What are Warm and Cold Church Guests (aka Visitors)
Warm and Cold Church Guests (aka Visitors) are a recent update on how people visit churches.
What are cold and warm guests?
These are terms to show how people enter and are introduced to a church.
Warm Guests are those people thinking about visiting your church and will fully research you on your website, social media, live stream, and YouTube before they consider attending.
Cold Guests were invited, and their first experience with the church is their in-person visit.
So What are Warm and Cold Church Guests?
Warm Guests are those who have become “aware” of your church by any means. Their first impression is online. They decide to check you out before they even consider a visit. This means they research your website, social media, YouTube, and lives stream to learn about you.
Cold Guests are traditional guests. Their first impression is in-person. Generally invited by a friend to church. Their first significant experience with the church is their in-person visit.
So, why do Warm and Cold Guests matter?
Warm and Cold church guests have two very different retention rates.
Cold guests who make their decisions to visit a church based upon an invitation normally have a poor rate of a second visit, less than 1 out of 5, but these numbers vary. Here are some guest retention statistics from The Unstuck Group.
Warm Guest, have already tested you and arrived in church with a different mindset. They have decided to visit you based on your online presence. They are looking to see if the in-person experience is as described online. Warm Guest return for a second visit usually at a rate over 50%, sometimes higher.
Why does this matter? It matters because warm guests already like your church; they just want to find out if you are authentic or if the online presence was a show.
So, what do you do?
Make your online experience truthful. Use real photos, not stock photos. If you must use stock photos, we recommend you use illustrations; people will know that is not you. We use Pixabay for free illustrations. This page is an example; you can tell right away it is a real picture of real people in our church, and that is exactly what the welcome desk looks like (top photo).
Show pictures of the inside of the church, pictures of the people, not just the photogenic ones. Keep the photos updated, don’t show the old decor, interior, etc. A warm guest wants to see for themselves everything you showed online.
We have a step-by-step free method to help build your website presence for Warm and Cold Church Guests. Learn how to Extend your church into the digital world here.
How to prepare for Warm Guests
Your digital presence needs to be accurate and authentic.
Accurate means that information is updated, it is right, the links work, and your guests see that you update the information often (you are not a dead church). Not just a church that updates for Easter and Christmas.
Authentic means that the digital world reflects who you are NOW. Not an idealized version of yourself. Show you are welcoming, IF you are welcoming! Don’t show events like parties or potlucks that they are not invited to. Show the Sunday service, show the parking, show the lobby, and show a greeter or a host. Show photos of the people, the inside and outside of the church. Be very transparent. The reality of your church experience should be reflected online.
How warm Guests can find you
Warm guests can find you without knowing anyone in your church. It is not uncommon to ask a guest today, “How did you find us” or “Who invited you” and be told I found you on Google. The Google My Business profile is the best way to start. Learn more here about Google Business Profile.