Monday, April 18, 2011

Your Website is Irrelevant

You may be the last group in America that finally has a website or you may have been an early adopter and were one of the first in America to have a URL with your organization's name.

Regardless of how long you’ve been at it, you are likely to now have a website that is completely irrelevant. Irrelevant from a marketing perspective (few, if any, are attracted to your organization because of your website), irrelevant from a source of relevant information, and irrelevant to your members in seeking timely information on activities, class offerings and messages.

Increasingly, shoppers and visitors have learned to find out honest, authentic information from peers and friends online rather than visiting an organization's website. At the same time, social media is highly effective in reaching a local community and the best organizations have found the way to integrate social media with their existing websites and information channels.

As a source of information, unfortunately most websites are still pretty static. The information about the doctrines, beliefs, organizational and governance structure are not only completely boring for visitors but also typically so non-compelling and un-welcoming that most organizations would be better served not posting the information at all.

More up-to-date information is easily archived on places like YouTube, Vimeo and Google Video and referenced from the website. Video archives of teachings and audio podcasts are best located on places like iTunes where people can subscribe for free and easily search for the topics that they are looking for at the time.

Customers, partners and attendees that are web-savvy that are the most likely to use the organization's website, can also be savvy enough to embrace Twitter and Facebook. While many have correctly identified the hazards of these social networking phenomena, there is still a lot of baby there that shouldn’t be thrown out with the bathwater. Having attendees naturally connect online and share information and ask for prayer and support is a recent innovation that unfortunately most of us have not been able to figure out how to fully embrace. One of the simple ways to embrace tools like Facebook and Twitter is to have 'share button' icons on your website that allows visitors to immediately share and comment via their social media sites.

You website doesn’t need to be irrelevant and it can still be a very useful tool. Organizations just need to continue to go where the people are. We understand that intuitively when it comes to buying’s all about location-location-location. Follow the same thought process when it comes to your online presence and source of information for both visitors and guests as well as regular attendees.

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