Author: Dallas Racklin

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Harness the Power of Video Marketing Trucking companies are experiencing a whopping 54% increase in brand awareness. At the same time, they’re generating nearly 66% more qualified leads. (Video Marketing Statistics You Must Know) It’s no wonder, video marketing has become a big player. Smart trucking companies know that video marketing is more than worth the investment. You can use video content in a variety of ways--on your website, in your social media marketing efforts, as well as, for the driver recruitment process. Here at Squirrel Works, we love video marketing. You see, human beings are wired for story, and good video harnesses the power of story to reach your customers. Just remember--we said GOOD video. And GOOD video requires a little expertise. Here’s how we do it at Squirrel Works.   Camera: First of all, good video requires a good camera. Here at Squirrel Works, our primary camera for recording video is the Canon XC10. We love the XC10’s amazing 4K image quality. When the image quality is this excellent post-shoot edits are a breeze. As with all good things, the Canon XC10 has a downside, and that’s the built-in camera lens. Sure, it’s pretty standard, but it’s a slight bummer that we can’t take advantage of all of Canon’s amazing lens style offerings. Along with the XC10, we use a simple 64-inch aluminum tripod we purchased on Amazon. Yeah, you could drop a bunch of money for a tripod, but you won’t get a lot of bang in ROI for that buck. Our tripod is affordable and simple to set up and use. What more do you need?   Background: We liked the idea of a controlled background, and green screens are crazy fun--so we got one! Green screens are what they sound like--green backgrounds in front of which subjects are filmed. They allow different backgrounds to be added to the final images. We prefer the green screen to premade backgrounds because most premade backgrounds aren’t made for transport. They needed to be folded between shoots. They end up with hard crease lines which don’t look terribly authentic. With our Elgato collapsible green screen, crease lines are a thing of the past as we move with our equipment from one trucking company to another. We simply roll it up when we’re done and pull it back to tension when we’re ready to film again.   Lights: Lighting is always important, but even more so with a green screen. No one wants to shoot some great footage that can’t be used due to poor green screen lighting. When filming we use 2 Neewer (actually the brand name and not a misspelling) Bi-Color dimmable lights that allow us to control exactly how much light is on the green screen. We can change the color of the lights to enhance the shooting environment.  In addition to the green screen lights, we use a Neewer ring light right on the camera to enhance the subject being filmed.   Editing: Editing is the fun part. And while video editing for trucking companies can be challenging, the right editing software along with a solid workflow makes it more manageable. We currently use Adobe Premiere and the Creative Cloud apps to edit. Premiere comes with a lot of benefits, but we like it because it’s really popular. That popularity means we can find tons of helpful information online! We get lots of cool ideas during our filming with trucking companies. Shared online learning makes learning new tricks and adding them to video easy.     Are you interested in shooting some videos to aid in the recruiting process? Check out some of our work and give us a call. We can’t wait to connect! Quick video examples: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZFz8jBRSjE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dtlr1OMTCB8  ...
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2018--A Big Year. And just like that, another year in transportation and logistics is ready to blow right past us. I think when we look back, the way we all do-we’ll be shocked by the fluctuations and change in our ever-volatile industry.  You know what this means? The logistics industry is built to adapt--and adapt we do! Change is the name of the game. Like all of us, you’ve seen lots of change this year. We weathered the implementation of the ELD-rule with fewer hiccups than predicted. The driver shortage continued to dominate discussion and worries across the supply chain. While new technologies like platooning, autonomous vehicles, and the benefits of BlockChain captivated the minds of forward-thinking experts.   Here at Squirrel Works, these changes and innovations got us thinking and questioning. What should we be looking for and talking about in 2019? After all, we want to stay ahead of the game in an industry that moves forward every day. Ask the heavy hitters. That’s what we did! We reached out to some of the smartest transportation people we knew. And we asked them what they thought we should be talking and thinking about as 2018 turns into 2019. We talked to Kevin Hill, President and Founder of CarrierLists, Charlie Saffro, Executive Recruiter and Founder at CS Recruiting, Michael Riccio, Chief Marketing Officer of Leonards Express, and Jeremy Reymer , Founder and CEO at DriverReach and here’s what we found out. The Expert Opinions. “Everyone is talking about the driver shortage, ELDS, and tight capacity in 2018,” said Kevin Hill. “I think there’s a risk with all the optimism that we might see an oversupply of trucks to freight in 2018.” He explained that lots of trucking companies have been trying to expand quickly during the past 12 months due to tight capacity. His worry is what happens if freight volumes stagnate or fall off a bit.     