Food Truck Marketing: A Master Plan That Will Actually Boost Your Brand
Developing a strong marketing plan for your food truck can attract more customers and significantly increase revenue. The food truck industry is ever-changing and definitely here to stay, so it’s essential that you put together a unique marketing plan to set your mobile eatery apart from the others.
Here are 10 food truck marketing strategies to help you get your business started to attract potential customers and make your business flourish.
1. Establish Your Brand
The most critical piece in tying your marketing plan together is to establish your brand. A well-branded truck will go a long way by drawing positive attention to your business wherever it goes. Your brand is the foundation of your business, and if done professionally, will do wonders.
When establishing your brand, you need to think about perception. How do you want customers to perceive your brand? Putting together a strong brand allows customers to trust your business and attract the people you’re aiming to reach. The overall definition of your brand can be anything from playful and sarcastic to formal, but it must be apparent to your customers and stay consistent throughout all platforms.
What do you want to incorporate into your brand that other food trucks don’t already have? Taking the time to think about what your values, goals, and overall mission gives you the ability to set your food truck apart from all of the other mobile eateries in your area.
Once you define your brand, you need to bring that vision to life. The visual identity of your brand consists of your logo, graphics, fonts, social media posts, and copy materials such as; menu items, flyers, and brochures. Creating cohesion of your menu selection, along with the overall theme and mood of your print will not only help build your brand but also visually, and professionally communicate with your customers.
A visually appealing truck is a crucial factor that initially entices customers and prompts them to learn more about your offerings. Creating a unique look gets customers to remember your name and quickly identify you (after all, you will be on the move). A bold appearance piques the interest of potential customers and points them in the direction of the most important feature, the menu.
Develop Consistency for Your Brand
Everybody values consistency in any business because it makes you more trustworthy and reputable. All aspects of your brand need to be consistent, from the cohesion of your menu to the tone and personality of your website and all other channels.
2. Name Your Food Truck
The next step in all solid marketing plans for any business is to create a name that resonates with you and your target market. Choosing a name for your food truck is such an essential step of the process because everything from your logo to your menu items will carry that name. Once you define yourself, it’s easier to select a name that can reinforce your brand. The name also helps you identify and carve out your place in the local market.
Names for your food truck can come in many different forms. Some examples of the types of names are as follows:
- Acronyms: KFC
- Geographical names: Poland Spring
- Founder names: Cadbury
- Descriptive names: Taco Bell
- Invented names: Fanta
Having a name that resonates with consumers will strengthen your brand and help you tie together any loose ends by creating the early aspects of your brand “personality.”
3. Utilize Social Media
By now, it’s evident that social media is a huge component in any successful business, and should be utilized to its fullest capacity. It’s one thing to simply create accounts across many platforms, but it’s another thing to use them to your advantage strategically. Social media marketing has become a force to be reckoned with, and for good reasons.
Twitter is one of the most widely-used platforms for food truck business owners, and it makes sense why. You can create unique hashtags, generate polls to better gauge what your customers want, and overall provides an effortless way to communicate with your customers to keep them in the loop — in real-time.
Instagram is another platform that has features that food truck owners can utilize. No matter where you go, everybody loves food. Even better, everybody loves food that looks too good to eat and is “Insta-worthy.” If your food items look as good as they sound, sharing your daily specials and pictures of your menu items will help attract foodies and entice them to take a trip to your food truck.
Instagram also has the “story” feature that you can use in a variety of different ways. Stories can include photos, videos, or boomerangs that only display for 24 hours, so you can post content that you don’t want to feature permanently on your page. For example, if you wanted to show your followers where your truck will be during any given day, you can post photos to your story and tag your location by using geotags.
Facebook is the platform with the biggest pool of users and one of the most diverse groups of consumers. Using Facebook helps your food truck business reach a more extensive range of people on social media. A whopping 69 percent of adult social media users are on Facebook, so there’s a pretty good chance that your customers are a part of that demographic.
Posting behind the scenes pictures and videos of your staff preparing for the day, or trying out new menu items helps make your business relatable. Humanizing your company gives customers a sneak peek of the hard work put into creating the food and makes them feel like they have an inside scoop.
Source: Pew Research Center
4. Create an Eye-Catching Website
A common misconception of establishing a food truck marketing plan is that creating a website isn’t a priority, and this is far from the truth. Your website serves the purpose of acting as a digital storefront to showcase your brand to potential customers. It’s what most customers look for to find information such as your hours of operation, location, menu, contact information for private events, and much more.
Deciding what information to include on your website might seem like a lot, but it doesn’t have to be. Make sure that you have the necessities to begin, such as the general information about your food truck. Showcasing any other services you may offer lets potential customers know they have options.
Advertising events that you will be participating in or hosting is another useful piece of information to add to your website. It might be in your best interest to organize these events on a calendar or any other type of organized list.
