Everyone wants to be a homeowner one day.
But have you ever ever bought a home? Have you gone through that process? Have you sat down at a desk with your agent, the mortgage broker, and the seller’s agents? Did you pour over the hundreds of pages of documents, releases, liabilities, and financials? Did you get a hand cramp writing out your full name and signing every document? Did you begin to plat with it a bit toward then end when you got tired of signing your name and just decided that your signature could become a doodle?
Though we all may want to become a homeowner one day, we don’t make the process very easy on ourselves.
The same can be said for the systems and processes within the church.
This can be especially true with the media we encourage our guests and members to use. By now, every church in America has a web presence. While some are strong and others are weak, most churches in America have some semblance of a web presence.
But the landscape is shifting. Though 73% of all web traffic is consumed via mobile devices, 92% of all mobile device activity is done through apps.
That means that at any given time, almost your entire audience is consuming information on their phones, within an app.
What are you doing to meet that need?
Some churches decide to chart their own course, say no to apps and a strong web presence, but we firmly believe that if the church is the hope of the world, then we need to meet our people where they are at.
More and more, they are on their phones and in apps. And so, we meet them there.
But we also want to help you meet them them. More so, we want to help you meet them there in a strategic and effective manner. There are thousands of church apps available in the App Store and on Google Play. There are some that are top-notch and others that need to seriously consider a do-over. We aren’t here to judge. But we are here to help you start and end right, and help every person who interacts with your app take their next right step with your church. With this end in mind, we want you to consider the three keys to winning with your church app.
Get More People to Download Your Custom Church App with these 3 Incredibly Simple Tips …
1. Have a Narrow Focus
What we see more often than not, are churches who think they need to communicate absolutely everything through their apps. That’s not the case though. What they need to communicate is a sampling of their church from a 30,000 foot view. Communicate who you are as a church, what you value, what’s coming up next, and how people can take their next right step with you.
Perhaps more than that though, is to rethink your app strategy. You see, most people think an app is an interpretation of their website. While the website is used primarily for an external and disconnected audience that is driven through SEO, your app is to be used primarily as a tool for those that call your church home. This is a distinction that you need to understand across the board and make changes to reflect.
Your website and app strategy cannot be a “one shoe fits all” strategy. They are unique platforms with unique audiences, and therefore your strategy must be unique for both.
How can you have a narrow focus on your app? By following these three rules:
- Know your audience. Your website is for your external audience, while your app is for your internal audience.
- Know what your audience is looking for. Your app needs to give your internal audience clear ways to connect with their church, your content, and generosity.
- Know what you don’t need to say. If you can get away without saying something, then don’t say anything. Mom always used to say, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say it at all.” Well, if you don’t have anything necessary at all, then don’t say it. Keep a narrow focus and make sure everything you do say have a clear next right step.
2. Keep it Simple
In an increasingly disconnected world where advertisements drown out life and our eyes our focused on that little screen in our hands, we need to remember that our audience is looking for a place connect and belong to. But do you ever feel like we as a church are throwing too many things at our audience, hoping something will connect with them? It’s so easy to become overwhelmed, that eventually we just want to check out and disconnect.
In order to avoid this, we need to remember to keep our app strategy simple. Not only does our content strategy need to be simplified, our app interface must be simple as well.
You can’t give your audience a dozen menu items to choose from, twice that in clickable images, and even more options once they land on a specific screen. If the average person is willing to give you fifteen seconds of attention at a time, then you have got to make their next right step incredibly easy to find. Stop throwing spaghetti at a wall and simplify your user interface.
How can you keep it simple? You can keep it simple by following these three rules.
- Keep all your options within the initial screen of your app. That means all your menu options and clickable images must be right within the palm of your user’s hands. Don’t make people look for something, don’t make people scroll below to what else you have to say; say it right from the start.
- Connect with your audience with images. Images connect with people seven times more than just plain text content. While it is easy to overwhelm your audience through the use of images (see the warning from above), they want to connect with you and images are one of the best ways to do so. Why is there such a race among top-tier phone providers to have the best cameras on their phones? It’s because people connect with images. They want to remember what they did, who they did it with, and keep playing that loop in their mind. You can help them connect by sharing your story through pictures, especially ones that you have carefully curated on the ground.
- Remember: People care more about your story, than they do about your pictures. They download your app for a reason, didn’t they? They did it because they know you, trust you, and want to stay well informed as an active participant in your church. Don’t forget about your story when you create and manage your app. Always make sure you are articulating your unique space in the community, and people will continue to buy into the vision and mission of your church every step along the way.
3. Have a Clear Next Right Step
We can have the best story, the cleanest app, and the most visually appealing interface. But if we don’t have clear next right steps, then we have failed at meeting the needs of our audience. In fact, you have made the job of connecting with your church all the more difficult for the people you are serving.
But what would happen if you had clear next right steps at every location of your app? Not only would you get more engagement online, you would get more engagement in person. You see, your website and app are the digital front doors to your audience, and it’s your job to make it easy for them to walk through.
If you are promoting an event on your app, then your audience’s next right step should be a form so they can sign up to be involved in it. Does every event have a form to fill out? Does it have an email to write to or a phone number to call? Or are you just shouting information at them, as if you’re speaking through a megaphone? Your people want to connect; it’s your job to make it easy to do just that.
Everything you do should have a clear next right step. Here’s three rules on how you do it:
Every page has a call to action. Yes, even your about page has a call to action. Why? Because people want to know how they can stay involved. Take them to another page, have them complete an email form so they can get notices of every upcoming event. You need to growth-hack your way into their inboxes, cell phones, and push notifications settings. Make sure you are doing that every step of the way.Every call to action has a segmented approach. People only opt-in to what they want to be a part of. If someone wants to learn more about the church, then only allow them to opt-into that specific list, and not another list or a general one. If you are able to segment your approach, then you can expect about a 14% increase in engagement among your audience. Remember, we live in a culture where there are an infinite amount of choices for pretty much everything. We cannot afford to turn our nose to this desire, but we can choose to be proactive to our audience’s desires and make every effort to customize their experience.Every approach ends with an engagement. From walking through the doors of a house for someone’s very first time at Growth Group, to making their first recurring donation through their app, your win must be defined by someone taking their next right step. If you have done your job right, then the funnels you have created will strategically led your audience to make a decision. When they do, your church will benefit because of it, but ultimately, so will your audience.
Your church app is just a tool.
How you use it and how your audience uses it, will ultimately tell the story as to how effective a tool it is. But if you can remember the three keys we discussed today, then you have set yourself up for success. And as people engage with you more and more online, on your app, and in person, your story becomes their story, and when that happens, it’s most definitely is God’s story.
Thanks for letting us be a part of it!
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