It’s a good point. And something all of us should be watching for as capacity loosened up a bit these last few weeks of 2018. Charlie Saffro of CS Recruiting spoke from the hiring side of the equation. “From my point of view,” she said, “the supply and demand of professional talent needs to be discussed more. Hiring is often reactive vs. proactive,” Saffro explained. “Companies will secure better talent through proper talent planning and commitment to the talent acquisition process.” The logistics industry (for-hire transportation and warehousing) employs about 5 million people in the United States. This industry is expected to grow--so Saffro’s concern with hiring the best people to fill these important jobs makes a lot of sense.     Jeremy Reymer of DriverReach spoke on the emerging technology pieces entering the industry. "there’s a lot of talk, and heavy investment, in technology related to freight management, blockchain, and autonomous vehicles, but the industry is lagging in the area of HR and recruiting technology - especially as the demand for labor is so tight. Other more progressive industries are leading the way. It’s time for trucking to join the modern era in recruiting technology." Our good friend, Michael Riccio had several great insights to offer. He started off talking about the driver shortage. “ “This will (HAS) be talked about a lot; however, it still is important,” ,” Riccio began, and that’s the driver shortage.” He went on, “In addition to that, hiring qualified talent in general. And then training that talent.” Riccio also discussed what he called “a sneaky issue that does not get a lot of press” and that refers to states raising taxes--specifically fuel taxes. Riccio noted that states such as Pennsylvania, Indiana, and New Jersey have recently done this and more states will follow.  “Because these are regional issues, they do not get a lot of national press,” Riccio said, “ however they have large impacts on those folks operating in those regions.” In addition to the driver shortage and taxes, Michael Riccio discussed the ever increasing cost of operating a truck as well as the technological frontier. About technology, Riccio said, “Technology will continue to be an issue, specifically as it pertains to what will be useful and what will be a “flash in the pan.” He pointed out how important it is with so much available data, to decipher what is useful and what isn’t.  (due to technology, equipment cost is up and there is a long lag time to get a new truck once you place your order) Here at Squirrel Works, we’re grateful for the great friends we’ve made in the transportation industry. Their insights are extremely helpful as we plan for the changes and fluctuations that are sure to occur in 2019. Hats off to Kevin Hill, Charlie Saffro, Jeremy Reymer, and Michael Riccio, for taking the time to think about the most important issues in the transportation industry.  ...
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Are you spending money on a form of advertising you’re not familiar with? If you’re like most people, the answer is yes, and it makes you uncomfortable, right?  It’s our hope that after reading this short blog you’ll better understand how to ensure your next Google Ad campaign takes off!   What are Google Ads? Check out this quick read to find out!   When done right, Google Ads offer many benefits. Typically Google Ad users make around $2 for every dollar spent, per Google.   Here’s what you need: A Budget. Relevant and Engaging Ad Copy. A Smart, Attractive Landing Page for Potential Customers to Visit.     The Budget You can’t begin without a budget. Know where you want to spend your money and how much you want to spend. We suggest that you start small with your bids to get a grasp on keywords you want to rank for. And we can’t stress enough how important high-quality SEO keyword research is if you want the biggest bang for your hard-earned buck.   Engaging and Relevant AD Copy Engaging ad copy is a must have. According to Wordstream, 41% of clicks go to the top 3 paid ads on any search results page. Your content has to be good enough that visitors stop instead of scrolling on by. No, good copy isn’t the easiest thing to come up with, but luckily there are many online options available. Take Squirrel Works, for instance. Our team is always ready to put our unique transportation copywriting expertise to work for you!   Landing Page It’s a no-brainer that you need a great landing page. It’s probably the most important aspect of your online presence. Unfortunately, I often see great ad copy that links directly to a confusing page on a confusing website.  Ads should take you directly to a landing page specifically aligned with the ad copy. And don’t forget the Call-to-Action. Every landing page must have a visible and attractive call-to-action for quick conversion. Don’t pay Google to send potential customers you’re only going to confuse!     When it comes to acquiring website traffic there is definitely more than one way to get the job done. Check out the benefits of inbound marketing and the formula needed to make inbound more achievable for your transportation and logistics business.   Help us spread the word! If these tips help, please share this blog with your friends or associates. At Squirrel Works, we succeed when you succeed!...
