Archive for June, 2010

Networking: Why are you just Talking to other Limo Companies?

Posted on June 30, 2010
Here at Create-A-Card, we have noticed how our many of our ground transportation customers are missing great opportunities to network with other businesses. Limo company managers have learned the many benefits of creating affiliations with other transportation providers, but are missing opportunities to create dialogues with a host of other businesses whose clientele dovetail with fleet services.

For example, set up exclusive package deals for customers who plan to use your limousine service to attend elegant galas. Contact beauty salons, day spas and formal wear rental companies and establish an account with them that stipulates flat discount rates for the customers you refer. This will make it easy to establish a budget for the package deals so you do not lose money. In return, you can offer packages featuring their product or service to your customers attending black-tie affairs. Create a win-win situation by arranging to have joint advertising on websites and printed materials.

For formal events like proms and cotillions, make arrangements with a floral business to supply corsages and boutonnieres at a bulk rate for customers you send their way. Locate posh clubs along popular routes and set up a running account that offers your limo customers a free drink and appetizer before — and after — the event. You can even make arrangements with a local photography studio to have pictures taken of their party exiting the limo.

When there are special events in your service area — like concerts, sports or opening nights — take the opportunity to work directly with event managers to set up package deals that include other vendors with which your are networking. Propose an advertising strategy that both parties can use to create a dual promotion. Offer seperate contests or drawings for a package deal that includes arrival in a limo. This strategy will promote your services to the public as well as create brand recognition for your limo company. With proper management, these type of mutual promotions can boost the business for both companies and create a buzz by launching a clever contest that attracts media attention.

Another networking strategy you can implement is offering event managers a list of reliable local references for the types of goods and services they routinely need. Include information on licensed electricians, light and sound technicians, security providers, gourmet food vendors and cocktail services. Let these companies know that you have posted their contact information on your referral list, and offer them incentives for sending you customers in return.

For your corporate customers, use the same strategy to develop a network of hotels — from five star accommodations for visiting executives to working suites for long-term contractors — for guests who use your ground transportations. Have coupons for local eateries and entertainment venues as well as nearby souvenir stores and local boutiques. To take it one step further, work with a local graphics company to make a colorful map of your area that highlights participating merchants that you can post online or print up to include in your welcome packages.

Create-A-Card can help you make the most of your network connections by providing the kind of marketing strategies designed to reach beyond your normal baseline. Using SEO strategies and social networking techniques, we can get your limo company affilitated with all the popular events in your region. Our knowledge of the ground transportation business can be put to your advantage as we explore and develop even more opportunities to network with community businesses, organizations and agencies in a way that drives more business to your door and helps promote the local economy.

Creating a Niche Marketing Plan for Green

Posted on June 21, 2010

These days, a great way to draw in new customers is by appealing to their environmental awareness. As a part of an effectively executed marketing plan, the promotion of your company’s eco-friendly advantages can help it stand apart from the competition in a dramatic and lucrative way. If you operate a limousine or transportation company, you’ve already got plenty of green benefits built in to the way that you do business. Why not play them up? A few top tips for doing so are outlined below.

Define Your Audience – Your niche marketing plan will be dead in the water if you don’t know who to aim it at. Many people rely on the services of transportation and limousine companies; many others are on the fence, but would use them quite often if the environmental benefits of doing so were made clear. Therefore, your target audience is mostly going to consist of people who either already use the services that your company offers – but who will become loyal customers if you promote your organization’s green benefits. Those who rarely use your services, but would do so more often if they knew the environmental benefits of doing so, would be another part of your target audience.

Choose Your Focus – You’ve already decided to focus your niche marketing plan on the green characteristics of your company, and of transportation companies in general. Now, you should zero in on a couple of ideas that you’d like to get across during your campaign. You could point out that passenger vehicles cause a lot more pollution than large buses do, on a per-passenger basis, or you could choose a number of different points to emphasize. The point is, you want to select a main point – and stick with it.

