9 Ways to Use Google Apps in your Church Marketing

April 25, 2007 by

In the computer world, there’s three things I’m crazy for. Macs, Quicksilver, and Google. (No, it’s not just search.) Macs aren’t so much church marketing related (except, of course, that they’re better than PCs), and Quicksilver definitely isn’t church marketing related. Google, I would argue, is. A little over a week ago, we asked you, and 12% of you said Google was essential to your church marketing efforts.

This is for the other 88%. Nine ways to use Google Apps in your church marketing.

  • Hosted Gmail. Everyone wants their pastor’s e-mail to be @yourchurchhere.org. Google Premium allows for this. Instead of the normal 2+ GB of storage, you get 10 GB. This is great for an organization because you can also easily search through all of these e-mails. Also, you get all the features of Gmail. Labels, filters to set up labels, conversations, starring important mail and availability from home or the office. This will allow you to communicate more effectively within your staff and with the outside world.
  • Shared calendars. You can set up your chuch event calendar in a Google and share two ways. One is you can just throw the calendar up on your site. The second is making it a shared calendar. Then, everyone can subscribe to the calendar, and they will automatically see the events on their own calendar. You can also make this calendar available to anyone else so that they can keep up with what’s going on as well.
  • Calendars as event management tools. If everyone in your church is using Google Apps, you can set them up as attending an event, and an email will shoot to them asking for their RSVP. Additionally, Gmail’s Google Calendar integration will allow you to shoot Pastor Joe an e-mail that says “Lunch tomorrow at 1:00 p.m.?” and he will see a little icon asking him to add this to his calendar. Quite convenient, actually.
  • YouTube to share video. Google Video is still out there, but YouTube is the place to be, and Google owns it. I don’t think there’s a more universal site for videos. Anyone could just put in your church name, and you can make your video available. You can also use YouTube to simply embed the video in your home site so no one ever has to leave there.
  • Blogger to set up a blog. We’ve written about this before, but it’s another part of the Google suite of web apps that can be highly beneficial to your church. Maybe switching over to utilizing all of Google will allow your pastor or a staff member to provide a blog for your church’s members.
  • Google talk to, well, talk. This one has some compatibility issues. It will be very useful to set up to talk amongst staff members and shoot messages back and forth. Warning: Possible productivity killer alert. I’ve never seen this one tried, but how about a church screen name that the pastor could sign on for an hour a week and people could ask questions under the cloak of anonymity? “Chatting with Pastor So-And-So.” I don’t know if that’s been tried, but it’s something new someone could give a shot.
  • Picasa to share pictures. It’s not as popular as Flickr, I’ll admit that. But there is a basic photo editor and the ability to share your photos via email or use the HTML to embed them in your website. A great way to share photos from events or design ideas.
  • Google Groups to get people together. Through Google Groups, you can create a forum for discussion or a mailing list. This will be helpful to discuss your new building project, explain an event, provide an avenue for members to ask questions, and contact people with basic information.
  • Share docs, spreadsheets, and (soon) presentations. If there’s any document you want to take public to show people that you’re working on, you can set them up as viewers. If you want to allow certain people to work on it, you can set those people up as collaborators. This would be interesting if you’re re-drafting a mission statement or something of the sort that you can give some people access to look in on the process and some access to work on the project with you.

This list isn’t by any means all-inclusive. There’s a hundred other ways you could use or not use Google. Just something to think about and consider using to manage your marketing a little bit more effectively. Is there anything you do to use Google that I didn’t mention? Any reasons you absolutely abhor Google?

Post By:

Joshua Cody

Josh Cody served as our associate editor for several years before moving on to bigger things. Like Texas. These days he lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, and you can find him online or on Twitter when he's not wrestling code.
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12 Responses to “9 Ways to Use Google Apps in your Church Marketing”

  • Betsy
    April 25, 2007

    I’m not familiar with the last feature… what is that?
    I love Google. The only Google feature I don’t use is Google maps, because I think mapquest.com is easier to use.
    You didn’t mention Google alerts, although it’s been discussed in the past, to keep an eye on what’s being published about your church.

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  • Dave
    April 25, 2007

    Totally agree!
    I’m falling in love with every Google does

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  • Mean Dean
    April 25, 2007

    Bah feh! I knew I shoudlda hit the publish button.
    I was working on a similar article.
    Good stuff Joshua! And you’re spot on.

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  • Gloria
    April 25, 2007

    Very cool.
    I didn’t know about more of that.

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  • Jeremy
    April 25, 2007

    I work at a church in the New Orleans area, and we’ve tried using Google SketchUp to put a model of our church on Google Earth to help out-of-town mission groups find it more easily. The church isn’t tech-savvy at all, but even a single member can do something like that.

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  • Ron
    April 25, 2007

    I share the Google love too and I use most of the applications personally. I’d love to get the church up and running under “Google Apps for Your Domain”, but I think it’s beyond me to set it up. Does it take special knowledge to do?

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  • Jason
    April 26, 2007

    I helped a friend setup his church with GApps, and it was pretty painless to setup. There is a pretty clear step-by-step guide on working with your DNS settings to get it working properly.
    I too fall into the category of Google-love. The shared event calendar is a great feature for churches (or like organizations).
    Two things that I would add to the list:

    • Google Sitemaps – help Google index your site, making Google searches “more better”
    • Google Analytics – for those of us who are neurotic about web stats, this is pretty nice

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  • Mean Dean
    April 27, 2007

    I just posted an article on my blog on how easy it was to integrate Google Calendars with WikiSpaces.
    For a small church, this may be a cost-effective means of getting one’s message out rather nicely as WikiSpaces provides content managlement on the cheap … with the ability to integrate many of Google’s free services.

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  • Donna Konley
    April 30, 2007

    Services Overview: Create Instant Visual Credibility..
    First impressions are important. Just as in person, how your website and online communications look can affect your credibility. When managed properly, your business image and identity extends far beyond a logo. Services

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  • Billy Hollis
    May 2, 2007

    Hey man, can you or anyone out there answer me this?
    Can we set up list-serves with gmail if we went with premium.
    Bottom line: We’re looking for an email host that will give us flexibility with list serves (easily managed also) as well as the ability to shoot something to all of our peeps (500 to be exact) all of which are outside of our domain.

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    • Andrew Silk
      October 12, 2010

      Try using http://www.mailchimp.com for e-newsletters. you get 5000 sends a month for free and the rest is cheap. Their deliverability is top notch, have beautiful designs, and you know who has read it and who hasn’t .

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  • Eric
    January 2, 2009

    I would like to encourage you to move your church to Google Apps. It takes a some time to learn but there is plenty of documentation from Google if you are willing to read it. Or you could outsource the setup (takes a pro just a few hours to do).
    Donna, I think Google Groups will do what you are wanting to do.
    Where else can you get enterprise email, calendar and docs with plenty of storage and data backup for free? Say goodbye to Microsoft Exchange and Office and all the related costs and headaches. Switch to Google Apps Today!!!

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