Over the years the Auxano Design team has helped churches think more strategically about guest engagement. (Read 10 Mind Blowing Facts to Fuel your Hospitality Ministry). One great idea is to create a separate website for guests. At Auxano, we call this a "buzzsite."
To catch an example, check out Gateway's WelcomeToYourJourney.com or First Baptist's ExploreFirst.org
Why have a dedicated site just for guests at your church?
1) Make a Bigger Front Porch: Eighty-seven percent of your guests will click-thru before they walk-thru. Having a site dedicated to guests enables you to communicate more guest information in a more useful way.
2) Smooth the Path: Guest have mini-hurdles coming to your church for the first time. They don't know where to go, or what to do. A guest site will enabling them to "get a feel" ahead of time, as a simple way to make them feel more welcome. Notice how Gateway walks your through these key guest decisions from parking lot to checking in children.
3) Show you Care: When a guest enters the dedicated site, it will show that you are expecting guests and that you care about their experience.
4) Resolve Conflict: Having a dedicated guest site alleviates the burden on your main church site to speak to both members and guests.
5) Show Some Personality: A guest site can introduce your church with with a story, promise or creative element. Gateway Community Church used the tagline "Welcome to your Journey" as their URL. It enabled the moment of introduction to include something to spark the imagination and draw people in rather than just saying "visit our church."At First Baptist Dallas, they creatively use a "Plan Your Visit" form on their ExploreFirst.org to make the welcome experience personalized.
6) Evaluate Your Investment: A guest site can measure the effectiveness of external communication initiatives or campaigns that point to the guest site and not the church's main site. For example, when Gateway Community Church opened its building, they could know exactly how their six-piece direct mail invitations worked by monitoring web stats when the mail dropped.
Have used a similar site? Let us know about it.