Five Principles of Strategic Website Communication

In my next series of blog entries, I’m going to give you five principles that will propel your ministry forward in the area of strategic online communications and non profit marketing. In the last series, we learned how good non profit website website design will save you numerous headaches while enhancing your ministry and expanding its outreach. This next series of posts assumes that we’re starting with a well-designed website, and extends the subject further to how to implement the process of good website communication and non profit marketing.

In a nutshell, my key lesson for today is this: a strategic online communication plan will strengthen existing donor relationships while building new ones to enhance your ministry and expand its outreach. To repeat: A strategic non profit marketing plan will strengthen existing donor relationships while building new ones to enhance your ministry and expand its outreach.

What this means is that your website can perform double duty in the arena of online communication. First, it can strengthen the relationships you already have within your ministry – members, parishioners, clients, customers, etc. Second, your website can also be an extraordinary non profit marketing tool for finding and developing new donor relationships. I call that prospecting. In my experience with ministries, though, I have found that most organizations are short-sighted in this very important area.  

Let’s think of prospecting in terms of a highway billboard. For the most part, billboards just sit there, conveying a message and hoping people notice them. A billboard provides information, but it has no relationship with you. It definitely doesn’t know the names of the people who travel by it on the highway everyday. A billboard is similar to a website that isn’t working hard to achieve your online communication objectives. It may look nice — even convey a nifty message – but it fails to be “hard-working” if it doesn’t develop relationships with online visitors.  

Many good-looking websites are launched and even adequately promoted. If you’re fortunate, yours might be seen by thousands of people passing by on the Internet. But if the site doesn’t capture their attention and engage them in dialogue, most of those surfers will move on to other sites, without any strategic, long-term value to you.

It’s also similar to a church. Why would any pastor be content to know that thousands of people drive by your church every Sunday? Wouldn’t we rather have them inside our church, experiencing worship, hearing the Word, and enjoying fellowship with others?

Don’t misunderstand me—your website needs to both look good and convey a solid message. But it also must be designed to interact with your site visitors and develop a pattern of communicating with them. This is how you will be able to use the web to expand your outreach     and enlarge your ministry.

I hope this introduction has gotten you excited about developing your website to proactively engage visitors in relationships that will translate into ministry growth. In my next post, we’ll begin with the first of the five principles of strategic Web communication and non profit marketing.

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