It’s tough to grow a trucking business using only load boards to find loads. The best way to earn money as a trucker is to find your own customers and shippers to work with on a regular basis. Follow these ten simple marketing tips for truckers to get more customers coming to you for your service.
10 Marketing Tips for Truckers
1. Take advantage of social media.
Social media is marketing’s best friend. Make profiles, especially on LinkedIn and Facebook, and use them. Having accounts builds trust with your customers. It also gives them an additional avenue to reach you at.
When building your profile or profiles, make sure your information is correct. Customers will want to know your address, your website (if you have one) and your phone number. If you have multiple social media profiles, assure that your information is consistent on all of them.
Share pictures, updates and exclusive deals to those that follow your business on social media. It gives more people an incentive to do so. Plus, if you give great service, social media allows your customers to rate your work and recommend you to others. Consider it the ultimate word of mouth tool for the 21st century.
2. Ask your customers to provide reviews and recommendations.
If you’re not automatically having customers give your service reviews and recommendations, ask them to do so. It doesn’t matter if they’re talking about you on social media or to their friends in person, they’re still talking about you and that’s good.
Ask customers to write a review for your business on Yelp!, Google Reviews or Facebook. A few good words about your company will drive business through the roof. People trust the words of another customer more than they’d trust the word of a business owner or operator.
3. Offer special incentives for referrals.
If you find you’re getting referrals often, consider giving out incentives to those that spoke highly of you. Someone who likes your service may tell a friend, but someone who has an incentive to do so is almost always going to tell several people.
Whether it’s a discount on your services or a free bumper sticker, your customers will appreciate it. Plus, it looks good for your business to keep customers happy even after the service is complete.
4. Learn where your customers are.
Targeting your marketing efforts to actually reach your customers is the best way to save money and increase the potential for success. Don’t waste your time doing the marketing equivalent of shouting into an empty room.
Let’s use Twitter as an example. Say you run your marketing campaign on Twitter, but you don’t get the results you want. You log on to Facebook one day and realize those you consider your potential customers are hanging out on this social network. To increase your chances of landing a new customer, you place your social media “coupon” on Facebook. Days later, you have several new loads.
Time is money in the marketing world. Don’t waste yours by advertising where your customers aren’t.
5. Get a website.
An online presence is a great way to appeal to potential clients. If you want to create a website, but don’t know how, don’t worry. There are websites out there like Wix and WordPress that take the stress out of creating a site.
Just create an account and decide if you want to buy a domain (yoursite.com) or use a free one (yoursite.wordpress.com). The websites will then provide you with optimized, easy to use templates so you can create the site of your dreams.
Add information about you, your company, your services and your contact information. Share it to your social profiles. Tell your friends. Having a website, even if you don’t use it much, is a great way to keep your business relevant in the digital-first world.
If you want to go into some more advanced website building, that’s great! There are tons of tutorials online that will help you bring the idea of your perfect website to life.
6. Join trade associations and attend their events.
Trade associations are committed to helping their members develop their business by providing education and networking opportunities. Go to some of these! Not only is this a great place to learn more about your trade, but it’s perfect for sharing some of your marketing materials as well.
Make some business cards, magnets or flyers and bring them with you and pass them out. There might be someone there who has a unique technique that you can implement in your marketing plan as well. Take in the environment and network with those around you.
7. Update your customers by newsletter or mailer throughout the year.
Connect with your customers, even when they don’t immediately need your services. Keep them updated with what your company has been doing lately by using a newsletter. You can either print it out and mail it or send your customers an email version.
Put in some photos, recommendations from other customers and occasionally a deal on a product or service. If newsletters aren’t your thing, just check in with people using social media.
8. Compare your services to competitors.
One of the best ways to market yourself is by outdoing your competitors. See what your competition is offering, then one-up them if you can. Are they a bigger company that is offering an amazing deal? Try to beat it. Use social media networks, websites and newsletters to your advantage. Show your price, then theirs. Maybe toss in some sort of additional perk.
If you can’t beat a competitor’s price, focus on customer relations. Bigger companies tend to struggle when it comes to being friendly. Remember your customers’ names, check in with them and make them feel important. Show them why they should work with you, even if you cost a little bit more. People want to support smaller businesses – give them a reason to!
9. Be excited about your business!
The best tactic for marketing your business? Get animated! If you aren’t excited about what you’re doing, why would your customers be? Speak with potential customers enthusiastically. If you own a trucking company, train your employees and treat them well so that they’ll be happy working for you. If your employees and customers see your passion, they are more likely to trust the work that you do.
10. Have a plan to track your marketing goals, campaigns and results.
This is always a key step in any marketing effort but is even more important if you are managing your marketing from the road. Establish clear expectations for how you want to market to your customers, what you expect to accomplish and by when.
Say, for example, you want to market to your customers using a Twitter account. You decide to give someone $100 off your quoted price if they mentioned they saw a certain Twitter post. You then set a goal, saying you want to get at least one person to mention the offer within the next two weeks.
Whatever you do, just keep your plan fluid. If your marketing goals are met or exceeded, adjust your goal. The same applies if you don’t meet your goal. Try something, measure the results and go from there.
Regardless of the size of your trucking company, you can achieve real results by spending as little as an hour per day marketing your services. If you have the ability to, consider hiring a marketing professional. They’ll attract the customers to your door so you can focus on providing them with the best service possible.
If your trucking company is considering hiring a marketing professional or if you’re a startup trucker looking to get loans, you might want to consider factoring your invoices. Freight factoring allows your company to get cash up front that you can use to hire more workers, buy new equipment or expand your business by taking on new clients.