Food trucks can’t depend on returning customers the way brick and mortar restaurants can, so you need a solid food marketing strategy for attracting and engaging customers.
When paired with an effective food truck business plan, a well-thought-out food truck marketing strategy brings you and your target audience together
But before you can craft a successful food truck marketing plan, you must understand the target audience. Middle-class millennials are the target market of the billion-dollar food truck industry. According to an IBISWorld Inc. report, 43% of food truck spending each month is made by 25- to 44-year-olds, with an additional 20% coming from those under the age of 25.
Food truck marketing plan
A strong marketing presence helps the public recognize and identify with your business. Whether it’s through an eye-catching graphic, a fun jingle, or a memorable tagline, make sure you are using a variety of approaches and channels to support your marketing efforts. An intentional marketing strategy is vital for ensuring your message reaches and engages your customers.
Below we list the essential elements of successful food truck marketing:
As the food truck industry becomes increasingly saturated, your branding sets you apart from every other food truck. Create a distinct brand to help ensure your food truck’s longevity.
Logo: Choose a simple, easy-to-interpret logo.
Font: While using a little creative font can be an effective way to support the overall mood of your business, make sure important information is legible.
Graphics: Most food truck operators decorate their trucks with eye-catching graphics that entice customers to buy their products. By decorating the outside of your truck, you will advertise your business as you drive around town.
Copy (aka words): Names of menu items, even the cohesion of your menu selection is part of your brand. Copy also comes into play when you’re making social media posts or writing about your business for print and online publications.
2. Website development
Every dining establishment needs to develop a website, but your food truck’s website has unique needs. Given that the food truck target market is 44 years old and younger, the primary way your customers will discover and interact with your business is online.
Use your website to:
Showcase location schedule: Because your business has no fixed location, it’s crucial that potential customers can easily discover where you are located each day on your website.
Menu: If people are intrigued by your website’s images and copy, they’ll want to review your menu to see what all the hype is about.
Typical hours/locations: Once people have concluded that they want to eat at your food truck, they’ll need to know your availability. While your hours and locations may vary, including typical places you operate lets people assess whether you can become a lunch spot staple or if it will require a special weekend trip to sample your offerings.
Mission dtatement: Since two of the reasons people eat at food trucks are to support local entrepreneurs and connect with a community, writing a powerful mission statement and including it on your website is a great way to boost your marketing efforts.
Images of food: Beautifully lit and tantalizing food photography images will convert people from website visitors to paying customers.
3. Social media marketing
In the food truck sector, social media is not just a way to connect with customers. It is an essential tool for growing your food truck business.
Reviews: People will review your food truck and pose questions about your operation on your social media pages. How you manage customers’ comments and reviews matters just as much if not more than the reviews themselves.
Two-way communication: Ask for customers’ feedback by creating polls on what locations they would like you to be at and run new menu items by them. Not only do these posts help generate a steady stream of content, but they also provide invaluable insight into how to run your business.
Photos: Delivering a steady stream of food photography images showcasing your menu items is a great way to market your food truck on social media. Post images of your daily/weekly specials, new menu items, and best-selling dishes with clever, actionable captions that align with your food truck’s branding.
Giveaways: Motivate people to engage with your account by offering the incentive of free items to winners who follow your account, tag friends in your giveaway post’s comments, and share the giveaway on their own social media pages. You can even partner with other social media pages, such as city activities pages, food bloggers, and local cultural magazines to gain more exposure for your giveaway challenge and provide a broader range of services to the giveaway winner.
Let customers market for you: Reposting and sharing the photos your customers tag your business in is an easy way to get attractive images without having to generate all the content yourself. Just make sure to get their consent to report their photo, and tag them in the caption and/or photo to give them the credit!
Top social media platforms for food trucks
Whether you set up a Yelp account or not, people will rate and review your business. Take control of the narrative and actively oversee your food truck’s Yelp page. Getting more Yelp reviews is a free way to market your food truck. Aside from following general social media food truck marketing best practices, here are a few ways to leverage your food truck’s Yelp page to your advantage:
Encourage customers to review: Request a “Find Us On Yelp” sticker and gain Yelp reviews
Customers’ Yelp images are often of poor quality and don’t do your dishes justice. By including your own images, you make sure your food shines on Yelp.
