Marketing is essential for building and growing your snow cone business. Since you will most likely be competing against other treat options at fairs, festivals, and events, you need to find ways to stick out from the competition.
Of course, all good marketing starts with a good product, so we will assume you can throw together a decent snow cone, and that you have the basics figured out.
This article will be focused on marketing once you are ready to start selling!
As discussed in the guide, you can give your marketing a nice head start by choosing a great name for your business. We recommend something that explains what you’re selling but is not too generic or bland. Snow cones are fun and colorful, so make sure your name reflects the mood of the product.
It’s more than likely you will be selling snow cones from a cart, truck, or stand, not a traditional brick and mortar setup. Since you won’t have a permanent location, marketing is crucial. You need to make it easy for new customers to understand and want your product very quickly.
Let’s take a look at 7 ways you can market your snow cone business:
1. Have A Menu Item You’re Known For
Snow cones have been around for a long time; it’s time to spice up the biz a little! A lot of successful companies selling generic food items come up with something fun and crazy to separate them from the crowd.
A great example of this is the Hustle’s Sam Parr. He started a hot dog stand as a side hustle and wanted to find a way to stand out and bring people in to buy. The solution, a funny slogan that got people laughing and ultimately led to selling a lot of hot dogs. The slogan was: “Wieners as big as a baby’s arm.” They differentiated themselves by having massive hot dogs, which paired with a funny slogan was all it took to bring folks in the ‘door’.
2 fun and crazy snow cone menu ideas
- You can approach this many different ways. One way would be to have a massive snow cone, and maybe it’s seven scoops of ice tall, and you call it the skyscraper. This lends well to visual advertising both in print and customers. You could have signage that says ‘home of the skyscraper’ with an image of the massive snow cone. Customers who purchase the skyscraper will also be walking by other people at the event; it will definitely catch attention and start conversations.
- Another way is to have weird syrup flavors. Think of a traditional menu with bubble gum, cherry, grape, etc. All you have to do is throw in a few weird flavors like coffee, green tea, or maple bacon. You can also rename traditional flavors: Instead of grape, how about grapes of wrath? Instead of cherry, how about sublime lime? It’s the little things that can add a lot of personality to your business.
With both of these examples, even if you don’t sell a lot of the novelty items or flavors, you will grab people’s attention and bring them in. The key is having something fun that separates you out from the crowd of vendors.
2. Have branding and signage the grabs people’s attention
Going off of the previous point, branding is a huge part of your business. It doesn’t necessarily mean you need to have a vomit of colors everywhere, but it’s good to have vibrant, eye-catching logos, designs, and signs. A plain white tent with a snow cone machine is not going to catch the attention of others.
Try to have visuals that stick out, such as a clear name, logo, and slogan on your tent or cart. Add some color and display your products in a visually appealing way. Just do me a favor, and don’t blow up real pictures of snow cones and put them on your vinyl sign. Have an artist create fun vector-style snow cone illustrations that will translate well when blown up to a colossal size.
People tend to shop and eat at businesses having excellent presentation and aesthetically pleasing. Sure, this is ‘only’ snow cones, but you’ll find the rule still holds up.
Snow cone business display and branding ideas:
- Have someone dress in a snow cone costume and spread the word at the event
- Organize a snow cone eating contest that will potentially gather people around your cart and ready to buy
- Hand out free stickers that have your funny slogan or catchphrase
These are just examples to get your thinking caps on.
3. Have a website
Although you probably won’t be selling snow cones online (idea?), having a website is crucial to your business. Why? As stated in our step by step guide for starting a snow cone business, people are searching for snow cones and won’t know you can satisfy that need if they can’t find you. The internet is where people get their information, so make sure you’re taking advantage of that.
If your business is focussed on events, such as festivals and birthdays, this is another big reason to have a website.
How will someone find and book you if you’re not online? The answer is they won’t. If you think people will look up phone numbers for snow cone stands, think again.
