LIMOS, SEDANS & VANS, OH MY:
Maybe you know us and maybe you don't but we are a 16 year old inbound marketing firm that has a tight focus on limousine, sedan and shuttle services to the airport. In fact, we have been helping ground transportation companies build inbound marketing strategies before anyone was ever using the word "inbound".
In this blog post we will explain to the limousine service operator how they can better take advantage of today's Internet marketing climate by checking their primary marketing components. We will show you (limousine business) why it's more important than ever to have & develop a complete Internet marketing plan. We will also show you how to evaluate the current condition of your internet marketing plan. The evaluation process is extremely important because of the simple fact that it's impossible to develop a successful online marketing strategy until you can confidently determine what you have in place and how those components are performing for you. It would be like having a flat tire but replacing the wrong one. From a marketing stand point, there is no reason any more to be flying blind.
It seems that just about everything in life gets more complicated as time goes by and inbound marketing is no exception. Here are some free e-books that focus on a specific area of inbound marketing and may help you make some tweaks to your airport limousine marketing strategy:
- SEO Lessons From The Experts
- What Should You Know About Blogging For Business
- Using Twitter To Help Attract New Passengers & Build Business
CHECKING YOUR WEBSITE:
As I mentioned in the introduction, evaluating your website is very important because if you don't know what's broke, how will you know what to fix? How would you know what needs attention or where to start applying your efforts.
As we always do, we recommend you have a certified Internet marketing team or individual on board. As you will see in this post and probably others, there is no DIY marketing plans like were possible a bunch of years ago. Marketing online has become so complex with almost endless options and applications, this is no place to start learning how to do things yourself.
Besides, I know if you are running a limousine or airport shuttle service, there is no way you have extra time to learn a new skill set. Especially a skill set like this one. Partner with the right team so you are still free to do what you do best. Run your ground transportation business. Dispatching, scheduling, HR, maintenance, reservation management, safety... You do what you're good at and let a certified marketing team handle the marketing. This improves the efficiency of your entire operation.
Just below, you will see 4 sections that cover the four primary areas of online marketing that need your attention. These are the components of Inbound marketing that represent a complete plan and strategy. Understand that we are keeping this as basic as possible and giving you a high level view of what a successful and well functioning airport transportation marketing system should look like.
Maybe you have some of these components in place already and that would be good. However, this perspective should give you a better understanding of the bigger picture and how some of the more important marketing components fit together. Once they are created and put in place, you will be free for development and competition. This is when you'll have the opportunity to focus on each to make each one perform better each month that goes by.
Before we get started lets be sure we are on the same page. We have to assume you do have a website in place and live. You will also want to think about the different applications you are using to accomplish your ultimate goals. For example, what CMS (content management system) are you using to manage your website? What analytics systems is in place so you can easily evaluate all of the marketing statistics you need to know about?
Okay, now lets look at the 4 primary marketing components every airport limousine, sedan service or airport shuttle service needs to recognize, manage and develop.
The 4 Primary Internet Marketing Components:
1. SEO - Search Engine Optimization
By now, most website owners have heard the term SEO. This acronym stands for Search Engine Optimization. This is the process used by marketers to be recognized by the major search engines like Google and Yahoo. It is also the process or page configuration needed to achieve advancement in your ranking for targeted keywords.
Since our topic is website performance evaluation, it's important to understand what SEO looks like in a successful website. As a limousine company owner, you need to know exactly what Google & Yahoo is look at on your own website. We are discussing performance so we need to understand where performance is seen by the all powerful Google algorhythms.
We want to teach you to look at the SEO on your website in 2 distinctive categories. The first is known as On-Page Optimization and the second is Off-Page Optimization. On-page Optimization refers to those elements of SEO that literally fall onto each web page. Elements like keyword placement. Remember that before you can have effective keyword placement, you need to complete a complete keyword analysis and strategy. This will simply tell you which keywords are important for your target markets and goals. Other elements of on-page optimization that need to be configured effectively and accurately include but are not limited to:
- Keyword meta tags
- Your URLs
- Title meta tags
- Description meta tags
- image tags (ALT tags)
- H1 & H2 tags (header tags)
- The content itself
Off-Page Optimization includes SEO elements that are created and managed "Off" of your actual website. Items like directory listings, press releases, reviews and most important, inbound links. These are live links on other websites that point to your web page. There are a few different theories on developing an effective link strategy so be sure to take some time to research this subject.
Once all of your primary pages include all of the items above, it is safe to consider those pages optimized for the major search engines. Yes, like all other elements on a successful website, these can be developed and improved on a constant basis. However, it's important not to spend too much of your resources focused only on SEO. The next important element to be able to evaluate and develop is your blog strategy.
