7 Mobile Strategy Mistakes You Need To Avoid

 In Blog, Communication

As we enter 2016, trends are emerging in the world of digital technology. More and more, people are taking notice of how huge mobile is and what that means for the future.

Since we opened in 2012, we’ve worked to help churches be on the forefront of the emerging mobile trend. We’ve made mistakes along the way, and we’ve seen mistakes and frustration from our church partners when it comes to implementing mobile strategy.

I’ve compiled the seven most common mistakes I’ve seen over the last few years when it comes to churches considering mobile.

1. Not thinking about mobile at all

Our smartphone screens have gotten bigger. Mobile searches surpassed desktop searches for Google this year, and that only expected to grow. Mobile is now a necessity in your digital ministry strategy. Think through what you want your church to experience in person, online and on their phones. The content may be the same, but each experience is different. Mobile not only has to be a part of your strategy, but a primary piece of it as you look to minister to the next generation.

2. Getting rid of all other digital properties/presences

Sometimes when we’re really excited about something, we can get tunnel vision and throw away all other options in favor of the shiny new toy. But when the new toy loses that excitement, we often throw it away and go back to old toys.

Mobile certainly is the shiny new toy of the moment, but it’s not something you should pour all your energy into. A mobile presence should work together with other digital properties, like your website. There will still be people who want to find you online. Be available. Cross promote your mobile options on your site. Be thoughtful about how to make your overall digital presence cohesive, not segmented.

3. Thinking mobile responsive sites are enough

So you have a beautiful website. And it does all the things you want it do when it comes to showcasing your church. Why would you need an app when you can make that awesome website mobile responsive?

Chances are people will visit your website once or twice and then not come back for awhile, if ever. An app offers visitors and church members alike to engage with you again and again. To learn more, you can read this article about the difference between mobile responsive and mobile apps.

4. Thinking mobile will solve all your giving problems

Mobile is not a unicorn. If you are having issues with giving in your church, mobile can certainly help. However, if there are underlying issues at hand, a mobile app or presence won’t solve those. Mobile giving is successful when you have clear understanding about where you need dollars to go and can communicate that to your church. When you tie that with the fact that mobile is an infinitely more convenient giving channel for your church, you have success.

5. Not implementing/promoting app with your church

As with most things, success is usually determined by planning. Your app will only be as successful as your promotion of it. If you don’t promote it, or don’t use it, why would you expect your church to do the same? We offer ideas and strategies to help you make launching mobile in your church easy, but they only work when you put them into practice.

6. Letting your app grow stagnant

We’re a huge fan of making apps easy to update and take care of themselves. Which is why our apps easily integrate with tools like YouTube, iTunes, Vimeo, Church Community Builder and the like.

But you still need to feed the app quality content and information so that it can continue to be useful for your congregation and your church. Churches are naturally content creating machines, think through unique ways your sermons, volunteer opportunities and giving campaigns can be displayed. And don’t be afraid to change up your home screen once in awhile.

7. Paying too much for app development

As humans, we have a tendency when it comes to technology that more expensive is always better. Certainly there are times when that is true, (see Apple as a possible example.) But it’s more the exception than the rule.  

Creating an app for your church doesn’t have to cost you half of your yearly church budget. It is possible to get something functional and beautiful that is cost-effective, and ministry effective for your church. Do your research. Compare services. Factor in the cost of your time to upkeep the app. Your first priority is ministry impact, not digital maintenance.

Mobile strategy in churches doesn’t have to be the next great “traditional versus contemporary worship service” debate. There will be detractors, but data shows time and again that smartphones are here to stay. And they’re the devices we’re using to get information.

If you have questions about mobile strategy or want to know what a mobile app could look like for your church, contact us. We’d love to partner with you.