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5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Make A Website For Your Business

By | Blog, Business
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Read Time: 5-10 min

TIP: You Need An Online Business

TIP: Set Aside Time For Learning

TIP: Ask For Free Quotes From Established Experts

TIP: Find Experts You Can Trust

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You set yourself up for failure the moment you decided to build a website. The problem with this mindset is that it limits your focus to only one component of a successful online presence.
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Most business owners start working on a website before they have a clear understanding of how to use it. They simply publish a few pages because “everyone knows websites are important”, and then they are aggravated when it doesn’t bring in leads.

The goal of this article is to help business owners find the right perspective for using the web to grow their business.

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A website is nothing more than a few files that anyone on the internet can access.

The internet is a massive collection of unorganized information, the majority of which is useless and ignored. The amount of new information created each minute is staggering, and everyone is yelling for attention.

Many business owners think of the internet as an ocean full of fish, and their website as a fishing lure. That’s simply not the case. The internet is more like a massive junkyard. If you don’t maintain your online presence, your information gets buried and ignored.

In a Nutshell:

  • Publishing a website will not find customers for you. You find customers by consistently researching your market and competition.
  • Publishing a website will not help customers find you. You help them find you by investing in search engine optimization and a social media strategy.

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Putting up a website is short-term goal. You will achieve it quickly and then wonder why it didn’t help. What you need is a long-term strategy for building an online business. This shift in thinking may seem intimidating, but anything less than this goal is a waste of your time and resources.

As soon as you focus on building an online business, you’re goal has shifted from a cheap and easy task (throwing up a website), to long-term business strategy (building an online sales funnel). With the right help, your website can grow into a sales engine that teaches you how your customers think, and turns your brand into gold.

Your customers are online, so that's were you need to run your business. Click To Tweet

If you are a school with full enrollment or a restaurant that’s always booked, you may be tempted to think you don’t need to invest in the web. However, an online business isn’t limited to just marketing or sales. An online business can reduce operational costs by streamlining customer engagement, add new entirely revenue streams, help you learn how your customers think, and grow your brand authority enough to reach bigger business opportunities and partnerships. If you don’t invest in online growth, then you are just waiting for your competition to make you obsolete.

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When most new business owners put up a website, they are thinking in static terms. They pour a little money into the website and then sit back to see what does (or doesn’t) happen. Fast forward a year or two and they almost always end up with the same type of mediocre online presence as their competition. If you ask them why they don’t invest more into building up their online business, they simply say that it doesn’t work for them.

If your technology investments aren’t working, it’s because you’ve already fallen behind. Click To Tweet

It’s easy to start thinking this way because when something’s wrong with your online business, nothing happens. No sales, no clicks, no visitors, no information. The easy response is to stop trying or assume that something will eventually “catch on” if you stay on the same path.

iteration-minWith this in mind, pick any successful high-growth company you know of and research how they manage their online presence. You’ll find very intentional and carefully planned ads, consistent social media, beautiful images, clear language, and a polished website. None of that happens by accident, it is all the result of careful experimentation, research, and learning.

When driving your car, your hands are constantly making quick adjustments in pressure to keep your vehicle moving forward, and your eyes are constantly searching for signals to change direction. That’s how a successful online business is managed: Measure, improve, and repeat. The faster you learn, the faster you grow.

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It takes patience and consistent effort to find out what works. The best first step you can take is to set aside both money and time each week towards analyzing and improving your online business. I suggest training in Agile Project Management and using a tool like Trello to keep track of ideas and questions. When something doesn’t work, either get help or invest in another digital marketing strategy. If you do nothing, the only thing your business learns is procrastination. Click To Tweet

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A cheap website is a cheap brand. Click To Tweet If all you want to do it publish a few good looking webpages and a contact form, you will find the cheapest way to do it. You can even make a website yourself using one of the countless services like Squarespace, Weebly, & Wix.

The problem is that these options give inexperienced entrepreneurs an easy way to avoid the real work of building an online business.

