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You need a digital marketing strategy and you need it yesterday. After all, digital marketing is changing the way we do business--even in the logistics industry--and if you don’t have a plan, you’re behind the curve. It’s tricky, isn’t it? You don’t know where to start. You turn to Google for answers, but you’re led down a rabbit hole. There are so many ideas, strategies, and experts out there. By the time you look up from the computer, you’re exhausted and no closer to a solution. We get it. That’s why we created this list of eight steps to help you create a successful digital marketing strategy for your business. Have a goal. What do you want to achieve? Set a realistic and measurable goal for your digital marketing strategy. Remember that as you grow and learn, you can always set new goals.   Know your target audience. This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s not. You’d be surprised by how many people are trying to connect with everyone. Know who you’re talking to. Potential customers, drivers, or agents--it matters!   Know your competitors. Check out your competitor's websites, their social media channels, their blogs or email campaigns. Find out what you can do better and do it!   Know your team’s strengths. The best way to get things done is to know your team members’ strengths and assign them tasks accordingly.   Google your company. This will show you how easy (or not) it is for potential customers, drivers, or agents to find you in comparison with your customers because you’ll want to Google them too.   Start a newsletter. You don’t have to take our word for it. Marketing guru, Ann Handley, says that newsletters provide marketers with a weekly invitation into their customer's inboxes. She believes that newsletters are “100% effective” and “the backbone of so many content marketing efforts.   Be mobile compatible. With mobile phone users on the rise--come on, who isn’t doing business on their phone--it’s imperative that your website looks good on a phone screen!   Think outside the box. Consider other marketing options like affiliate marketing, commenting on industry blogs, starting a blog of your own, guest posting, and taking part in or hosting webinars. The sky’s the limit!   Digital marketing can be confusing, but once you get started, you’ll begin to have fun. If you still don’t know where to start, give us a call at Squirrel Works. We’re marketing experts with a focus on transportation because transportation is what we know!  ...
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The 2019 TIA Capital Ideas and Exhibition Conference takes place in a few short weeks, and here at Squirrel Works, we want you to make the most of this exciting opportunity. Does networking come easy to you? If not, we’re here to help. Asking the right questions is challenging, but it’s worth your time because the right questions will gain you valuable industry insight.    Don’t be nervous. All you have to do is start out by asking simple questions that demand simple answers. You want to get to know people, not impress them with your business acumen. So without further ado, here are five questions to get you started networking at this year’s conference. Where are you from? When you know where someone lives, you can more readily come up with topics of conversation--area sports, weather, vacation spots. What is your favorite Podcast, TED talk or book? This opening can create a great discussion of new business strategies discovered through online media. What’s your favorite activity when you’re not networking at the TIA Conference?   People love talking about themselves, and opening with a personal question puts them at ease and helps create a casual engagement. What did you think about the event or speaker? You’ve heard the old saying, “If five people witness a car accident, there are 5 different versions of the event.” The same logic applies to a networking conference. You can learn from someone else’s viewpoints or takeaways and improve your own understanding. What’s your go-to resource for industry news? There are so many logistics resources out there, and everyone has a favorite. When you ask this question, you might learn of new and interesting resources. Are you attending the 2019 TIA Conference? We’d love to meet up to chat about how digital marketing is changing the transportation and logistics landscape. Get in touch and let’s grab a coffee or find us at booth 518.  ...
