Food Trucks and churches may seem a strange pairing. However, we work with Food Trucks and churches daily, and from a website design perspective, they have things in common, including an initial reluctance. Many food trucks and churches don't think they need a website. Today, not having a website or using someone else's platform (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) to act as a website will hurt your ability to create a following and sustainability.
Winning hearts and minds are steep mountains for any church or food truck. But, without a website capable of communicating your content, calendar, and menu while creating a supportive community developing a supportive flock is impossible. These five easy-to-develop "do more" tips will help your website win parishioner or foodie hearts and minds:
Homepage Call to Action (CTA) Button
Learn what a CTA is and how to use them and discover five examples of great homepage CTAs.
Current Calendars and Food Menus
Keep parishioners or foodies informed so they can join, find you, and share.
Ask For Help
When in doubt, crowdsource problems, questions, or opportunities by asking for Help.
Create an Online Community
Uncomplicated ways to begin to create an online community to turn website visitors into your advocates.
Social Media for Beginners
Social media can be a powerful tool, but social media needs to work WITH and FOR your website, not BE your website.
For churches, a homepage CTA button is like when a priest or preacher says let’s sing a particular hymn. For food trucks, a homepage CTA is like sharing a menu. Homepage CTAs uses the seconds your website has to pass its first test – to win a click – to clearly communicate what you want visitors to do and see.
What should your homepage CTA promote? Here’s the rub, without looking at your website’s Google Analytics to know where your visitors go, how often, how much time they spend on a page, and where they enter and exit makes half the analysis we’d do absent. The other half of the analysis is absent as well because only YOU know what is most important to your church or food truck.
With these two caveats clearly stated, here are four examples of church and food truck homepage CTAs:
We found “Lent - not just for bellybuttons” on Travis Agnew’s site as an example of a lousy church sign. Travis may be right. Perhaps the Lent/bellybuttons is a terrible church sign, but I bet the Learn Why CTA earns clicks. Linking Lent and bellybuttons creates curiosity and attention and does what great CTAs do – tease curious visitors to know more. If that’s too tongue-in-cheek or not your congregation’s vibe, that’s okay! What makes a good CTA depends on your audience, and you know them best.
The “Ate It Reviews” CTA illustrates how creative you can and should become with CTAs. Power words such as “learn,” “discover,” and “see” work great, but don’t be afraid to experiment and test new dishes, button colors, and locations.
Can you use more than one CTA on your homepage? Yes, is our reluctant answer. Reluctant because every click loses up to 40% of a page’s visitors, so prioritize what you want and be sure to ask for it. If 100 people view your homepage today, you’ll be doing a great job if 60% click on your CTA, so ask for what matters most, what is happening NOW, and what you need to explain, such as how Lent is related to bellybuttons.
Parishioners, foodies, and Google love accurate, current content. Nothing says, "this website doesn't matter" faster than stale content. You lose hearts and minds if your church calendar discusses Easter in the summer or if your food truck menus are still promoting last month’s specials.
The web is about what is happening NOW. For example, Google's Caffeine update in 2010 changed its algorithm to value "freshness." Fresh content has two implications – you should create content with regular updates such as calendars and directories and find ways to ADD content to "evergreen" posts. Evergreen pages include pages such as your About Us story that receive a lot of traffic but don't change frequently.
Your website's About Us (or Our Story) pages may seem as if they are written, coded, published, and forgotten. After Google's freshness update, finding ways to keep all of your website's content fresh is essential. Here are a few ways to freshen up your "evergreen" content:
Those are a few ways to keep winning foodies, parishioners, and Google's hearts and minds with fresh, current content about what is happening NOW.
For many of our clients, asking for help feels counterintuitive. In the past, websites existed to communicate information, educate, or sell an idea or product. Today, websites are conversations rather than lectures, and asking for help is a great way to start a conversation with your audience. This focused “crowdsourcing” engages visitors while identifying your 1-9-90 Rule.
The 1-9-90 Rule says 1% of your website’s visitors will contribute content (so respond to a request for help), 9% will share your content notably when contributed by the 1%ers and 90% of your visitors read. Put another way, 10 out of every 100 visitors are willing to help by donating content (1%ers) or sharing your content (9%ers). So, help comes to those who ask.
Here are a few of our favorite ways to ask for help:
Those are a few of the ways we like to ask for help. But, of course, we’ll gladly share more ways to ask for help if needed.
The 1-9-90 Rule carries another implication – creating an online community is HARD. So here are easy ways to begin doing a tricky thing – creating an online community:
Add and VALUE Comments
If we place our earlier note about spam aside, how you respond to and use visitor comments will determine how many valuable comments you receive in the future. Value comments with public praise, and request permission to use the comment on other pages or social media.
Curate External Comments and Content About You
Use Google to find what foodies or parishioners are saying and curate them into your website. Don’t be afraid of negative comments. Respond to negative comments in positive ways to win new hearts and minds.
Add External Content You Like with Attribution
If a Foodie blogger or another pastor wrote something you like, find a suitable place to include some of it and provide a link. We recommend adding links in a Resource area at the bottom of a page. You may want to “rel=”nofollow” these external links. If you don’t know what rel=”nofollow” is, ask, and we’ll be glad to provide greater detail.
We’ve learned other ways your website can begin to become an online community, and we’ll be glad to share.
Your website plus social media marketing will be stronger than either alone, but social media, much like your website, requires commitment, trial and error, and learning from mistakes. Churches and food trucks have limited time and resources, so here are tips for social media beginners:
We recommend Facebook for churches and Instagram for food trucks, but what is right for your food truck or church may be different. Don’t try to manage more than one social account until you are confident and understand what works. Again, stale content can be disastrous, so don’t overwork yourself by trying to be everywhere.
Learn The Rules
Social media platforms have stated and unstated “rules of the road” such as don’t be selfish, be kind, and learn the best times to post. And keep in mind that some of the rules change over time.
Instagram – best times to post are generally Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10am to Noon, but your experience may vary. As with Facebook, automation tools can give insight into what’s right for you.
The ability to include linking is one key difference between Facebook and Instagram. Facebook allows you to include an “external link” from Facebook to your website. Instagram doesn’t allow external links. Although directing content back to your website from your social media is valuable, we recommend keeping external links to less than 30% of your Facebook content due to the “don’t be selfish” unstated social media marketing rule.
Pexel church images from Photo by Photo by Mark Neal & Genadi Yakovlev
Pexel food truck images from by Photo by Artem Saranin & James Frid
If you’re still reading then you know websites are commitments that require experience, expertise, and resources. If our company can help with your church or food truck website, please email me: eg (at) wte.net.