Think of your website as your most important employee or retail storefront. Cutting corners in these areas is a mistake all of your customers will notice, and it will end up costing you more in the long run. An online business is one of the lowest cost investments your business will make, but it can have a bigger impact on your business than all of your real estate and salesmen combined.

If a small business invest $3k on a professionally managed Adwords campaign, the worst outcome would be that they lose $3k and have to try something else. However, they might discover that they can turn $500 a month into an extra $10,000 of revenue every month for the life of the business. Is this really a corner worth cutting?

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Every week I get emails with statements like this:

“Two years, two web companies and $10,000 later and we don’t even have email coming to our correct email address. We are desperate for help.”

$10k is plenty to get an online business off to a strong start, we do it for less all of the time at Reverent Media. The trick is that you have to invest early, find developers you can trust, and spend the majority of your budget on digital marketing.

Most companies make the mistake of only getting a few quotes because all they are looking for is a simple website. It costs only a few hours to get multiple quotes from top firms, and most web designers are happy to explain the return on investment of their quotes. Would you rather have a free website that makes $1k a month, or pay $20k for an online business that brings in $15k a month?

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It takes time to develop the right instincts for managing on online business, and there is no substitute for real expertise.

Do you know what a good website looks like?
There is a science behind landing page design, and experts spend years studying this topic. There’s even a science behind the coloring of buttons. You can read critiques of top web apps on useronboard.com.

How would you research your competition?
It’s much easier than you might think, and there is a lot you can learn from competitors. Enter the URL of a competitor on spyfu.com and it will show you how they attract customers to their website. This is only one of many similar tools!

How do you target the right customers?
Did you know that you can target advertisements to people based on specific interests, beliefs, and even personality? It’s somewhat disturbing how much information is collected on consumers. In fact, Target figured out a teen girl was pregnant before her father did.

There are so many aspects to online business that take years to master. Expertise in these topics has real power, but it can be difficult to identify where to focus your effort first.

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Our slogan at Reverent Media is “Development With Integrity” because your first step in online success needs to be finding someone you can trust. However, don’t trust us (or anyone else) before doing your research and knowing what you are paying for.

A good technology firm will:

  1. Be honest and transparent.
  2. Pay smart people a fair salary to spend a lot of time on your project.
  3. Help you understand how your business goals will be accomplished.

A bad technology firm will:

  1. Set absurd expectations with statements that are “too good to be true”.
  2. Offer low quotes that are full of hidden costs and surprises.
  3. Either offer a lot of services you don’t need, or deliver the minimum of what you ask for whether it helps your business or not.

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How much is an hour of your time worth? If you are an entrepreneur, simple math suggests that you could value your time as high as $1,000/hr. I’ve mentioned that building a successful online business takes a lot of work and learning, but that doesn’t mean that you need to manage and learn everything on your own.

Option A: Prioritize Money Over Time
You decide to launch a website for your business, but you want to keep your up-front costs low. With this in mind, you spend 30 hours using a drag-and-drop website builder like Wix. After publishing the website you spend 20 hours a week trying to promote it with ads and socials media posts. However, after a few months you still don’t have any sales, so you start spending an additional 20 hours a week learning and investigating the issues with your approach. 400-600 working hours and 3-4 months later you slowly start to see some online sales trickling in.

Best-case scenario: Your online business is profitable about a year after you started working on it.
Worst-case scenario: Your business fails after 12 months of operating in the red. You invested little cash upfront, but it cost you a year of losses and missed opportunities.

Option B: Prioritize Time Over Money
You decide to build an online business, so you set aside $20k for your initial investment and about $3k as a monthly budget. Your first step is to leverage your professional network and do some research to find partners with expertise you can trust. Within 4 months, you are generating consistent profit with a beautiful website and a well-planned digital marketing campaign.

Best-case scenario: After a year you’ve created sales engine that feeds your bank account even while you are away on vacation.
Worst-case scenario: After 4 months, you simply aren’t hitting your goals, and it’s clear from the data that your business model won’t work. You lose $32k and move on to another business opportunity armed with more experience.

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Don't build a website for your business. Build an online business. Click To Tweet

Find experts in design, development, and marketing, then work with them to hit specific business goals. This isn’t is easiest path, but that’s why so few businesses get it right.

