I haven’t been writing as much lately, for a number of reasons; sold our condo, doing a major house Reno, got a new pup, recorded a full length CD and busier than crap at work. Anyway, I thought I should send one more out for 2012.
It was a good year for us and the industry too. Caution is still King but not as many complaints around…everyone has made the adjustments needed to cope with what seems to be “the new economy”.
The driver crisis hasn’t brought the industry to a standstill yet and somehow the folks at the helm of the various trucking operations will find their way through it. It’s a tough business but one that I have enjoyed supporting, in my small way, for what seems like a lifetime… 2013 is our 25th year!
There was a record turnout at the recent Toronto Transportation Club dinner and Don Cherry was certainly a factor in the increased attendance. Sports and transportation have always seemed to go hand in hand…a guy thing I guess. Still, more and more ladies are making their mark on the industry and they were well represented at the event.
We added a person in Montreal and it appears to be a tough market to crack for an English company, even though our guy there is French. I’ve spoken with some English carrier customers and they have found it equally difficult. We’re still working on that one. The reverse scenario appears to be true for our Quebec customers breaking ground in Ontario. If anyone has some tips on that one, they would gratefully be received by all.
We added an account manager in Toronto too, which has been a great help. We had continued to run a bit too lean coming out of the recession. We’ve seen many of our carrier customers start to add bodies as well…a good sign I hope.
We’re adding a young gal in the New Year to help with social media. As mentioned when I spoke at the recent Transportation Summit, Canadian transportation has some catching up to do in this area and we are gearing up to help further with this in 2013.
When I looked over our account list for 2012, I saw many loyal customers that have been with us for decades and something new…a high number of good size accounts that came as a result of our web marketing. The web in 2012 was good news for smaller companies. A shift is occurring, with more and more buyers sourcing on the web. Resource to resource, a 1 million dollar company can get as many opportunities from web marketing as a 200 million dollar company… if they are willing and able to create the same amount of content and use proper search engine optimization.
I’m still amazed when people today, running great companies, don’t put much stock in the power of the web to build their business, help with recruiting, or simply make a favourable impression on customers, suppliers and their carrier partner network. More than ever, it’s not “a” or “b” when it comes to choosing the best way to market, it’s “a, b, c, & d”. That will be our core message for the upcoming year. Add to your relationships and referral business, with the new techniques available…add to, not replace!
Best of the holidays to everyone and we’ll see you in the New Year.
Lee’s quote for the day
Well, I for one thought I had heard it all. From “dolly converters” to “body jobs”, where we specialize in the industry, we have a pretty good vocabulary as it relates to the world of trucking. I came across a new one the other day though, “Non-asset freight pimp”.
Let’s face it; freight brokers still have a bad rap. Maybe it’s jealousy because the broker doesn’t have to make the heavy investment into their business that carriers do. Maybe it’s presumed or documented unethical behaviour. Either way, most freight brokers don’t want to be called freight brokers and many carriers would like to see them wiped off the face of the planet. Why? They have been successful in capturing freight that used to belong directly to carriers at a higher rate. Brokers can provide a lower rate and they are a contributing factor to the erosion of freight rates for the carriers.
We did a website for a small broker a couple of years back. He was happy with the results and referred us to one of his flatbed carriers in the region. When we met with that well established carrier, he was extremely frustrated. “How is it I keep losing out to a freight broker? He gets the freight and then I move it. I don’t understand.” I didn’t understand either, so I spoke to the broker in question. My assessment, after a brief discussion, was that the broker in this case, was a more confident sales person and he offered the customer a choice between several carriers, at several price points. Customers like choice.
It’s a funny world. There are many carriers that fill their trucks with broker freight. Brokers are their sales force and these carriers have very few relationships with customers directly. There are carriers that successfully outsource key lane segments to other carriers, like the corridor between Windsor and Quebec City or Ontario to Atlantic Canada, without a hitch. The message I get from that, is the shipper is mostly concerned about getting the job done, not how it gets done.
Lee’s quote for the day
“In the music business, there is a saying that the side men all want to be front men and the front men all want to go home. In the trucking business, it seems most carriers want to play in the “freight pimp” world and most “freight pimps” have the dream of building up key lanes so they can put on their own equipment. Whoever orders their new Cadillac first, is the winner!”
Google Analytics is a superb website statistics tool for measuring overall website performance, your electronic marketing campaign initiatives, and in some cases even your website’s ROI. If you’re in the transportation business, and are using Google Analytics on your website, there are several key metrics within the service that will allow you to measure and assess how your site is performing.
There are two ways which you can view Google Analytics data, through the browser and via pre-defined and scheduled e-mail reports. Although you can customize the type of reports you receive from Google Analytics, the most commonly received report is the default dashboard report which presents a good set of key website performance metrics. The dashboard report consists of several categories, which are defined by several key metrics.
We’ll take a look at each of these categories and metrics in detail, and I’ll show you how they should be interpreted within your transportation related site. Typically most dashboards reports cover the past month, so just keep that in mind if you’re viewing the PDF report.
