We all need a checkup every now and again. I visited my doctor this week and I was amazed at how simple the basic questions were for assessing a baseline of my health. But they work.
Your church as well, needs to pause for a checkup to determine the broad health of your communications. Each of the following questions should take about 2 minutes to assess. I encourage you to take these 14-minutes to help determine what prescriptions need to be filled now, before the upcoming visitor rush:
1. Do you have a clear description of your congregation and community?
Your church needs to know the personas you’re talking to. Their background, occupation, family structure, spiritual baggage, perceived needs, and life goals. Effective communication rises and falls on how well you know your audience(s). Write their descriptions after talking with them (so it’s actually who they are and not your perceptions). This is the foundation to your Church Comm health.
2. Is there a controlled message that unites your ministries?
Ministry silos will destroy your church. You need one overlying beneficial thread that describes what you’re all for: the reason people attend and why you’re working together. You are all working together, no?
3. Do you control your logo, colors, and fonts?
Your visual brand needs to be controlled. If you’re not controlling anything, you don’t have a brand! Sure, you can have a vertical logo and a horizontal version — but they need to feel very similar. And your brand needs a controlled color palette too. Open your Instagram account and look at the grid of images — do you see a predominant color? What about in your print materials, your building, or website? Also, you should have a dominant controlled font that runs everywhere throughout your communication materials.
4. Is your website organized for your community?
Your website content is intended more for your congregation than your external community; HOWEVER, you must have it organized so that the average person in your community can quickly discover what you do for them. Not only organized but also simple enough that it doesn’t raise questions. Do you have any sub-brand names in your menu that need an explanation? That confusion keeps people from visiting the page.
5. Do your web pages have redundancy or content in long paragraphs?
Your pages need fewer than 300 words but organized so your most important content is in the headline, subheads, and bullet points. Most will only capture 50 words/page (or about 10 seconds of content) on a page. Remove all unnecessary content and break up paragraphs into eye-catching interruptions.
6. Is your email open rate less than 30 percent, or is it dropping?
Email has become the most used push communication method (and reaches more than a bulletin). But if the open rate is falling (or low) it’s a sure sign that you’re abusing the tool with the wrong content. Simplify your emails and link to your website for details. No one enjoys long communication that doesn’t feel relevant.
7. Do each of your social media channels feel like they’re from the same organization?
You do control your channels too, right? Look them over and make sure they feel controlled so they undeniably look like you church’s brand. This will build trust in what they’re reading