What do guests expect from a church online?
Raise your hand if 2020 altered how your church connects with people online? Even though I can’t see your hand up, I’m pretty sure you’ve at least mentally raised it. After the initial flurry in March, church leaders everywhere learned that being online wasn’t enough to keep people coming back.
Why is that?
As before, it’s about more than the service being held somewhere.
More than a building = more than an online service.
Think back to the days when you’d hold regular, in-person services. Standard best practices to welcome guests included the following:
- A safe, clean facility
- Smiling greeters holding doors and directing people
- Helpful volunteers at the Welcome Center
Anticipating a guests’ needs helps to create a positive guest experience.
Whereas a negative experience may come from:
- Dark hallways with no signage
- Scowling greeters
- An unstaffed, cluttered Welcome Center.
Both provide a perception of how interested a church is in taking care of people. Both have a presence, but only the first shows the church truly cares for and anticipates guests.
This same idea translates to the digital space.
It’s not enough to have an online presence: a website, a Facebook page, post your church service online, etc. Just like having a building, posting a sign out front, and holding services Sundays at 11 am wasn’t enough to bring people in regularly.
It’s about caring about people and communicating with them well to make connections with new people. Understanding their needs, expectations – and meeting them. You’d clean up the building and recruit friendly volunteers to prepare for guests in-person. You can also take strides to provide what people expect from your church online through the digital tools available.
This understanding – paired with communication that connects and resonates – sparks the online conversations that lead to real-life relationships.
How do you figure out what guests need and expect online? Glad you asked.
What do church guests see online?
The tricky part of the digital church experience is that you can’t see the person on the other side of the screen. How can you get into their shoes when you can’t see how your church looks online in the same way they do?
You’d need to see the digital journey as a guest would see it, from the moment they discover your church online to when they seek to connect with your church.
From end to end, the digital guest’s journey consists of five components. In next week’s post, you’ll learn about search visibility and what guests expect when they search.
Know your church’s digital presence needs help, but not sure where to start? Learn about what a digital church secret guest review could do for your church!