This is your COVID-19 update and recommendations for operators. The coronavirus pandemic has devastated our industry. I’m here to talk about: where do we go from here? When do we start marketing again? We work with providers nationwide. Those providers rely on internet searches and online platforms to be visible to customers. It’s vital that you understand what’s happening online and how to make a rock-solid strategy to reenter the game.
Here’s what I’ve seen. Over the past two months, search volumes and lead volumes have dropped 90% for many car service companies. We currently work with over 80 companies, so the picture is pretty clear.
The good news? The past week has provided the first light on the horizon. This has been the first marker of recovery for our industry. In a couple of areas, there have been a couple of significant increases, in Arizona and Maine and other states. While it’s nowhere near what it was, there is evidence that traffic may return much faster than we thought.
Here’s why I think that. April was the bottom of the barrel. And now, volume is rising with as many as exponential numbers. The reality is, the increases are still most evident on the retail side. For corporate providers, when airplanes aren’t flying, airport car services will continue to suffer. It may take longer for that side to bounce back.
Due to the fact that a change is clearly coming, here are the suggestions you need to take into account to make smart marketing decisions for your car company right now.
Any and every industry has been hit by this pandemic. Some states have been under stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders for months at this point. Obviously this has dramatically impacted car services, chauffeurs, limo companies and transport services. But there are some active steps you can take, armed with the right knowledge, that will re-engage your customers. When people are ready to go out, make sure you’re the one they call.
When to Start Advertising Again
When there aren’t as many people searching, you need to know when is the right time to turn your ads back on. Based on the area you’re in, you’ll make this decision differently. The bottom line is anticipating when lead counts are set to improve. Here’s what we know: people will start going out when states reopen.
When you get a solid date for when your state will reopen, you should start running ads again. There is one major caveat to this: track your ads very carefully.
Time the start of your campaigns with the reopen date of your state.
If your state announces on May 15 that they will reopen on June 1, you should start advertising on May 15. People won’t book if it could be closed. If they’re assured that the state will be open, they’ll be willing to book. Search volume will rise as each phase of reopening occurs. Jump in at the onset of this to optimize exposure and increase leads.
Monitor Ad Spend and Lead Count
Everyone’s eye is on the bottom line right now. That’s smart and you shouldn’t stop just because you’re pressing play on trusted campaigns. Monitor your ad spend carefully, keeping in mind that you need to be recovering what you spend.
You should have a good eye to two key metrics beyond just ad spend: lead count and lead conversion. What’s more, remember that lead count is not actual business. Your conversion rate may be lower than it used to be. You should always know how much a lead is costing you.
Reach Out to Leads
In this season of scaling your business back, you can’t afford to miss a single lead. You have to be on top of contacting leads. I suggest you do all of the following:
- If they don’t answer, text.
- If they don’t respond to text, email.
Email is not a method most retail car companies are successful with anymore. Open rates are just too low. When your emails are unread and have no response, you need to change your approach. Most often, you’ll get a better response with texts. I’ve found that the response to text messages can be four times higher than emails.
You can use a basic automation to make this easier for you. Automated texts can be created to immediately send out a message to new leads. This happens right away and then you follow up with a call. If unanswered, shoot another text. Your goal is to get a response. Once you get a two-way dialogue going, you have an engaged lead.
Remember, leads may forget about you, but it’s your job to not forget about them.
Marketing for Car Companies After COVID-19
A few reminders. Due to the nature of the economy right now, many people are not investing in paid ads. This could be a home run for people who do run ads. The competition may have thinned significantly, giving you an unprecedented opportunity to convert new customers.
So, get those ads rolling. Monitor them carefully. And, most importantly, don’t abandon the tactics that you know work:
- Get back into your routines
- Follow up quickly with all customers
- Focus on your sales
- Keep track of quotes
- Keep track of follow-ups
More than anything else, a business needs sales. If you want to get those sales, you’ve got to be doing the things that you know work. Don’t leave customers hanging.
- Revisit your pricing.
- Reach out to every new lead.
- Take advantage of the opportunity to run ads with less competition.
- Time your strategy right.
Need help? Limo Marketer helps businesses like yours succeed. Contact us to get access to a team of experts that can get your business back on track, helping you recover from the COVID-19 hit and start making more money.
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