If you are ready to work with partners that understand online business, please contact Reverent Media.

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A picture of the Author: Isaac Valadez

 

 

 

“Isaac Valadez is Lead Developer at Reverent Media. He is a self-taught web developer and former tech startup CEO with a background in mechanical engineering. Isaac has worked with numerous startups and has a passion for helping businesses grow.”

Reaching Students Through Social Media 

By | Blog

 

shutterstock_326771273Imagine for a moment you are a student pastor.  College or Youth it doesn’t matter.  Now you work at a church and you are expected to reach the young people of your community with the gospel.  Where do you start?

Having worked with student ministries for over 12 years this is a important question for every church student pastor.  Ten years ago you most likely went to all the sporting events or you found yourself outside the dining hall on a college campus.  But that was TEN YEARS ago!  The times have changed.

Social media has consumed the next generation.  In 2004, 85% of college students had a Facebook page and were using it.  In 2013, 95% of college students use Facebook.

Social media is how to connect to the students in your community!

Since 2013 the Facebook stats stay the same with Instagram rising quickly amongst students.  If you want to share a event or a summer youth trip and you want your community to know about it social media is the best way to communicate with students.  Social media also give you the ability to go one step further…you can reach more students with the Gospel.  How?

Social media advertising!  This might seem a little weird at first, but think about how much money you spend on flyers or traveling or lunches.  Not to mention all the time it takes to get out there and before you know it the day is gone and you met maybe 75 students.  Imagine with me you being able to create a picture about your student ministry and then being able to put it on the Facebook or IG news feed of 95% of every student (by age) in your city.  It seems hard to imagine….but it is possible.

Here at Reverent Media we want to see the world change toward Christ through the next generation and we want to help you do this through the power of social media.

Have more questions?  Contact us at [email protected]

 

Top 5 Recommended Wedding Venues in Houston Area

By | Blog

It’s hard to believe how many wedding venues have popped up all over Texas as more and more people realize how much of a demand there is! But one thing is for sure, out of the thousands across the state, there are only a few that are actually worth getting married at. So what we have done is compiled a list of the top 5 that we would recommend for you as you look for a venue in the greater Houston area. We factored a few things into our decisions. We wanted to make sure that they were run by good people who really were in business to make sure their clients were happy and aren’t afraid to go above and beyond. We also needed to make sure that they were actually beautiful and had all the useful features like bridal suites, adequate parking, good location, etc. So here is the list! Hope it helps!

#1. “Olde Dobbin Station”

This venue will provide a unique experience for its clients through the use of old structures built in the early 1900’s, restored to their original look and feel, while adding a vintage touch. The buildings were initialing used by oil companies as a “pumping station” and later became a famous place of fellowship for those in the community due to its Artesian Water Well. It became the community “swimming hole” according to many of the locals and remains a historical marker for the community and its residents. The McCoy’s are excited to breathe life back into these old buildings. www.oldedobbinstation.com

 

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#2. “Lindsay Lakes”

Lindsay Lakes is one of Houston’s best kept secrets. Located just minutes away from the city in the beautiful Cypress area, we offer a luxurious venue for your spectacular event. The picturesque grounds are a beautiful setting for wedding ceremonies and receptions, galas, private parties, corporate events and much more! Whether you are searching for the serenity of the outdoors by the lake or an elegantly lit chapel or lodge, you’ve found it at Lindsay Lakes. www.lindsaylakes.com

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#3. “The Bell Tower”

“It’s like something straight out of a movie set, a spectacular ‘One of a Kind’ Destination Style event venue strategically located in the heart of Houston. This venue is perhaps one of the most beautiful in all of Houston and if you want to have your wedding look like something out of a fairy tale, this is the place! www.thebelltoweron34th.com

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#4. “Bayou Bend”

