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Mobile Marketing

food truck text messaging

If you’re like most food truck owners, you are looking for a simple, in-expensive, yet profitable marketing strategy, than you’re going to love this article.

Running a food truck business revolves round a lot of different variables that can affect your business. Everything from weather, seasons, your parking locations, your staff, and the quality of your food. As a mobile food business owner it’s important to consistently have the line at your service window full.

As a huge food truck fan, I can admit that few people want to step up to a truck with no line. Most customers want to see line full of people (ok maybe not too many), life, and laughter. It’s the social proof that the truck with all the people in line must be good.

It’s important to note that mobile marketing if used properly can be extremely powerful and can fill your line very quickly so please choose wisely on how you use these strategies.


A simple, straight to the point coupon never hurt anyone. Many food trucks are seeing great success by simply sending out a coupon or discount to their subscribers. Just imagine, it’s a Wednesday afternoon and you know that every Wednesday is your slowest day so you create a Wednesday texting discount club. Send a $5 off or 15% off coupon via text and you’ll start to see some great results.

“Buy any entree and get a free appetizer – TODAY ONLY”

Meal Specials

Want to attract more traffic and customers to your service window for lunch? Send a quick meal special text message to get the ball rolling.

“Today’s special – Fresh Mahi Mahi Tacos, Fresh Cut Fries and a Drink – Only $9.99. See you soon!”

Order Up Notifications

Stop yelling out the window looking for the customer who is waiting for their order, instead… a text message directly to your customer’s phone. It’s cleaner, easier, and much more efficient for your business.

“Your order is now ready. Please come to the service window”

Birthday Reminders

As a food truck you can learn a bit more about your customers, gather their birthday information, and send them a special gift on their birthday or leading up to their birthday so they can choose your place for their birthday breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

“Happy Birthday! Find us today and get a FREE Burger”


Some trucks I have visited have a “card bowl” at their service windows. This is a great way to collect your customer’s information for later follow-up. If you are running a contest or a raffle, you can send a text message to the winner or simply send out a coupon to all of the subscribers to bring more customers to your food truck.

“Congratulations! You won a $25 gift card from our truck! Please show this message to our service window staff to claim your prize.”

Have you used text messages in your mobile marketing strategy? Let us know how it worked for you.

In the first part of our series, we covered the basics of mobile marketing, and provided some data we were able to piece together to show how important learning to master this technology can for your mobile business. In today’s article we will go over the pros and cons to using mobile marketing in your mobile vending tool box.

eMarketing has emerged primarily because of the Internet, and has allowed mobile vendors to invest very little money in their marketing and advertising budgets.

Not only has the Internet become a major channel, but the connectivity and community aspects of the Internet have brought about a mind shift in the marketing of savvy organization. Mobile Marketing is shaking things up once again.

As a direct response medium with lowered costs, easy customization and sophisticated tracking, even on a mass scale, mobile is proving to be an extremely profitable medium for advertisers and marketers.

Unique Benefits of Mobile

With direct response and relatively lower cost of communication, mobile is changing the face of the marketing and advertising horizon. We have identified six features unique to mobile phones, highlighting the unique benefits and challenges of the mobile phone.

  • Mobile phones are personal.
  • Mobile phones are almost always carried.
  • Mobile phones are usually on.
  • Mobile phones have a built-in payment system.
  • Mobile phones can provide accurate audience measurement.
  • Mobile phones capture the social context of media consumption.

Advantages of Mobile Marketing:

Instantaneous: Or, at least in principle. As the audience is likely to be carrying their mobile devices with them in a standby state, they are more likely to receive and absorb the message on the spot. They are almost always around, and on.

Efficient: Creating content such as images or video for streamlined mobile devices is relatively inexpensive when compared to desktop or laptop systems which can handle content of the highest quality. The limitations of mobile devices such as screen sizes, data transfer rates and costs mean that content needs to be simple when created for mobile.

This mobile efficiency is also great for promotions, such as issuing coupons for your food truck. Promotional codes and coupons can be relayed to the audience via mobile devices, allowing users to ‘carry’ around the virtual information and use at a convenient time – more on this in our case study at the end of the chapter.

Convenient: With a good idea in action, mobile campaigns can prove more convenient than traditional media, as the content is kept down to a minimum and the platforms are adaptable on a mass scale.

Sharing: Like the desktop based Internet, mobile connectivity can make sharing information a breeze. Not only does Mobile Marketing have massive viral potential, but planning a campaign to go offline and then return online by using such multimedia devices such as 2D barcodes can attract others to get involved.

Broad: Potential for brand new audience who may not have much online experience, while specific target groups can be singled out.

Consumer Relationship Management: As mobile technology is essentially the first mass-communication vehicle which relays messages directly to the individual wherever they are, there is an increase in relationship building potential. Mobile phones are private and relatively secure, allowing for a more personalized approach. You can receive feedback instantly, leading to a valuable two-way conversation with your audience members.

Customizable Mass Communication: Mobile Marketing is often able to reach a wider audience due to the accessibility of mobile devices when compared to the number of those who have access to traditional, desktop-based Internet.

There is often potential for device detection, geo-locating, location-based messaging and other handy tools for targeting.