Traffic Sources Overview – The Four Ways Visitors Get To Your Website
There are four key traffic sources for any website. Direct Traffic, Referring Sites, Search Engines and Other.
Direct Traffic refers to visitors who type in your website address directly into their browser. These visitors either have your site bookmarked, know your website address, or reference some promotional material where your website address is printed, such as an ad, a business card or some other advertising piece.
Traffic from Referring Sites is the amount of traffic you receive from other sites that carry a link to your company. It could be a transportation partner, an association that you’re a member of, or a general internet directory.
Other Traffic comes from custom defined sources. You can track your various marketing campaigns (e-mail newsletters, outlook signatures, etc) using Google Analytics, but that’s beyond the scope of this article, and we’ll take a look at that in another one.
The Top Traffic Sources subcategory shows the source of where your website traffic is coming from. Here you will see search engines like Google, or Yahoo, or a list of those Referring Sites that we’ve talked about.
The Keywords subcategory will show you the top 5 keywords or keyword phrases that are used to get to your website through a search engine. In most cases it will be your company name, as a good percentage of visitors will type in your company name into Google when looking for you. If your website is Search Engine Optimized (SEO), phrases related to your business will show up here. So for example, if your site is search engine optimized for “Canada LTL”, or “Toronto Montreal Truckload” these terms will show in this category. Keep in mind, that on the dashboard report you only see the top 5 keywords, and you will have to login into the Google Analytics service in order to view more.
Visitors Overview - What Kind Of Visitors, and How Are They Viewing Your Website
The visitors overview page, is the third page of your dashboard overview. The first metric that you will see is the Visits metric, which will tell you the amount of visits your website has received over a specified period. Any time someone visits your website, they are counted in this metric.
The Absolute Unique Visitor metric, is the amount of “unique” visitors your website has received. It is a bit more difficult to understand. A unique visitor is someone that is visiting your website for the very first time. If they have visited your website in the past within the specified time period, they are still only counted once. You can have multiple visits, from one absolute unique visitor. This metric is a true representation on the number of actual individuals that have visited your website.
The Pageviews metric shows how many pages were viewed on your site. If your website has just a single page, and you had 100 visitors to your site, more than likely you will have received 100 pageviews. Simple math. So the pageviews metric factors in how many pages your website has. If you have a very large site, and a large number of visitors, the amount of pageviews that you will receive is very high.
The amount of Average Pageviews shows on average how many pages a visitor has looked when visiting your website. The higher the number, the better. A higher number typically indicates a higher quality of visit. In an ideal world, a visitor will land on your homepage, go to your services pages, and then visit the contact page. You’ve just landed a potential customer, and best of all, you can track this with Google Analytics.
The Time on Site metric shows the average number of minutes or seconds that the average visitor has spent on your site. Again, a higher number will usually indicate that the visitor is interested in your website and has spent a good time browsing around the various pages.
The Bounce Rate shows how many times a visitor has left immediately after visiting the first page that they’ve landed on. While this is an important metric, it is more important to look at the bounce rate when viewing the New Visits metric. The reason behind this, is that the bounce rate on the dashboard report factors in New and Returning visitors. A Returning Visitor for example may just be visiting in order to trace a shipment, so the bounce rate for returning visitors will higher than new visitors. New visitors to your site will have a lower bounce rate. They will be interested in the services you offer, and will look around other pages of your website. The New Visitor/Bounce Rate report is not available within the default dashboard, and you will have to login or get a report setup in order to view these stats. Contact us on how you can do this (link to contact page).
The last metric shows the percentage of New Visitors. New visitors are people who are visiting your website for the first time. If you further dig down in this metric, you can figure out how your new visitors are reaching you – if they’re coming to your website directly or if they are searching for a specific keyword or term on Google and reaching you via a search engine.
Technical Profile – Browser and Connection Speed Data
The Technical profile section shows the technical aspect of the visit, such as browser and connection speed. This data is important to know if your website has some features which may be incompatible with a particular browser.
The connection speed shows what type of connection your visitor is using. In most urban centers DSL, Cable and other high speed connections will be most common. However, if your transportation company is primarily servicing a rural area where high speed connections are not prevalent, you will see a larger number of dial up connections. In this case, it is important to optimize your website so that it loads as quickly as possible for customers with slow connections.
Map Overlay – Where Are Your Visitors Coming From?
The map overlay is the last section of the report and shows you where your visitors are coming from. The PDF dashboard report will just show you the country of origin. You will want to login into your Google Analytics account and view the information in detail by clicking the specific country that you wish to gain information on. This will give you a further break down by region and city.
Google Analytics is a very powerful tool, and can be customized to an endless extent. If you have Google Analytics running on your site, that’s good news, because you’re already capturing all that key visitor data. If you don’t have Google Analytics, or simply wish to set more reports up to be e-mailed to you, contact us, and we’ll set you up.