There simply cannot be a lovelier locale for a wedding reception than the grounds of Bayou Bend — particularly when the azaleas are in full bloom —where towering oaks and pines create a verdant canopy to the eight formal gardens. The house is not open for tours but the gardens and north lawn, adjacent to the Diana Fountain are available.Brides with deep pockets and a certain faith in the weather have chosen this spot for many years and while it is not new, it is so special as to be worth consideration.Rental for the property (plus your cost of erecting a tent, rentals, perhaps replanting sod, security and all the other reception elements) range from approximately $7,500 to $15,000 depending on the guest count. www.mfah.org

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#5. “The 1940 Air Terminal Museum”

This venue for special events in the greater Houston area. Educationally rich and architecturally beautiful, our facility has a unique and intimate setting that impresses every guest and event planner. Fine stucco designs, limestone panels, cool marble floors, and an elegant chandelier testify to Houston’s bygone Art Deco era.Exhibit rooms filled with artifacts, photographs, uniforms, vintage aircraft, and airline memorabilia chart the triumph and progression of both private and commercial flight in Texas history. The Museum also affords a front row vantage point to Hobby Airport’s diverse airport operations. Between airline traffic, business aviation, and frequent fixed wing and rotary wing general aviation traffic, the Museum has its own private air show every day!

www.1940airterminal.org/events/private/

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The Best Video Cameras for Your Church

By | Blog

K. So if you are on the hunt to be the next hollywood church and your budget is less than $500 then you might need to manage your expectations of what kind of video camera to get, but what I’m trying to help you with today is determining what are the most important features and then how to choose the right one.

Right off the bat you want to consider how you will be using your church’s video camera. Do you want to stream live across the internet or to IMAG (that means putting it up on the projector)? Are you just wanting this to be for podcasting only or did you want to be able to use it for video announcements? All in all, the more functions you want it to have, the more difficult it is to keep your cost low while still producing high quality. So let’s jump right in.

Podcasting Only

If you are just looking to record your sermons and then put them on your website and iTunes at the end of the day then you don’t need a whole lot. We recommend anything in the Canon XA series which range from $1299 for the XA10 all the way to $2299 for the XA35. All of the XA cameras record in 1080p HD and have built-in wifi functionality which is very helpful if you want your files to automatically upload to your server or computer for editing. The depth of field on these is fairly poor so this is really an ideal camera for events and not recommended for recording announcements or producing creative videos for your website or Facebook. If you want a better description on the breakdown between the different XA Series cameras, click here.

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Podcasting & Creative Hybrid

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This hybrid is not always recommended for a variety of reasons, not the least being that you are constantly changing settings on it as you move from place to place so you can’t always guarantee the same quality as the previous week when it comes to podcasts. But if you are looking for a good, versatile camera, then you might check out the Canon 6D which retails for roughly $1,399 plus lenses (an additional $2,000+). Be sure to get at least a 50mm f1.4, a 70-300mm f2.8, and a 24-105mm f4 Rokinon to be able to capture all the necessary footage depending on the style of video you are creating.

Creative Cinematic Camera

If you are looking to add a camera to your list of depreciable assets that you can make really high quality films with, first things first, make sure you have someone who knows how to use it otherwise the quality won’t be noticeable. Second, you have a wide range depending on your budget. Personally I would recommend going with a Sony FS5 or a Canon C100. The FS5 retails for $5,499 without any lenses so just know that when you calculate it all up you will be looking at a $7,000 to $8,000 price point before it is all said and done. If you are looking for a little less than that then you can go for the Canon C100 which is an incredible camera for cinematic footage, but just remember if you don’t have a good camera operator AND colorist, then the footage you shoot will be lower quality than what you could get with a Canon XA series camera.

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Do I Need 4K?

Great question. People were asking the same thing back in the 2000s about HD. Do you need it? No. Would it be nice to have if you could get it? Yes! But one thing to be sure is that there aren’t enough ways for people to view 4K any differently than they view HD so it is a little overkill. By 2017 4K will be much more accessible though so if you are planning more than a year out, definitely go with 4K so long as you understand that most budget cameras do not shoot 4K or they don’t shoot it very well.

How Much Should I Pay for the Highest Quality?

As a church, should you spend $4500 on a camera or should you spend $3500? There comes a point where you start measuring the benefits and the more money you spend, the less benefits you get. If you want the highest quality camera on a budget then you should look for the camera body ranging between $2,000 and $4,000.

