Effective marketing, promotion, or advertising is designed to motivate someone to improve, acquire, or move. Often to get people into your store. Now the world is changing. Many businesses and organizations understand that getting someone through their doors is not the ultimate end goal.
Why? Because, over the last decade (and especially during COVID), we’ve grown an affinity to online offerings for many practical benefits. Like ordering online, finding website information, or enjoying online podcasts, sermons, or concerts — all from the comforts of home.
What we’ve learned? The end goal is not to “avoid” in-person interactions; it’s more that we want the online benefits. So, if your goal is to get them to walk into your building; it’ll be more difficult than you’d imagine. Here are 4 considerations to getting a web visitor to contemplate in-person church service:
- Engage online visitors as though they may never attend in-person. Consider delivering as many ministry options as possible online. Do everything online that you’d expect in-person guest services and ministry staff to do on campus (some will be easier than others). Realize many don’t have the goal of attending; they have the goal of receiving and participating in ministry.
- Understand the perceived Barrier to visiting in-person Church Services. Through online engagement, forms, and informal interactions, try to understand why they’ve chosen to click on online content. It may be that they live far away, concerned about large gatherings (or small ones), may not have transportation, want only the sermon and not the music, or maybe don’t want to take the time to attend (dressing up, driving, waiting, meeting people, etc.).
- Regularly communicate benefits to attending in-person. Understanding barriers helps you identify the benefits that will entice them to overcome their felt barriers. Incorporate these benefits into your communication: announcements, sermon illustrations, social media posts, website bullets, and online engagements. Remember, many online don’t know the benefits of attending; especially if they’re choosing to visit online. Many churches have problems voicing benefits because they haven’t considered online church — no wonder why online visitors don’t want to overcome their barriers to jump in a car to attend. Decide what benefits to communicate today!
- Love them where they are while suggesting reasons to visit in-person. The worst case scenario? Discouraging online visitors to believe that they’re not being ministered to. Or to have them think they’re not as important as people who walk through the doors. For many, they ARE getting what they want through your online offerings. Rejoice that they want what you’re delivering! Just consistently communicate benefits for overcoming their barriers. Make it about THEM. Know that many won’t quickly switch to an in-person interaction (and all that comes with it). Instead, give them incremental steps to taking the big leap. Work on the benefits that will motivate each step and praise them along the way!