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As millennials rapidly take over the freight brokerage space, many companies are facing this question: “How do we attract and retain millennial talent?” Here’s the good news--with 91% of millennials planning to keep their current job a measly 3 years or less, you’re not the only one asking this question.   The Ping Pong Table Effect: The ping pong table is a classic centerpiece in millennial-focused freight brokerage office. No, we’re not suggesting you run out and pick up a ping pong table. Not yet anyway--but you might want to think about what that ping pong table means. Freight Brokerage offices that promote a fun and enjoyable work environment tend to have better luck with attracting and retaining millennial talent!     Millennials are culture-centric, so the better your work culture the better chance you’ll retain the talent you worked so hard to attain and train. And it’s not just picnic tables--try after-hours work events. Go out for dinner as a team, attend a local event, plan a fun gathering where co-workers can hang out and relax together.   RELATED: Check out how one freight brokerage is using office culture to their advantage HERE!   Flexible Work Schedule: According to a recent report on millennials, 88% would love the ability to choose when they start and finish work. Some companies are adopting the common scheduling fix which allows employees to come to work in waves. For example, a wave arrives at 7:00, another at 8:00, and so on. This allows employees to choose a schedule that works best for both them and the employer.   Satellite employees are fast becoming common, especially among the millennial set. This offers employers an increased reach and scope for potential employees. Gone are the days when an employer was forced to choose talent from a small, local pool. Cloud Power and cloud-based tools enable companies to hire satellite talent.     Tip Top Tech Is A Must: Millennials are techy! It’s difficult to boost excitement in this crowd! That’s why you must equip your staff with the latest and the greatest in technology. Here’s the deal--the latest technologies have so much to offer and can make your employees’ and your own life better.     By the same token, your digital presence should actively reflect your business--your unique logistics philosophy.  Most millennials are going to check out your website before they send you a resumé. If you want those millennial applicants, now would be a good time to perform an overall audit of your online presence. For example, make sure your blog posts resonate with millennials and your website is easy to navigate. And don’t forget to optimize for mobile because, as we all know, millennials are always on their cell phones! RELATED: The Importance of Having an Online Presence   If you’re stuck with a tepid digital marketing strategy, and you’re having a rough time attracting and retaining millennial talent, we’d love to hear from you today. Give us a call @ 618.509.5740 or shoot us an email to [email protected]
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Have you recently noticed your company’s website is falling through the cracks into oblivion? You know what that means--your digital presence is too. Is it time to bite the bullet and create a new website? A new website runs the gamut on prices--the biggest differentiator being whether you try to do it yourself or hire a web development company.   A web development company will most likely offer you a couple if not several different pricing options. For more information on that, you might want to check out our blog exploring the differences between leased and purchased websites. But what is the purchase price today? We’ll take a look at the pros, cons and the corresponding prices of both DIY websites and Agency-produced websites.   DIY website costs:   If you want cheap--DIY is going to be your best option, but be forewarned, you get what you pay for! The go-it-on-your-own route offers several options to assist you in the design of your own website. Take Wix, for example. Wix is a DIY building platform that works well for beginners with little experience creating a website. They offer several pricing options, but building on the Wix platform will cost you between $15-$35 a month. While it doesn’t seem like a lot up front, when you factor in the time it takes you to travel the learning curve to complete this project, it’s possible that you won’t save a dime!     When building a new website, one of the most important factors is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). And in this arena, Wix isn’t going to help a lot. You see, once you publish your website, SEO is how prospective customers using search engines find you and your business. Because Wix offers very little in tools to help you configure a robust SEO, you will likely spend extra money post-launch when you find out you need to add it, pronto!   Agency website costs:   Working with a Digital Marketing Agency will cost you a bit more money up front, but the time and energy you conserve will make that extra cash well-spent! After all, you want to avoid those gray hairs as long as you can, right!   A Digital Marketing agency makes creating a professional website easy peasy lemon squeezy!   Seriously, you don’t have the time, energy, or desire to build a website--it’s not your idea of a good time! Wouldn’t you rather complete pertinent work tasks, or heck, just spend a nice evening at home? When you work with an experienced agency, you give the digital marketing team a list of current problems and limitations, explain what you want to change on your current website, and then sit back and wait for the magic to happen!   Price always depends on the size and scope of your particular project. How much needs to be changed? Will you be starting from scratch? These are considerations that will affect the final price which could range from a couple thousand dollars to $15,000.      If your business uses its website as an information gateway catering to customers or prospective customers or a simple space for getting in touch, you are looking at a lower-of-the-spectrum price.  However, if you want your website to be a hub for e-commerce transactions and to utilize software unique to your business, you should expect costs at the higher end. Go ahead and check out your DIY options, and if they look a little daunting and time-consuming, think about calling Squirrel Works--a Digital Marketing Partner who knows transportation. We’d love to chat with you today!  Email us at [email protected] or call us at 618.509.5740 to start your project before the competition blows past!...
