Web Ministry and Social Media

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Make a perfect landing on your website

SUMMARY: You point people to your website, but do you have landing pages for specific ministries or missions? Landing pages help you measure your marketing campaign effectiveness. More importantly, you will communicate more effectively with your target audiences.

A landing page, sometimes known in the business world as a “lead capture” or "inbound destination" page, is where visitors “land” after clicking on a link associated with your campaign. They may be responding to a promotion through social media, an e-mail campaign or even a pay-per-click advertisement. Instead of landing on your homepage where they may have to search for the information promoted, they arrive on a page specifically related to why they clicked. You can measure landing page hits to identify the effectiveness of each marketing tool used to direct users to the landing page.

Landing pages also can serve as reference pages for visitors. Images and text provide information relevant to the visitor’s purpose for coming to the page. Your church can benefit by using them as transactional or reference pages — whether you want to capture contact information from visitors to add to your database or to promote a community event without taking away from your homepage information.

Your website plays an integral role in your church’s marketing strategy. You distribute material and post on blogs, Twitter, Facebook and more. Using landing pages will enable you to communicate more directly with your audiences and measure the success of various marketing tools. Here are some steps for developing effective landing pages.

Ask yourself these planning questions first.
What are you offering or what information are you sharing? To whom are you appealing? What do people want from your ministry or the specific activity? Why should they get involved or act on this subject?

Design to reflect the campaign. 
You need not overhaul your website to include a new campaign. Landing pages enable you to be campaign specific. You can be creative and more flexible in design and color instead of sticking with the look of your website. Keep the campaign elements (imagery, color, taglines) consistent from ad to landing page so visitors will immediately make a visual connection. Online landing page builders make it easier to design these destination pages more flexibly than perhaps building them on your website.

Stick to a single message.  
A landing page for a church event should have a specific purpose. Do not try to cover everything you offer as a church or even overshare event information on a landing page. In fact, strip away all distractions (site navigation, links unrelated to the purpose) to focus only on what inspired the visitor to click. Create a unique page for each purpose and have a call to action, i.e. register, download, volunteer, become a sponsor, etc. Most landing pages include a form to process the call to action and add the interested people to your database. Research shows that forms are more effective when placed to the right of the text.

Write short sentences.  
Landing page visitors do not read from beginning to end. They scan for relevant information. Write for the skimmers. Use a main headline and subheads to break up the copy. Write short sentences. Use bulleted lists where possible, and add line breaks to create breathing room.

5. Collect data for next steps.  
Do not think of a landing page as just a homepage for the campaign. A targeted page should both convey a single, specific message and ask visitors for information, such as their name and e-mail address. Be transparent as to how you will use any data you collect. Respect and protect the privacy of people who sign up by never sharing their information and by allowing them to opt out with every email sent. Be aware of the laws regulating email. If you are not going to use information, don’t ask for it. Recognize that the more information you request, the fewer responses you will receive.

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