FARMINGHAM, Mass. — At a recent New England Limousine Association meeting, Create A Card owner Arthur Messina shared different ways to promote a chauffeured transportation business without redlining your bank account in a prolonged recession.
Using the social networks
Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Plaxo are the social networks that Messina recommends. He explains that you should chose one and set up a company profile. Include all pertinent company information. He also recommends setting up a group within the site where people can come and talk about their experience with the company.
“There are lots of creative ways to use these sites,” Messina says. “Promote new vehicles or last minute specials. Some companies post client photos like with proms. It brings people constantly back to your site. You can use it to show concerts in your area or nights out on the town. It also helps you keep in touch with potential affiliates from across the globe. You may not be able to talk on the phone to an affiliate in Spain but you can chat with them regularly on a social networking site.”
Messina recommends spending an hour a day on social networking. “If you do it consistently you will see the results.” He cautions that you cannot go into this half way as it will not get you the results you want.
Messina cites the example of limousine operator Bill Faeth of Silver Oak Transportation in Nashville, Tenn. Faeth conducted a treasure hunt on his social networking site. He offered gift certificates as the prize. The treasure hunt drove people to his website looking for the answers to the clues. This increased his brand awareness and stimulated business. It also increased his following on Twitter. The more people that follow you, the more people that hear your message, Messina says.
“AJL International in Ft. Worth, Texas, bought an older Hummer and wrapped it completely with his message,” Messina said. “They park it in high traffic areas to get their message to their customers. Information about the company is right on the vehicle.”
Cooperative advertising with other non-competing industries
Messina recommends working with other local businesses such as restaurants, attractions, casinos, wineries, and museums to share promotional expenses and develop programs taking advantage of cross promotion offering incentives to the clients to use both of you.
“Constant Contacts and other programs like it are easy to use and relatively inexpensive to send email blasts out to your clients. Promote your service, packages, and send out newsletters,” Messina says. “One person listed all of the upcoming concerts and suggested that you use a limo to get there. Promote “staycations,” including taking a limo to do something locally.”
Multiple impressions to get your brand out
Messina says that you need to employ in-your-face marketing tactics. Brand your company through your collateral material, business cards, postcards, and brochures. Develop promotional items which are branded with your name and information.
Messina encourages operators to have a strong online presence using social networks and their own websites. He feels that e-marketing remains a good tool to reach clients who are socially conscious and worry about working in a green environment. He feels that operators need to incorporate green formats into their marketing presentations by developing power points and brochures which can be sent digitally.
Don’t forget traditional media
“Bargains are out there for traditional advertising. You just need to work a little harder to find them,” Messina says. “TV, radio, and billboards are a little more expensive but may reach a greater audience.”
Messina encourages operators to attend chamber meetings, association meetings, industry trade shows, and to visit affiliates. “Nothing works better than face to face contact,” Messina says.
Think out of the box
Messina told operators at the meeting that the May issue of LCT is like an instruction manual of HOW-TOs for marketing your business. “Think out of the box. H.A. Thompson of Rose Chauffeured Transportation in Charlotte, N.C. wrote a book. What could be better than leaving an autographed copy of a book you wrote on a customer’s desk as a reminder of who you are? This is out of the box thinking,” Messina says.
Create A Card’s website contains additional information on inexpensive marketing techniques. For more information, CLICK HERE to visit the website, or call 800-753-6867.
Source: Linda Moore, LCT Magazine