Limo Business Corner
If you own a limousine business in 2018, you’re probably aware that the game has changed dramatically from a mere 5 years ago. Long gone are the days where all that was needed was to buy a stretch limousine, hang up a shingle in the yellow pages, and viola: instant limo business!
With an increasingly savvy customer base, and strong competition from the likes of Uber or Lyft, it literally pays to understand the current technology landscape so you can stay competitive and get the best ROI for your investment dollars.
So with that in mind, we’ll be investigating what’s working in 2018 and share some sage evergreen advice that’s worked for our limo service in San Antonio.
Set The Foundation
Before spending a single dollar on technology, you’ll need to develop a strong understanding about who you are, and what you want to BE. There’s really no point using technology to market your business if your service stinks.
Set some quality standards, develop a mission and vision statement, and make sure everyone one of your employees understand what these mean and how to apply them in their job.
Clarity is key!
Our mission statement is: “We treat every client like they’re the most important person in the world“
That’s a strong statement, but its one that sticks in the mind of our team as we go about our business.
Next, take a long hard look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Are we living up to our mission statement?” That means examining every customer touch point to determine if you’re measuring up.
Remember: this is the limousine business. You’re not some fly-by-night Uber driver doing it for extra grocery money. That means that customer expectation is HIGH, right off the bat.
So make sure that every potential customer experience with your company, from your vehicles to your service staff, is top-notch.
Okay, now we’re ready to talk tech…
Google Is Your Best Friend
Nevermind Bing, Yahoo, or Yelp. In the limo business, Google is still the king on the block when it comes to ways in which your customers are searching for you. While other search venues can’t hurt your business, I wouldn’t focus on them until you’ve made Google happy.
So how exactly do you make Google happy? While Google is famously tight lipped about how their search algorithm works, Google makes some thing plain on their My Business resource page.
Here’s the basics rundown of what Google likes:
- A mobile-friendly website
- A website with well-written pages, about your services
- A verified website
- Lots of citations (Not sure what this means? Read more about it here
- Good reviews
- Good pictures of your vehicles, drivers and place of business (Google loves business pics)
- *Extra Credit* Upload a Virtual Tour of one of your vehicles (Google loves Virtual Tours!)
There’s an old marketing paradigm that states, “Be where the eyeballs are.”, and when it comes to eyeballs, they most definitely are on social media in 2018. As a business you simply can’t afford to not be out in front of the competition in this space.
Like it or not, most people in the developed world are on social media in one aspect or another. According to stat site Statista, some 241 million people in the United States alone have a Facebook account and spend a ridiculous amount of time there – over two hours a day – and growing!
While there’s tons of Social Media options out there for you to choose from as a business, we recommend concentrating on two platforms, 3 at most. Our favorite at present is Facebook and Instagram. Twitter is a distant third. While we can’t possibly get into all the unique aspects of each platform, we strong suggest that you learn each one inside and out.
At this point you’ve got a solid foundation to spend to grow on. Your service quality is high, you’ve made Google happy, and it looks like you’ve got it going on in the social media websphere.
Hopefully your getting some clients at this point – let’s keep them interested in your business…
Keeping Your Customers Engaged
Now that you’re online, you want to make your customers (and the search engines) believe that your a business that’s intimately involved in the limo industry. You want to make them think that there’s only ONE viable solution for limo services in your town, and that’s YOU.
How exactly do you do that?
By putting out frequent, consistent, industry-specific content, that your customers love consuming. Other wise known as Content Marketing, “content” here includes, videos, press releases, email campaigns, and regular updates on social media.
How much content is enough? That’s tougher to answer, but in general, more than the competition.
If the top-hitter in the search results is posting on their blog every other week, you should one-up them and post every week. If your competition is posting on Facebook every other day, post twice a day.
Videos are a must nowadays, so if Jim Bob’s Limos has got 5 videos on YouTube, you better at least have 6. This may sound like alot of work – and it is – but it’s all foundational things any limo business should be doing in 2018 to keep their customers informed and engaged.
The Follow Up
Email is oldest form of communication on the internet, and yet despite it’s age it’s still the most important methods of communication in terms of customer relationship management.
Why? Just about everyone knows how to use email, and (let’s be honest) it’s hard to ignore that unopened email sitting in your inbox.
And since you can personalize emails, nothing beats the personal touch that email provides.
Maintain that personal touch for each one of you 1500 email contacts is the hard part. So unless you want to manually put together a massive email campaign only to have your customer’s email accounts kick them to the spam can, you’ll need some robust email marketing automation tools. Companies like ActiveCampaign, Mailchimp, and AWeber allow it’s users to create personalized email campaigns that can be adapt to the way your customer interact with the emails you send. For example if your customer opens certain links in an email, you can classify this customer in a certain group.
Additionally most have great analytics so you can discover which campaigns are working, and which one’s aren’t, and tweak from there.
Taking It To The Next Steps With Tech
Everything described above resides squarely in the MUST category. While not super technical, if done right, you should be well on your way to naturally attracting new customer and retaining the old ones. You’re business should be growing. NOW is the time for truly harnessing the power of technology.
What’s the next step?
We recommend fleet software.
Fleet Software, or Fleet Management Software (FMS) automates many of the work intensive processes that Livery Service owners of mid-to-large size fleets need to do in order to run a well-oiled business.
From basic information like vehicle locations and reservations, to more complex operations like dispatching drivers for jobs, customer database emails, and even payroll – fleet software is the next foundational step that a growing limo business needs to become a strong business. Most FMS companies in 2018 are moving toward cloud-based offerings (meaning that you can access the application online), and utilize per-vehicle GPS and a relational database to track your fleet’s vehicle’s service and registration intervals.
While costs can be prohibitive for smaller firms with only a few vehicles, it becomes a untenable (in our opinion) for a service with more than 5 vehicles to do many of these processes manually. Trust us, it’s no fun trying to schedule rides, time off, and reservations on an Excel spreadsheet. For our money, its been well worth the cost of investment.
Well there you are. Truth be told, the limousine industry is not super techie, but at the risk of sounding repetitive, all of the above describes foundational efforts any limo business should be employing to stabilize and grow their business. If you’re starting from scratch, that’s okay. Just realize this is something that will take time and consistent effort to develop.
Thanks for stopping by!