From fundraisers to social events to conferences; churches host a lot of events. Many events benefit the church coffers, others drive membership, and hopefully all help the local community. The question here is how can your website help? The easy answer is content creation and propagation. This article will give you the more detailed answer that integrates your content with the tools and services you need for promoting church events.
Landing pages are a great way to post all the high-level details of an event. You can update it over time, but this central space is the pivotal spot all subsequent services and tools will point. You should revise this one page and optimize it for usability, keyword density, and clear language. Lastly, review your style guide. While you want to market to a particular audience, you do not want to lose sight of any branding guidelines you created.
Regular News Updates
Your church website should have a section dedicated to time-driven events. For those of you who are using a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress, this would be a blog post in a particular category or tag. These posts are time-sensitive and typically only give announcements or updates. If the updates are impactful, such as a date change, you would also update the landing page. Plus when you write regular updates in post, your event will get exposure to the services that check them.
There are many methods to disperse your content on the web. I covered many of these in my podcast and article on "Getting Your Content Out There". These included RSS readers, Email lists, social media outlets, and offline opportunities.
Third Party Promotions
Depending on how you are running the event, you may want to ask for registration, or you may even sell tickets online. Three that I have used are Facebook events, Eventbrite, advertisements, and Craigslist.
The most publicized of these would be Facebook. You can not only advertise to people that follow your church, but ask them to invite friends as well. It will also organize a head count by people who indicate they are attending. Yet, for a more powerful set of registration tools, I would suggest Eventbrite.
Eventbrite is an online service that has a website and several mobile apps to help your event. It handles registration, ticket management, and ticket fees. Note that they take a small percentage for payment processing. They also have an app that helps you easily run check-in. You will look technically adept and stress free as you use your mobile device's camera to scan ticket bar codes.
You can further promote your event using a service like Google AdWords, boosted Facebook posts, or promoted Tweets. You can tailor these advertisements to target specific demographics and/or content keywords. Many churches may shy away from spending money on advertising. Just remember that you can use an analytics tool to see what your return on investment is. Some promising statistics in Google Analytics may be helpful in justifying future marketing endeavors.
Please do not pass by this handy announcement space. I will not hide that this website has some seedy reputations for its personals section. Yet I have successfully used this to post and promote events.
The first thing you need is a good landing page. Next start posting updates to your news sections. If you have a CMS, you can use plugins to automatically post to aggregator services, such as social media outlets. If not, you will have to create manual updates on your websites and schedule updates to social media using a tool like HootSuite. Lastly, use a combination of third party services to help further promote your event. Also remember that some of services not only promote the event, but provide registration utilities as well. These practices may not always guarantee results. But they will increase awareness and interactions with your site.
Note: Thank you to whomever searched for this term on Google and arrived at my site. I saw it in my analytics logs and thought it would make a great article.
Image courtesy of Obie Fernandez