TOPIC: Can you describe your most successful marketing campaign or sales initiative in 2015? How do you plan to use what you learned from your efforts in the coming year and beyond?
We developed and have maintained a robust and consistent email marketing program that has produced tremendous results. It is a series of customized newsletters that targets specific groups within our client base. Our overall open/view rate is consistently around 20 percent, with an unsubscribe rate of less than 1 percent. Traditional mailing and advertising never gave us those results. Our customers deliver immediate feedback, often commenting on a great experience with our chauffeur staff or requesting services.
We use a marketing company to manage this program. They truly understand Golden and our business model. As a result, the content they produce is relevant to our customer base. Also, a link to our e-blast gets posted on our Twitter and Facebook accounts for prospective clients and fans to review. Virtual marketing has given us remarkable ROI. We will continue to find innovative ways to engage our customers.
Maya Adrine, Director of Alliance and Business Development
Golden Limousine International in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Currently, 38 percent of our annual income comes from special events and weddings, but as I got older, I noticed my brides were all still young—and I was having a hard time keeping up with changes.
So in 2005, I came with up a way to ask my clients what type of vehicle they would like for that special day. At every bridal show, we offer a chance to win a free five-hour rental if the bride-to-be fills out a questionnaire about what type of vehicle she wants (including style and color), the number of guests, the number of hours needed, and so on. Man, that was a smart move. We had brides and bridesmaids lining up to enter the free drawing, and we received valuable marketing information in the process. We still do this today and find it helpful when planning new vehicle purchases.
Jim Barnes, President
Jimmy’s Limousine in Cincinnati, Ohio
Our most successful marketing campaign or sales initiative in 2015 was taking a serious step into the lucrative employee shuttle program in the San Francisco Bay Area. Companies are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to provide what is now considered a “must-have” benefit: Attracting great talent in the Silicon Valley. The platforms we used were all outlets of social media, coupled with Mosaic’s sales team. Social media gave us credibility, but it was my salespeople who made the presentations, answered the RFPs, and closed the deals. All in all, we secured five major contracts in 2015.
With the onslaught of the success described above, we went from 47 employees to 84 in 2015 and purchased 30 additional vehicles. Our lesson learned—which is an often overused statement—is that we “planned for success.” We set up smart goals and systematically created an action plan to attack those goals and achieve most of them. Of course, we will try to replicate this in our plans for 2016. The one thing that we could have done better was prepare for growth and how it impacts cash flow. Luckily, our credit is good and we went to people we knew and trusted within our industry, and they supported, helped, and showed us what we needed to do to overcome the challenges of sudden growth, gave us a blueprint to watch out for the landmines all around us, and prepared us for the inevitable cash-flow blues. We will be better equipped for it in the new year and beyond.
Maurice Brewster, President/CEO
Mosaic Global Transportation & VIP Airport Shuttle in Redwood City, Calif.
Besides traditional advertising, here are some ways Reliance Worldwide has increased brand awareness in 2015.
Holding a live event is a great way to connect with your client base. In the summer, we held a barbecue and in the winter, we held a Christmas party for all our suppliers and clients. Also, we had a structured business development training course with a launch of our new product/promotion: Courier services. A live event gives you valuable face time with potential customers and offers the opportunity for them to experience the look, feel, and personality of your brand. We also recommend raising funds for charity at an event —it’s the perfect way to give back as you get.
Launching a successful PR campaign is essentially like getting free advertising, but better, since the media provides more credibility and is more likely to convince potential new customers to check you out. Perhaps you have a great personal story to tell about why you started your business, or maybe you’ve launched a unique new product or identified an interesting sales trend. In addition to sending a press release to the media, take to the Internet. Social media sites offer companies a great free-of-charge platform to promote themselves and build their brand. While finding the time to feed your profiles and blog can be a challenge, you need to remain active, which means posting and interacting several times a day. Expertise in a particular area can get you a large following. Stay relevant and on-topic and you will garner a valuable and engaged audience.
Reza Choudhury, Managing Director
Reliance Worldwide Logistic Solutions in Dagenham, Essex, England
This year, iPhone marketing was a big success for us as stats show over 80 percent of our business comes from the iPhone campaign. Facebook and customer emails, as well as Google AdWords, are strong and well worth the expenditure. The key is to hire a top webmaster and let them design and administer your social media marketing. There are many amateur websites and too much misdirected advertising in our industry. We also placed dollars into various social media avenues to reach our target markets.
