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Offline vs online marketing – which is better for your mobile catering business?

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Nail your marketing from day one with the Mobilers’ handy guide to ‘offline’ and ‘online’ marketing and find out which is better for your mobile catering business.

In an industry as popular and competitive as mobile catering, you’ll want to do everything to ensure your food van stands out from the crowd.

Getting the marketing right for your mobile catering business is just one of the ways to ensure a more profitable future. Having suitable   is also vital – so give the experienced Mobilers team a call and get your business covered today.

What is offline marketing?

Offline marketing is any activity you do to reach customers when they are offline and not using the Internet. It’s what most people would think of as ‘traditional marketing’ and can involve everything from a van wrap to an advert or food review in a local newspaper.

Offline marketing can include methods such as:

  • Billboards, posters and flyers: These can be effective for reaching a local audience and getting your business name in front of potential customers. Choose high-traffic locations and eye-catching designs to make an impact.
  • Events: Participating in local food events, such as food festivals and farmer's markets, can be a great way to showcase your food and build a sense of community around your business.
  • Networking: Building relationships with other businesses in your area, such as catering supply companies and event venues, can lead to referral business and help increase your visibility in the community.
  • Radio/TV advertising: If there’s a local station then you could promote your business during an ad break.
  • Newspapers and magazines: Pay for an advert or advertorial feature or ask a local journalist to taste your delicious food and give you a review.

What is online marketing?

Online marketing is all about using the Internet to spread your message as far and wide as possible in order to reach your target audience. It’s also known as Internet marketing, web marketing or digital marketing – they all mean the same thing.

Online marketing can include methods such as:

  • Social Media: Platforms like Tik Tok, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are great for connecting with potential customers and building a sense of community around your business. Use high-quality images and videos of your food to entice customers and create a strong brand. At the time of writing, the hashtag #foodtrucks had 102 million views on Tik Tok!
  • Email marketing: Sending regular newsletters and promotional emails can be a cost-effective way to keep existing or potential customers informed about your business and upcoming events.
  • Search engine optimisation (SEO): Optimising your website for search engines like Google can help customers find your business online more easily. Use keywords related to your business in your website content, meta tags, and URLs to increase visibility.
  • Pay-per-click: Pay for adverts to appear on search engine results pages.
  • Affiliate marketing: Promote your mobile catering business on someone else’s website.

Getting ahead of the competition at a busy festival can require some creative thinking, so work with the organisers to see if you can reach potential customers online before the big event. To learn more about the risks for catering vans at festival time, read our recent article.

Offline vs online marketing – which is best for your mobile catering business?

Just like finding catering van insurance in the UK, there’s really no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. It really depends on the specific goals and target audience of your mobile catering business.

Attending networking events, buying advertising space and printing leaflets and posters can make offline marketing more expensive. And the very nature of the marketing means it can be difficult to assess quite how successful the advertising campaign has been.

However, it’s very good at reaching a local audience, building relationships, and perhaps most importantly, building trust in your brand and product. If you’re looking to make a splash in one of the best UK cities for food trucks then offline marketing could be very useful.

On the other hand, online marketing can typically cost less than, for example, a radio or TV advert, and large numbers of potential customers can be reached. It’s also much easier to track how successful the marketing is by using web data.  

In terms of negatives, people are exposed to hundreds of marketing messages online every day so you will have a real battle to stand out from the competition. Take a look at these 20 easy marketing tips for mobile caterers or tips on starting up your ice cream van business to help. Or perhaps this article on Instagram best practice tips for mobile catering vans could help?

Many mobile catering businesses will end up using a combination of both offline and online marketing to reach their target customers in the most effective way. Depending on the time of year, type of event and the message you’re trying to communicate, both offline and online marketing could help to drive awareness of your brand.

How to come up with a mobile catering business marketing plan

We all know that to be successful in any business you really need to devote some time and effort into planning. Whether offline, online or a mixture, follow these nine steps to create a marketing plan for your food van.

Step 1: Define your target audience

Who is your ideal customer? Try to form a clear idea of what they would be like, for example, age, income, and location. This will help you tailor your marketing efforts to the right people.

Step 2: Be specific about your goals

What do you want to achieve with your marketing efforts? Are you looking to increase sales, build brand awareness, start a new catering service, or attract new customers?

Step 3: Scope out the competition

What are other mobile caterers in your area doing in terms of marketing? Are there any ways you could differentiate your food van from theirs?

Step 4: Develop a unique selling point

What sets your food van apart from all the others? Use that uniqueness as a key part of your marketing message.

Step 5: Decide on a budget

How much money will you spend on marketing? Think about which tactics will give you the most bang for your buck and prioritise those.

Step 6: Build a content marketing strategy

Whether social media posts, videos, adverts or images, how are you going to create and distribute marketing content that will attract and engage your target audience?

Step 7: Choose your marketing channels

Which offline and online marketing channels are you going to use to reach your target audience? Popular options for food vans include social media, flyers and brochures, events, and email marketing.

Step 8: Track and measure your results

It’s vital to keep track of your marketing efforts and measure their effectiveness. You’ll then be able to use this data to adjust your strategy in the future. A marketing company will be able to help you if you’re new to the marketing game.

Step 9: Keep customers engaged

Once you’ve done the hard work of reaching your target customers, you’ll need to use your social media channels and other methods to keep them up to date about your menu, your location, and any new events you’ll be attending.

Remember, a marketing plan is not a one-time thing. As your business evolves and your goals change it needs to be reviewed, updated and tweaked to maximise effectiveness. Have fun!

Protect your business with catering van insurance in the UK from Mobilers

Here at Mobilers, we’ve been arranging catering van insurance in the UK for more than 20 years, and can provide policies for a wide range of catering business types, vehicles and fixtures and fittings.

Take out catering van insurance in the UK through us and you could enjoy policy benefits such as:

  • Instant cover
  • Competitive premiums from select insurers
  • Full fire cover
  • Mirror bonus available

With flexible payment options and exclusive deals, it’s no wonder so many catering businesses choose to protect their business with us.

Get a quote for catering van insurance in the UK today.

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