How To Build A Modern Limousine Service Which Makes Money Online?

Case Study – How To Market A Limousine Service Online?

In this case-study we will show you how to market a limousine service online and do it the right way. Needless to say, we’ve done a lot of work for limousine services, some of which are in very competitive markets.

To mention just a few of them, our clients are some of the most prominent limo services in Switzerland, a market leader for black limo services and first-class transportation. 

Also, there is Washington DC, a political and legislative center of the USA, followed by Singapore and Frankfurt, both economic and financial centers of the world.

limousine service
Limousine Service

They all cater to a rather similar audience, even though it may not look like it to an outsider.

If you are a limo service owner or manager, you should be getting on average at least 36% of your customers from the internet. If you are not getting these numbers, then your limo service website design has a lot of things that should be improved in order to be one of the best limousine websites in the world

In this case study, we’ll cover the most obvious ones.

This case study is based on over 900 limo service websites analyzed by experts and with various computer tools. The complete list would be too long (and too boring, if I am being completely honest) for this segment to cover, so we’ll just discuss the most important and prominent topics relevant to limo service niche.

Implementing what’s discussed here allowed several of our clients to go from 0$ revenue from the internet to at least 40,000$ of monthly revenue in 6 months.

Since most of the limo services are catering to two different groups of clients, I am going to split this case study into two parts: black limo services and wedding/night out limo services.

Let’s begin with the black limo, because everything that works for black limo also works for wedding/night out limo services, but not always the other way around.

I’ll also cover all of the problems plaguing both groups within the black limo segment, not mentioning it again in the second one.

In short, if you are looking for limousine advertising ideas or limousine marketing ideas, you’ve come to the right place.

BLACK LIMOUSINE MARKETING IDEAS

As a rule of thumb, if you address the issues listed for black limos, you can be almost certain that wedding/night out service will be covered as far as your website is concerned.

Black limo companies serve high-paying clients in town for a business or leisure trip. Those are usually businessmen, politicians, royalty or in short – rich people.

black limousine service

And being that it’s usually a very specific audience, the website itself should be made accordingly. They expect a higher standard of service and are willing to pay more for it.

And all of that begins with a website. If you plan on charging 5-star prices, you must have a 5-star website – the best limousine website possible.

Poor limo web design/development/optimization

This goes without saying for any website, but let’s cover it shortly here as well.

Most of bad-looking or bad-performing websites are a usually a consequence of either an owner/decision maker being uninformed about the necessity of having a website for a modern business or, and there is no nice way to say it, cheap.

Both result in really bad conversion rates and in some cases – impact your business negatively, rather than positively. Bad conversion rates also severely affect your marketing viability, rendering any potential marketing campaign ineffective.

Check out our “Guide to websites for small business owners” for more info about the subject.

Outdated website

If you have a website that is older than 5 years or hasn’t been updated in 3 or more years, then you can be sure that you need a new one. You need the best limo service design possible. If you do not have one, you are losing a significant portion of your internet potential.

Text content

Most limo companies do not hire a professional copywriter to write content for them, they usually write it themselves. Which usually results in poor text content.

Text and image content on your website is one of the five pillars of having a successful and powerful online presence.

Poorly-written text content results in rather bad conversion rates, for several reasons. Apart from the usual suspects such as grammar and spelling mistakes, another text content handicap is usually present:

“best limo service in the city” or some other variation of the word “best” 

In the words of the mighty Tywin Lannister: “Any man who must say “I am the king” is no true king”.

No one is going to take you seriously if you say you are the best. In any form or shape.

You have to address the need and intentions of your clients. They are on your website because you provide a service that they (might) need. And the job of your website is selling that service.

stretch limousine

Everyone is going to be at least a bit suspicious if they see a website filled with superlatives. They are hard to prove and more often than not pointless when compared to what they actually expect out of your service.

Black limo services cater to a very specific audience, they are ready to pay more for the service, but they also expect a higher standard of service.

