Reach Your Community Through Virtual “Yard Signs”

Virtual Yard SignsAs I drive around town I’m inundated with yard signs.  Computer repair for under $100.  Work off those extra pounds with X program.  Visit such-n-such church.  Vote for someone for school board (uh.  The election’s been over for about 4 months!!).  The signs are everywhere and people use them because they are easy, cheap, and they work.

Your church may already have real yard signs, but you can also have virtual yard signs. The idea behind the real yard signs is that you either put them in public areas (on streets, in major intersections, etc) or you give them to your members to put in their yards.  So, how can you do that on the web?  Make some graphics (maybe even animated gifs) that people can put in places on the web.  Then ask your members to put these graphics up on their websites or other places on the web where they are able.

The great thing about the virtual yard signs is they can link back to your church.  So, unlike a real yard sign, where the person seeing the sign has to do one or more additional actions to really connect with your church (go home and look up your church site, drive over to your church, etc.), with the virtual yard signs, they can click the graphic right there and be on your church’s website.

Tips on virtual yard signs:

Here are a couple of tips to help make your virtual “yard signs” more effective.

  • Get people’s attention: People have trained themselves over the years to ignore online ads and these yard signs are essentially online ads.  So, if your yard sign doesn’t stand out or catch people’s eye, they won’t notice it.  You can get people’s attention with an interesting or unusual picture, bold colors, or even just having movement.  Interestingly enough, the human mind is subconsciously trained to notice movement.  It’s part of the fight or flight mechanism.  You can’t really resist it.  So, simply by having movement, you can get people’s attention, even if just for a second.
  • Keep the message simple: On the road a yard sign may have a second or two to convey a message.  The same is true on the web.  One of the most common mistakes with yard signs (real or virtual) is trying to put too much on it.  People can’t/won’t process that much info in the time they give the sign.  So, keep the message simple.  Usually a few words and a web address or the church name are all you should do.  We just want to get people to take the next step of going to the church’s website.  So, keep it simple and save the real message for the church website.
  • Repetition is key: Why do political candidates put their signs everywhere? It’s not just so everyone will see them, it’s because the more you see the sign, the more you get the message. Try to get your virtual yard signs in as many places as possible.  The more people see the signs, the more likely they are remember the message and to click one of them.

Virtual “yard signs” can be a simple, cheap, and effective way of getting the word out about your church or a specific ministry or campaign of your church.  So, take a few minutes to come up with the message you want to put out there and create some virtual yard signs.

By the way, you don’t have to do this yourself…and probably shouldn’t.  Most likely, you have person in your congregation who does graphic design, at least to some level.  This is a great way to let that person engage and be more involved with the church and have a good looking sign.

Does your church have any virtual yard signs on the web?  Tell us about how they are working for you.

What messages have worked for your church?

Photo by Mark Stosberg

About the author

Kurt Steinbrueck

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