Before doing just about anything, our immediate response is to “Google it” ౼ and your customers are no different. In our ‘hyper digital world’, creating a solid online presence for your business is key. We met three fleet owners to talk about - online strategy: a large group with 1,000 employees and two small fleets with less than 20 employees. They share their experiences and some tips with us. Download the sum-up at the end of the article!
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Thierry Mazet* is the CEO of Groupe Mazet - a French family business located in Montelimar (Auvergne Rhone-Alpes region) and his daughter, Deborah Mazet is the CEO of the communications agency L’Agence D. Deborah’s agency helped Transport Mazet create its 360° communications strategy.
Groupe Mazet is one of the top search results for heavy duty trucking, which means that you’re doing an amazing job in creating an online presence! What’s the best advice you can give?
Deborah Mazet: Without a doubt, you have to start by creating a strategy. Today, customers get a very precise idea of each service provider according to their reputation on the internet, so it is essential for us to set up a clear digital strategy with clear objectives. For us, we set out to make ourselves known ౼ to prospective clients and employees alike ౼ to make our services known and, above all, to show our values as a company.
And what values are important to you?
Thierry Mazet: The fact that the company is family-run says a lot about us, as a service provider as well as an employer. We really try to make this a central part of our online presence and a pillar of our targeted digital communication strategy. It allows us to create relationships with our customers and our employees.
Can you tell us what are the different elements of your online presence?
T.M.: Just about a year ago, we launched the third iteration of our website ౼ the first launched when the internet became mainstream, then we revamped it about 10 years ago. The version you see today is the culmination of a total brand overhaul ౼ our visual identity, our messaging and of course, our website. We are also active on LinkedIn and YouTube.
Why did you choose these social media networks?
D.M.: Our digital strategy is BtoB, so it makes the most sense to be present on LinkedIn. We regularly post news related to the transport industry or about our own activity. For example, we recently shared a series of short documentaries featuring our company produced by France 3, a national television network. We also encourage our employees to post news about the Group or their own professional activities. Our YouTube page hosts our corporate film and one that spotlights some of our employees, which is a great recruitment resource.
We mentioned before that Groupe Mazet is extremely well ranked on Google. How did you do it?
T.M.: We set up Google My Business sheets, which helps clients find us easily and also redirects to the website. Extensive SEO (Search Engine Optimization)** for the website is handled by our back office and focuses on integrating various keywords to boost our search engine ranking. Featuring several press articles on our website also helps with our SEO. It’s an ongoing process that we’re constantly improving. Currently, we don’t do any paid SEO.
Any expert tips for companies just starting out?
D.M.: One of the biggest mistakes people make online is posting just to post. It is important to focus on quality, not quantity. This applies to where you post, but also when and what you post. We focus specifically on LinkedIn and YouTube and we share news that seems relevant to us and to our customers. The goal is to be present but to be authentic. The main thing is to be consistent with our values and above all to respect the overall identity of the Group.
*Thierry and Deborah Mazet, interviewed on May 26, 2021.
** SEO is the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic to a website or a web page from search engines.
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Knorr Transporte is a small German family-run transport business for rubble and building materials. Volker Knorr runs the company with his father. He answered our questions in his truck on his way to visit a customer!
Is a digital marketing strategy essential to business development according to you?
Yes! Advertising is crucial. ‘Advertise or die’, it’s that simple. Knorr Transporte used to buy advertising space in local newspapers: but that strategy is no longer relevant. Today, we work with a communications agency to create our digital marketing strategy.
What is your main goal?
The main objective of our online presence is to get new customers and communicate about our services.
Talking about online presence, are you on social media?
Yes, primarily Facebook. I don’t think Twitter and Instagram are really relevant. LinkedIn, known as the most popular BtoB social media platform, is not suitable for us either.
And how do you use Facebook?
We don't have any paid advertising, instead, we showcase our company, share pictures, etc. Some of our videos attract up to 70,000-80,000 viewers! Getting more than 100,000 clicks is not uncommon either.
Tell us, how do you attract prospective clients to your website? (SEA** - SEO?)
SEA (Search Engine Advertising)** and SEO are of course an important part of our digital strategy. However, this task is entirely handled by our communications agency. KPIs are monitored via Google Analytics and key figures are regularly analysed by an agency expert.
Would you share with us your annual budget for your online strategy?
The total annual costs for the company's online presence is roughly 3,000 € (Google advertising, website maintenance, etc.).
Can you give us some key tips?
We constantly learn from our mistakes. For example, over communicating about your business is a no-go. You have to remember that your competitors are also monitoring your online activity. That means not mentioning customer names or only publishing detailed information once a contract ends. But the positive effects outweigh the negative!
*Volker Knorr, interviewed on May xxx, 2021.
**SEA is the process of advertising directly on Google and other similar search engine. It’s also Known as Pay-per-click.
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Stéphane Fallot, manages a fleet of 16 trucks. He is the owner of FAST in Montpellier (south of France). He tells us why he still doesn't have a website, and instead, a Facebook page with nearly 14,000 followers.
When did you launch your Facebook page?
I created the Facebook account for FAST five years ago.I mainly share pictures of trucks. It has no commercial purpose. It’s more of a social tool to share my passion for trucks with a whole community of truck enthusiasts. You know, one post has generated 240,000 likes. I am the community manager and I spend about 5 to 6 hours per month and I post images every two days.
And do you use other social networks for your business?
Not at all. I have a personal LinkedIn account. During the first lockdown last year, I posted frequently and I really appreciated the online solidarity.
Why have you chosen not to create a website?
I find that websites are restrictive. I’m in an industry that has been slow to digitize, and I think many are not yet ready for this transformation ౼ even if we remain very connected. We communicate a lot with our mobile phones. I am looking forward to the future. I know things are accelerating.
How do you develop your business?
A lot of our business is word of mouth. For the moment, it’s enough for me.
*Stéphane Fallot, interviewed on May 31, 2021.
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FAST identity card
Head office: Montpellier – Occitanie region – France
Specialisation: refrigerated transport
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FAST-1291588937541474
5 TIPS TO BOOST YOUR COMPANY'S ONLINE VISIBILITY
Increasing brand awareness and online visibility is key for your marketing strategy. Although it takes time and effort, you don’t need a big budget to develop your digital brand.
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Create your own website for free
A website is the online identity of your business. Your customers expect you to have a digital presence, where they can find information about you, your services, your values, and even your job offers.
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Think about organic referencing (SEO)
Organic referencing is essential if you want to boost search engine visibility. This visibility will attract traffic to your company's website. Regularly publishing news on your website invites Google to crawl through and index new content.
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Publish and share regularly
You don’t need to be a journalist to regularly publish and post information about your company or your industry. As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words"... so just share a photo! Regularly publishing content creates links to different pages on your website and avoids “dead-end” pages. This can be a good way to boost pages that are struggling to rank in search engines.
Choose the right social media
The biggest social media mistake small business owners often make is to set up accounts on every social media platform at once. Don’t waste your time! Instead, start directly with LinkedIn, known as the number one professional social network with 310 million monthly active users.