So you want your visitors to get the impression that you are the most professional, preferably without saying it.

Being the best is both very hard to measure and to prove, yet being the most professional is what is expected of every high-end limo service and what will get you those clients ready to pay upwards of 300$ per ride.

Absence of good image content

If you ever thought that you could save a few dollars on the side by not paying the professional photographer and taking the photos yourself – you are not the only one.

It’s completely understandable to think that the difference in content quality is not worth the money, that it won’t have that much of an effect on your website.

Sadly, it IS worth the effort and even though it may not seem like it, it is worth the money in the long run.

It’s a very important step toward creating a professional brand image for your company. Your website works for you 24/7/365, so it is really, really important that you send the right message to your customers.

One of the websites we analyzed a while back had on its “Fleet” page the photo of the company “parking lot” with their two limos. It was a small, gravel patch of land, behind a hand-made wooden fence, next to a cattle ranch.

Granted, that was an extreme case, but I think it’s enough to give you a rough idea of how important it is to relay the right image to your audience.

A quick fix for this particular business would’ve been to just park their limos in front of a fancy 5-star hotel and take a few photos there, and that alone would change the current company image dramatically.

black limo

The number of limos has never been an issue with any customers, no matter if it’s only one limo or twenty. What does matter is how those limos are presented.

As with everything else here, if you don’t believe me, put yourself in the shoes of your potential customer – who would you go with?

A company X with the best limousine website, that has good, professional image content or company Y which doesn’t?

Which one looks nicer? You have no way of knowing how good the service is, but surely the company X looks way more professional and attractive than company Y.

Let’s look at it this way – if you were to get an extra customer every month thanks to only professional image content, how long would it take for that investment to pay itself off?

The answer is probably “in a few months” and with that investment alone, you get a permanent and very powerful upgrade to your brand.

Difference in typical clients

There is a clear difference between a typical client of a black limo company and a wedding/night out Limo Company.

While it’s completely obvious that you should work for every client’s recommendation instead of just their money, it’s the customer retention rate between the two that counts.

Black limo services get higher percentages of customer retention than the night out limo service and (especially) wedding limo services.

While this itself is not a deal breaker and every wedding company is dealing with it, not taking the customer difference into account when formulating a marketing strategy can be a deal breaker.

Let’s give you a short example – If you invest, say, 100$ in a marketing campaign to get a new client for a black limo ride in Washington DC and earn 10$ on the first ride – that’s a great deal!

If you do the same in the same city for a wedding limo ride and earn the same 10$ for the first ride – not so much.

mercedes

A black limo customer is going to come back and use your service 2.44 more times in a year, on average, while a wedding limo customer is not going to do it again.

So, 100$ CPA (cost per acquisition) is going to net you 254$ on average (10$ for the first ride and 2.44×100$ for the next ones, as you don’t have to pay for marketing) for every new customer during the year, while wedding limo customer is going to net you 10$.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do wedding/night out limo services, it just means that marketing opportunities differ in many parameters, even though it may not seem like it.

“We offer cheap limo services” or “We offer affordable limo service”

Yes, I understand it’s a competitive market and that you are ready to work with a lower markup. And lowering the price or advertising yourself as a cheap limo service may seem like a new way to go, but it isn’t.

You stand less of a chance of being taken seriously. If you are in a night out limo gig, you are going to attract the kind of people who do not care about anything else, but the price.

They are very hard people to work for in the first place, and a worse thing than that is once they find someone who does it cheaper – you’ve effectively lost a customer.

chauffeur

If you have a black limo service, the price will never be an issue, and if you are losing customers, it’s going to be because of other things, like the quality of service, punctuality or plain old “hidden fees”.

By the way, never ever have hidden fees. It’s a quick and easy way to lose your customer, and there are several great ways to take advantage of the fact that your pricing is transparent.

Having a competitive price is one thing, but advertising your limo services as cheap is, in my opinion, the best way to lose business.