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4 Steps to Grow Your Church by 20%

By | Blog

imageSo you’re a pastor… or at least you’ve been put in charge of managing your church’s media… and either you have big aspirations of making Hollywood level films or perhaps you’re bogged down with everything else you have to do that it just can’t get done. But whoever you are, you probably can’t help but wish for a little help. Here at Reverent, we’ve developed a program just for you. We like to call it our “Reach” program because it is our way to help you reach the world with the gospel.

So how do we do that?

Step 1. Video Podcasting. It may seem obvious to some of you but the truth is, you don’t need to be the biggest MegaChurch in downtown to have a podcast subscriber! You just need to record your sermons, do it well, and make sure it gets uploaded within a few hours. But you want to make it available on roku, Apple TV, iPhones, Androids, Google, and whatever else they decide to invent today!

Step 2. Live Streaming. We’ve found that the churches who live stream their service have often added an additional 20% to their Sunday morning audience. An additional 20%! Not only that but you’re able to reach people who are traveling, bedridden, sick, deployed, or those who may have hit snooze one too many times.

Step 3. Video Announcements. We’re not talking about the cheesy cell-phone video from the nineties that you throw up on the projector. We’re talking about High Quality, 4K resolution cinematic quality video that you can streamline your boring announcements into something exciting and engaging to incorporate on any given Sunday morning. And honestly, that’s only a small part of the reason to do them. The really awesome reason is to be able to put them up on Social Media and let your friends, fans, members, and groupies share it across the world so that you are engaging your church more than just on Sunday.

Step 4. Don’t freak out. This isn’t just some bait and switch thing. We are a company who loves the Lord and views this has an opportunity to REACH the nations while still paying our bills and keeping Billy in accounting happy. We’re wanting to help you engage this culture with the Gospel and bring those on the fringe into the inner circle. You’re getting California quality but at ministry prices…. Yep….

So check out our website at www.reverentinc.wpengine.com/church to learn how you can get a free trial and we can help you get pointed in the right direction even if you don’t hire us. We’ll help guide you so you can reduce media expenses, reduce your workload, and engage this world with the Gospel!


 

Choosing Your Wedding Videographer

By | Blog

Even more than photographs, a wedding video truly captures the spirit and magic of your big day—in living color. And, thanks to advancements in digital technology, the quality of these videos has improved dramatically over the years. Instead of using the large, obtrusive analog (VHS) cameras that were standard 10 years ago, most videographers now shoot with small, discreet digital video cameras.

Also, you’ll probably get a video mastered in DVD format, ensuring better picture quality and a shelf life of 100 years (as opposed to 15 years with a VHS tape). What can you expect your video to look like? Here’s an overview of your options, plus how to get the most for your money, and some tips on finding the right pro.

Basic Service

“Point-and-shoot” videographers, as they’re known, provide only elementary documentation of your day, so they’re your least expensive option (around $1,000). If you’ve seen any of your friends’ wedding videos…well, you get the picture.

While these videos adequately deliver a record of the events, some brides have told us that their “point-and-shoot” videos look a bit cheesy, thanks to the pros’ use of gimmicky animated graphics and sound effects—you might want to tell your pro to tone down these kinds of treatments.

Also, tell your videographer not to approach your guests, prodding them to “say a few words” to the camera: This is considered very passé. And be sure to specify the music you want included in the soundtrack (videographers tell us that a popular pick is “The Blower’s Daughter,” by Damien Rice, which was featured in the movie Closer).

Tips on Finding The Right Videographer For You

The best way to find a reliable videographer who works in the style you want is to get recommendations from friends and family. Your wedding photographer might be able to provide you with a list of names, too; some photographers may even offer videography as part of their services. Or, try the Wedding & Event Videographers Association (weva.com).

You can gauge a particular videographer’s style by first checking out his or her website, where you may be able to view sample reels. If the videographer doesn’t have a web site, or if it’s poorly designed, take it as a sign that he or she is not technologically up to speed. And if that’s the case, keep looking!