DAT User Conference

DAT User Conference 2018 is drawing close and provides a great opportunity to market your logistics company to people that are already within the industry. The benefits of networking at these sorts of conferences prove to be both short and long-term and are valuable to your company and marketing strategy. However, simply attending the event is not quite enough, you should also be sure to brush up on your networking skills to connect with like-minded people, at the event! Schedule Free Time: Multi-day conferences like DAT’s User Conference have become quite popular in recent years, providing you with time to connect, share and explore with others at the conference. Never underestimate the value of face-to-face meetings that conferences provide, so be sure to leave gaps in your schedule to grab a spontaneous cup of coffee with peers you’ve met at the conference, allowing time to connect and chat. Know Who Is Attending: As the conference draws nearer, start researching who is expected to attend the conference and ways that you can get in touch to introduce yourself and perhaps schedule a brief meeting whilst at the conference. Some conferences will provide you with a list of people who are planning to attend, while others make the information available on the conference app or website. You can also check social media and see who is using the conference hashtag in anticipation for their attendance, and who is tagging the conference organizers. This practice really maximizes your chances of making new connections within the limited networking time. (P.S. We are attending, so be sure to get in touch to chat to us about digital marketing within the logistics industry) Have A “Why?”: Before entering a room full of people that you’re hoping to land as your newest client, remember to have a reason for your attendance – what are you hoping to achieve? What services will you be marketing? How do you plan on converting connections to sales? Before heading out to meet potential clients, practice your sales pitch and remember that no one else will be talking for you – it’s up to you to come to the conference prepared so know your business and be ready to answer any and all questions. Give Them Something To Remember You By: There is nothing more embarrassing than meeting a potential client who is very interested in what you have to offer, but then awkwardly realizing that you don’t have any business cards to hand to them. Make sure to have business cards ready and more importantly, make sure that all the details on them are correct! Besides business cards, think further; is your website up to date? Does your company come across as the future of logistics and transportation? Have you taken the time to set up social media accounts and have them actively sharing more about your company? You could even go further and hand out corporate gifts that they will use like notebooks and pens, perhaps even include a USB that has your services, FAQs, testimonials available in an insightful and self-explanatory layout. Are you prepared for DAT User Conference? We will be in attendance and are looking forward to sharing how digital marketing can change the way that you do business. Be sure to contact us, if you’d like to schedule a meeting or even chat about what you can do to maximize your networking efforts at the upcoming conference....
BloggingSales and MarketingWebsite Development

Price is always a major factor in any purchase decision, and the purchase of a new website is no different. Website development companies have different ways of charging you for your new website. It’s confusing, and that’s why we are breaking it down. You can see for yourself the differences between a website you lease and a website you own. Leased website: Best price is always a concern when it comes to purchasing a website, and the leased website isn’t a bargain option. The main benefit that leased websites offer is a significantly lower initial cost than you’d incur when buying a website outright. It’s standard practice for website development companies to charge an upfront fee, but with a leased website you will also have a monthly bill for service. Lower initial cost is great, but there are a couple of cons to the leased website. Say you want to part ways with your website developer--if they are leasing you the website, they are going to take it with them. This means that your hard work, your content, your edits--all of it is gone when your business relationship ends, and that’s a drag! Another issue is the lengthy contract. Most companies that lease websites offer contracts in the 24 months-long range, and unfortunately, your website might still belong to the developers. After 2 years of payments, you’re going to want to OWN your website.   Purchased website: Purchased websites are more common and are a win/win for both you and your developers. In this case, you own the rights to your website, so if you decide to switch providers, you bring your website along. This alleviates your future costs on website projects because the bulk of the work is done when your website goes live the first time! When you buy a website, your initial cost is going to be a little higher than with a leased website. In a standard agreement, you will typically pay half the website cost to start the project. This secures development time. The remainder of the fee is due at the completion of the project. There are companies, however, that are willing to work with you on payment terms. For example, at Squirrel Works, we strive to make sure payment arrangements and development timelines benefit you! Your transportation and logistics company needs the best website, and it’s up to you to make that happen! If you are a newer company, and you’re not quite sure what you’re looking for, a leased website might be a good option. But if you want your website to positively impact your company in the long-term, you’ll want to explore options for owning your website. A website is a big decision! Weigh your options and decide what works best for your unique transportation and logistics company. If you’re in the market for a partner who not only understands but loves the difficult world of transportation AND can help you with your digital marketing--give us a call at 618.509.5740. If you prefer email, reach out to [email protected] We’d love to hear from you....
