How are you going to stand out from your competition? How will you pull in a constant stream of new customers? How will you keep the old ones coming back? Through great marketing, that’s how.
There are loads of different ways to market a business, all with varied levels of success. But before you can even begin to think about your different marketing options, you need to think about who your customers are.
Hopefully you love your business’s brand, so you won’t mind making sure that all your marketing platforms capture your brand consistently. Don’t confuse customers before you’ve even served them by having a different logo or different fonts on your website and your unit.
The simplest way to make a potential customer think that they want your food is to show them photos of your offering. If photos of your food don't look appertising, or are blurry or a bit dark, you're missing an oppotunity to sell your product.
Take a look any successful mobile caterer's website and you'll see that the photos make them look good. You might even think, 'Mmm I want to try that' - and that's exactly how you should be making your customers feel when they see photos of your food.
A roadside trader’s marketing should differ wildly from a street food caterer’s, and that’s because their customers show up in different places, are looking for different types of food and can be reached by marketing materials in different places.
Your own website is the best place you can keep customers informed about trading dates, locations, business news and your menu. And it will tell event organisers about your business – make sure it sells you as the sort of trader they would want at their event.
If you don’t have one yet, don’t panic. These days you can create a great-looking website at a low cost. A quick Google search for ‘website builder’ is a good place to start.
If you’re not overly creative yourself, why not ask your friends if they can help? You’ll keep costs low and can be really closely involved in the website design to make sure it’s exactly what you want.
Online website builders such as Weebly.com are incredibly easy to use. It's worth getting someone with a creative talent to get you started but once it's built you should be able to maintain and update it yourself. Remember, it's all about the imagery, layout and functionality. Make sure it looks good, is easy to use and answers all of the questions your audience will have. If you tick those boxes, you can't go wrong.
There are loads of different platforms available to you – among the most popular are Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you’re not using them to promote your food business, you’re wasting a precious resource. A FREE resource in fact.
Mobile caterers generally find that Twitter is the best social media platform for their businesses, because it’s a very interactive tool. If you’ve already got a profile, make sure it reflects your brand visually, then get tweeting! Let your followers know your trading dates & locations, your news, when you’ve run out of food – anything!
And don’t forget to #hashtag! If you haven’t got Twitter yet, sign up straight away at www.twitter.com.
You might not be able to respond to every single tweet you receive, but your followers will know that you care if you reply to them every time you get the chance. Make sure you follow @NCASS_UK and @Street_Food_UK too ;)
Special marketing promotions can give sales a huge boost on days when you’re just not getting enough custom. If you’ve got another staff member, send them out with some free samples and get them to show customers where to go.
Or, run a special offer to lighten up a quiet hour. Tell passers-by that food is half price for the next half hour – it’s better to sell at a lower price than to waste food.
If you’re trading in a regular spot and you are lucky enough to grab a good share of the lunch hour action, consider using a loyalty scheme to keep customers coming back regularly (and, more importantly, to stop them from visiting your competitors!). A simple ‘buy 9 meals, get the 10th free’ card can work wonders for customer loyalty.
You can make great use of social media if you’re running special promotions too. Tweet or write a Facebook post to tell your customers about a competition you’re running, and ask them to share the post to get more exposure for your promotion.
We love chatting to our members and helping them to improve their marketing and increase profits. And if you're not a member, we want to do that for you too. Visit the membership page to join or give us a call on 0121 603 2524 for your first piece of marketing advice as a member!
Join from just £20.25
When you join the association we send you work opportunities directly from Event Organisers via text message. They can also contact you directly via your membership control panel.
When you join up we ask you to write a bit about your business and provide some photos; this, along with your location and the food types you specialise in, is used to automatically create you a profile page so we can show you off to Event Organisers.
You can also share this link to customers and get them to leave you reviews and impress future customers and organisers! There's plenty of other reasons to become a member which you can find here, but we want you to know we've got your back when it comes to marketing too!
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