Editor’s Note: Hey FoodTruckrs! Today, we’re excited to bring you a special guest post from Jennifer Bland of RatRaceGrad.com. You might remember Jennifer from the post she wrote a couple months ago on how to run an eco-friendly food truck. In this brand new guest post, Jennifer offers four awesome marketing tips to help you engage your audience and use the power of your biggest fans to attract new customers. Let’s see what Jennifer has to say!
Food truck businesses may have their own unique qualities, but they’re all based around the same concept—someone with a passion for food running a business out of a truck. Furthermore, each business has the same goal—to be successful. So if the concept is the same, why are some food truck businesses successful and others aren’t?
That’s a tough question, and it doesn’t have a “one size fits all” answer. There are many different factors to take into consideration when looking at why one food truck business is successful and another isn’t. Today, I’d like to give you some tips that can help you stand out from the crowd and increase your chances of having a successful food truck business—all with the help of your customers!
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that without customers, you don’t have a business. So when you do have customers who are happy and raving about your food truck, why not utilize their satisfaction to help with your success? Here are some ways you can use happy customers to make your business more successful.
1. Get Written Testimonials
Create a simple document you can print out that has columns to capture a customer’s name, email address, phone number (if you wish to collect this information), and a spot where they can write a testimonial. Once you have created the document, print it out and attach it to a clipboard and put it somewhere that customers can easily access it. But don’t forget to tell them to leave a testimonial—they need to be told what to do or more than likely they won’t do it.
(Editor’s Note: FoodTruckr also recommends collecting testimonials as they roll in. Whenever someone sends you a compliment on social media or through an email message, ask him or her if you can use it in your marketing! Most fans will be more than happy to help you spread the word about your truck, and you’ll typically get longer, more specific testimonials by using those that come in organically.)
How can you use these testimonials?
Print them on napkins. Add them to your website. If they’re not too long, print them on your drink cups. Use them in promotional flyers. You can even add a few to the side of your truck.
The point here is to collect testimonials and to use them—because you can say your food is great, but it’s more believable when other people say so.
One thing worth mentioning here: Please make sure that your customers are aware of the fact that when they leave a testimonial, they are giving you the right to use that information in branding purposes however you see fit.
2. Have Customers Tweet or Share on Facebook
Social media is an extremely powerful tool and one that you should definitely utilize in your food truck business. Once you have served a customer, tell them “Don’t forget to tweet your experience @[insert your Twitter name].” Or tell them, “Hey, did you know we’re on Facebook? You can find us at [Facebook name] and we would love it if you left a comment for us.”
Make it easy for your customers to interact with you on social media. Have a sign hanging up with your Twitter handle and Facebook page (or usernames for Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) where customers can see it—again, on napkins, drink cups, the side of your truck, your website, business cards, flyers, etc.
Remember—once you get customers interacting with you on social media, don’t forget to engage with them. If they tweet at you, take a minute to tweet back. If they leave a comment on Facebook, take the time to comment back.
3. Newsletter Sign Up
An email mailing list is the perfect opportunity to stay in front of customers so they don’t forget about you. Though you’ll need to be emailing fans on a regular basis, this process can be automated somewhat so that you can spend the majority of your time focusing on the day-to-day workings of your truck.
Keep a small list next to your checkout register where customers can give you their email addresses and opt to be added to your mailing list. Be sure to offer some incentive for signing up such as a coupon for their next visit or advance notice of your events and promotions.
You can also make it even easier for people to sign up by setting up an iPad near the register where they can access your website and sign up automatically while they’re waiting for their food.
4. QR Codes
Use QR (quick response) codes in your food truck business to let customers take an action quickly. For example, put a QR code on the side of your truck or on your drink cups so that when someone scans it with their cell phone, they’re given a 15% off discount code to be used on that day’s purchase or on their next visit. You can also set up the QR code so that it takes them straight to your newsletter signup form or to one of your social media pages. With sites like Kaywa, you can quickly and easily set up QR codes and incorporate them into the marketing materials for your food truck business.
As you can see, these tips can help you set your food truck up for success with the help of your customers. But don’t forget—you will have to make it a habit to ask your customers for those testimonials or social media follows and to take the time to engage them and thank them for their business once they connect with you online. Once you have feedback from happy customers, make sure you use the content to brand and market your food truck business—your success depends on it!
image by Elsie Hui