It’s no surprise that the food truck franchise opportunity has positioned itself among the hottest concepts to own in 2017. From major cities to college towns, food truck owners are winning over the hearts of food lovers nationwide. Today, the U.S. boasts over 4,000 food trucks, so whether it’s gourmet grilled cheese, fresh sushi or health-conscious sandwiches, there’s sure to be a food truck for any taste and every investor.
Uniquely positioned with low initial fees, mobility as the model, and a fairly low overhead, IBISWorld reported an annual industry growth rate of 7.9%. Even more appetizing, they’re fun to market on the franchise and consumer sides! Here are a few quick tips on how to best attract that potential investor or hungry customer.
Leverage local SEO
As a mobile business, your most valuable target market are those in close proximity to your truck, so increasing your visibility amongst those who are searching “near me” is huge! If you park your food truck near Grant Park, leverage that popular landmark when thinking about “near landmark” searches. Making those connections and optimizing your consumer site with references to those landmarks can pay big returns when hungry folks are on the hunt for a quick bite to eat.
Stay connected with customers
What’s one huge benefit of a food truck? It’s got wheels!
Stay connected with customers in real time via social media to let them know when you’re on the move. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are all great platforms for posting your latest location and deals, and don’t be afraid to sprinkle in some fun to your posts. Hosting contests via social media can be a great way to catch customers’ attention. For example, if your truck’s located near Wrigley Field, snap a picture of a nearby landmark and post the hint of your location on Facebook. The first five people to comment and guess your location get a free entree item. Remember, short-term tactics can help build those long-term followers.
Express your brand via social media
Like customers, prospective franchisees also want to know what they’re getting before they buy it. Your social media accounts should be a convenient way for potential investors to get an understanding of your brand and personality! Today, social media is a key franchise lead generator, and it’s important to keep in mind that consumers can also be prospects, even if they don’t know it yet.
To ensure you don’t miss an opportunity to find your next franchisee, incorporate a mix of consumer and franchise material on your social media channels, and encourage visitors to further interact with your franchise opportunity via a whitepaper, eBook or some other offering in exchange for contact info.
First impressions are everything
Whether you’re trying to catch the eye of a customer or a prospect, your food truck’s curb appeal could be the deciding factor of whether or not people stop to see what you have to offer. Like any business, standing out amongst competitors starts with asking yourself, “How’s my brand different?” Is it your truck’s colors or vehicle wrap? Maybe it’s your striking logo. If your truck is primarily cruising city streets, consider adding graphics to the top of your truck. It might sound strange at first, but having your name and website displayed on your truck’s roof just might catch some attention from office-window onlookers. On the franchise side, ensure your lead-gen website is optimized and ready to serve up a piping hot mix of benefits-based messaging and franchise information to grab the prospect’s attention.
No matter what’s getting new faces to stop by, a great first impression can lead to a life-long customer or your newest investor.
Equip your franchisees
It’s approaching noon in the heart of Chicago’s West Loop, and the flood of button-ups and briefcases is about to pour out of the buildings surrounding your truck. Do your franchisees have information available for those potential investors that step up to order? Ensure that franchisees are your biggest fans, and stack them with franchise fun facts to share with those interested.
Don’t underestimate the power of customer relations
Some people say that politeness is a dying art, but don’t let yourself go down with that ship. Remember when I mentioned how easy it is for social media to connect you with customers? Well, it’s the rise of social media that has also made it easy for angry customers to share their displeasure of a poor experience or badmouth your business. Being courteous to customers can help you avoid those bad reviews and can take your brand reputation a long way when it comes to word-of-mouth marketing. It may even help attract your next franchisee.
Matthew Jonas is the president of TopFire Media, an award-winning integrated public relations and digital marketing agency specializing in franchise marketing and consumer branding. Together with the leaders of iFranchise Group, Jonas established TopFire Media to bring a fully-integrated marketing approach to the franchise industry. As a digital marketing strategist with more than a decade of in-depth experience in SEO and PPC, social media publishing, conversion based marketing, inbound marketing, sales management, and online lead generation, Jonas has built a career dedicated to delivering an integrated marketing approach that achieves client success and long-term relationships.