BY BILL FAETHAt this year’s Chauffeur Driven Show, I had the privilege of speaking on something I am passionate about: leveraging automation programs to create a 24-hour sales machine for your limousine business.
As a former operator, I know how busy your days can be. When everything from answering phones to managing staff to even driving vehicles falls to you to juggle in one day, how do you have time for reaching new prospects and acquiring new customers?
With a sales and marketing automation program in place, you don’t have to do it all. The system takes care of the hard work for you once all of the elements are in place.
The first thing to automate when it comes to sales and marketing is your email list. Using an email marketing service such as Constant Contact or MailChimp, you can build out an email funnel or follow-up sequence one time and then have the service deliver email based on your buyer’s sales cycle to convert them from prospects to customers.
Before you can set up emails to automatically contact potential clients, you must have email addresses to communicate with first. I see a number of operators not taking advantage of this opportunity to generate leads by building a list. Growing your email list is the most valuable asset in growing your business. Throw automation behind it and you will see your customer conversion rates skyrocket.
With just two tools, you can take advantage of opportunities to add new names to your contact list. The first thing you need is an email server provider, or ESP. MailChimp is great for beginners, while Constant Contact or Emma are nice for intermediate email users. My team at Limo U uses ActiveCampaign, which is geared toward more advanced users. Most of these services will integrate with almost any website and will allow you to create forms you can easily embed on your site to capture lead data. You can also use existing form and landing page builders like Gravity Forms, Leadpages, Instapage, or another similar combination that will make it very easy to set up lead generation forms.
The second thing you need to get started is an attractive piece of content. Once you have a form on your website to capture lead data, you need a lead magnet to attract and convert your website visitors to potential customers. A lead magnet is an “ethical bribe” of information that presents value to your website visitor in return for that person “paying” you with their contact information so you can follow up using your email funnel.
Do not overthink this. All you need to do is decide on your target buyer and then create something that provides value to that person or addresses common questions. This could be a checklist or a short Word document saved as a PDF that you can deliver in a follow-up email after the lead converts on your form. For instance, if you wanted to target DMCs or event planners in Houston, you could create a quick list called “Houston’s Best Restaurants For Dine-A-Rounds Every DMC Needs To Know About.”
All you need to do is conduct some quick research and include the details of each restaurant that would be relevant to a meeting planner, such as seating capacity, number of private rooms, and proximity to major hotels. Include an interesting image of the restaurant, contact details (location, hours, and phone number), and format the list in a Word document or PowerPoint. Save the document as a PDF, and you have created a lead magnet.
Now all you have to do is add the PDF to the first email sent out from your ESP immediately following the conversion. Congratulations: You are automating the follow-up process and maintaining communication with your new leads.
But you need more than one email to maintain this communication. Since we know that the sales cycle can be multiple weeks from the first point of contact until booking for a DMC, I recommend scheduling three to five emails to send over the course of six to eight weeks.
With a sales and marketing automation program in place, you don't have to do it all. The system takes care of the hard work for you once all of the elements are in place."
Each of these follow-up emails needs to provide more value for the DMC and position your company as the expert in your market. The focus of these emails should be less on sales and more on value. For instance, you can provide value by adding hotel information, vendor information from your MPI contacts, ground transportation tips for your city, and other topics that will position you as an expert.
Remember, the above example is just that. The same strategy works for business travelers, wedding planners, proms, or tours.
The best part of this system is that you only have to set this up once and you will start building your email list with prospects even while you are sleeping.
Now that’s what I call working smart, not hard. [CD1116]
Bill Faeth is Founder of Inbound Marketing Agents in Nashville and Founder of Limo University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.