Marketing your food truck isn’t easy. If you want to succeed you need to face these marketing truths so you can help others and build relationships. Marketing is the key to achieving customer interest, winning customer sales, earning customer satisfaction and loyalty, and keeping your food truck in business.
The following list of marketing truths are the least you need to know as you plan your small business marketing program.
Common Marketing Truths Food Truck Owners Should Know
Use these marketing truths to increase your food truck profits and reduce your losses. Think about how you will apply these marketing lessons to improve the profitability of your mobile food business.
Marketing Is About Building Relationships
Consumers would rather buy from those they know and like. Marketing is how you help prospective customers know and like you.
- Marketing: Marketing isn’t about talking to your customers; it’s about talking with them. Your marketing needs to rely on two-way communication between your food truck and your customers.
- Public relations: Do the right thing and then use publicity and other unpaid communication opportunities to talk about it.
- Networking: In person, you have about 20 seconds to introduce yourself and make others want to know more. Online you have about 20 words.
- Marketing plans: Food truck vendors with marketing plans market best.
Customers Crave Meaning
People want to know if they buy from a food truck, what will that say about them. Digging a little deeper, what does it make them? Vendors need to sell features and benefits. But as the industry grows, you also need to provide customers with the intangibles people desire.
- Customers: As a food truck owner, you don’t work for yourself; you work for your customers.
- Customer loyalty: The number of people you reach doesn’t matter. What’s important is how many qualified prospects you reach and how you move those people through the steps necessary to win their business, repeat purchases, and loyalty.
- Menus: Customers expect your business to offer menu items that are competitive on price, quality, and speed, and they expect you to be awesome in at least one of those three areas.
- Competition: One of the biggest obstacles to the purchase, and therefore your biggest competition is your customer’s inclination to not make a purchase.
- Commitment: Dedicate time or money, or both, if you want to market your business from where it is to where you want it to be.
- Features and benefits: When you describe a feature of your menu, you’re talking to yourself. When you describe a benefit your menu or customer service, you’re talking to prospective customers. Consumers don’t buy features, they buy benefits and solutions.
Most of the time, your business makes its first impression when you’re nowhere to be found. In your stead is your website, Facebook page, voice mail message, ad or direct mailer, business sign, or some customer’s online review or rating. Be sure those impressions align so people form the opinion you want them to have.
- Branding: A brand isn’t a logo; a logo is a symbol that identifies a brand. A brand is a set of beliefs in the customer’s mind; a promise customers believe. Consistency builds brands, and brands build business.
- Hiring Marketing Professionals: Getting help is a sign of success. It means you’ve decided to invest in your brand image and message. You can hire out design, content, web development, email and so on, but there must be someone on the inside who knows the “secret sauce” of your food truck brand.
If you own a food truck, your customers are online. If your business isn’t online, it’s past time to establish a web presence. Committing to online marketing means you’re never truly “done” with a website, social media campaign, video strategy, etc. Staying relevant in the online marketing world means you are continuously evolving, expanding and serving you audience.
- Social media: Enter social media networks to build relationships and interact with consumers, not to place promotional messages that intrude, annoy, and harm more than they help your business and brand.
- Website: Social media can help trucks that do not have a website, however, social media is not meant to serve as your website. You do not own your social media channels; you’re on rented land and are at the mercy of the network. A blog is the hub of an online information-distribution strategy that draws customers into interactive relationships.
Just because you spend money on marketing to advertise your food truck to more people does not make them love it and want to order from your menu. You must show that you’re going to help them solve a problem faster, smarter or more effectively than someone else. Your truck has to get into people’s heads and hearts if you want to build a lifelong customers for your brand.
- Print ads: Four out of five people read only the headline of print ads.
- Broadcast ads: In all media and especially on radio and TV, it takes reach to achieve awareness; it takes frequency to change minds.
- Direct mail: TV ads win awards and build awareness. Social media wins buzz and launches relationships. Direct mail that takes a compelling offer straight to genuine prospects wins customers and return-on-investment contests.
- Brochures: The only good brochure is one that moves those in your target audience one step closer to a buying decision.
The Bottom Line
Marketing isn’t fun for many food truck vendors. If you want to succeed, it’s time you face these marketing truths so you can use online marketing and social media as it was intended. You need to use it to help others and build relationships while marketing your food truck. Now that you know these fundamental marketing truths you have the knowledge to re-evaluate your marketing and enjoy greater profits.