Since people want to eat at food trucks because they provide an affordable way to sample unique flavor combinations and uncommon cuisines, giving viewers a quick way to assess whether your food truck is within their desired price range is a great way to market your food truck on Yelp.
Your Facebook page is an ideal platform for sharing information about your business and engaging with customers. Aside from following general social media food truck marketing best practices, here are a few specialized ways to leverage your food truck’s Facebook page to your advantage:
Create events: If you know you’ll be parked at a local brewery for pint night or feeding hungry event attendees at a concert in the park event, create a public event for people to add to their Facebook Events Calendar.
Respond to questions: Facebook users will probably go to your page to pose questions about your food truck. Monitor your food truck’s Facebook page and Facebook Messenger inbox for customer queries.
Here are a few ways to leverage your food truck’s Twitter page to your advantage:
Keep customers up to date: Live Tweet your location as you move from site to site and let people know what you’re out of as your supplies dwindle.
Share Your Brand: Twitter is all about making funny, poignant statements. Use your food truck’s Twitter account to reveal your brand’s identity and values.
The most aesthetic social media account, Instagram, is the perfect place for images of your food to shine. Aside from following general social media food truck marketing best practices, we list a few specialized ways to leverage your food truck’s Instagram page to your advantage below. For an in-depth resource, we also offer a comprehensive Instagram marketing guide.
Instagram Stories: While your food truck’s Instagram feed should maintain a consistent aesthetic and color scheme, Instagram stories are a less curated, more candid space to share behind-the-scenes photos and build a good rapport with customers. You can use the poll, quiz, questions, and other Instagram story features to boost engagement rates for Instagram’s algorithm and get customer feedback.
Share and repost images: Unlike Yelp, a large majority of the photos customers upload of your food to Instagram will be aesthetically pleasing. Resharing customers’ photos will build their loyalty to your brand and minimize the need for you to conduct your own food photography efforts.
Influencer marketing: Find out who your city’s Influencers are and contact them about posting videos, pictures, and/or Instagram stories of them enjoying the food at your food truck. Depending on the size of their following, you may be able to just offer free food in exchange for their marketing, but if the Influencer has a large following, they may require compensation. Before anything takes place, be sure there is a clear understanding between you and the Influencer of whether they will be posting an Instagram story, photo, or video of their time at your food truck.
Create Reels: Instagram reels are short video clips that you can edit and set with music. They’re great for boosting algorithm and engagement and allow you to deepen your interaction with your following. Plus, reels are more prone to popping up on Instagram’s “Explore Page”, letting more people come across your profile and, therefore, your food truck.
In the social media marketing world, video is king, and TikTok’s entire platform is video-based. If you’re already making Instagram Reels, this is another platform where you can share those videos. Make an account for your food truck, follow other food trucks and influencers in the area, and look up hashtags that are similar to your business model or concept.
You can also get really great video inspiration and ideas from other accounts, but be sure to stay original and creative in your own way.
Use a food truck app
Tech developers have created several applications to assist the over 25,000 food truck businesses operating in the US. Marketing your food truck through a food truck app guarantees that your message is being directed at potential customers who are actively seeking a food truck to eat at and/or are invested in your local food truck scene. Discover key food truck apps for marketing your food truck business.
Team up with local businesses, organizations, and even other food trucks to grow your food truck’s audience. While other food trucks are technically your competition, you all have unique things to offer. The support of other food truck owners can go a long way towards securing your success in the business.
Conversely, local businesses and organizations are often happy to establish partnerships with food trucks so they can keep their customers satiated and lingering at their business for hours on end without having to run their own commercial kitchen operation.
Food truck rallies
Outdoor movie theaters
Open air shopping centers
Ensure the success of your mobile business by establishing a sound food truck marketing strategy. From an eye-catching logo and well-designed website to strategic social media messaging and quality food photography images, there are so many opportunities to expand your food truck’s exposure and presence.
This content was originally published here.