Multimedia: Like the PC based Internet, photos and videos are available, but it’s never been easier for users to create and share this content, provided that they have the latest smart phones. The ability to view this content is important to modern mobile marketing, but campaigns can also be centered on user generated multimedia content. Audience participation allows your campaign to grow exponentially, in content and influence.

Payment: Mobile devices have the potential to replace the physical wallet as it is a relatively secure payment device. This means the consumer doesn’t have to carry around wads of cold cash – but can pay via advanced mobile Web systems.

Direct, Personalized Marketing: By the time you’ve finished reading this sentence, a mobile user could have received a direct marketing message from you. As his or her device can be used as a virtual wallet, there is potential for a sale to be completed at the peak of interest.

Disadvantages of Mobile Marketing:

Few standards: Mobile phones are even less standard than PCs. Not only do phone models present a myriad of screen sizes, there are also several operating systems and browsers that are used by mobile phones.

Privacy and Permission: Privacy is always in question on any network or device. Savvy food truck vendors must be aware of the connection that users feel with their mobile phone, and offer clear instructions for opting out of marketing communications.

Questionable Navigation: The mobile phone is small. This means that it has a small screen and a small keypad. While some phones have a full QWERTY keypad, many have the standard numeric keypad. When it comes to the mobile web, consider that phones do not have a mouse. There are a few models that have touch screens, but, for the most part, navigation of the mobile web is through the keypad or scroll buttons on the phone- making mobile more of an objective based exercise for the user, rather than casual browsing.

Education: The use of more advanced features of phones can require an extensive education process. While mobile phones have a host of features, these devices are for the most part under-used.

We hope you enjoyed this article in our series covering mobile marketing, keep an eye out for our next installment where we will cover the ways to reach potential customers for your food truck or carts mobile marketing campaign.


Mobile Cuisine Magazine is proud to announce a new series we have put together to help the owner/operators within the mobile food industry, as well as those interested in joining the ranks of the fastest growing trend within the food industry.

As many already know, mobile marketing is the most popular advertising tool within the mobile food industry. Some operators have already mastered this form of marketing for their food truck or cart, while others may not even know it exists.

The purpose for this series is two-fold. First, it is intended to introduce those not familiar with the techniques and technology of mobile marketing so that they may help themselves spread the word about their brand. Secondly, the series will assist those already using these techniques, with some advice to modify their existing methods. These will aid them in maximizing their marketing potential, as well as the possibility of introducing them to some of the upcoming trends and tools.

In the first part of our series, we will cover the basics about mobile marketing, and provide some data we were able to piece together to show how important learning to master this technology can for your mobile business.

Mobile Marketing what is it?

Mobile Marketing involves communicating with your consumers with the use of a cellular or mobile device, to send a simple marketing message such as your trucks current location, to introduce them to a new participation based campaign or even to allow them to visit your website.

Some of the tools and concepts that will be featured in this series are:

  • Multimedia Messaging Services (MMS)
  • Mobile Internet and Social Media
  • Mobile Applications

Mobile connectivity not only enables people to connect to the Internet via a cellular telephone, PDA or other electronic gadget, but also consolidates the different communication channels in a simple, yet effective, medium.

Much cheaper than traditional means for both the consumer and the owner of a mobile eatery and is easy enough for almost any age group to understand and engage with. Mobile marketing is merely a streamlined version of traditional eMarketing.

Facts and Figures

Even in the US, SMS technology was not widely used until only a few years ago – but in June 2008, CellSigns reported that over 75 billion SMS were sent each month (contrast against only 18 billion just 18 months before). Like it or not, these figures are generally believed to have gone viral in the United States at the same time  the television program American Idol began using a SMS voting system.

Experian, a marketing services provider in the US, estimates that the number of SMS users (approximately 1.8 billion at present) is twice that of active email users. These text messages are generally read within 15 minutes and responded to within the hour, compared to email communication which could go unread for days.

  • 80% of the US population are mobile technology users.
  • In 2006, there were 241 million mobile users in the US alone (and 332,156 million people in North America).
  • 98% of all cellular phones in the US have SMS capabilities.
  • 68.7 million US citizens use SMS and text services.
  • Although a relatively new service to the US, over 300 billion SMS messages were sent in 2007 in the US alone.
  • Only 10% of SMS messages are spam (compared to over 65% of email).

The average American text message user in late 2010 sent 357 SMS messages per month and made or received 204 calls, compared to early 2009 where the average user sent 198 texts and made or received 198 calls.

Who will you connect with?

Known as the Baby Boomers, the generation born between the 1940s and 1960s, predominantly in the US and UK, form today’s older online market. Born between the 1960s and 1980s, Generation X are more connected than their senior counterparts.

They are tech-savvy, but remember a life before the Web, unlike the younger Generation Y, today’s teens and 20-somethings, who have generally known the online world from an early age.

As you can probably imagine, the younger generation are able to recall a lot more Mobile Marketing content than Generation X and the Baby Boomers. The younger users are more accepting of mobile marketing due to their increased connectivity and a general interest in market related news.

It has been reported in mid-2010, that 51% of US mobile users responded to some form of mobile advertising.

We hope you enjoyed the first of our series on mobile marketing, keep an eye out for our next installment where we will go over the pros and cons to using mobile marketing in your mobile vending tool box.



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