12 Effective Calls to Action for Your Church Website
For many years, the primary purpose of any church website was to provide helpful information for its members. But over the years websites have evolved and I’m not just talking about the design. The entire objective of a church website has rightly shifted from member-focused to visitor-focused.
Businesses made this shift long ago.
Businesses know that a website has the potential to convert a browser into a customer. A website has the power to take someone was a specific problem, help them see that this business has the solution, and to make it crazy easy for people to get that solution for themselves. In the marketing world, we call this a conversion.
One of the things that help businesses convert browsers into customers is a call to action.
A call to action is a single, clear, action step the visitor can take to solve their problem. It’s usually something like start today, get a quote or some kind of lead magnet. A call to action allows the business to turn a “cold lead” into a “warm lead” and hopefully make a sale.
Churches have learned from this model and have begun to take the same approach.
Church leaders have realized that every person searching for a local church has a particular problem they are trying to solve. That problem may be as simple as wanting to know when and where a church meets or as complex as a person experiencing a deep loss and needs a community to help them make sense of it all.
The challenge for the church is deciding what exactly that call to action should be.
Churches have so many points of entry, it can be difficult to decide on an effective call to action. What’s more, churches are non-profits and are not motivated by making a sale. Churches want people to become a committed and vibrant part of the community, which is much harder to measure.
So I wanted to provide some possible calls to action that you can incorporate into your church website. Ultimately, there are tons of options out there and you’re only limited by your imagination; but I hope this list at least gets your creative juices flowing!
All of these ideas have been used somewhere but not all of these ideas are right for your church. Whatever you choose, make sure you highlight your call to action in the form of a button, placed on your homepage, either front and center or into the top right corner of your navigation.
1. Plan Your Visit
We’ll start with the most popular and obvious. One of the hopes a church has for a website visitor is that they will visit a worship service. A “plan your visit” CTA (call to action) allow you to answer important questions, get people excited about the service, and help people move past some of those excuses for not attending a service for the first time. Even if this isn’t you CTA, you should still have a “plan your visit” page on your site and a clear link in your top navigation.
2. Get in the Loop
I’m still surprised at how many churches do not have a clear place to opt-in to church communications on their website. It should be crazy easy to find and complete the opt-in with just your name and email. This info should go directly in your church management system or email marketing platform.
3. Submit a Prayer Request
This CTA is focusing on those people who are visiting a church website for spiritual guidance. So why not make a prayer connection the most obvious way to get in touch? This should come in the way of an online form, crafted to get some information but not overwhelm the person with personal details.
4. Event Registration
Some churches throw great outreach events. A CTA that points people to an event registration shows people that you have great community events and it also lets Google know that you can keep your website up to date with relevant content for your target audience.
5. Find a Location / Campus
For those churches with multiple campuses or house church networks with multiple locations, your CTA should probably be helping people find the right location for them. Since most multi-campus churches have one website for the entire church, helping visitors connect with the nearest campus is probably the best CTA for them.
6. Meet with the Pastor
One of the things a normal-sized church can do much easier than a large church is a personal pastoral connection. If the pastor is comfortable with it, why not let your CTA be setting up a coffee meeting with the pastor? This allows the church to make a personal connection with the visitor and get a rare glimpse into the heart of the community.
7. Take Your Next Step
If you’re seeing a lot of returning visitors to the website (which you can track with google analytics), perhaps you want to put a “next steps” CTA directly next to your “plan your visit” one. A “next steps” page should put front and center what it looks like to be a part of the community and what one, two, or three ministries a person can get involved in to take that next step.
8. Watch a Sermon
If the sermon is a big part of your draw and you have a decent production team, maybe your CTA should be an invitation to watch a sermon? Like the event registration suggestion, this one requires you to be right on top of the weekly updates.
9. Join a Small Group
While this CTA might be more seasonal than evergreen, making the small group registration your CTA during your launch season could help people get connected. This will require you to have a clear registration system (either in your church management system or built into your website), but hopefully, you already have this set-up and making it a CTA won’t be any trouble.
10. Give to a Specific Cause
Giving, in general, isn’t a great call to action for a church many reasons. But if you have something specific you’re raising money for (a mission trip, capital campaign, supporting a community need), making your CTA a link to your giving page can be very effective.
This is one of my favorite CTAs. The basic premise is offering a question or idea that acts as “click bait”. You offer an idea that’s so intriguing, people need to click to satisfy their curiosity. Then, you walk people through your connection process. This CTA takes both creativity and strategy but can be very effective in helping people dive deeper into your website.
12. Tell a Story
One of the things many churches unintentionally omit from their website is the human element. Businesses almost always include customer testimonials on their site. It helps build trust. If you can find a compelling way to tell people’s stories on your website, I genuinely believe this could be the most effective CTA you can have.
Founder and Lead Catalyst for Clearpath. Josh is ordained in the Reformed Church in America and is passionate about helping small churches find their voice. Josh lives with his family in San Luis Obispo on the Central Coast of California.