Limousine Charter & Tour

December 2016

Magazine for the professional limousine, charter and tour industry.

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46 LIMOUSINE, CHARTER & TOUR DECEMBER 2016 WWW.LCTMAG.COM MARKETING & SALES Innovative Marketing Can Be A GPS To New Business In 2017 These six ways combine the best of traditional and progressive approaches to promote your operations. By Steve White I f you started your company in the 1980s, or even the early 90s, your idea of market- ing was likely a pocket full of dimes and close proximity to a pay phone at all times, not only to call prospects but to check in with the home office. Lots of phone calls and late nights stuffing envelopes was business as usual, all to get your name in front of a potential customer. But few people answer their phones anymore. It's all mostly done by email, which isn't neces- sarily a bad thing. Today you can e-blast 1,000 prospects with the push of a SEND but- ton. How long would it take you to call 1,000 people? Today's marketing needs to combine traditional and "out-of-the-box" thinking. But if you believe "out-of-the- box" marketing is just limited to Facebook, LinkedIn, and passing out your business cards at your daughter's soccer game, then you are indeed working with a very small box. Truth be told, Facebook and LinkedIn can be useful tools for a portion of your marketing, especially if you are trying to reach brides, but it shouldn't be the only resource in your marketing toolbox. If you are waiting for Warren Buffett to friend you on Facebook, don't hold your breath. Only 3% of compa- nies have said they have ever sold anything on Facebook, according to several industry experts. But if used correctly, and with a splash of persis- tence and ingenuity, you can achieve some of the results you want through social media. At the very least, it can't hurt you (unless one of your drivers posts a photo on Facebook of himself downing a six-pack while on the job). The marketing process has changed dramatically during the past 30 years. Before, all it took to get in to see a client was a phone call and a briefcase. Or, if you were really lucky (and gutsy), you just knocked on their door unannounced. In the good old days, that decisionmaker would have been the com- pany president's executive assistant or travel manager. But in the era of company downsizing, a lot of travel decisions are being made in the procurement department. This means the person who now orders ground transpor- tation has probably just got off the phone from ordering those plastic mats that go under office chairs. Here are some other ways you can maximize your marketing/PR efforts in 2017 and beyond. 1. REACH OUT Emails, phone calls, Linke- dIn messages, even Skype meetings all serve a pur- pose in our "not-enough- hours-in-the-day" business lives. But you should never ignore the power of that rare opportunity to shake a hand, pass out a business card, or look someone straight in an eye unfiltered through a computer monitor. Join local ground transporta- tion associations, be seen at limousine conventions, and make your presence felt at your local Chamber of Commerce. Build your brand by talking to people face-to-face. It's some- thing no fancy, high-tech, graphics-loaded website can ever compete with. 2. GOOD PR There are many key ways to reach potential clients, starting with good public relations. Never think of yourself as being in the witness protection pro- gram — you want as many people to know about you as possible, in a positive light, of course. Send out press releases to local publications and trade and association magazines about the good you do in the community, charitable endeavors, new hires, ac- quisitions, bumps in your technology prowess, your green initiatives, etc. Send them your company news- letter, put them on your e-blast or e-bulletin list, or

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