Food truck owners have taken huge strides to gain entry into a $2.7 billion industry (foodtrucknation.us, 2017) with a continual growth rate of 300% over three years. What sets one food truck apart from the other 5,499 others out on the road today? This article will highlight Ways to Attract Food Truck Customers and provide resources on ways to gain customer loyalty.
Authenticity is an important key to attracting and retaining customers. Instead of posting templated social media posts each day, take a step outside the box and post your own images and videos that truly show your ‘why’ for operating a food truck. One example could be a brief video series that highlights your motivation for starting a food truck… was it because you grew up cooking with your grandma, or food reminding you of your best memories at home, or simply because you love it? Take a few short videos using inexpensive software, including Animoto, Ripl, or Renderforest.
When constructing your videos, think of the following for inspiration:
- What gives you motivation to hop in a step van each day?
- What are the best parts of the day?
- What are the most unexpected things that have happened as a result of operating a food truck?
- Who/what inspired your menu selection?
- What are your goals… short term and long term?
- What do you hope your customers impression is after visiting your food truck?
Nothing in life (and within the food truck business) is more attractive than authenticity. This is definitely one of the top Ways to Attract Food Truck Customers.
#2: Marketing Plan
Yes, marketing encompasses an array of tasks, so it’s important to outline your vision within a marketing plan. The need to have a solid and measurable marketing plan is essential, so following an outline on how to develop a marketing strategy for your food truck is key. The most effective marketing plans include the following elements:
- Website and Social Media
- Search Engine Optimization
- Email Marketing
We will touch on a bit of each component. If you’d like to reach the full article on How to Develop a Marketing Strategy for Your Food Truck, click here.
Website and Social Media
The first element of developing a marketing strategy for your food truck is building a website. In 2019 it is imperative to create, maintain, and optimize a website for your food truck operation. WordPress is a free option for easily building sleek websites that are aesthetically appealing. Many of the templates available on WordPress are ideal for restaurant and food truck businesses and can be created, maintained and updated without any programming skills.
Building a website for a food truck business allows you to advertise the menu, post the location and hours, and publish contact and catering information.
In addition to a website, establishing social media presence is crucial. From Instagram and Twitter to Facebook and YouTube, food truck businesses need to be aware of where customers are hearing about their events. Here are some easy and quick tips to encourage social engagement:
Ask your customers how they heard about your food truck so you are able to track the effectiveness of the social outlets
Encourage social sharing
Add in a few contests to ramp up business
Use the right hashtags and keywords
Keep your posts aesthetically pleasing
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a must when trying to raise your food truck page ranking. For example, if someone is searching for “pizza food trucks in Dallas,” and you are a pizza food truck business in Dallas, you obviously want to be one of the top few to display on the page. Here are a few suggestions for increasing your organic SEO ranking.
#1: Build out your website with optimized keyword content. Again using the Dallas pizza food truck example, make sure you have those keywords displayed throughout your site, along with other searchable terms.
#2: Encourage customers to leave reviews on Google and Yelp.
#3: Update and maintain your Google “My Business” page with not only relevant hours and updated menus but also pictures. Pictures can push your listing higher on the page.
Utilizing email marketing can reap huge benefits. Email marketing offers a quick way to communicate with your customers, and stay top of mind.
One effective and cost-efficient way to collect emails is to have iPad stations mounted on the food truck where customers can complete a brief survey, enter a drawing, or leave a review providing optimal opportunities to collect email addresses.
Many companies, including MailChimp, offer free subscriptions for email marketing. These have user-friendly templates and allow you to customize using your logo, contact information, links, etc.
One of the most important elements for How to Develop a Marketing Strategy For Your Food Truck is to try different strategies, track the results, adjust, and continue to try other marketing strategies.
#3: Your Food Truck
Let’s explore the final of the three Ways to Attract Food Truck Customers.
Plain and simple – the appearance of your food truck will attract, or deter, customers. Every detail from your graphics, paint, lighting, and menu offerings all matter when it comes to a customer making a decision on where to eat. If your food truck is one of the 20 lined up a food festival, you definitely want to stand out, so here are some tips to help do so:
- Exterior paint and graphics should be clean, sleek, and professional. The exterior paint should not be chipped, evidence of your recent accident should not be visible, and graphics should be tastefully done. Not all food truck builders have an in-house paint and graphics department, so be sure to ask about that when you’re interviewing builders.
- Friendliness goes a long way. Having an extra person on hand to pass out samples to people walking by is a great investment for an event. The cost of the hourly rate of that friendly brand ambassador will pay dividends when more customers visit your food truck that night, and even long term.
- Mechanics. Obviously this is something that your customers cannot visually see, but what’s under your hood is the most important. Without an operable step van engine and generator, your business is at a standstill. Be sure you invest in the time to research and ask for references for potential builders.
If you’d like to continue the conversation with the leading specialty food truck fabricator on Ways to Attract Food Truck Customers, APEX Specialty Vehicles is available to walk you through some ideas specific to your needs. Are you ready to get started? Begin with APEX’s free quoter tool!