So if you have a price as a selling point, use ‘affordable’ or ‘competitive’ instead of cheap and if you are in the black limo service – don’t use price as a selling point at all.

A notable exception and a really good selling point could be ‘no hidden fees’ displayed on your website. It could work for you from many different angles –for example, in case of other limo services not being as honest as you are.

But let’s approach this from a completely new perspective: With a good website, you have the ability to attract a lot of new customers from the internet.

Let’s say that the client reserved a ride costing 300$ and that out of those 300$, you earn 100$. It’s unlikely, but let’s say that’s the case.

It’s going to be a bit harder to find someone who would pay 350$ for the same ride, but it would increase your earning by 50%.

Now, instead of having to do 3 trips to make 300$ at the end of the day, with higher quality clients you could make those 300$ in 2 trips or earn 450$ for 3 trips.

For black limo clients, price is never the issue and 50$ is nothing for them, but for you, its 50% earnings increase.

There are also several very functional methods that allows to effectively filter out cheap clients when your website goes live, channeling only the most qualified audience to your website.

Even though it may sound a bit wrong, it’s very much worth it in the long run, especially if your traffic consists dominantly of paid traffic.

But, as I said before – you need a 5-star website to begin finding those clients and I can assure you, none of those websites have the word ‘cheap’ anywhere on them.

Bad grades / critique

It may not look like it, but bad online reviews of your previous customers could be a great tool for you. 

Having great reviews is very good, don’t get me wrong, but you can’t improve your service with good reviews.

Bad reviews offer you great insight into where your business’ shortcomings are and give you the opportunity to fix them.

People are quite more honest in online reviews than they would be in person as they don’t want to hurt other people’s feelings and/or get in conflict.

limousine services

Another good thing you can do is reply to them (side note – never ever get in conflict with a person who left you a bad review, try to work it out as best as possible), giving you the ability to engage your customers after the service and ask them candidly what could you do to make it better.

Granted, it’s not a nice feeling to hear someone criticize something you’ve been building for (presumably) a good number of years, but it’s a great way to address the issues in your company’s service funnel and improve it.

With that being said, you can’t avoid an occasional jerk looking to ruin your day every once in a while, even though you did everything great, so not taking it all too close to heart is still the way to go in these instances.

Why Is Social Proof Important For Limo Service Marketing?

Not many limo websites have social proof from previous customers praising their service.

If you don’t have it, it’s one of the easiest fixes to improve the status of your website and, more importantly, increase your conversion rates.

Selling is all about trust, and the sooner you establish that trust, the easier it will be to turn a website visitor into a customer.

And having social proof is essential for it.

That being said, don’t go overboard with social proofs. One of the most common problems on limo website is stuffing awards and logos of their associates on the top of the first page, cluttering the page.

While there are some awards that do matter in this field, most of them are insignificant to the visitor.

For one, they don’t immediately address the needs and wants of your visitor, and while having a decent award may go a long way in increasing trust, it’s not the first thing that they should see.

Same applies for logos. There is a place for that after you’ve told them your story why they should choose you as their go-to limo service, and after that, go the logos of every renowned brand you cooperate with.

If you drive Coca-Cola executives while they are in town, that’s great!

You are going to jump through some hoops to get them onboard and on your website (speaking from experience), and it’s great to have them on as a social proof.

But that shouldn’t be the first thing they see when they open a webpage, because there are more far more important things.

There is a limited amount of information every user can process at a given time and trying to stuff all of them at once is detrimental to the main parameter of sale you should be concerned about as a limo service owner – conversion.

For more info on conversion, check our dedicated ‘conversion’ segment in our “Guide to websites for small business owners”.

SEO service for limo companies and PPC services

Our agency caters to only one limo service per city, and there is a really good reason for that – conflict of interests.

If you hired an agency that is working for two or more limo services in a single city, you are getting at best the same performance as your competitors are.

Which means that the effectiveness of PPC campaigns is going to be divided between you and your competitor. Your SEO ranking is also going to suffer, because “SEO juice” for that city is going to be split between you.