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Separate Websites Do you have two websites? One for your brokerage and one for your warehousing services? If the answer is no, you might be underutilizing a valuable asset--your warehouse. If your warehouse is full, you can take a pass on this blog. However, if you’re looking at empty floor space, and you’re not sure why, you may want to pull up a chair and hear me out.   Why do you need two separate websites? First of all, you want to gain online visibility for your warehouse--and you can’t do this if your warehouse information is buried in your brokerage website. Secondly, you need to be able to track stats for warehousing, and that’s much easier if it has its own site. And finally, you can increase SEO for warehousing and your main site.   VISIBILITY   Let’s take a look at the visibility piece. Type your company name into Google, and you should see a Google My Business listing to the right. There you’ll find the category listing--most likely Trucking Company or Logistics--you gave your business. What you might not know is that Warehouse is a separate category in Google’s eyes. When a person starts a Google search, the algorithms strive to give the user the best possible results. If you’re looking for available warehouse space in a specific location, Google shows the “Warehouse” category listings first. If you aren’t listed in “Warehouse,” you’re not showing up.   Tracking Stats   Sure, you can set up tracking for the page with your warehouse copy. But imagine the superior insights you’ll gain when know the folks who visit your warehouse page are looking for warehousing services and not just clicking through your website.  Freight brokers are able to work with people all over the country and world. Warehouses can help only those folks in their geographic area. Once you can see the data you’ll know the location of your website visitors. You can even set location settings to ensure the majority of your traffic is local. Don’t know how to do that--reach out to Squirrel Works, we can help!   Increased SEO SEO is a tricky thing to master, and link building is imperative when it comes to increasing domain authority. Not familiar with Domain authority? Check out this article from Moz that breaks its down for you. One of the main factors affecting your  Domain Authority is the number of comparable company websites linking to your site.  This tells Google your website offers up useful information other websites choose to share with their visitors. When you create a warehouse website separate from your main website, you can add a backlink for the main website! Win win in our book. With any new website you must create a new Google My Business listing. Now that you have a separate warehouse website you can categorize it in the warehouse section. This helps searchers who type in “available warehouse space in . . .” find you!  Your warehouse listing was just a page on a logistics website. Now it stands alone and is ready to be found. If you’re looking to gain increased visibility for your transportation and logistics business we would love to hear from you! Give us a call today or send us an email [email protected]  ...
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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!...
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The 3rd Annual DAT User Conference is coming up soon in Portland, Oregon. Here at Squirrel Works, we’re excited to reunite with old friends and make some new ones too! In fact, we’re so excited, we thought we’d share some tips and tricks to help you take full advantage of the marketing opportunities the conference provides. We’ve been to quite a few conferences, and we’re always a bit surprised by how few transportation leaders are using social media to market themselves before, during, and after a conference like the fast-approaching DAT User Conference. Let’s take Twitter for example. Twitter is an exceptionally strong platform that can provide ongoing marketing for your company--long after the conference has ended. We’ve compiled a few tips for using Twitter to your advantage while attending transportation conferences. Just so you know, we’re not real bullish on Twitter overall as a Social Media platform benefiting logistics companies but it’s great for conferences! Twitter--What You Need to Know! It’s okay to use a conversational tone on Twitter. Other social media platforms don’t have the character count Twitter does. So go ahead and skip the formalities with a casual and straight-to-the-point tweet! Twitter works in real-time and doesn’t rely on algorithms to get tweets in front of your audience. That means your tweet might have an 18-minute lifespan. Sure, you have a pretty wide reach with Twitter, but you must tweet consistently and remember that your followers are also following other people--creating crowded timelines. Use the Conference Hashtag! Conferences create a dedicated hashtag you can use! Check out the conference marketing material, the app, or any big screens for the hashtag that they recommend. That hashtag gives you a big advantage--even people who don’t follow you will see your tweets when they search the conference hashtag! With some consistent tweeting, you might end up with some new followers! Some conferences even display a live stream of tweets with the conference hashtag, and this is a fantastic marketing opportunity. Make sure your tweets are conversational, consistent, and professional, so when you show up on these live streams you look like a pro. It’s another great way to gain new followers! Speakers like Credit! Speakers at conferences work hard to prepare! Don’t forget to credit speakers when you are quoting them on Twitter--this shows respect and shows an understanding of the topic. Most speakers provide their Twitter handle at the beginning of a session, but you can also check out the marketing materials. And if it isn’t provided, you can do a Google Search using their name and the word, “Twitter.” Be brave, bold, and opinionated! Add your unique point of view or understanding when you share speaker quotes. This opens up the conversation and encourages followers of the conference to engage with and connect with your tweets. This is your opportunity to engage with ideas and smart, industry-leading speakers like Steve Brown and Donald Broughton--to name just a couple! Follow and Connect! Sure, you want to gain followers, but a platform like Twitter offers you the opportunity to network and connect with other transportation folks. Do your research before the conference. Start following some of the speakers, as well as, experts or people you’d like to connect with. Here at Squirrel Works, we’ve even used Twitter to set up meetings. Use Twitter to meet others who might be interested in hearing more about what you do All you have to do is follow the conference hashtag, find out who is attending, and tweet them to see if they have a few minutes for a coffee. Never underestimate the value of a face-to-face meeting. Get Started Today! The 2018 DAT User Conference is right around the corner--September 24-26. Use Twitter to make it your best conference yet. We hope to see you there and in the live stream!!!...