SME Movers: A beginner’s guide to an online presence
Are you putting yourself out there?
Having spoken to several contacts at local / small and medium sized removals companies, I have found that a surprisingly high number rely on word of mouth, client recommendations and limited advertising to seek out new customers. Whilst it is fantastic to retain a strong local reputation, more and more removals companies of this size are taking to social media in order to realise their ambitions for growth. So, what can the small mover do to ensure that they are not left behind in the race to build an established online presence? Hopefully this blog will give you some starting points…
Check your website
Virtually all moving companies have a website, but how long has it been since you audited yours? Your website is your customer’s first point of contact - ask yourself whether it looks modern and appealing. The moving process is a chance to declutter: does your website reflect this with a clean, simple layout? Consider the user’s experience; are potential clients able to navigate your website with ease? Is there a booking system or enquiries form available? Is the information displayed up to date? Make sure your website gives the best possible first impression of your moving business!
Social media? Why bother?
Social media offers you another avenue through which to advertise your moving services. The idea is to gain visitors to your website by grabbing people’s attention via social media sites (such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.), thereby promoting your moving services and ultimately increasing revenue for your business. When social media users see information that interests them, they share it across their own personal or professional networks, which disseminates the information to a larger audience in a ‘ripple effect’. This gets your moving brand more views and more customers!
Branding your business
Branding involves building an exclusive name/image for your moving business which is easily identifiable by the customer. This can be achieved through advertising with a consistent look. The goal is to maintain a unique identity and presence within the moving market to interest and retain loyal customers – ensuring they recommend your services to their wider network. Basic branding can be built with a company logo, set colour schemes, fonts and overall feel which is consistent across all advertising avenues (website, van decals, staff uniforms, print ads and social media).
Find your place
SME movers sometimes struggle to find their market niche. To find yours, the key question to ask is what are your flagship services? Are you a domestic mover? Perhaps your core focus is residential moves rather than corporate/business moves? Are your moving services focused on a specific geographic area or demographic (student moves for example)? Consider the most profitable areas of your business and think about how your branding might appeal to your core market. It is important to identify your place in the moving services market and to target your audience accordingly.
Who are you?
For example, a family moving business involving multiple generations and focused on domestic removals within a local radius, may choose to focus their branding on a friendly, family orientated feel, with images and logos reflective of their traditional heritage and history within their local area. A newer, city-based mover concentrating on office moves, might choose bright, corporate style branding to appeal to corporate clients, thus helping the moving business to stand out in the bustle of the city. The feel of the branding may be more modern with a focus on speed and efficiency.
Claim your space
Facebook and LinkedIn are some well-known examples of the various social media sites offering free business pages. The internet is the first place that most clients will turn to in order to research moving services – make sure they can find you by claiming all the available online space; the claiming process is usually simple (and free)! When adding information to your company social media pages look to your website for inspiration; ensure the branding, language and appearance of social media pages are consistent across your entire online presence (and update these regularly)!
Get your staff online!
Business is increasingly focused on social media. Sites like LinkedIn offer opportunities to connect individual employee profiles to a company’s page (which describes your services and links to your own website). Encourage your staff to build professional online profiles with well-presented photographs and company branding. Removals is an industry built on trust with clients allowing you access to their homes and businesses – being able to put a human face to your Company and services will hopefully reassure potential clients and encourage them to reach out for more info.
Join the community
LinkedIn already has a vibrant moving industry community; there are forum groups dedicated to the removals sector with professionals from all over the globe discussing industry hot topics and events (from industry conferences to the latest surveying technology). Alchemy hosts some of the largest and most active groups including ‘THE REMOVALS INDUSTRY - for all of those associated with the moving Industry', as well as the ‘International Removals & Relocations News and Resource Centre.’ It is certainly worth getting online to take advantage of these vital industry networking spaces.
Crafting a strong online presence for your business is a long term project and a multifaceted task. It may be advisable to seek out expert help to get your marketing and branding off the ground to begin with. The most important thing to remember, is that once your online presence is established it is vital to maintain it with fresh content and updates to retain the interest of your network. Many businesses employ marketing staff precisely for this purpose. Now that this blog has given you some basic ideas to get started, the next step is to continue your research and get online!
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Written by Katie Smith, Assoc CIPD, BA Hons, HR Advisor at Alchemy Recruitment Ltd