And even if you are positioned really well in the city, a difference in only one result spot means about 33% less traffic, which means 33% fewer customers from the internet.

You definitely should be running SEO and PPC campaigns, they always have a positive ROI, but you should never do it with someone who also works for your direct competitors.

Cheap limo websites + pricing analysis

Never in my life have I seen a 1000$ limo website that was worth that money. You get A WEBSITE, but it’s not a website that’s going to get you far.

In limo owner terms: it’s the same as going around driving your clients in a 1995 Suzuki Swift.

Is it going to get your passengers to their destination? Yes. Is it going to do the job as well as a stretch limo or get you recommended? Of course not.

Whoever says that they are going to do the website for a 1000$ is there to take that money off your hands, not to solve your problem.

A good limo website takes a lot of work, and more importantly- that work is spread out over the period of at least three months.

There are several iterations to be made if you want a very good website that is dominating the industry in the city you are in.

black limo service

To be completely clear, I am not saying that you should go and pay 20,000 dollars for an overengineered website at a high-end agency for 250$/hour.

There are very good solutions that will get you the work done, but choosing the cheapest solution means choosing to waste your money on an ineffective limo website instead of spending a bit more and getting one that works.

Let’s do a quick math: Let’s say that you pay $5,000 for a complete solution (A good, converting website + complete on-site SEO work on it to get you some exposure with your potential clients on your website + PPC (pay per click) campaign to get you paid traffic on your website).

If you were to only charge those extra 50$ per ride we’ve discussed before, you’d pay out your investment in 100 rides.

And you’d get a very good, converting limousine website which is going to continue to do the good work for the rest of its lifetime.

As far as PPC campaigns go, a baseline for our agency varies from country to country and city to city, but let’s take US as an example, where CPA for a single client for an optimized and streamlined campaign with a good website is from $12 to 30$.

With a bad one, conversion rates are so low that CPA is at least 100$ and going up.

That’s why having a good, converting website is important. It pays off significantly in the long run to get a converting website and not a cheap one.

For this particular case, due to differences in conversion rates, $5,000 website pays itself off in about 50 rides in marketing budget saving.

Difference in “price inquiry to booking” rates

This is the number one reason you should always have a modern and converting website.

It is a natural extension of CPA with one major difference – it’s nowhere near apparent, not many marketers talk about it with their clients (especially if the results are bad) and the clients, for the most part, have no idea about it themselves.

The number in question is Actual Cost Per Acquisition or the cost per acquisition adjusted by the percentage of price inquiries that actually resulted in bookings.

Example: You spend 1000$ to get 600 people interested in your services to come to your website. Out of those 600 people, 30 fill out the price inquiry form*. So your CPA, in this case, is 1000$/30 = 33$.

But, and this is a huge “but”, not all 30 forms will result in a booking. Price Inquiry to Booking (PITB from now on) rate varies wildly depending on the quality of your website.

For bad websites, it goes as low as 7% with websites older than 4 years and averages at around 22%. For newer websites that number varies from 54% to 75% and averages at around 68%. Our websites (and we’re very proud of this) average at around 80% PITB.

So, if you had a bad-looking or an outdated website, your ACPA is equal to CPA divided by PITB or in this case:

ACPA = 33/0.22 = 150$

And for a modern website PITB is over 3 times higher and therefore the ACPA is 33/0.75=48.52$, causing a massive difference in the viability of all marketing efforts.

PITB depends on several factors, none of which are easily defined, but in general – having a modern and trendy website is going to significantly increase PITB.

I used paid traffic marketing campaign as an example, because it gives clearer, more ‘palpable’ results, but the thing is – the same is applied to every other marketing effort, with SEO being the most notable one.

Even if you invest heavily in SEO with an old website, the results you would get would be lower by a factor of at least 3, which is quite a huge difference in performance.

