by Patrick Bradley: Having your team post online church ratings could make the difference between whether someone decides to visit your church gatherings or not.
Have you ever looked up ratings for restaurants or contractors online? I have. I want to know something about the reputation and track record of that establishment before I go any further.
Why to Post Online Church Ratings
If you’re someone with little or no church background and something ignites your spiritual curiosity enough to visit a church, wouldn’t you check out the church first? And in today’s social media & democracy-of-the-internet world, the public’s reviews and ratings carry more weight than an institution proclaiming its own greatness.
But there’s an added bonus to having your people post online church ratings – it will increase the church’s website page rank when people are searching online for churches in your area. Your team’s reviews help legitimize the church plant’s new website and your church’s listings on important directories that people use to find stuff.
Lastly, you need to load up the positive ratings to offset the inevitable bad review. As much as possible, respond promptly to negative reviews with grace and love. Those reviews can’t be removed, but it goes a long way to let people know you’re listening and that you care.
I recently heard of an established church that have never though to post online church ratings. They discovered that on Yelp there was already (and only) one review that had been posted at least 2 years prior. And it was a nasty thrashing of a review. How many people decided not to come to their worship gatherings because of that review?
Where to Post Online Church Ratings
There are probably dozens to choose from, but I’d concentrate on the following review/rating sites. You’ll get the most bang for your buck:
Is your church plant not already listed on these sites? Stay tuned for some tips on how to get that done quickly and painlessly!
What to Post
When you invite people from your Launch Team to post online church reviews, encourage them to rate the church and leave a brief, honest story about their experience so far.
But also encourage them to focus on the relational dimension: friendships, welcoming environment, felt right at home, etc. By and large, people considering visiting a new church are looking for human connection and community.
Be cautious about having the same 5 reviews by the same people on each of the sites above. That would appear obviously stacked. And a little creepy.
Keep leaning on this until you have at least 5-6 reviews on each site above. It could make all the difference in the world to someone who’s on the fence about coming to your church worship gathering!