Thankfully, visitors don’t need to wait until Sunday to check out your church or begin preparing for their first encounter with you. With a brief but thorough plan-your-visit video, they can scope out your church’s vibe and best prepare themselves and their family for worship with you. 

10 Essential Elements To Include In Your Church’s Plan-Your-Visit Video

Create a plan-your-visit video for first-time guests to your church.

1. Grab attention in the first 6 seconds.

The first six seconds of your video are important because that is the amount of time your video is given before the viewer has a chance to press “skip” on a YouTube ad. One way you can grab attention is by creating very large captions (especially if you’re posting to Facebook since they can see your ad without hearing your ad).

The second way to grab attention is by quickly introducing a conflict. I always say, “You must grab a tension in order to grab attention.” You can address the need for community; our society’s meaning crisis; or how hard it is to find a church when you’re new to the area. The sky’s the limit. 

You have 6 seconds to grab the attention of a YouTube viewer before they're given a chance to skip your video. Start with large captions and a clear purpose. Click To Tweet

2. Quickly establish your location.

Our first plan your visit video made the mistake of assuming people knew our drone shot was of the theater in downtown Queen Creek. When we ran that ad, many of our first-time guests mentioned it wasn’t until the fifth or sixth time that this church was just down the road from them. We corrected our mistake by verbally mentioning the city and putting it in big captions within the first 10-15 seconds of our video.

Visitor follow-up tool: 8 Practical Ways to Use Your ChMS After Events for Outreach Follow-Up

3. Start Your Plan-Your-Visit Video In The Parking Lot

A lot of our guests’ anxiety stems from not knowing where to go once they park. Therefore, calm their nerves by literally starting from the parking lot and show them how to enter and where they should go. Do not literally film every step but do enough to help them know the layout of the property.

4. Record in First-Person POV

The key to the internet is knowing that personal is more powerful than professional. For too long, churches have had a professional aesthetic that feels foreign to the everyday user. Some solutions include ditching the tripod and grabbing your camera like you are vlogging. It gives a personal touch and keeps them engaged longer.

Create your church's plan-your-visit video in first-person point of view. In other words, ditch the tripod and grab a phone, and record yourself as if you're vlogging. It's personal and engaging. Click To Tweet

5. Emphasize Your Values

Our church loves our children’s ministry, so we devote a lot of our time to explaining how it is done and why it is done. I walk through the check-in process, what each classroom looks like, and even show them the playground. Visually show them as much as possible so parents feel that their children will be valued and safe.

6. Walk Through the Order of Service

Hopefully, you will reach people who have never been to church in their entire life. What a privilege to be their first impression of the kingdom of God! It’s possible a first-time visitor doesn’t have a framework for how long a service goes and what the service includes. Try to give them a general idea of the service from start to finish. Don’t forget to mention how long your services typically run.

Hopefully, your church's plan-your-visit video will reach people who've never been to church outside of weddings. Give visitors an idea of what to expect by briefly mentioning what the worship service includes and the length. Click To Tweet

7. Use Lots of B-Roll

If you are using a first-person point of view, there will be times where your footage will be shaky. Overlay that shaky footage with slow-motion footage of what you are talking about. Try to include a slow-motion video of your church welcoming each other, your band playing, and people laughing. Be sure to coordinate your b-roll with what you are talking about. For example, my slow-motion footage of worship is not played while I am talking about the parking lot. You can see plenty of b-roll in our team’s plan-your-visit video:

8. Keep Your Length At 2-3 Minutes

You will need to pack a lot of information in a short amount of time. If they do not know you, they will not give you 10 minutes to explain your church service. 2-3 minutes also helps you “kill your darlings” and only share what is necessary

9. Constantly Change Your Plan-Your-Visit Video Intro

This is my biggest tip! You can constantly switch out your introduction to grab more attention. For example, we make a special 15-second intro during the Christmas and Easter seasons. We also made an introduction that specifically acknowledges those who just moved into the area. This hack personalizes the experience for the viewer and it continues to reward us with new faces.

Here's a great pro tip for church leaders creating a plan-your-visit video: Switch out your introduction based on the current holiday season or visitor status, like new-to-the-area visitors. Keep the rest as-is! Click To Tweet

10. Run Target Ads on Facebook and YouTube Every Single Day

Our church greets new visitors every Sunday because we simply pay $5 a day on YouTube and Facebook ads showcasing our plan-your-visit video. Sometimes, we target a five-mile radius from our meeting location, and other times we target people who have moved into the area this past year. 

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I pray this is enough to get you started. By God’s grace, He can use your plan-your-visit video to reach more people to the saving grace of Jesus Christ!

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What did we miss? Do you have an element in your plan-your-visit video that we didn’t mention?