BloggingSales and MarketingSEOWebsite Development

Imagine this- it’s midnight, you’re hungry, so you decide to venture out for a snack. Wait--there’s a problem. Even though the restaurants exist on Google, there are no instructions, and you have no idea how to get the midnight snack you deserve! Imagine your frustration. All you want is a tasty treat, but you don’t have a clue where to get one because your instructions don’t work. What if I told you that search engines, like Google, face these same frustrations when they crawl your website because you don't have a sitemap? So what the heck is a sitemap and why is it so important? The sitemap is the set of directions that shows search engines how to maneuver your website. Better yet, a good sitemap lets you dictate how search engines move around on your website. For example, let’s say your transportation has a new service offering, and you want to make sure website visitors find it. A good sitemap allows you to give higher priority to the new service offering over the rest of your site’s content. So you think a sitemap is important. Now what? There are in fact several different types of sitemaps--six in fact! HTML XML Video Image New Mobile The most common are the HTML and XML sitemaps. The main difference between these two sitemaps is pretty simple. HTML is user-focused to help the users navigate best on a website, while XML is search engine-focused telling search engines, like Google, what to do. Having smart sitemaps on your transportation website enables you to boost your digital marketing efforts by increasing visibility. You’ll get a leg up on your competition in this ever-changing digital world!   If your current digital efforts aren’t quite doing the trick, don’t let worry get you down. AMT Squirrel Works can offer you the helping hand you need. Reach out. We’d love to chat! Gives us a call at 618.509.5740, or check us out online at amtsquirrelworks.com.  ...
Sales and Marketing

Rejection is hard to face! It’s perhaps the biggest reason most people don’t make the cut when it comes to sales. I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by a team of super encouraging people who constantly pick each other up and motivate each other to be better than they were the day before. Unfortunately, even surrounded by the most solid team, it is highly unlikely that you will ever reach a point in your sales career where rejection isn't a steady staple in your sales diet! Fortunately, there are a couple of ways to soften the blows and to help you bounce back after those brutal rejections. Laugh it off. This is pretty crucial and why it’s number one on my list. You can’t take personally every rejection you receive at work, or you’ll be buried alive. Just off a call in which you got your rear end flamed? Laugh it off and smile. Darwin noted in his famous facial feedback response theory that simply smiling can cause a positive effect on your overall mood. Plus, a smile is contagious, so if you’re not doing it for yourself do it for your sales teammates who are likely going through the same gauntlet. Conduct a self-audit. Once you’ve had the chance to laugh off the pain of your last defeat, it’s time to recap what happened so you can get back to crushing it. Something I find helpful is returning to and studying the calls, emails and any other communication form I used. I call it my self-audit. Here’s how it goes: Did I ask the right questions during discovery calls? Did I give prospective clients enough breathing time between conversations? I remind myself all the time that a prospect’s world doesn’t revolve around me. He or she is working hard. So when it’s time for me to follow up, I make sure I have a solid reason and purpose for that call. So often, successful sales calls come down to the right place at the right time! Be consistent. If your current plan of attack is working then put your head down and keep getting the job done. Consistency is what propels you to the finish line at the end of the day. Don’t let the outlier in your pipeline diminish all of the current success you are having out there. Moral of the story- Don’t be afraid to laugh the rejection away, make sure you conduct a helpful self-audit to keep your sales process efficient and positive, and be consistent with your work. Hopefully these tips will help you over the next rejection hump you face so you can get right back to your success!...