Present Your Points in a Clear Way - Whether your marketing campaign is going to be small or large, the main points that you’ve chosen to highlight should remain consistent throughout it. The last thing that you want to do is confuse your prospective customers.

Practice What You Preach – Finally, make sure that you can easily back up any claims that you make. Exaggerating or stretching the truth about the eco-benefits of using your company can backfire in a seriously damaging way. Besides, there’s no reason to do this: The limousine and transportation industry really does have many green characteristics that you can stress in your marketing campaign.

Generating Value Added Sales Online

Posted on June 14, 2010

With internet commerce becoming more competitive by the day, the importance of staying at the top of the search engine pile becomes crucial to a sound business strategy. Consequently, smart businessmen are realizing they need a good media consultant to create and maintain websites that can generate value added sales by linking current market trends directly to their product. Having an online marketing consultant can brings sales in from multiple targets by creating the kind of buzz that generates reviews, comments and affiliations.

Website Design

Generating added value content into your website is the first step in having a successful internet presence, and professional tricks of the trade are needed to make sure your copy, keywords and graphics all link together to form a cohesive unit. Visitors to your site should find well-crafted home pages that load quickly and provide direct links to further information. The order forms and shopping carts need to be simple, efficient and safe so customers don’t get frustrated and change their mind. A well maintained forum or on-line chat feature is an invaluable method to keep customers’ interest and overcome any objections.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Key words are the tool that media consultants use to drive sales to their customers’s websites, and like any tool, it takes a practised hand to get good results. To efficiently optimize a website, the key word combinations should be adjusted regularly to incorporate popular phrases and buzz words that rank high in search engine queries. Since 90 percent of internet commerce is generated from the first page of search engines like Google, maintaining a high SEO ranking is crucial.

Social Networking

Facebook and LinkedIn have inadvertently created a whole new promotional tool to drive quality traffic straight to commercial websites. Of course, this tool also requires a skilled hand to create the kind of strong web links that interconnect into a solid network. With proper programming, these sites can be regularly updated with minimum fuss so it is easy to add fresh, relevant content to multiple sites with a single posting.

Blogs and Microblogs

Creating and maintaining regular blogs on services like WordPress and Blogger provides yet another portal for media consultants to use to funnel interested customers to their client’s website. Informative blogs that address common customer questions may not seem profitable on the surface, but on a deeper level they develop product branding that can influence a customer’s final decision. Short, informative Twitter microblogs can be stylized to grab attention and generate the kind of word-of-mouth buzz that is still the best advertising technique in the world.

The professional team at Create-A-Card can provide your company with the kind of service and attention that can turn your website into a valuable asset. Just give us a call or drop us an email and we’ll be glad to show you some of the other tricks we have up our sleeve for keeping your internet business generating increasingly profitable returns.

Friday Funnies…GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLL!

Posted on June 11, 2010

In honor of the World Cup…hope no one makes this mistake–either in your printed marketing materials or while protecting your goal.

Enjoy!

Five Smart Green Marketing Strategies

Posted on June 7, 2010

1. Be sincere

The green market is estimated to reach $1 trillion in the next five years. To get noticed in this highly competitive field, you have to understand your audience and appeal to their desire for facts, figures and data. Dressing it up with overblown claims or flowery text is not going to impress the green crowd, in fact, they find it a turn off.

2. Highlight your green practices

Since the field is so competitive for emerging green technologies, it is crucial to employ multiple avenues to generate the right kind of interest in your product or service. If you have a commitment to green practices in your factory or office, be sure to document and highlight your efforts to reduce waste and align with ecologically sound policies. If your company contributes goods or services to disaster victims or participates in community programs, find ways to work such information into your website copy, press releases and advertisements. It can make the difference in a consumer’s mind when he is faced with a close decision.

3. Design ads that create desire

As advertising expert Leo Burnett once noted, “Good advertising does not just circulate information. It penetrates the public mind with desires and belief.” To create an effective ad campaign, you need develop a strategy that creates a desire to have the product or service that you have to offer. Determine an unique aspect of your green product or service to set it apart from similar items and craft your presentation to make that aspect desirable to the consumer.