2. Blogging Strategy
A blogging strategy along with a social media strategy are so important because these are literally the "living and breathing" pieces of your website marketing. Think about it like this. You main web pages are generally static and do not require frequent changes. Therefore, once you have your SEO applied, these pages pretty much remain the same. Yes, when you have updates in information like pricing or value added services, you will update the appropriate pages. Other than that, they sit quietly providing the specific information for which they were intended. Your about page or your contact page really doesn't require much attention once completed and optimized.
Maybe you have heard the cry "Content Is King"? This statement is fairly accurate. Search engines and other important marketing platforms want to see good, fresh content. Your blog is one way that you can give them what they want. Be sure you have a good blog strategy that is designed to help or educate others and you will out perform those sites that don't.
A good blog will post 2 to 3 new articles every week. Each blog post should be optimized in a similar way as described above in the SEO section. Blog posts can come in many shapes and sizes. You can use imagery and video and should be between 900 and 1500 words each. Each blog should have whats called a CTA or call to action. This is what is used to ask the reader to take the next step, whatever that is according to your strategy. Your analytics application will measure things like page views, converstions and links.
3. Social Media Strategy
Social media, social media, social media... you can't escape it even when you try. It's all the rage, Everyone is doing it. So? What does that mean to you? Here is my take. If you own and operate an Airport Limousine Service, my guess is that at least personally, you are not a big fan of social media. Maybe you're like me and and wonder, what's the big deal here? Selfies? We were doing selfies before there was a digital camera. Why do I need to update all my friends and family what I had for breakfast this morning? I have so many more important things to do with my time.
My response from a personal perspective is... You're right and I completely agree with you. My response from a business perspective is... Social media is here, it's not going anywhere anytime soon and it's an effective resource for attracting and connecting like minded people who have an interest in what your business provides. This being the case, use it to your advantage.
Determine with your team, which social media platforms make the most sense for your operation. A great place to start for an airport service provider is the top 3 platforms. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Be sure you have accounts on all 3 and be sure that you spend the time required to fully complete your profile. Once you have accounts with complete profiles, your marketing team or the software you select will determine how you get into the game. Some general information:
- Twitter moves very fast and you can post up to 10 new posts each day.
- Facebook is less about business (but changing) than the others so don't post more than once or twice a day.
- LinkedIn is the "Facebook" for business but still requires constraint to remain professional and credible. One or two posts a day is a good goal for now.
Guidelines for all of these social platforms: Try to avoid the instincts to "advertise". Instead, try to be helpful and engaging. Contribute to ongoing conversations and try to show users that you know your industry. The ultimate goal here is to be considered an authority. You're in the travel game so create and post content that most people didn't know but find useful. You are also in the entertainment industry so that should open a world full of ideas.
After you're up and running, you will use your own analytics software to measure your results.
4. Analytics - Evaluation Process
"If you can't measure it, you can't manage it". I don't know who first said this but it's very true. In today's technology climate, you have the ability to measure everything you need to determine how, when and why you are achieving ROI (return on investment). There is no need to guess how well your strategy is working. You should know from all the data that is generated every day by these inbound marketing activities.
Choosing your analytics software can be a challenge. Like much of the software in our lives there requires quite an investment in time before you know if it's the best fit for you. Spend some time researching and reading reviews. This will at least give you a running start on knowing the names, features and benefits of each. For example, we always recommend a company called HubSpot. We do this for many reasons but you or your trusted team need to be involved in this decision.
The best thing to do after looking at the condition of your website marketing and understanding your strengths and is to find an application that puts as much as possible under one roof. In other words, depending on what you already have in place, a solution to:
- Manage all content - this requires a CMS or content management system.
- Develop an effective blog
- Mange your customers & opportunities - known as a CRM or customer relationship manager.
- Develop a social media strategy
- Manage all projects
- Create an email marketing strategy
- Measure and analyze everything
"If you can't measure it, you can't manage it". I said it earlier I know but it is the truth. I know airport limousine businesses so I know how important statistics are when managing your operation. Your Internet marketing is just as important as your operation and thanks to developing technology, you are able to manage almost every element of your marketing. You are or will be investing thousands of dollars into online marketing. Don't you want the ability to measure your ROI at every turn?
If you want to learn more about any of this, we are happy to provide you a no cost, 30 minute conversation with a HubSpot & UCLA Certified Inbound Marketing Professional. Just use the button below to complete a form so we can schedule a conversation that fits into your schedule.