SEO, Google Ads and Facebook Ads do not work for most operators. And no, that’s not the end of this article. The truth is, each of these approaches is highly effective – every platform works and every single one can be strengthened to bring in new leads. But there are fatal flaws to how most limo companies are using their website, Google ads account and Facebook ads. I’m going to unpack what these are, and shed some light on how to find your footing to gain real traction in these spaces.
The Basic Methods of Lead Generation for Limo Companies
First, let’s make sure you know what we’re talking about:
SEO = Search Engine Optimization
SEO essentially is the way you structure content on your website to improve its rank in search results. So, if someone is searching for “limo company marketing,” my site should show up, because it has routinely been optimized for SEO. SEO tactics will include technical and on-page elements. You need to write your site in a way that includes important, high-traffic keywords; and you need to continuously add fresh content to increase your site’s authority and signal to Google.
Google Ads are part of your overall Google Business profile, and to be honest the platform can be unbelievably complex. This is one of the most common things that people hire limo marketers for, simply because getting all of the right settings and categories can either yield a major return ($$$) or leave you empty. As part of the Google universe, though, Google Ads have major potential to increase your visibility. If you look on a search engine results page, you’ll see Google Ads results at the top, labeled “sponsored.”
I supposed this is soon-to-be-Metaverse-ads, but for now, Facebook Ads are tied to your Facebook Business Account and profile. It’s really popular to run Facebook Ads, in part because you can do so much great targeting. People provide all kinds of personal information to Facebook, and Facebook Ads deliver on both Facebook and Instagram. You can create audiences for your ads, then set spend amounts and more to get them to people who are most likely to buy from you.
Okay, so these are three MVPs in the world of online ads and marketing, but they are not error-proof. Hence why most limo companies give up on them. But you don’t have to give up: these can work for you, and they can work really really well.
So, Why Don’t These Ad Strategies Work?
I’ve been a professional limo company marketer for a long time, so when I convey the common mistakes, they’re coming from a lot of experience. Here’s what I see:
Most operators don’t go all in. They just dip their toe in.
When it comes to ads, there are two camps:
- You have an agency (managed)
- You do this yourself (self-managed)
Both have distinct challenges that lead you to see big fat zeros at the end of a campaign cycle. All of this coming up empty is avoidable. Let’s walk through each scenario in turn.
To level with you: I get that ad agencies and digital marketing agencies in this space have a bad rep. They make promises they don’t deliver on, their campaigns don’t perform, and operators may burn through three to four agencies without getting any return on investment. This leads to a huge mistrust and wariness, which makes sense. If you’ve been burned, you’re going to be hyper-cautious about your spending.
Here’s what I would recommend: when you’re hiring an ad agency to do any sort of marketing, you want to do your due diligence. But once you have done that, and you’ve decided to work with a transportation marketing company, you need to go all in. Don’t hold back.
Doing these processes yourself can be hard. You have to learn, you have to be consistent and you have to hang in there. You have to be growing, though, because each of these platforms is a deep dive. Over time, you also have to be paying attention to the numbers. For instance, if you’re spending $1,000 in month one, and getting 20 leads, your cost per lead is $50, and that is high.
You must make sure that, every single month, your cost per lead is going down.
How to Overcome Problems With Ads
The problems people encounter with ads are similar, whether it’s with an agency or managing it on your own. For instance, I’ll speak to companies and we’ll start running a Google Ads campaign, and they want to start with as small of a budget as possible. I get that. They want results to prove that it’s working.
The problem is, especially with Google Ads and Facebook Ads, there’s a threshold. I find between $1,000-$2,000 in ad spend is when you see a dramatic improvement in how ads perform. If you spend $1,000, in that first month you may get 40-50 leads, but by the second month, you often see a doubling of those leads.
Especially with Black Car, you need to think through how many runs or trips it takes to get a decent return on investment on lead generation.
Here’s an example:
If you’re spending $1500 a month: spending $1,000 and paying an agency $500.
In that first month, let’s say you get 50 leads. Especially in a high-volume market, that’s reasonable, and means you got 50 leads for $1500.
Let’s say you close ⅓ leads or about 17 jobs from those leads, most of which are $150, a few could be more: averaging around $200.
This would mean your profit is $3400, or that you spent $1500 to make $3400 cash collected.
You probably already see that this means you’re losing money initially, because of other expenses. BUT, that’s only month one. And that’s where my advice to go all-in comes in.
You don’t give up after an “okay” first month, you continue to trust your agency and take their advice, and decide in month two to up your ad spend to $2500.
In the first month, you got 50 leads for $1,000, or about $20 a lead. In this second month, it’s pretty likely your ad strength will have grown, for illustrative purposes we’ll call it $15/a lead by month two for a total of 150 leads.
Imagine you got 50 jobs from this second ad round, for the same average value, which would mean your cash collected is up to $10,000.
If the numbers worked out like that, and you stuck with the plan, your numbers would have gone up by more than 50% month on month.
That’s the key takeaway here: time matters.
By month six, you may go up to $5,000, paying an agency $750, and your lead price has come down dramatically. Instead of $20 a lead you may be paying $10 a lead and getting about 500 leads. If you’re still closing ⅓, you’re getting 166 jobs out of that.
If you had stuck in there, you’d be at $33,200 cash collected with only $5700 total spend.
You would have gone from spending about ⅓ to ⅙.
These principles apply to every kind of ad: Google, Facebook, you name it. The leads will always go cheaper and cheaper. Now, they won’t go insanely cheap (which is why SEO has to be invited to the party).
Why Transpo Companies Give Up on Ads
This is why companies give up. Month one isn’t a great ROI. It can take a long time to start getting a killer ROI. It’s not only a function of time, but it’s also a function of total spend. If you falter when you’re spending $1,000, and you don’t really track how many jobs you’re getting and how much money you’re making, you won’t be making data-driven decisions.
Over time, your client acquisition costs become less and less. Don’t forget that quite a few of those leads could become repeat clients, which should be a byproduct of healthy operations and quality services.
Recap: If Your Ads Aren’t Succeeding, Here’s Why
This is why most companies don’t succeed with these platforms.
- They don’t stick with it long enough
- They don’t spend enough money
If you just jump from provider to provider without ever going all-in with someone, there’s a high chance that you will always lose.
Two Ways to Track Limo Marketing Ads
Track your spend and know month over month data:
- Are you booking more jobs?
- Is your client acquisition cost going lower?
If you don’t pay attention to these two metrics, you will invariably misstep: either giving up too soon, focusing on the wrong things, running the wrong ads or a myriad of other issues.
Final word: all of these things work. It really comes down to either yourself sticking with it or finding an agency and going all-in, trusting that they know their stuff and watching the numbers. We can help with that last one: Limo Marketer is the best transpo agency in the biz, and we’re always happy to help you figure out this wild world of ad spend. Contact us to learn more: 855-255-LIMO.