Editor’s Note: Today, we interrupt our regularly-scheduled programming to bring you a guest post from the founder of RestaurantEngine.com, Brian Casel! Long-time FoodTruckr fans may remember Brian from his appearance on Episode 13 of the podcast or from his first guest post, “Five Website Essentials to Help Your Food Truck Convert More Customers.” Brian’s latest post originally appeared in “How to Start a Food Truck: The Definitive Guide,” and all links to RestaurantEngine.com are affiliate links.
In this post, Brian focuses on three important strategies that food truck owners everywhere can use to make their websites more visible and to reach more potential new customers. These tips are perfect for any FoodTruckr who hasn’t spent a lot of time yet on his or her web presence and is interested in reaching more people online.
“How to Run a Food Truck” will return next week with more advanced marketing tactics for FoodTruckrs. Until then, we encourage you to check out RestaurantEngine.com and see how a food truck website can help you grow your business. Over to you, Brian!
During the digital revolution of the 21st century, food trucks have emerged as a vital, exciting option for people who want to eat out. Some people have even suggested that the digital age—web, email, and social media—has launched the phenomenal success of today’s modern food truck. Now it’s time for you to take advantage of the Internet and use digital tools to reach your new food truck customers and keep them lining up for more.
You’re ready to start the engine on your new food truck, and you want to get the word out now. Here are three ways to leverage your website to get customers excited to eat at your brand new food truck.
1. Launch Your Website Now
Launch your website sooner rather than later so that Google can index your site. Once you’ve opened your truck, you want people to be able to find it easily. Though your customer might be able to find you easily through a specific search, you also want to show up in general searches. Getting listed on search engines can take some time, so plan to launch your site as soon as possible.
How do you ensure the Googlebot finds your new website, blog, and pages?
The first step is to create a sitemap (a listing of all the pages on your site) for your website. Here’s how:
- Create a free Google Account.
- Sign up for Webmaster Tools.
- Add your new site to Webmaster Tools.
- Go to Optimization > Sitemaps and add the link to your website’s sitemap to Webmaster Tools. This lets Google know about your site.
Next, install Google Analytics on your website for tracking purposes. This has the added benefit of (again) letting Google know about your site. You can also submit your website’s URL to search engines.
Website crawlers get to your site through links found elsewhere on the Internet. Get some quick links by creating social network profiles for your new website or by adding links to your new website for your pre-existing Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram, and Google+ profiles. Make sure to also share your website link on your social media posts.
Once your website is indexed, you’ll begin to see more traffic from Google searches. Blog content is generally crawled and indexed faster than the regular pages on your website, so consider posting a blog that you update regularly. According to Siteber, increasing your blog post frequency leads Google spiders to visit your site more often and to index new content rapidly.
2. Post to Social Media and Your Blog
Build anticipation for your new food truck’s launch through your blog and social media posts. Be a content creator and engage your customers with unique and intriguing information.
Create social relevance for your food truck. Before you start posting, step back and make a plan. What messages are relevant to your potential customers?
Here are a few ideas for social media and blog posts:
- Post pictures of your newly purchased truck. Be creative—include people in the photos (yourself, your team members, the person you bought the truck from).
- Post pictures once your new truck is complete with its awesome logo and art. Add photos of the graphic designer who created it.
- Tell your readers why you chose your name and logo design.
- Add info and photos about your unique menu items. Food photos make great social media posts!
- Post photos of the inside of the truck and people making the food.
- Tell your readers how you came up with the recipes and why.
- Once your truck is on the road, post up-to-the-minute location updates and specials.
- Respond to comments and questions on a daily basis.
Another important facet to consider is backlinking between your various online properties. Your website, your blog, and your social media platforms should be intertwined, linking back and forth with one another in order to provide Google with more data to draw from.
3. Grow Your List
Lastly, make sure you have newsletter sign-up forms that are easily accessible on your website, on your blog, and across your social media reach. Build your customer database by capturing emails through well-placed sign-up forms. And of course, don’t forget to collect emails at your food truck when fans are placing orders! These are especially easy leads to capture if you offer a discount or coupon for signing up.
In addition to offering an incentive for signing up, tell your website and food truck visitors how often they can expect emails from you. Email your list with mouth-watering photos of your food and updates on your newest dishes. Offer additional coupons when you send emails. Be creative and tailor your updates to your menu items.
Another idea is to create a custom landing page for your email sign-up. Use enticing copy to attract viewers to the benefits of subscribing to your list. Include a sample of a past email so your food truck visitors know what to expect.
The multi-faceted potential of your website integrated with social media and email marketing can work together to drive your new food truck business to success. Be creative, consistent, and take action now—and you’ll soon find the line to your truck bending around the next block.
image by markus spiske