Beyond The Call to Action

A common piece of communications advice is to have a clear call to action in every message you create. It establishes purpose and allows people to know why you’re sharing information with them in the first place. While a call to action is important, it’s not an end point.

I recently read an interesting article from Crazy Egg that lays out steps for offering a better experience beyond simply creating a call to action sentence. I’ve shuffled that content a bit and looked at ways it makes sense in a church setting.

Help people see themselves involved. Good storytelling paints a picture that stirs emotion. If you’re asking people to take a Saturday to serve those who are underserved, give them an example of what impact they will have. Share a story of someone who benefited from the last time your church did a similar service project. It not only puts flesh on the story, it helps people see themselves purposely serving. This kind of message is far more powerful than saying, “Come serve. It will be a great day.”

Make the process of the next steps clear. Take away the mystery of what your call to action really means. When you don’t give some level of insight to the next steps, that creates a barrier for someone who’s on the fence about volunteering. Continuing the service project example above, if someone commits to helping, what will happen next? Perhaps it goes something like this: “If you’re ready to help make a difference, be here at the church at 9 a.m. Then we’ll find you a role, like welcoming guests, assembling food bags or providing prayer support. We’re expecting hundreds of people to come, so you’ll have the chance to make a difference and hopefully brighten someone’s day. And we’ll wrap up the day around 3.”

Get serious about follow-up. About a month ago, my church made a pretty emotionally compelling call for more people to start volunteering. My wife wanted to get involved, so she followed the outlined process by sending an email to a coordinator. After an initial confirmation that they received her email, there’s been no more contact. It’s frustrating for my wife and it’s a lost opportunity for the church. One of the biggest challenges for churches is to get their members actively involved in serving. Why would you do anything to make that problem worse? It’s important to have a follow-up plan for connecting people to service opportunities. It’s vital to actually implement that plan.

Deliver quality content and experiences beyond the call to action. Writing a compelling call to action is a good first step, but it can’t be the last. Engaging people takes a commitment to a consistent, quality experience across all touch points. If they click on a call to action link in an email, the content they see next on your website has to be well-written, clear to understand and thoroughly executed as well. Likewise, a call to serve has to be followed up with a well-organized experience that meets the promises you stated. If there’s a disconnect between a call to action and what happens next, the likelihood of someone trusting your next initiative goes down. Conversely, a positive experience is a step in getting people more engaged and passionate about sharing your church with others.

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