Public Contact Points
I attended a conference a number of years ago entitled, “The Imaginative Church.” The conference was a joint effort by the Church of Joy, Glendale, Arizona, and the Disney Institute in Orlando, Florida. One of the workshops they offered was “Cinderella’s Castle” which explored the importance of the message that is projected through every place an organization comes into contact with the public. We looked at everything from the appearance of the physical plant, to the way the phone was answered, to advertizing and beyond. The presenters encouraged each and every one of us to go back to our churches and conduct a “public contact point audit” especially looking at our church’s web presence.
Mark Mathis, in his book, NonProfit/NonMarketing: A guide to Beliefs and Benefits, says that web sites must have: “usability, visual attractiveness, persuasiveness, and interactivity.” I encourage every congregation to look at your web site and/or all the places where you can be found on the web, like business listings, etc. Here are some ”audit” questions to ask yourselves:
· Is our web site easy to find? (Make sure you can be found on the major search engines)
· Does the web site tell the story of who we are? (Include stories and pictures of ministry activities)
· Is our home page attractive, usable, and informative (Worship times, location, and phone number should be prominent. Worship times must be correct!)
· Is there an events calendar and is it current? (Worship times should be on the calendar)
· Are there pictures of people? (Research shows that web sites with pictures of people draw more attention than those without)
· Are there testimonials? (If you can find the people have a testimonial for each ministry area)
· Do you have to scroll down to see the entire home page? (Studies show that the majority of visitors will skip a page rather than scroll through a long area)
Take the opportunity now to do your “public contact point audit.” Make sure that in every place and in every way you come in contact with the public the image you want to project is being transmitted. Especially make sure that when people find their way on to your web site that it is indeed a “magic” moment.