7 free marketing ideas for food trucks

For the past half-decade, the food truck industry has seen vast expansion. This U.S. food truck industry has grown by almost 7% and on course to reach a revenue of ~$1bn in 2019-2020. As per the survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association, people of age group between 18 and 34 were most likely to buy a meal from the food trucks. On the other hand, a lot of food trucks are getting added In every area and the popularity of the food trucks have skyrocketed over the past few years. There’s heavy competition among the food truck owners and this means every food truck owner must try new ways of marketing and promoting their business to stay afloat. Here are the top 7 free marketing ideas for food trucks and the restaurant business owners.

Social media engagement

Customers engaging with businesses on social media spend about 20-40% more money on that business – Bain & Company. Be it any business, social media marketing is a part of the digital marketing strategy. Having just a Facebook page or an Instagram profile will not suffice. It’s important for the marketing team to have a proper strategy in place and use these social media platforms to reach more customers and gain business. Social media promotions should eventually drive customers to your website and convert them into customers (place an order). Few of the easiest ways to engage with your customers on social media is to remind them to follow your page/handle for regular updates, offers, deals, and other latest information. Read here to know how you can use Instagram to generate more leads.

Mobile Marketing

More than 80% of online traffic comes from mobile devices. There are many different tactics that your restaurant can implement to reach mobile customers, but the most important one is to have a mobile friendly website i.e a website that's optimized for smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices. When potential customers discover your restaurant from a mobile search, it is imperative that they are greeted with a pleasant and smooth experience. Apart from having a good website, you can also sign up with mobile advertising platforms to generate leads. These platforms create ads and pair them with consumer behavior and location services to promote your restaurant in the right places at the right times.

Defined SEO Strategy

A food delivery restaurant must have a well-defined and balanced SEO strategy. As far a mobile businesses are concerned, it’s important to get the business listed on three major avenues – Google My Business Listing, Yelp and Bing Places for Business. Make sure you provide the same Business NAP (Name, Address and Phone Number) across all these listings. Being a mobile business, you can alternatively choose to display the areas that you service, say, Philadelphia.

Noticed ads popping up when you browse the internet? Google Ads works based on your search preferences and will pop open relevant ads when browsing. Google Ads are well known to bring quality and high-performing leads. You can start with a minimum amount and if you have a strong marketing and sales process in place, you can easily multiply the revenue through your Google Ad spending.

Location-based and Geofencing advertising

Location-based advertising revenue is expected to hit $32bn by 2021 which is 45% of the overall mobile ad revenue – BIA Kelsey. Creating awareness should be the primary objective of digital marketers – especially when it comes to the restaurant business. More the awareness, higher the revenue. With smartphones ruling the roost, one way of creating awareness is through location-based advertising (LBA). Imagine people passing your food truck or in the vicinity automatically getting a personalized message with 10% off on their purchase from your food truck.

Did you know, on average, people check their mobile phones about 80-90 times a day? With millennials, this number only doubles up. Restaurant and food truck marketers can take advantage of this frequent check-ins from consumers and target ads at the right time to gain more consumers. By adopting Geofencing technique, marketers can target a specific group of people based on their interests. Say, if your food truck is outside a music show, you could post a geofencing advertisement as “Take a selfie at the show and get a 15% discount at our mobile food truck. Happy Clicking!”.

Contests and Events, Food Truck Festivals

Organizing events or participating in one helps the business to get more reach and visibility. Think outside the box and come up with interesting marketing ideas. Create a detailed event action plan and share it with influencers, social media bloggers and folks who can create an impact on the society. More interesting, you can tie the event funds with a fundraising objective and attract more audience.

Contests are great ways to attract an audience, especially the millennial and generation Z. Contests can be tailored to customer’s preferences. For instance, on a Super Sunday with back to back EPL games, you can organize a contest as “Save 0.5c for every goal scored by Manchester United. Limited time offer”. Make sure to promote the contest on your social channels before the match so that people are aware of your contest during the match schedule.

In addition to contests, one of the best ways of advertising your food truck is by participating in Food Truck Festivals. This also creates oppurtunities for food truck owners to know their competitors as well as increase their customer base. However, you would require effective planning and implementation of a perfect digital media strategy, a well-crafted marketing campaign for all social channels (indicating that you will be a part of the food festival) to make yourself stand apart in such events.

Tip: Remember to collect email addresses and contact numbers during these events and food truck festivals. This helps to build your customer base.

Online Ordering and Payment

According to the market survey conducted by our team at Restolabs, about 60% of the restaurant customers order their food from the restaurant website or app. Up to 70% of the customers make an online food order from their mobile phone. Restaurant owners need to ensure the restaurant website has an effective online ordering system. As much as mobile ordering is important, online payments also help customers to fetch attractive discounts and coupons, while businesses can realize an increased revenue when compared to direct store payments. Click here to read why you must invest in online ordering for your food business.

Branding – Packaging and Truck Design

By now, you have the customer base and frequent customers visiting your truck. What next? Last, but not the least, branding plays a huge role when it comes to marketing your offerings. Your truck is your best form of advertising – it passively promotes your business 24 hours a day, seven days a week and makes a tremendous first impression. Focus on creating a strong, visually appealing food truck to draw customers in and encourage them to buy. Make sure when your customers approach your truck, everything they see and feel reflects your brand – from a plastic cup to packaging, and even the illustrations on the truck. Everything needs to grab the customer’s attention so that it stays in their minds. In short, aim for instant recognition.

If you are passionate about having a food truck service, make sure you implement the marketing ideas from this article to scale your business to greater heights.