We have seen the signs for years, “The Episcopal Church Welcomes You”. While this is nice to have in front of your church or down the street with an arrow pointing the way, is this the only way that people will know about your church? Are you counting on people finding you in the Yellow Pages? If these are your two major advertising methods, expect few visitors to your church door this summer.
As we begin to enter summer, vacations and traveling will be the order of the day for many people. This brings the opportunity to update your website and local listing information targeted toward newcomers & visitors. Is your church ready to help potential visitors this summer?
On your website, there are three things you should look at on your homepage and make sure are correct.
- Do you have your correct service times posted (you may have summer hours)?
- Do you have a map showing where your church is along with its address?
- Do you have a contact link, contact phone number or email address listed?
All three of these should be on your homepage and accessible without having to scroll. If these cannot be readily found or are outdated, people will go elsewhere.
People search for churches the same way they search for restaurants and shopping, therefore the location listings on search engines are very powerful. Take advantage of these. You can claim your local listings and manage them for search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yelp, SuperPages, etc. Another thing that will help you be found is www.faithstreet.com. Signup is free and you can add your church quite easily.
Writing reviews is a very popular function of the web and social media. 34% of bloggers write reviews and 90% of customers trust peer recommendations over direct advertising. Don’t be surprised if you find reviews of a visitor’s experience at your church on one of these local listing sites or other sites like ChurchRater , Ship of Fools or ChurchPick. The reviewers may want to link to your website, Facebook page or other social media platform. Be ready and as my grandmother would say “put your best foot forward”. Use the tools and technologies available to show that in the 21st century, just as we have done for years, the Episcopal Church truly DOES welcome you!