SMS Marketing for Food Trucks

Food trucks aren’t the next best thing in food service - they already are the best thing in food service. Especially in this not yet post-COVID world where indoor dining is fraught with issues around masking, vaccines, and social distancing, food trucks offer an alternative to traditional restaurants. In fact, the food truck industry is growing so fast that it is outpacing commercial restaurant growth. Revenue from food trucks has grown 300% in the past three years. The future of dining out is already here, and it is parked at City Hall, by the beach, or outside your favorite bar.

Food trucks aren’t the same as the food wagons of days gone by. Once a place to get inexpensive food in a parking lot, today’s food trucks range from fast-casual to gourmet, affordable to pricy, and serve everything from ubiquitous street food to fresh seafood. There are food truck festivals, food truck rallies, and community food truck nights. With all of this business growth surrounding food trucks, owners need to be on top of keeping their customers informed.

Social media is great. Clicks, likes, and retweets can get you short-term attention. But to reach and engage customers long-term, you need to try other tactics. After all, you’re never in the same place two days in a row; you always have to go where the business is. It’s not like you have a brick-and-mortar location where your repeat customers can consistently find you. Text message marketing is a much better choice for getting the word out about your location, your menu, and more.

Best marketing strategies for food trucks

Effective marketing for food trucks is advertising that goes out quickly with attention to time sensitivity. You want to pick creative, effective messaging that you can easily personalize. Using text marketing will hit all of these requirements and help you reach your goals.

Why does text marketing work so well with food trucks?

In today’s connected society, people are always on their phones. Research has shown that 95% of text messages are read within three minutes after they’re received and that Americans check their phones every 12 minutes on average. With that kind of reach, you can get an excellent response rate to SMS advertising. Imagine being able to:

  • Share photos of your food and fun events

  • Drive sales with special offers

  • Promote limited-time locations, menu items, and other time-sensitive offers

These are all actions you can take using a well-timed SMS message. Text marketing will help you:

  • Drive foot traffic

  • Develop and expand brand awareness

  • Increase customer engagement

Keep reading to find out more about some food truck advertising ideas that will get you more customers than you ever imagined.

Six ways to use text marketing for food trucks

It can be scary to rely exclusively on digital advertising for your success. But text marketing is actually more efficient than traditional advertising. You can target specific customers from certain demographics at the drop of a hat, which will drive more patrons to your truck. There are lots of ways you can use text messaging to your advantage.

1. Coupons, discounts, and freebies

Use messaging to offer exclusive discounts or coupon codes to your subscribers. From holiday freebies to happy hour coupons, you can get these to customers in seconds. All they have to do is show you the text to access the discount. These can be pre-planned for a special event or spur of the moment to help with foot traffic during non-peak hours. An example is:

“Baja Bob’s Tropical Drinks: Are you single and ready to mingle this Valentine’s Day? We’ve got you covered, fam! Visit us between 10 PM and 2 AM on Valentine’s alone. Drinks are on us the entire night unless you find a partner!”

When new subscribers join your list, text them a welcome message. You can offer them a discount or not. A welcome message without a discount could be:

“Perfect Pie Company: Thank you for joining our subscriber list. We promise only to send important messages. Reply with “STOP” at any time to opt-out.”

2. Share photos

Are you participating in a fundraiser, festival, or another event? Do you have a new menu item or a limited-time special? We know you love sharing photos on social media, but that can be hard when you’re in the middle of a busy day. Sending out visual temptations is a great way to bring customers running. Text photos of your special dish, customers enjoying your food, other attractions where you are, and more.

3. Contests and giveaways

Bring repeat business running by offering contests or giveaways. Some are great for returning customers, like a free appetizer during certain hours. Others are better for newbies, such as a free beverage with entrance to a festival. Others, like a comped meal for your 100th customer of the day, are just plain fun. Any way you run them, contests and giveaways are an excellent way to get customers to line up for whatever you’re serving.

4. Share your location

Most food trucks move around from place to place. Some have a specific pattern of locations or events on certain days, while others visit locations with little planning or notice. Make sure your customers always know where to find you! Whether at a street fair, a pop-up food truck festival, or outside an office building, share your location with a quick pic and a call to action.

5. Share your menu

Entice customers to come out and get your newest creations or their old favorites! Sharing your menu is the best way to get folks in line. If you have a rotating menu, feature your daily special to remind customers of what they love or what they have yet to try. If you center your daily menu around supermarket sales or farmer’s market finds, use exclusivity to your favor. Emphasizing the limited nature of your meals will grow your customer base by leaps and bounds.

6. Send updates on hours

If you have regular hours, anything can interrupt them. Illness, equipment failure, weather, and even a personal emergency can all keep you shuttered. Attending a special event with limited or extended hours is also a change your customers need to know about. Sending SMS messages with these updated details is an important and useful feature of text marketing.

Getting started with text marketing

Getting set up for text marketing doesn’t have to be daunting. At Appointible, it’s what we do. So let us take some of the stress off your shoulders and get you set up with one of our marketing plans. Just follow the steps below to revolutionize your advertising.

1. Choose your plan

Visit Appointible to sign up for a 30-day free trial. There is no charge, and we won’t even ask for your credit card. You can change or cancel your plan at any point if we no longer meet your needs.

And about those plans. Our smallest plan is 500 messages a month for $25. Our offerings go up to 50,000 messages a month for $625. For more than 50,000 messages a month, contact us to learn about our individual plans. Though if you need an individual plan, your text marketing is probably doing it’s job! Regardless of which plan is the best fit for you, we offer everyone a 20% discount if you pay for a year of service up front.

2. Choose your phone number

The first step to establishing a text presence is choosing a phone number. At Appointible, we offer three options. The first is a local 10-digit phone number, which is a good choice if you’re trying to build a local customer base but have a cell phone number from out of state.

The second is a 1-800 toll-free number. While a good idea for many businesses, this is not a top choice for your food truck unless you plan to travel around the country with your truck.

The third option is to make your existing phone number text-enabled. This is the best choice if you already have branding that has a strong association with your phone number. All texts will come through the Appointible servers and won’t impact your ability to make or receive calls.

3. Choose your keywords

Keywords serve multiple purposes with business texting. Customers can use these words to subscribe to your contact list, but you can also use them to better direct your marketing. For instance, if you’re going to be at a family funfair or festival, you could use the keyword “FAMILY” to trigger messages to people with kids.

4. Invite your customers to join you

Get your customers texting by advertising your new keywords and phone number on your website and other social media profiles. Offer discounts in exchange for subscriptions or branded merchandise like hats or tees if new subscribers text you a designated keyword.

5. Advertise your new texting abilities

Your truck is your billboard, so use it that way! Incorporate your subscription keyword into your truck’s design, and make sure to put it on paper advertising, too. Menu boards, menu cards, and even social media pages are great ways to get the word out. Soon, you’ll be able to watch your sales grow right along with your customer base.

Final thoughts

Just because text messaging is a relatively new way of advertising doesn’t mean it is without advantages. The very things that make text messaging appealing as a marketing tool are the things food truck owners need to build their businesses. Text marketing has freedom, spontaneity, and movement. You can configure texts to meet any of your needs, and you can do it fast. In an ever-changing food market, capitalize on your strengths. Contact Appointible today to get started on your text marketing journey.

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