Imagine walking up to your home’s front door. What do you see? Are there flowers? Is there a welcome mat? What steps did you take to welcome visitors?
Now, imagine walking up to your church’s front door for the first time. What do you see? What features are there to welcome visitors? Are there nicely kept flower beds or planters? Are there benches or places for people to gather and greet one another?
Now, imagine your church website as your church’s digital front door. What do you see? Does it look well-kept and inviting? Are the features modern and attractive to new generations? Does it invite visitors to take the next step?
What Consumer Research Reveals
Regarding church communication strategies, having a church website is one of the most important tools for the modern church. Research shows that 97% of consumers will search for local organizations online. In other words, if you want your church to attract new members, that process begins online.
According to Duke Taber, pastor and Technology Consultant in Mesquite, NV, there are three primary objectives of every church website:
- Attract new people
- Inform current members
- Inspire members and others
If you are going to have a website it is also important to note that first impressions are important. Studies by major search engines conclude that it only takes about 50 milliseconds – or 0.05 seconds – for users to form an opinion about your website. How people perceive your website is how people will perceive your entire church. If a poor first impression is made, it takes considerable effort to undo it.
Or to put it another way, most first-time visitors are going to form an opinion about your church within seconds and that happens before they even leave home. How they react to your website – or lack thereof – will form the basis of their opinion about your church.
But isn’t a Website Expensive?
Technology has come a long way and there are many user-friendly, low-cost platforms and services churches can use. Considering the importance to communication, a website is one of the highest return-on-investment tools your church can have.
To put it in perspective, the average monthly cost for a church website will usually be less than:
- Utility bills
- Staff meal reimbursements
- Staff mileage reimbursements
- Maintenance and janitorial costs
- Rent/mortgage expenses
- Internet, cable, and phone bills
With careful examination, your church may save money by eliminating reoccurring monthly expenses for communication tools that are not as effective for your church’s overall growth.
Keys to Success
The final piece is to create content that engages with your audiences. Remember, you want to engage both potential new members and connect with your current members.
- Define your audience(s): Remember to be specific. Your church is not going to be the perfect fit for everyone. For example, if your church is a traditional church that sings hymns, then you will want to attract people who will appreciate singing hymns. If your church has a strong mission outreach program, then you will seek to attract people that value those programs. You may find that your church programs or focus will have several specific audiences.
- Clarify your church’s message: Take a hard look at your church’s mission statement and reflect on what it means. How would you talk about your mission with a friend? Begin distilling your mission into a clear, concise tagline highlighting describing how you fulfill this mission.
- Use engaging visuals and imagery: Incorporate photos and images that connect with people on an emotional level. Create a story about your church and the people in it without the use of words. Images and graphics should complement text and vice versa. Use images that compel the viewer to participate in the narrative of your church.
- Develop your Calls to Action: What do you want visitors to do? Guide your visitors to learn more about specific programs. Encourage them to take specific actions. Persuade them that your church is the right church for them.
Want to learn more? Have questions about church websites?
Contact CCK Communications Specialist, Jessica Marston at [email protected] or call 316-775-1236.