No matter how amazing your parish website is or how well it’s designed if you do not know what action you wish for someone to take (also referred to as a call-to-action) when visiting your website, you’re missing a huge piece of the puzzle.
One of the biggest functions of your parish website is to connect visitors to your church in a tangible way. You want them to move from spectators to active participants as quickly as possible. They simply cannot take that step, however, if you don’t make it clear for them.
Think about it. Your parish has programs, ministries, and volunteer opportunities that are ripe with opportunity for parishioners and visitors. You just need to make sure you present a clear bridge that connects people with the offering that is right for them!
Here are some tips to help your parishioners be better informed on when to take that important next step.
Step One: Identify Your Audience.
Before you can give people a clear call to action, you have to know who they are.
- Who are you trying to reach on your website?
- For whom is your content written?
- What groups would find your website’s photos, videos, and other media appealing or helpful?
Start by identifying your parish website’s primary audience. Remember, it may be more than one or two groups of people. For most parishes, you can usually narrow down your audiences to the following main groups:
- Highly engaged and active members
- Regular mass attendees
- Inactive members
- New visitors
When it comes to your website, think through those groups of people as the main audiences you hope to lead toward being more engaged with your parish.
Step Two: Identify The Steps.
You can’t make a call-to-action clear if it first isn’t clear to you! Don’t just take a shot in the dark. In order to make the next steps clear in your content and on your site, you have to identify the steps you want your people to take.
Think about each audience specifically.
- If it’s an engaged member, do you want them to commit to volunteering this year? Do you want them to sign up to lead something new?
- If it’s a regular attendee, do you want them to join a small group? Do you want them to sign up for online giving?
- If it’s an inactive member, are they aware of the good work that your parish is doing around the community? Do you make information about ministry groups easy to find so they can easily join when they are ready?
- If it’s a new visitor, do you want them to send in their contact information so that someone can reach out to them? Do you want them to be able to sign up online to learn more about a ministry group they are thinking about joining?
We could keep providing examples, but I’m sure you get the idea. But keep in mind that your pastors, ministry leaders, and parish staff must identify at least one next step you want each group to take when visiting your parish website.
Step Three: Make It Clear.
The call-to-action is a must here. You must literally tell people what to do. Don’t just assume they’ll understand; tell them!
Point out EXACTLY what you want people to do, how they can do it, and where on your website they can do it. Keep it short and sweet. Clear and concise are the goals when it comes to a call-to-action. People don’t want to read a dissertation to find the next step they need to take.
The quicker they see it, the quicker they do it!
Step Four: Make It Easy.
Don’t overthink the process here. Give people a short form to fill out or a link to click to send an email. The more people have to do on the front end, the less likely they are to do it. Put the hard work of keeping things moving on the team of people you’ve hired or recruited to do a follow-up at your church!
Step Five: Keep It Interesting.
If you’re creating an individual page for your next steps, make it engaging, A basic form is fine, but adding your parish logo and colors and photos really make it feel more exciting!
Remember, clear and concise are still the goals, so don’t get too carried away. Don’t sacrifice the call-to-action, but don’t ignore the look and feel either. If you’re not sure, ask a friend to go through the process on your website and give you some feedback. The bottom line: make sure people can clearly find and follow the call to action you’ve given!
Once you work on our parish website, let us know how it goes. If you are interested in learning more about any of the products offered by ParishSOFT, or how our partners can help with your website efforts, please call our sales department at 866-930-4774 x6 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.