If you’re not online, you will get passed over, so it’s a must. It’s easy to set up your own website that will take care of the basics. You can build your own snow cone business website on a platform like WIX or Squarespace in a matter of minutes. There’s no need to hire someone and pay them $5,000 to do it. Let’s take WIX, for example.
How To Build Your Snow Cone Website With WIX
With WIX, you don’t need to know code at all; it’s a drag and drop builder. Here’s how to build your snow cone website with WIX:
Step 1: Sign up for the unlimited plan, which is only $17 a month. WIX offers a free plan, but you won’t be able to connect a domain name with the free option.
Step 2: Choose one of their pre-made templates and change the photos and information to reflect your business.
Step 3: Buy and/or connect your domain name: IE coneheads.net,com,etc
Step 3: Add the WIX events calendar app to keep track and let others see where you’re going to be
Step 4: Add the WIX bookings app, which will allow you to mark times available for clients to book you. You can even accept payment on-site for things like flat rate events, etc.
Think of a website like your home-base. Make sure to include things like contact information, event schedule, menu, pricing, and social media links. Speaking of social media, this brings us to our next point.
4. Have Social Media
Social media is essential because it’s the easiest way for fans and customers to keep track of where you are and what’s going on. If you’re a fan of the TV show, THE GREAT FOOD TRUCK RACE, you’ll know the importance social media plays into success. Food trucks that have a lot of raving fans, like Waffle Love, harness the power of social media.
If you’re building a business and a brand, not just selling snow cones, you will have fans and eager customers. So, make it easy for them by communicating on social media. I recommend focusing on one channel, so you don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be. In 2020, that channel is probably Instagram.
5. Advertise Your Business On Craigslist
Although it may seem old school, putting an ad on Craigslist might be a gold mine. People are always looking for bands and vendors to hire for events, especially private events like birthday parties, bar mitzvah’s, weddings, etc.
Private events can also be the most lucrative, so taking 10 minutes to list your snow cone stand is well worth the potential reward. Make sure to include your services, menu, pricing, and links to your website and social media. There’s a lot of spam and weirdos out there, put yourself in a good position by providing as much legitimacy as you can. People will trust you a lot more if you have a presence online, and they can see a business history, such as photos of your last event.
I recommend listing your business in the Gigs > Events section of Craigslist
It will cost you $5 to post your listing, which is a very small price to pay if you land even one client.
6. Give Out Free Snow Cones
People love free stuff. Not only will people love you for giving them free products, but they will also develop a sense of loyalty for your brand. It’s all psychological, they kind of feel like they owe you one. Snow cones are very cheap to produce, so this marketing technique is perfect.
A great example of this is the drive-thru coffee chain Dutch Brothers. Every time they open a new location, they do an entire day or free drinks! As you can imagine, the lines of cars and people at the windows are insane, and it probably costs Dutch Brothers a hefty amount.
The brilliance is it brings people to the brand, they taste the product, and then they’re hooked. I watched this in my home town, and you better believe there was another vast line the second day when they were charging full price.
As calculated in a previous article, snow cones cost an average of .80 to make. This means even giving out 300 snow cones will only set you back $240. Let’s take a look at how to use this strategy in a temporary situation like an event or parking lot.
2 Strategic Ways To Give Out Free Snow Cones
- You could work with the vent coordinator to announce you’re giving out 100 free snow cones to the first 100 people at your cart. After the 100 are gone, you better believe people will still want snow cones after they’ve been exposed to the idea. You can even offer a special discount to those who were close but didn’t make the 100.
- Another way to approach it is a buy one get one offer. Since your profit per snow cone will probably be around $2.00, you will still make money with a buy one get one free special. This is a great marketing hack that will still make you money. A BOGO deal is also a smart idea towards the end of an event when you have extra inventory you might not sell-through.
Something less structured can also work. If things are slow, have a helper take a tray of free snow cones around the event. This makes people aware that there are snow cones, and they will find you when they need a refreshing treat.
How do you market your snow cone or food truck business? Leave a reply below…