We found some very interesting results in an online survey we put together for a mid-sized church in the Southeast. While the number of people who took time to complete the survey on the church’s website was small, every response was telling. Here’s what the church discovered:
• Although 35 percent were making their first visit to the church’s website, only 7 percent were looking for information about the church’s teachings.
• Nearly all (93 percent) were looking for information about upcoming classes, services and events.
• A significant 28 percent either did not find what they were looking for, or weren’t sure they had.
A few visitors even took time to tell the church what was missing for them:
“(Would) like to see details of what your Sunday service is like.”
“Not enough detail about events on your calendar and whether an event is a closed ongoing class or anyone can come.”
“Calendar is easier to use than most, just not detailed enough.”
“I see you have ‘reiki share’ on your calendar but I don’t know what that is. I want to learn reiki so I am not sure if this is a class or if I can just show up unannounced/unregistered or not.”
A DIFFERENT WAY OF COMMUNICATING
Nearly all churches still publish a Sunday bulletin with a list of upcoming activities, often minus most of the details, which are supplied during announcements on Sunday mornings. And that works for people who attend services.
For people visiting your church’s website, not so much. Your web visitors can know only what you publish, so it’s important to answer ALL the usual questions, including some that may not have occurred to you.
Communicating complete information about your church says you care — you care about meeting the needs of people who visit you online, you care about the people involved in planning and presenting classes and other activities in your church, and you care about the people who want to attend.
To become a more caring communicator, use our Caring Communicator’s Checklist whenever you create any announcement about any upcoming activity in your church. Include:
The 5Ws – who, what, when, where and why. For example, if you are announcing an upcoming class, include ALL of the following information.
__ Who is teaching, and who may attend?
__ What is the class about?
__ When will the class meet? Include beginning and ending dates and times.
__ Where will the class meet?
__ Why is the church offering this class?
The 2Hs – how, and how much?
__ How? How do people register? By phone? Online? At the church? In person at each class?
__ How much? What is the cost?
The Big S
__ So what? This may be the most important question you’ll answer. Why should anyone care about this? Why would anyone want to take this class, attend this concert, join this outreach effort, etc.? What can people who participate expect to gain?
Because we care for YOU, we have created a Caring Communicator’s Checklist you can save, share through email, and print for use by church staff members and volunteers. Get it here.
Other results from the same survey confirm that the church’s website is an important outreach tool:
- 32 percent of visitors to its website said they do not attend church
- 30 percent said they’re looking for a new church home, and an additional
- 13 percent said they’re not sure if they are looking, or not
- 5 percent attend a different church in the same city
- 35 percent were visiting the website for the first time
- 95 percent said they were likely to return to the website
Comments by church members revealed how they use the website, and why. One example: “I like to share the Unity experience with people, so it (the website) is very important! I just send them to the site and let the site do all the rest.”
If you would like to know more about how and why people are using your church’s website, and how you can better serve them, please contact us about creating an online survey for you.