au- dience went to Starbucks every day and you wanted to engage with them, would you first build your own coffeehouse down the street and then tell them, “Come to my shop; I’ll be waiting”? No. Your best strategy would be to go to Starbucks yourself and interact with them there. There are very few situations in which creating your own environment for interacting with your audience makes sense.

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Since many of you may be new to my blog and research, I wanted to make you aware of the “resources” section and some of the online ministry tools I have put there. The “resources” section is available both at my main site and my Facebook page.

One of my first projects in the area of online ministry was to seek an answer to the question: what makes online ministry successful? This led to the development of a research project to determine the “best practices” in online ministry.  From November 2007 to April 2008, over 300 ministries took a survey and reported on how they were doing Internet ministry. From the data collected, a series of “best practices” were developed matching ministries who reported success with their Internet presence with answers to the survey questions. I presented the results of this research at the Internet Ministry Conference in October 2008. Continue Reading…