Reverend Bill McBride of Lake Mills United Methodist Church in Lake Mills, Wisconsin has taken video email marketing and made it his own personal communication line directly to his members and visitors. Through simple videos he creates each week, he is able to ministry to his congregation personally, encourage daily, and support people in a myriad of ways. I took some time to interview Rev. Bill about his use of video email to find out how he integrates this into his pastoral communication. I hope that his successes are an inspiration to you.
When did you first hear about video email and why did it sound like something that would fit into your church communication plans?
I did a Google search one day about a year ago regarding video in the church and I came across a blog post about video and it included some information and a link to BombBomb. I was curious so I clicked on the link and watched an introductory video on BombBomb’s home page done by a pastor explaining the benefits of video email. I had known for some time that video is more attractive and appealing than simply a text email, so discovering BombBomb and how exactly to do video email was what turned me finally to video email as a steady communication tool for my church.
Describe the process and time/effort that goes into recording your videos. Do you write a script? How many people does it take – one to video and yourself? Do you edit the video? How often do you send a video?
At first I would set up my camcorder on a tripod, find a good spot to shoot the video and stand in front of the camera and talk like I was having a conversation with one of my members. I have never actually used a script. I try to picture one of my members standing by my camera and I simply talk to them. BombBomb is always improving their tools, so when they came up with the possibility to use my webcam and instantly upload my video I switched from my camcorder and now use my webcam now almost 90% of the time. I have been doing this for about one year, so now I just record and send it out to my members. But if I am doing a special piece and want some more production values, like background music etc, then I do some serious editing and write it out. I use my iMac computer and iMovie software. My goal is to send out one video per week usually on Friday or no later than Saturday morning. I primarily use video email to describe the upcoming Sunday theme and encourage folks to attend worship.
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Do you share something different in each message? Do you hint at the coming sermon – please describe. How did you decide what to highlight in your videos?
Each video email that I send is unique for the weekly worship theme. I preach what I call “Life Application” sermons so I do give a big hint at what is coming up in church in hopes that it will tantalize folks to attend. If a member who getsmy video email is struggling with the specific issue coming up on Sunday, I want to make sure they know that I will address their specific need that week. There is also a button at the top of each email that BombBomb has built into the templates that enables a member to click it and send the video to a friend. In each video I tell the watcher to click that link at the top and send the video to a friend they may know that could benefit by what I have recorded and am about to preach on. This is a very easy way for my members to engage in stealth evangelism without even realizing it. And just perhaps a good and timely video email could go viral.
How did your church members initially respond? How have they responded to the video emails over time? (how long have you been sending them?)
I had a good idea that video email would go over very well with my congregation and it has. I have received many emails during the week thanking me for the particular video email that I sent out. One very inactive member has now become quite active in attending. The only thing I have done differently for her is put her on my video email list. As I shared I have been sending out BombBomb video emails for about one year.
Another member who had changed her email address stopped me at the local bank a few months ago and wanted to make sure I had her new email address so she could keep getting the video emails. BobmBomb also has a feature that enables a person to create a signup form and embed it into their website. I receive about six new signup subscribers each month. Last week in fact I got four new subscribers from the website signup form. BombBomb also will create a personalized email template to match a churches website look and design. Plus I usually include special links in each email to go to other places on our website, or to our monthly electronic newsletter or other videos I have created and stored on various video channels.
If you could give one piece of advice to other churches about communicating via video email, what would you say?
Give video email a try today. And BombBomb is a great place to do your video emailing. They offer a free trial so you can get your feet wet. They have video tutorials to guide you and they too send out their monthly video newsletter. Video email with BombBomb has had a measurable positive impact on my ministry, worship invitation method, teaching ministry, outreach and communication with my congregation. I invite you to go to my church website and sign up to my video email list. That way you can see for yourself how I am using video email marketing to further my ministry.
Lauren Hunter is a freelance writer, church technology consultant (http://lhpr.net) and founder of the blog ChurchTechToday (http://ChurchTechToday.com), Technology for Today’s Church.