Sometimes, if you are looking for SEO service for limo companies, the biggest improvement in performance can be seen by companies which DID previously invest in SEO and had an older website.

By merely getting a new one, they significantly increased their customer attraction rates and therefore, their revenue. The last piece of the internet puzzle, in that case, was the website itself.

Bad ACPA is also one of the major downsides if you choose the cheapest website on the market, and not the one which gets the job done.

It takes a bit of time to figure out with statistical certainty what your PITB and therefore ACPA is, and by that point – it’s already too late to go back on that decision.

And again, if you don’t believe me, put yourself in the shoes of your potential clients – if the price offer you requested for a ride was the same between two limo services, one with a good website and one with a bad one – which one would you pick?

*I assumed an average conversion rate, which bad-looking websites are most certainly not going to have, but still used it for the sake of the example. In more practical cases, due to much poorer conversion rates, real ACPA is going to be even higher, most likely by a factor of 10 and up to a 100.

I don’t get too many customers from the internet, what should I do?

As mentioned above, addressing the issues in your service funnel is a lot easier than it used to be. If you are not getting 36% of your customers from the Internet, then your online presence is the problem.

You can also check Yelp to see what your customers are saying about your service and address those issues accordingly.

Usual complaints range from lack of punctuality, impolite staff, reservation problems, and badly maintained limos. Staff problems can be resolved with a lot less investment than fleet problems.

But if you read that several of your customers are complaining about the quality of the limo they are presented with – it’s time for a change, even though it’s a costly one.

The main issues with not getting too much customers online, however, are website-related. It’s often the combination of a bad website and non-existent SEO and marketing campaigns. 

They do require a bit of work, but other than that, it takes no longer than a month to completely transform your Limo Company.

I know that sometimes it may look a bit scary, all ideas worth pursuing are at least A BIT scary and risky. To be completely honest, if it wasn’t, it wouldn’t be worth it.

HOW TO ADVERTISE YOUR LIMO SERVICE FOR WEDDING/NIGHT OUT OCCASIONS?

Ok, we’ve covered most of the wedding/night out limo website issues within the black limo segment, as they are shared by both types of websites, so this segment is going to be much shorter.

If you haven’t read the black limo segment, please do so, because without it – this one is incomplete.

Too many pages on your limo website

One of the things which are far more usual for this type of limo service instead of black limo service is the fact that many night-out limo websites have too many web pages on it.

While the presence of a certain page describing a very certain service, for example – instead of Los Angeles Limo service, you have several dozen dedicated pages talking about location specific service within LA, such as LAX to Santa Barbara, LAX to Beverly Hills, Santa Barbara to LAX and so on.

These pages DO help your SEO score by granting you more exposure, but there are few caveats to that.

First one is that it doesn’t actually help you a lot in terms of SEO, almost the same effect can be achieved by good internal linking on your website.

And the second one is that it hurts your conversion.

You want your user to be able to buy your service in the shortest time possible, that’s the idea behind good user experience, so if they have to spend another minute or two sifting through the endless amount of pages looking for something they are already interested in – you may lose them.

night out limousine service advertising

That’s why overcrowding your website with very specific and often unnecessary web pages is not a good idea. Less IS sometimes more.

Improperly addressing the needs and intentions of your clients

I’ve already covered the text content handicaps on limo websites in the previous segment.

While the usual slipups such as ‘best limo company in the world’ or ‘best limo company in <city>’ are more present within the websites of this type of limo service rather than on the black limo website, it’s still not the end of it.

In addition to that, improperly addressing the needs and intentions of your clients is often present on most of the night out limo service websites.

Most of them offer ‘best night out in town’ or some other variation, which again – begins with “best”. In this particular case, it’s a word so often used that it lost its meaning.

Even if they truly have the greatest night in town with your service, it’s really difficult to sell that service to anyone not acquainted with your company, due to generic descriptions and promises of having fun.

A good example would be any high-profile festival because they are loosely in the same industry. Check out their website, read their text content; how is it phrased?