4. Create campaigns — not ads

If you notice, most successful long-playing ad campaigns have a theme or story line that connects them, like Geiko’s talking gecko or the lonely Mayflower appliance repairman. Green consumers are just as susceptible to a well thought out storyline, so don’t make the mistake of designing ads one at a time, develop a long range strategy that builds anticipation in the consumer and makes your product or service develop a new dimension of desirability.

5. Tell the truth

The bottom line in dealing with the savvy green consumer of the 21st century is to be honest, which means you don’t want to use hard sell techniques or extravagant claims. As advertising genius William Bernbach pointed out, “The most powerful element in advertising is the truth.”

The Art of the Apology…

Posted on June 4, 2010

Let’s face it, we all make mistakes.  Even pretty big ones can be recovered from…take a lesson from this week’s most talked about mistake…Jim Joyce’s wrong call that was heard around the globe.  If you make mistakes with your customers, the best approach is always to ‘fess up to it and apologize.  A personalized promotional gift with an “I’m sorry” card will soften the hearts of even the most angry.

Five Common Green Marketing Mistakes

Posted on June 2, 2010

In the green world, knowing your audience is important. Miscommunication can cause a host of backlash, so it is important to be very specific and understand that consumers are wise to ‘come-ons’ and suspicious of extravagant claims. When you design material to communicate with this demographic, keep the following tips in mind so you don’t lose business before it ever gets to your door.

1. Underestimating the intelligence of the audience

According to the New York Times, the green consumer tends to be inquisitive, suspicious, more open to new ideas and better informed than any other group of consumers in the marketplace. They have value standards to uphold that are considered for every purchase, and they do their research before deciding on what product to buy. It is important to provide verifiable facts and figures for them to use in their decision-making process and appeal to their heads as well as their hearts.

2. Making and disseminating vague or misleading environmental statements

When Ford launched its “Kermit the Frog” advertising campaign for their Ford Escape Hybrid, they ran ads that said, “Green vehicles. Cleaner factories. It’s the right road for our company, and we’re well underway.”

Meanwhile, Ford only produced 20,000 ‘green’ Hybrid SUV’s per year, while continuing to produce almost 80,000 gas guzzling F-series trucks per month. Needless to say, smart consumers caught on to the hypocrisy quickly and the campaign backfired so severely that the term “Greenwashing” became synonymous with Ford. Greenwashing is a derogatory term that consumers pin on misleading claims in green-targeted advertising. A company once accused of greenwashing has to do serious damage control to attract environmentally conscious consumers back to their company.

3. Use sweeping generalities to define the green consumer

The green demographic is not one single entity that reacts uniformly to all environmental criteria . A green consumer can range from 19 percent deep greens (who are totally committed to basing all purchases on green standards) to 33 percent medium greens (who are willing to make moderate sacrifices and pay a bit more for green products and services) to 16 percent light greens (who make green choices only if it makes economical as well as ecological sense). Make sure you know which demographic of this audience you want to address with your message and craft it accordingly.

4. Committing sins of omission

Transparency is everything in the information rich green market. When Horizon Organic Dairy advertised happy cows, it didn’t take green consumer’s long to investigate and discover that their cows weren’t so happy after all and were subjected to harsh factory conditions. Consequently, a protest was organized against the dairy that damaged their credibility and allowed a host of other products with higher standards to rush in and fill the gap. All the great PR in the world can’t correct a ’sin of omission’ marketing blunder.

5. Underestimating the power of the Internet

The internet has changed the way consumers shop, and the word-of-mouth network can spread bad news like a virus through blogs, social networking sites and comments on posted stories. In a flash, millions of consumers are alerted to misdeeds or extravagant product claims, and the green community has extensive, sophisticated internet networks and they know how to them effectively. This is why advertisers targeting the green market have to display a sense of integrity that leaves the flashy sales techniques and come-ons behind. All it takes is a click of the mouse for word to spread like wildfire, so make sure the gossip about your product or service gets the right kind of reviews by forgoing hype and maintaining integrity.