These days, creating a website is a simple task that requires almost no coding experience. Drop-and-drag platforms such as the following make building your website reasonably straightforward.
5. The Importance of SEO
Understanding Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and using it to your advantage will help your business rank for search results and enhance your online visibility. There are countless ways to get your website to climb the rankings of Google and other search engines. You just have to know how to do so and develop a strategic plan that works best for you and your business.
Optimize Website Content
Your website should already contain the information you believe to be the most pertinent to your food truck business, and now you have to optimize the content. Business website optimization plays a huge role in driving long-term business goals and helps to improve the overall performance of your site.
Focusing on content optimization drives more traffic to your website. There are plenty of ways to begin to optimize your website’s content, such as easy navigation, creating proper title tags, heading structure, and meta descriptions.
Not only is it essential to produce a live website, but it’s also helpful to keep an ongoing blog on your website. Blogging is a great way to showcase your industry expertise and authority. Not to mention that blog posts will continuously introduce fresh new content to your site — and that’s something search engines love.
Online Business Directories
Digital business directories are an excellent way to increase your online presence and have a positive impact on your overall SEO efforts.
Google My Business is an extremely simple (and better yet, free) tool that allows you to promote your business website and other profiles on Google search and maps. Creating a business profile on Google My Business will give you an elevated presence on Google, and reach more customers by allowing you to post pictures and videos, add business details, and respond to customer inquiries and reviews.
Additionally, Yelp is another business directory that many customers rely on for information and reviews of a company. Much like Google My Business, Yelp provides useful information about your business and allows you to interact with customers through reviews or direct messages. Claiming your Yelp business listing opens you up to reaching new customers, and improve your online visibility.
6. Host and Participate in Local Events
Hosting and participating in community events promotes your brand and immerses your business into the local community. Whether you’re hosting an event or participating in one, it’s imperative that you carve out your unique position in the neighborhood.
Hosting events are an excellent way to produce extra income for your food truck.
- Food truck festivals
Getting your food truck friends and partners together to create a festival is a great way to expand your network and provide entertainment (and good food) for the community.
- New menu tasting events
Events such as these create a presence in your community while showcasing your upcoming menu items to get customers excited about the future of your business.
Participate in Local Events
Most likely, your community will have regular public events and are on the lookout for new vendors. Keep a pulse on neighborhood events such as:
- Charity events
- Live music events and other concerts
- Outdoor movie nights
- Art festivals
- Summer festivals
- Ethnic festivals
7. Word of Mouth Marketing
One type of marketing strategy that many business owners often overlook is the old fashioned word of mouth marketing. Have you ever visited a restaurant or retail store that you loved so much, you couldn’t wait to tell your friends and family about it — or even go as far as raving about it on social media? Everyone has done this at some point in their lives, and this is the sole reason why word of mouth marketing plays such a significant role in your business’ success.
8. User Generated Content (UGC)
User-generated content is any content that is created and shared by unpaid contributors, better known as your fans and loyal customers. Content like this consists of but isn’t limited to, pictures, videos, tweets, and blog posts that are generated by users and promotes the business or brand.
Offering more opportunities for your customers to create user-generated content boosts your business while creating a sense of community by showcasing the content on your website or social media platforms. You can create a unique hashtag that helps identify content created by customers, and even incentivize sharing pictures by giving away prizes or coupons for the best post or photo.
9. Connect with Industry Leaders and Influencers
It’s easy to understand that the most trusted recommendations originate from friends and family, but social media influencers, bloggers, and other industry leaders also have a lot of pull when it comes to their opinions. By teaming up with influencers, you’re allowing room for your customer base to grow from the loyal fanbase the influencers already have in their back pocket.
Connecting with influencers to promote your business can boost your presence and reputation, but you have to build a relationship first and foremost. Choosing the right influencers to promote business by using software like Hootsuite helps sift through accounts and hashtags that are more relevant to your business.
Interacting with influencers, and offering them to try free food or featuring them in your products and services shows that you value their time. Building these types of relationships opens your business up to more opportunities, and is mutually beneficial to both parties. It’s essential that you quote them, and find any other ways to incorporate and give credit to them whenever it’s necessary.
10. Loyalty Programs
All businesses, including food trucks, should include a customer loyalty program into their overall marketing plan. There are so many ways to reward your customers. You just have to think in terms of what your customers want and what you’re willing to give in return.
Once you establish a loyal fanbase, you can use your POS system to help manage your loyalty program and maximize marketing efforts.
Some examples of successful customer loyalty programs include:
- Buy 10 get one free card
- Pay with points from an app
- Order ahead
- Free food item by signing up for the loyalty program
- Give loyal customers insider information about your next location and new menu items
To Wrap Up
The popularity of starting a food truck business is rapidly increasing, so building a unique brand is vital to the long-term success of your business. What’s great about these food truck marketing strategies is that you can tweak them to create a consistent personality for your brand.