When you start meeting with potential videographers, ask to see an example of an entire, edited tape from one wedding instead of a “best of” demo—this is the most effective way to gauge the quality of the product you’re actually going to get.

A New Twist: Documentary-Style Video

Want a wedding video that plays like a stylish HBO documentary or an independent film? Some videographers hold degrees in filmmaking or broadcast journalism, and they’ll strive to shoot your wedding like a “fly on the wall,” thoughtfully recording the event with a storyteller’s understanding of real, dramatic moments as well as a cinematographer’s eye for beautiful images.

The best documentary-style videographers (some prefer the term “videojournalist”) work with a three-chip broadcast digital camera, like the Sony PD 150. This type of camera performs well in low-light situations such as a candlelit ballroom, eliminating the need to bring in extra lighting, which can be obtrusive and distracting. These pros also use state-of-the-art editing software to create stylish, cinematic effects like split-screen images, panoramic letterbox views or turning certain scenes to sepia or black-and-white (to get that vintage, silent-film-starring-Charlie-Chaplin look).

You’ll pay $1,700 to $5,000 for a documentary-style videographer, but that’s because he or she will spend 30 to 60 hours editing your wedding and artfully arranging the best scenes into a comprehensive, fun-to-watch film.

The Ultimate Splurge: 8 or 16 mm film

The “couture” option is to have your wedding captured on motion picture film—8 mm, or even 16 mm, the format in which most of those lush, silky-looking Hollywood movies (think: The Aviator) are shot. While a “film version” of your wedding day is as glamorous as you can get, it’s also a luxury product—an hour’s worth of this type of film can cost the filmmaker as much as $2,000. In addition to covering the cost of the film itself, you’ll also pay $3,000 or more for the filmmaker’s time and talent. But the expense may be worth it to you, because these films are astounding, utterly gorgeous works of art.

Ready to sign up? Visit reverentinc.wpengine.com/weddingfilms to learn more about how you can book us for your special day!

This article was provided with love by BridalGuide.com

7 Ways Churches Can Start Using Facebook to Spread the Gospel

By | Blog

Social ChurchFacebook is one of the most powerful tools a pastor or church leader can use to connect with people and spread the Gospel to your community and internationally. You can do so much more than post church announcements and photos.

Now, onto the 7 ways you can use Facebook to grow your church:

  1. Post Engaging Content – One of the best ways to grow your social influence is to post engaging content on Facebook. That’s a given, right? Maybe not. First and foremost, announcements are not naturally engaging, so be careful treating Facebook like a digital church bulletin. The way you can get around that is to start by sharing all your announcements on a video. When your posts are engaging, people will naturally share. But every now and then, make an intentional effort to ASK them to share.
  2. Boost Your Events – Your Facebook page shouldn’t be all about the church.  Share events and content from your community and watch your engagement skyrocket. Use your Facebook page to let people know about sports leagues, farmer’s markets, family movies, festivals, fairs and so much more. When you share things relevant to the community, the community notices and you start reaching beyond your church walls and actually get noticed by the rest of your community where you are actually trying to reach people.
  3. Advertise Special Events – Facebook isn’t just a social network, it’s one of the biggest advertising platforms in the world. You can turn a page post into a powerful ad and target it to a segment of your community. This works really well for a free event at your church, a helpful article on your church blog or a brand new sermon series. Use the power editor to target your ad to the people most likely to visit your church. Facebook has a free training course to help you learn how to promote content.
  4. Promote Events To Church Members – You can use the power editor to upload your mailing list and create a custom audience on Facebook. Then you can promote a post or run an ad that will only be seen by your church members. Why would you do this? You could promote a post encouraging people to invite their friends, sign up for a small group or mission trip, or give to the upcoming special offering.
  5. Share Needs Or Prayer Requests – Do not forget that Facebook is one of the best ways to communicate with your people, so utilize your page to share prayer request or special needs in your church.   You do not want to bombard people with too many opportunities, but Facebook is an appropriate platform for this type of information. It’s also encouraging to see people respond and engage with others.
  6. Boost Content To People Who Visited Your Church’s Website – If you put a little bit of code on your main church website, you can build a custom audience inside Facebook of people who have visited your website. How would you use this? Imagine displaying Facebook ads only to people who have visited the “I’m New Here” page of your website? Not only is that a great way to spend money on the right ads, it’s a powerful way to connect with potential attenders. We include training on Facebook retargeting in our Content Marketing for Churches course.
  7. Build An Online Mailing List Of Those In Your Community – One of the best ways to use Facebook is to produce free content (we call them giveaways) and offer it to people online in exchange for their email address. Then you schedule a series of automated emails to create conversations and offer more help. Imagine having an email list of thousands of people who live in your community who you can email about special church events.

