This doesn't apply to everyone. If you're audience doesn't have high-speed access and doesn't depend on the Internet for life outside your church, skip this post. But, if your audience is paying bills online, watching YouTube, blogging, checking email daily, etc. you might be trying to make the switch. I get asked this frequently: How do we move people to the web for information?
Some quick & easy thoughts.
- Reduce the amount of information you print. If you make the information available in multiple spots, people won't get used to going to one place to find it. Only make it available on the web, people get used to looking for it on the web.
- When you need to support something with a print piece, limit the content and drive them to the web for the rest of the story or next step. For example, replace your brochure with a 4x6 postcard with the facts (what, who, when & where). The postcard can drive them to the web for more details (maps, registration, etc.).
- Don't create handouts for your info counter. Give them a computer and train your guest services team to use the web site for their source of information. Make it easy for them; condense things on 2-4 main landing pages so they can quickly find the answers to commonly asked questions (e.g., events, volunteer opportunities, weekend series, etc.).
- If a guest comes to the counter and needs a handout to take with them, guest services can print the page from the web on-demand.
- If your audience is split (1/2 online, 1/2 off), you can serve both audiences without duplicating efforts. Create the content & promotions online with the intent of making printouts of the page available at guest services for people that don't go online. Design it once, use it twice.
- Give online users the scoop on content. Share the weekend series promo before it's shown in the service. Reveal details not available in the bulletin. Create downloadable resources that extend the weekend service (e.g., discussion guides, Bible readings, etc.). Create a value for going online, not on online version of what's already available in print.
- Print the web address everywhere; pre-service slides, the bulletin, every handout, etc. Don't make people guess or expect them to remember.
- Make it easy and clear the one-stop place to visit for all information. Obviously, the more web addresses you drive people to, the more confusing it is. Don't make it hard for people to try to figure out where to go for what. It's more effective and unifying to promote one URL that links to other pages & sites. One front door, multiple rooms.
- If you have multiple sites for various ministries & departments, make sure they link back to the main site for content that affects 80% of the audience. Don't create redundant content across multiple sites. It creates extra work for you and increases the margin for error.
- Make your site navigation simple. A web site with ten basic HTML pages can be more helpful, trustworthy and effective than a web site with 100 pages. Keep everything no more than 1-2 clicks away if possible. More menu choices does not equal more value. If people have to wade through pages of content to find what they're looking for, they'll get frustrated and go back to the paper.
More about Communications strategy on the web.