6 ways to get more traffic to your food truck without a huge marketing budget
Image courtesy of Google Maps/Yelp
Yelp can be a game-changer for your food truck business, if you take advantage of all the tools at biz.yelp.com. Consumers turn to Yelp more than any other local search directory when they’re looking for a quick bite or a caterer for an event. In fact, a recent study by BrightLocal found that 93 percent of consumers read online reviews to decide where they’re going to spend their money.
Here are the top tools that all food truck operators can't ignore:
1) Update your address or service area
Are you located in the same spot every day? If you have a consistent location, it’s important to list a specific address that will appear as a pin on the map on your Yelp page. This will allow customers to map directions to your exact location.
Do you move locations? If you’re on the move servicing several hotspots in your city, you should set a service area that will show as a shaded section on your map. You can include up to six zip codes.
2) Pick the right categories
Did you know that you can choose up to three categories that appear on your Yelp page? Categories on Yelp contain keywords that help consumers find exactly what they’re looking for. "Food Trucks" should occupy one of these selections, and the following two will depend on your business.
Catering and event vendor searches are popular on Yelp if you provide those services. You may also select the type of cuisine you offer. To add categories, login at biz.yelp.com and go to the "Business Information" section and select "Edit" next to "Categories."
3) Respond to your reviews within 24 hours
There are more five-star reviews on Yelp than one-, two- and three-star reviews combined, and only about 1 percent of Yelpers will ever add photos or reviews. Most of the time consumers are looking at Yelp to make spending decisions. Yelp is a place where your potential customers can overhear the conversations you have with your customers.
If your customer says, "That was the best meal I’ve ever had," you’re not going to walk away without responding. When someone writes you a great review, you want to treat it the same.
If a customer isn’t happy with their experience, the same rules apply. It’s important to respond publicly to as many reviews as possible as quickly as possible. According to Yelp’s data science team, Yelp users are 33 percent more likely to upgrade their review if you respond with a personalized message within a day. The same study also found that businesses that respond to reviews get a 5 percent increase in review count.
4) Keep your photos fresh
Your business is all about aesthetics, and most consumers buy with their eyes. Photos are a great conversion tool. Add an unlimited number of photos to your Yelp page to show potential customers who you are. You should add at least 10, with clearly captioned photos. Beyond food, photos should show your truck and your friendly staff. The Yelp support website, yelp.com/support, explains how to add photos.
5) Accept messages from your potential customers
Many consumers prefer to text rather than call a business. The message link on your Yelp business page allows them to contact you through Yelp. Messages can range from, "Where are you located today?" to "Do you cater weddings?" The Yelp support website explains how to enable messaging.
6) Create a call to action
The "Call To Action" banner is a message that appears above your reviews to help convert potential customers. It's controlled by you, and is a great way to let people know what you do. Food trucks often use this tool to let people know where they are, or that they cater. The Yelp website offers more information about this paid tool.
To get started, login to your Yelp for Business Owners account at biz.yelp.com.
Genna Gold is the senior manager of local business outreach at Yelp Inc.www