Chuck Cotton, Owner
VIP Limousine in Oklahoma City, Okla.
In 2014, we hired a full-time employee to manage our online marketing and social media presence. We have initiated regular blog, Facebook, and Twitter posts, as well as pictures and information on Instagram, Google Plus, and other sites.
These marketing efforts have significantly increased our online presence and positively influenced our revenues. We have seen a 76 percent increase in visitors returning to our website from 2014 to 2015. In the same period, we received an increase of 107 percent in new visitors. Total visits for 2015 increased 101 percent over 2014, and total page views went up 94 percent.
All of this attention on our website greatly improved our SEO, and led to not only a 46 percent increase in online quote requests from 2014 to 2015, but also a 21 percent increase in new clients who booked from those quotes—as well as a 26 percent increase in revenue from those new clients year over year.
Another successful effort mounted in the past year was our campaign to solicit immediate feedback from new customers and offer a discount. The follow-up email and discount were sent after their first trip with us, which has resulted in a good number of repeat trips and gave us additional insight into how we can continue to improve our service and generate more new business.
Eric Devlin, President
Premier Transportation Services in Dallas, Texas
We have a wide range of marketing initiatives, and one of our most successful in 2015 was increasing our Twitter presence and engagement. Starting at the beginning of the year, we dedicated both financial and staffing resources to the initiative and by mid-December, we were thrilled to report a 44 percent year-to-year increase in followers. We started the year by assigning our Twitter campaign to a freelance social media manager, and once we saw that it had gained traction, we successfully transitioned it in-house in April to Assistant Marketing Manager Christine Edeline. This resulted in more targeted tweets, which in turn increased engagement, as followers responded to content that was more relevant to our fan base. From that experience, we’ve learned that we need to be flexible and be able to alter our course midstream when it comes to social media campaigns, which is an always-changing landscape.
Therese Howe, Marketing Manager
Reston Limousine in Sterling, Va.
Social media visitors are a price-conscious audience: Cheap rates are what get their attention. While this type of advertising or exposure may get you the calls, after the price is quoted you will most likely hear “I will call you back ...” It seems that no matter what you say, they will call everyone else to beat your price.
A List Limousine’s clientele are repeat corporate business—the type of clients who appreciate top quality, flawless service ride by ride—and for that reason, we do not advertise or use social media of any kind. I spend our marketing budget on an in-house marketing team who focuses on corporate clientele.
Obviously, affiliate work is a big share, so if you are not approaching your own clients for their nationwide and worldwide travel, you are missing potential to create more revenues for you day by day.
I recommend that any company train their reservationists to ask their clients with every reservation they take, “Do you need transportation at your destination city?” For companies who don’t do that yet, you may be surprised how many times your clients will say, “I didn’t know you do that—I already made my arrangements for this trip but I will keep that in mind for the next one.”
Designate an affiliate manager within your company and a whole new world will open up for you.
Avi Karpel, President
A List Worldwide Transportation in Los Angeles, Calif.
I would like to be able to say that we used some new great idea but we just went back to basics: We started making phone calls to connect with past, current, and new customers—and had a conversation. This took time and patience to listen to the ideas, comments, and criticism that each client brought to the table. Once we talked to the current customer base, we asked for suggestions on how to increase our business. While some offered no input, almost 86 percent of them had an idea or two; they became vested in our goal, were willing to help refer a client or a friend, and even acknowledged they didn’t realize the extent of what we did. Many would be willing to book more than just airport transportation—all we needed to do was ask.
We look forward to fine-tuning this process for 2016 season, with the hope that we can implement the ideas and suggestions of our current clients to make the experience an enjoyable one.
Michelle Miller, Vice President
Elite Coach Transportation in Pittsburgh, Pa.
The most successful marketing campaign at AmyExpress in 2015 was to advertise in the Chauffeur Driven Affiliate Central directory. It has proven to be quite effective in increasing the visibility of AmyExpress as the chauffeured service specialist in Greater China. New farm-outs from global affiliates have increased 80 percent. In China, we have become more and more reliant on WeChat for internal and external communications. We have rebuilt our website (amyexpress.com) and embedded the new LimoAnywhere booking engine to make it more user-friendly. Looking into 2016, we are going to recruit dedicated marketing and IT staff to leverage these ever-changing and innovative new technologies.
Amy Yan, Co-Founder and Managing Partner
AmyExpress Shanghai & Beijing Airport Chauffeured Service in Hong Kong
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