What do guests experience when they arrive?

You did it! You equipped your members to invite people and you have awareness building in your community through your website, social media and a little advertising. Now it’s time to get people on campus and into your building!  As guests drive by and into your campus, you have a tremendous opportunity to extend the great first impression your members, website and social media prowess made on your guests. 

They’re only “new” once, so take advantage of this opportunity to make the physical experience as great as the digital experience most guests start with. Here are some best practices for creating an awesome on-campus experience for your guests:

Look the part: Make sure the weeds are pulled, the parking lot stripes are fresh and the building (even if it’s older) looks clean and inviting.

Greet them before they make it on campus: The physical guest experience can start weeks or months before someone ever steps foot on your campus, and that experience starts with the entrance to your church. If your church has a parking lot team, make sure the people closest to the street are energetic, FULL of smiles, and waving to cars that come in AND the cars that pass by.

Show them the way: Many churches have multiple entrances, or entrances that can be a little hard to see when driving in. Use flag banners or other large signs to guide people to the best entrance to use for your church. After they enter your campus, use parking team members with hand signs, or A Frame Signs to guide guests to reserved spots for them right in the front row.

Be ready for them: If you plan this right, guests will find their way to the front row with a great parking spot waiting for them. Make sure you have volunteers ready to greet them at those spots. If appropriate, arm those volunteers with connect cards and pens so they can ask people to fill out a connect card on their way in. If door greeters can see the guest parking spots, make sure they’re trained to keep an eye on those spots and go out of their way to greet guests when they come in.

Plan for the weather: Is it rainy season? Have umbrellas ready to shield guests. Hot asphalt? Wagons for kids to ride in can be really fun. Is it snowing? Make sure the sidewalks are shoveled and salted and any ice or slush is removed from steps.

They’re only going to drive onto your campus “for the first time” once, so make it memorable and make it a logical progression from the effort you put into inviting people to your church.