How Much Should I Spend On Wedding Videography?

By | Blog

When it comes to finding vendors for your wedding, it is perhaps one of the most stressful parts of planning. Will they be on time? Will they do a good job? Will the food suck? So when it comes to finding the right wedding videographer, there is always a good solution but you have to know what you want and know what to expect from what you can afford.

Simply put: you get what you pay for. I’m writing this article to help any brides-to-be who may agonizing over the budget, what to cut, what to spend… So I’ve organized this into three different ranges of skill and cost; You have “The Entry Level/Friend”, “The Pro” and the “The Artist.” A videographer in any of these three categories may be right for you, depending upon what you are looking for and what your wedding budget can handle. The price range fluctuates according to experience, skill level and the market area. Keep in mind that the estimated investments listed below are generalized for the south in the Texas area and may differ in other market areas. So let’s take a look at what is out there and give you a clear direction in your search for the best wedding videographer for you.

The Hobbyist or Entry Level Videographer
(Packages starting at $200 – $800)
These entry level videographers have often been dubbed the “weekend warriors.” These are individuals who either have another full time job or are just starting out. They started out filming a friend’s wedding, had fun and decided that they want to make some extra money on the side. Everyone has to start somewhere and most videographers started at this level.

RISK: Every videographer learns valuable lessons of “what not to do” simply through shooting more and more weddings. If you choose to go with this level of videographer you do run the risk that they will learn just such a lesson on your wedding. They are also more likely to use entry level equipment and there may be a long waiting period before you receive your completed wedding video.
REWARD: The most obvious reward is the lower price point, as shown above this reward brings greater risks. The other reward is that if you are lucky enough to find a new videographer (making their way up from entry level to professional) then they are going to be passionate about your wedding. They have something to prove and need to get their name out there so they may be willing to do more for you at a lower price point then the recognized professional. (note: this up and coming videographer will likely be younger and have only been in the market for a few years).

TIP FOR THE BRIDE: If your potential videographer falls in this category make sure you have a clear and concise contract which outlines exactly what you are getting and when you will be getting it. You are risking quality of product and service, but you might just find the perfect match for your needs and budget. Remember, if the videographer could be charging more, they would. There is a reason they are a “good deal.”

The Pro
(Packages starting at $1,000 – $2,500)
These videographers have moved past the hobbyist level and are now making a decent living at their craft. They have worked out their “what not to do” lessons on past weddings and are perfecting their craft. They realize that a happy bride is critical to their business remaining successful, therefore they will put the bride first. A professional videographer will also invest their money into getting up-to-date equipment and it will also work in your favor that this level of videographer has also been around enough vendors to know most of the people they are working with. You are not likely to see this videographer in a fist fight with your photographer!
RISK: Your risks are far lower with this level of videographer and as a result, you will pay more. You do run the risk that your videographer will not put the same passion into your wedding as the up-and-coming hobbyist. This risk can quickly be assessed simply by meeting with the videographer face to face.
REWARD: Your videographer will have more experience, better equipment and will put your wedding before everything else. They will create a video that should exceed your expectations. You should feel well taken care of with this level of videographer and most importantly, you will be able to get a faster turnaround on the final video.

TIP FOR THE BRIDE: If you can afford it, hiring a videographer at the professional level is a wise investment. Take some time and watch their samples online, they will likely be a good representation of what you are going to get.

