This post is part 2 of a weeklong series on how churches can share their underused spaces. If you missed part 1, you can check it out here.
1. Get a short URL
People may be trying to find and book your space, but it’s hard for them to remember where to go when the web address looks like this: http://www.geocities.com/urchurch/news/11301998/16838978366.
Even if that’s how your main website’s address looks, and you’re not able to move it, don’t worry: you can still use a URL shortening service to provide a clean, portable address for a page on your site!
In addition, ShareMySpace gives all clients the option to create a customized, easy-to-remember URL:
People can follow this link and find out everything they need to know about booking your space! You can use this link on your website, bulletin, magazine, Facebook page, or anywhere else you want, which will be a major boost for your visibility. Try it out for free by going to ShareMySpace and clicking on the “Add Your Spaces” button.
2. Advertise it on the church website
If you have a sidebar on your homepage where you post news and announcements, this can be a great place to highlight that rental space you want to fill. The ad might catch the eye of a congregation member who wants to lead a class on knitting or taekwondo, or of a member who knows a caterer in need of a commercial kitchen.
You can also add a page to your website that’s specifically devoted to the spaces you have available. Webmasters typically title this page “Rent Our Space.” And if you’ve chosen to list with ShareMySpace, you can provide anyone visiting your “Rent Our Space” page with that quick and easy link, which they’ll follow to book the space! That’s what marketing researchers call “conversion” — a different kind of conversion than churches usually deal with, perhaps, but important nonetheless!
3. Run a column in the printed bulletin
Even in the age of the internet, most congregations still publish some form of printed announcements every week, and members look to this bulletin for upcoming activities and schedules. Whether it’s an ad box or a longer written column discussing the possibilities that space sharing offers to the congregation, this is another great way to get attention for the space.
4. Announce it during/after services
Everyone’s right there in the pews, waiting to hear the latest news: it’s the perfect time to remind them that spaces are available, and suggest a few ways that they could be used!
You could also host a town-hall discussion about the benefits that space sharing brings to the community. This gets the congregation involved, makes them part of the decision process, and may even flush out a lot of new and creative ideas for how to share.
5. Use social media tools
Create a Facebook page for your space. Use Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr to get the word out. These are user-friendly, free tools for amplifying your voice and gaining visibility! It’s true, social media needs to be curated. You have to be present to make an impact. But a few tweets daily, if you interact with other Twitter users via hashtags, mentions, and retweets, can be enough to build a following! And it doesn’t take long to write 140 characters.