It promises nights to remember but also leaves enough to the visitor’s imagination.

Oddly enough, same can be applied to your website. Generic promises of fun do not work.

Text content has to entice potential client’s imagination, but also let them know that THEY are in charge of creating their best memories, because they are in control.

You are selling them the idea of the story. But the thing is, it’s not you who’s supposed to tell the story, it’s themselves. Because it’s going to look much better in their heads.

Throw in something for free

This is not so much of a critique, but more of suggestion for your website.

While it’s completely understandable that, due to a very competitive market, you should save every penny, I am going to give you an advice that’s very counter-intuitive.

It doesn’t have to always happen, but you can set a price point at which you can throw in something for free, and it’s a great way to get yourself recommended.

Now, most people use something they offer for free as a selling point, which you shouldn’t do.

Instead, surprise them with it. If you get a bunch of people in your party limo who paid you 600$ for 8 hours of your service, surprise them with free food at near end of their drive.

They are going to be drunk and/or high at that point and appreciate the gesture much more.

“Here is a little something-something from our limo service, guys, you’ve been wonderful customers to us, it’s only right if we give something back”.

It’s at the end of the drive, they are sure going to remember it tomorrow and next time someone is wondering how they can have a great time in town – guess whose name is going to pop up?

It’s more of a branding thing than anything else, but it’s a great way to make your limo company a ‘purple cow’, a completely memorable and different from all of your competitors.

The price you have to pay for it – a bucket of KFC chicken. Or anything else presented at the right time to the audience you are certain you already made money off.

Wedding/Night out limo audience follows for the most part the 80/20 rule if you do your job right, meaning you can earn 80% of revenue from 20% of the people, so your primary purpose in business should be finding a way to isolate those 20% from the rest of the pack.

night out limo

A good step toward that goal is making your audience feel special. I know, Captain Obvious here, but let me try to expand on it.

There are many ways to approach the subject of how can you make your customers feel special, but in general – paying special attention to them is a surefire way to do it.

For example, if you focus exclusively on wedding limos, you could take a few photos yourself or ask them to send you a few photos from their wedding (of course, inside or outside the limo, because the photographer is surely going to do the shoot there as well).

“You are a very nice couple, may I have a few photos from your wedding? I’d like to put it on our company’s website, I think it’d really look gorgeous.”

Can you imagine a single couple saying no to that?

Assuming you did the job well during the wedding – you are running a much higher chance of them recommending you to EVERYONE they know.

You end your contact with them on a very positive note: you said you liked them and they feel special because you too want a memento of their beautiful day.

And let’s not forget one big bonus here: you get their photo, which you DO upload on your website, which is used as a social proof for all the future visitors on your website.

Just snapping photos from every day of work can get you some excellent content for your website.

It’s going to be unique and it will differentiate you immediately from your competitors with their generic images. Next time your passengers do something crazy, instead of scoffing – take a picture.

With them, if it’s appropriate. If I were renting a night out limo, I’d rather rent a limo with a driver who likes to do crazy things with me instead of one who doesn’t.

This is just one of the many examples of how to approach customers in very specific situations.

A website is a very potent platform and can be utilized for your business in many different ways. It’s your decision what should you do with the opportunities you are presented with.

MARKETING A LIMOUSINE SERVICE ONLINE – CONCLUSION

This concludes our case study about internet presence of limousine companies.

I hope it has been extensive enough to cover all of the major topics relevant for improving the performance of your website and campaigns and yet not detailed enough not to lose your attention.

There are many limousine marketing ideas in this case study, but every limousine service is different, so what may work for one may not work for another. But if you try the things listed here, you will most likely succeed in surpassing your competition.

If you have any questions or comments regarding any of the topics we have covered today, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Have a great day!

Bonus:

Stefan Neumans
Stefan Neumans

Ran a marathon. Speaks several languages. Has coffee for breakfast. Thinks his cosmology stories are interesting. They are not.

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