It’s National Food Truck Day! Food trucks help drive the economy across the globe, just like hawker stalls do in Singapore.
In fact, hawker stalls are such a ubiquitous part of Singapore's food scene that in 2020, UNESCO declared Singapore's hawker culture an intangible UNESCO cultural heritage.
But did you know that in 2021, there were 13,570 licensed hawker stalls in Singapore? Getting your hawker stall noticed can be an uphill task. But with the right online marketing strategies, your hawker stalls hold immense potential for growth.
If you're a small- to medium-sized enterprise (SME) in Singapore running a hawker stall business, get ready to discover how a strategic online presence can skyrocket your growth in 2023 and beyond. It's time to spice up your digital game and carve your unique space in the virtual world.
In this guide, understand how you can kickstart your digital journey. Leverage these online marketing insights to boost sales for small businesses. Let's dive in!
Your hawker stall is more than just a place to grab a quick bite. It’s a cultural gem that embodies the spirit of Singaporean cuisine — and your online marketing must reflect that.
To effectively establish your presence online, you need a robust website and social media accounts, at the very least. Here are a few online marketing strategies to help engage customers and enhance your brand visibility:
Investing in a dedicated website provides a platform to showcase your hawker store’s unique offerings, allowing you to:
Pro tip: When designing your website, keep it clean, user-friendly, and visually appealing to get more customers to the stall.
Harness the power of social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to connect with your customers on a personal level. These platforms allow you to:
Pro tip: Remember to respond promptly and authentically to nurture a sense of community. You can create content like behind-the-scenes glimpses and tag your stall for an insider's scoop on your brand.
Encourage customers to write reviews on platforms like TripAdvisor, Yelp, or Google. Positive reviews act as powerful testimonials that attract new customers.
When addressing customer reviews:
Pro tip: Respond to negative feedback and detail how you will take measures to counteract the same. Engaging with reviews shows your dedication to customer satisfaction.
Build an email list of loyal customers who want to stay updated on your latest offerings, promotions, and events.
This allows you to send regular newsletters or updates to keep them engaged and excited about your food stall. You can also offer exclusive discounts or special perks to your email subscribers to show you value them.
Collaborating with local food influencers or bloggers expands your reach and exposes your hawker stall to a wider audience.
So, invite them to experience your mouthwatering dishes and encourage them to share their experiences through their platforms. Remember: authentic and positive influencer reviews create a buzz and attract new patrons to your stall.
In addition to the tips mentioned above, here are three tried-and-tested digital tips that will win the hearts of your local audience:
Showcase your pride in being a Singaporean business by using a .SG domain for your brand’s website. This domain extension signifies your commitment to the local community and helps establish trust among Singaporean customers.
Plus, it enhances your online presence and reinforces your connection to the nation’s rich culinary heritage.
After creating a domain and a website, it’s time to submit it to search engines like Google. This ensures your website shows up in the search results when customers look for it. Whether it be searching for “char kway teow near me” or the “best Hainanese chicken,” rest assured you get the clicks when you appear on Google.
Boost your local visibility by listing your hawker stall on popular online directories, like Google Maps, Waze, and Foursquare.
These platforms help potential customers discover your store and find it easily through the business information you listed. Be present on platforms catering to the Singaporean market to maximise your visibility among local food enthusiasts.
Enhance your search visibility by implementing effective SEO strategies, such as:
Let's now look at three real-life examples of successful Singaporean hawker businesses and what they're doing right online.
Ah Tan Wings' digital journey is not a matter of 'winging' strategies. Their online marketing is a thoughtful culmination of what the brand represents: quality and customer-centricity.
Ah Tan Wings has learned the art of speaking the customer's language, maintaining a strong presence on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. Their posts are relevant to current events, the holiday season, and more.
The brand makes it a point to keep customers updated on events happening in real-time (think: store timings, ongoing offers, etc.). Plus, it showcases the brand's achievements and unique offerings in every post.
That's not all. Ah Tan Wings differentiates itself by talking about how it recently received the first Hawker Awards in 2022 at The World Gourmet Summit. The brand also showcases its unique sauces and promotes the products with dedicated hashtags.
Ah Tan Wings shares stories of their journey, the passion behind their food, and their commitment to customer satisfaction. The brand keeps content relevant, updated, and diverse to reel the audience in.
When it comes to experimenting, Ah Tan Wings goes beyond playing it up with food and flavours. The brand's social media content strikes a delicate balance between traditional content and creative ideas.
Another brand that's great at marketing its products online is Hawker Chan. This hawker stall in Chinatown Complex gained global recognition when it became the world's first hawker stall to be awarded a Michelin star in 2016.
Here are some of the things that the brand is doing right with online marketing:
The website showcases the stall's menu, story, locations, news, and more. Plus, it also highlights the brand's tie-ups with food delivery partners to demonstrate authority.
By highlighting their story, Hawker Chan adds a relatable, human touch to their brand. Customers can relate to the emotional storytelling and associate with the brand on a more intimate level.
It’s important to maintain consistency across all online platforms to make your branding stick. Even Hawker Chan’s Facebook page is consistent with their branding and imagery.
Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle is a renowned hawker stall specialising in bak chor mee (minced meat noodles).
The brand effectively utilises online marketing to promote their food and engage with customers. The stall has a dedicated website that showcases the menu, history, and brand accolades.
Most importantly, their website provides clear information about their offerings, including different variations of the dish and pricing in different languages, such as English, Chinese, and Japanese.
The brand's Instagram handle is a treasure trove of user-generated content (UGC):
In addition to regularly posting high-quality food photographs, your brand must highlight honest customer reviews and take advantage of UGC to attract a wider audience and instil trust in the customer.
Customers believe other customers, so capitalise on UGC to elevate your online marketing strategy.
328 Katong Laksa is a well-known hawker stall specialising in the iconic Singaporean laksa dish.
To market their product online, the brand has developed a user-friendly website that provides essential information about laksa, including its origins, preparation, and ingredients.
What makes this website eye-catching is the excellent use of food photography. Everything works well, from the colours and layout to the theme and placement, to presenting a well-conceived website.
The website also houses a Gallery, giving customers a sneak peek into the brand and its offerings through high-quality images and videos:
Take advantage of the growing interest in cooking challenges by hosting virtual cooking classes or food challenges related to your brand’s offering. You can also promote these events on your website and social media platforms.
For example, host a live-streaming session where you teach participants how to recreate a popular hawker dish or challenge them to create their unique versions using specific ingredients.
Plus, encourage participants to share their experiences on social media using a designated hashtag. This is perfect for acquiring user-generated content and creating a sense of community around your brand.
Tap into local online food communities and forums where food enthusiasts discuss their favourite hawker stalls and share recommendations. Actively participate in these communities by offering insights, answering questions, and sharing updates about your hawker stall.
These successful Singaporean hawker businesses have one successful thing in common: they have websites that are informative and visually appealing. Additionally, they actively engage with their audience on social media, sharing enticing visuals, real-time updates, and more.
In today's digital age, where Singaporeans demand convenience and crave diverse culinary experiences, the secret ingredient (pun intended) to hawker stall success lies in using the right mix of digital marketing tools and online marketing strategies.
By embracing social media, SEO, and other digital channels, you can amplify your reach, create meaningful connections, and fuel growth for your beloved hawker stall.
Implementing these digital strategies has never been easier with Vodien. From domains to online marketing solutions, you can navigate the digital landscape with confidence and expertise.
Our team has your back, empowering you to focus on what you do best — serving delicious treats that keep people coming back for more. Learn more online marketing tips or explore our wide range of online solutions now!