The Artist or Upper Level Videographer
(Packages starting at $2,500 – $7,000)
If you are looking for a world class video, a truly hollywood masterpiece in which you get to play the lead role, then this is the level of videographer for you. These are the videographers that fly all over the world filming and their work truly is amazing.

RISK: You are the canvas for their art. This level of videographer is going to produce amazing work, but might be more concerned about how good the final video is going to look then how your wedding day unfolds. You also run the risk of an artist not “playing nice” with other vendors.
REWARD: You will have an amazing piece of art in which you are the star, your friends and family will be in ‘awe’ of your amazing video.

TIP FOR THE BRIDE: Do your research, if you have this sort of a budget for video then your videographer most likely won’t be local. Follow wedding blogs and find the style of a videographer that you like best and track them down.

PS: Plan on booking them in advance, at the very least, a year before your date.

Lastly, do your research! You will get what you pay for. Be realistic, if you have a budget of $1,000 don’t expect your videographer to produce the same quality as an $8,000 videographer. Find someone that is a good match for your budget and needs.

Also, when you think about hiring a videographer, NEVER go through a massive company that contracts out their work as it will always be sub-par. The most your videographers will get paid is $40 an hour when you are paying the company nearly $2,000. Always go with a smaller company as the videographers will 99% of the time be the ones who actually gain something by doing a good job.

The Social Church

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Social-Church-Justin-WiseWhen Facebook first came out in the early 2000s, I couldn’t help but get sucked into it. The narcissism and destruction of social privacy completely engaged me in some twisted way. :) But one thing that I soon realized was that it was an important tool that can easily be misused in the advancement and growth of the Kingdom.

So here are some of my beliefs and thoughts on this…

1. Stop tweeting that your worship band “rocks.” Unless Switchfoot is leading the show, I don’t think it rocks. Saying your worship band rocks on Sunday morning has become cliché and represents an even deeper problem about where the heart of your church is. I think we can stop doing that.

2. Don’t argue online. No one wins and we all lose when we argue online.

3. We can speak truth in love in national moments. We can be the voice of hope and truth when our world seems to be falling apart.

4. Nix the negativity. Pastors, if you don’t like your sandwich at Subway, don’t tweet about it. Why? Because there might be a chance that the kid working behind the counter at Subway goes to your church and will read the tweet. One bad sandwich, airline flight or customer service experience doesn’t warrant airing your grievances online.

5. Don’t be all over the place. Don’t feel comfortable being on Snapchat? Don’t. Do you prefer Facebook over Twitter? Then use Facebook. Be online where you feel comfortable and where you’ll think you’ll succeed. Don’t chase something that isn’t you.

6. Tweeting Scripture isn’t always a good idea — it can be an easy way to get likes or retweets, but does it make a lot of sense to post a Scripture then moments later post about a church event? Especially when the two aren’t related? If you’re posting Scripture, make sure you provide context as well (e.g. the Scripture you’re tweeting is tied to Sunday’s sermon).

7. You can buy Facebook likes and Twitter followers but you can’t buy influence. Influence is earned, not bought. Always has been, always will be.

8. The church should take the lead on how to use social media. We should be the standard bearers of how to use social media. When someone asks, “How should I conduct myself online?” I hope they look at our church staff and see how to do it right.

9. Small is the new big. If you’re a small church, I think you have an advantage on social media. You can take your time to interact with your people online since you’re dealing with a smaller congregation. Large churches may have more resources, but you can be quicker and nimbler, which is a big advantage on social media.

Christian Media Research Shows Unchurched are Impacted by Podcasts

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unchurched-620x348Christianity Today just came out with a new article that outlines how a good segment of the Christian media market are people who don’t go even go to or have never stepped inside a church, according to a new study by Lifeway Research.

About 31 percent of those who watch Christian programs are unchurched — higher that the 22 percent of weekly churchgoers! 28% percent of the unchurched read Christian books, compared to 29 percent of those who attend church regularly.

The unchurched were more likely (26 percent) than churchgoers (11 percent) to listen to Christian podcasts and nearly as likely (26 percent) to listen to Christian radio as churchgoers (27 percent.)

Christianity Today has the full story: http://bit.ly/1AcwLsd