Targeting and addressing your website audience isn’t a problem for synagogues alone. Web ventures across the secular and religious world grapple with the same problem. But it’s important to know who you want to attract to your site, because it will affect not only how you build it, but who might be attending services and programs.
Generally speaking, synagogues can target existing members or new members. That’s just scraping the surface, though. You should know:
- How old are those people? If it’s an aging congregation, they might not know or care much about technology, but that’s not the same for younger generations. All synagogues should be addressing a younger membership, otherwise your existing membership will eventually fizzle out.
- Do they have kids? If so, put information front and center about Sunday school or Hebrew classes.
- Where do they live? If it’s a snowy climate, put cancellations on the homepage. And always include directions.
- What’s their economic situation? Would your congregants be interested in auctions? Registering for a 5K? Can you tap them for heavy fund development?
- What gender are they? Men and women will each have different questions about your programs.
- Can you guess what kind of technical equipment they have? Are they accessing your site through a PDA? Are they logging on antiquated equipment at school?
- Why are they visiting your site? Guests might want to know about membership information or how to find your building. Members might be interested in volunteer opportunities.
Synagogue sites should be inclusive for everyone, but by finding and knowing your target audience, you can prioritize information for them.
Here are some useful articles on how to learn more about your target audience:
Defining Your Target Audience from the American Marketing Association tells you how to conduct this research.
Evolt.org’s Making websites: what’s your target audience? speaks from a more technical perspective.