I read a great post this morning on Econsultancy.com. It is part one of an analysis of how Expedia converts website visitors into customers. The focus of the piece is Conversion rate optimization. To define that in plain language, when people visit Expedia’s website, follow their posts on Twitter, or find them on Facebook, how successful are they at converting them into customers?
While the church is not interested so much in revenue or “customers,” we are interested in conversions. We are interested in converting people to follow Christ. Because of that, we should be interested in how effective we are in turning web visitors into church visitors. Isn’t that the goal of a church website, Facebook page, or Twitter feed? Some might design a campaign to draw people directly to Christ through Facebook or, at least, get people thinking about faith. However, the true conversion we seek happens in the context of a local church. So, are our websites and social media efforts effectively converting web visitors into church visitors?
The post goes into great detail on the many pieces of the Expedia.com site and their social media platforms but I want to focus on one aspect: the call to action.
You don’t need a marketing degree or a lot of research to understand this simple point: If you want someone to do something, you need to make it clear what that is and you need to make it as simple as possible to take the first step. Let’s look at Expedia.com. Econsultancy, has their own annotated screenshot but I made another one to focus on this point.
Notice the call to actions. Here is what Expedia is asking visitors to do:
- Be a member
- Bundle you airline flights with you car rentals and hotels.
Those three things are very easy to find because that is what they want you to do.
What if we designed a church website with the same thinking in mind? Below in the demo site I use for Squarespace training. I made a few adjustments keeping “Call to Action” in mind. The blue text and arrows are my annotations.
The whole site is now designed with a focus on helping web visitors become church visitors. The church picks up the work of conversion once people walk in the door. The top announcement banner encourages visitors to come to an information session. There is a link to plan your visit, an invitation to worship, an invitation to a community picnic, and a map. Even the main banner image is an invitation. Honestly, I spent 1o minutes mocking this up so I am sure it could be better. However, it is a good start towards a site that is focused on conversion.
Take a look at your church website. If someone who is considering visiting a church visits your site, is it designed in a way that could help them make that decision? We are in the conversion business. Our websites are a great place to start.