Insider Exclusive: 6 Marketing Strategies to Help Grow Your Bus Company

Insider Exclusive: 6 Marketing Strategies to Help Grow Your Bus Company

Top Marketing Tips to Generate a Positive Return on Your Investments

By Jannine Krish

While it may be easier than ever to connect with your passengers or potential customers these days – via social media posts, digital advertising or email marketing, for example – it’s getting harder and harder for companies to stand out and break through the clutter.

Having been a marketer in the transportation industry for over a decade, I’ve worked on many strategies and campaigns that have attracted attention and helped grow ridership…as well as others that have completely flopped! From my experience, there are a few key marketing investments you need to make to generate the biggest bang for your marketing dollars spent, so I thought I would share my thoughts on how to market your business:

1. Invest in a well-designed, mobile-optimized website that is aligned with your brand
While this may seem like common sense, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across websites in the industry that just don’t cut it. Consider your website, the customer-facing hub of your brand. Here are a few key recommendations to ensure a better user experience:

  • Make it easy for your passengers to book tickets by featuring your booking engine prominently on the homepage.
  • Ensure everything on your website serves a valuable purpose. Remove all unnecessary information, visuals and content.
  • Make important updates like service changes and announcements easily visible.
  • Invest in a mobile-optimized website that is easy to navigate and stands out from the crowd. There’s nothing worse than when a customer turns away because they aren’t able to easily purchase a ticket on their mobile devices.

2. Create a loyalty program to keep your customers coming back for more
Did you know that it’s 5x more expensive to gain a new customer versus retaining an existing one? Offering a loyalty program or another incentive for them to come back can be tremendously effective. This type of program is also an excellent way to get even more data about your customers and their preferences, which can help you improve your offerings to them. From keeping customers happy and focused on your bus company to giving them a reason to be evangelical about your service, building customer loyalty will help you grow your business. Learn more about that in my recent blog post here.

3. Integrate with other businesses to create a marketplace
As stated recently in TechCrunch, smart marketplaces are the next big thing. The beauty of offering connected packages is that it allows you to provide your customers with more variety and options, not to mention, you can share promotional costs with the partner organizations you choose to work with.

4. Create engaging  social media content that positions your company as an authentic brand while building a community of advocates
In a world where marketers often go to great lengths to capture your attention, it’s not uncommon for many of us to mistrust bands and simply detest advertising! Being authentic and transparent in your community, while producing quality content that is relevant and engaging to potential customers is what will help your operation develop a community of brand advocates. There’s no better advertising than word of mouth through social media. People generally trust their friends and are far more likely to take a recommendation from a friend far more seriously than promotional advertising from a bus operator. To kick-start your social strategy, develop a 3-month content calendar that helps you understand what type of content you can share when!

5. Tie everything together with a promo code based digital marketing campaign
If you have an online ticketing system, a promo code campaign is a great way of promoting your services while also tracking results. You can create a custom ad featuring the code, for example, SPRING25, and display it across your social channels, website and newsletters. Promo code marketing campaigns are an excellent way to raise awareness of a new or under-performing route and then understand how many tickets you sold as a result of the campaign. As the old marketing saying goes, “if you can’t measure it, don’t do it!”. Promo codes are also cost-effective, and they give you the ability to try new things out without being burdened by a long-term commitment. Give it a try!

Jannine Krish, is the marketing director at ABA member Betterez. For more information about how Betterez can help you, email jannine@betterez.com.
 

 

About the American Bus Association

The American Bus Association (ABA) is the trade organization of the intercity bus industry, with more than 1,000 motorcoach and tour company members in the United States and Canada. Its members operate charter, tour, regular route, airport express, special operations and contract services. Another 2,800 members are travel and tourism organizations and suppliers of bus products and services who work in partnership with the North American motorcoach industry.

Contact

Melanie Hinton, Director of Communications & Media Relations, ABA
Office: (202) 218-7220
Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)