Engage More Visitors

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That one moment happens when they google your church and then your website fills their screen. What does that moment look like to the visitor? What does it say? How does it invite? This particular moment is more important than ever because there is so much riding on that one moment when they experience your church for the first time. 

When we think about that online moment and your website, we know: attention spans are shorter than ever; and, we know visitors are quick to dismiss or embrace based on the quality and relevance of those moments on  your site. 

So, moving into 2017 it's important that we understand and position the church for maximum visitor engagement. 

Are you communicating compelling? In your church's own way, are you communicating that you are changing lives and changing the world? What an opportunity to lead with messaging that is so real, inspiring, and special to each church. Give visitors reason to be excited about your church. It's time to rethink tired, cliche messaging and go big with your church's mission and impact. Visitors will appreciate your boldness and clarity of purpose.

Churches work so hard and invest heavily in creating environments that are welcoming, unique, and filled with community. Visitors want to see these experiences and environments online. Why shouldn't they expect that? It's not an option it's a real expectation. And, chances are if you are not sharing your environments with excellence, other churches in your googled area are effectively doing so. Again, we're simply wired to expect online moments that are very visual and experiential. It's time to value your environments online by sharing these environments online through more hero photography and video.

The reality is your members know where to go on your site. They have their set patterns and routines of going to registration, sermons, online giving, events and calendar views. They are so conditioned that they skip past the home page or briefly skim in order to get to their stuff. Embracing this reality of your members creates an opportunity for the church to use more of the home page to target visitors and their expectations. Simply having a "new here" button is not going to cut it. Connecting visitors to your mission, your environments, and ministry assets should be a priority for your home page. Shift the focus of your home page to 70% visitor experience and 30% member experience. Your shift will be apparent and appreciated by visitors to your site.

Okay, it's time we fully, completely acknowledge how busy our members are with life.  We have to look for ways to make it so easy and simple for members to engage the website in meaningful and functional ways. Let's take a cue from the online banking adds that show how easy they have made your life with their online banking solutions. Churches... cut the fluff and simply your site to benefit comfortable, easy member engagement.

As we move from one year to a new one, we know your digital footprint is more important than ever. What steps are you going to take in 2017 to be strong. To be relevant. To be there, in the moment of people who are seeking?

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Brian Jones