Putting the horse before the cart in advertisments.

Posted in: advice- Mar 25, 2014 No Comments

It seems now days with the oilfield boom and the economy looking up that companies are looking for new ways to gain revenue and be noticed.  A smart company should think like this, but should also understand when you have a value to offer for the price your offering for. In no way am I diminishing truckingplanet.com by addressing this issue, in fact I think they have a great website, services and following. As a marketing person I felt that small businesses that might not  have anyone in marketing or a staff that isn’t experienced in what to look for might end up spending money to advertise with an online site before it has a value to offer. Trucking planet has a new website called freightcredit.com in which it is a financial forum for truckers and brokers to discuss anything from fleet financing,to how to articles, etc. I was forwarded an email from a business development officer of ours that had received it earlier this morning. The email indicated and advertisement opportunity for  the site, and was targeting factoring companies (rightly so due to the fact that a lot of owner operators finance their invoices). The first mistake is they didn’t blind copy any of the emails. I’m not sure if this really matters, but sometimes it is better not to let  your recipient  know you are emailing their competitors as well. The opportunity was for $995 yearly, first come first serve.

 

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LOOK AT THE MEMBERSHIP BASE

Those of you who might know me will know that I’m going to investigate why this is worth $995. the first thing I look at is the member base. Now this doesn’t dictate the actual traffic of the site , but it will give you an idea if the site can draw traffic.

After looking at the membership page I noticed a few things. First, all the members profiles are not complete. Why is this? Could be just a fluke?  After I built bakkensocial.com almost every member who joined added a profile pic and filled out the about me areas.the other thin that I noticed was the site had only 85 members. Now normally for a membership start up, this would ok (it takes some marketing and skill to get people to sign up to something new) but when we look at the trucking planet site, it has a lot more traffic and reach in which they could have used that as a platform to fill their membership a bit more. bottom line, 85 members doesn’t dictate $900 a month in advertisement against your competitors.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA

After the membership view I went to their social media platforms to take a look at their interaction with existing friends or followers. Unfortunately the social pages are dead with only a few likes and barely any interaction. So how will they interact with their membership base, and continue to add to it. Maybe the forums? Don’t ask your membership base to fill your site for you, it doesn’t work. Facebook (Pic 2 below) is a great way to get the word out about your forum. the people there are already conditioned for forums,and it is easy to join groups and entice people to join yours. Google plus (Pic 1) has several trucking communities, and opportunities to add to people to your website.

 

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So at this point you are probably asking why I am writing this? Well I think they have a great site and offer a much need service, but the advertisement request is completely premature. If you have a new site or service, and want people to advertise with you, make sure you that you are offering a fair chance at ROI (return on investment) to small businesses. For the larger companies like ours, you might still run into a Marketing Director like me who doesn’t penny pinch on good possibilities,but I won’t throw good company money at anything unless I’m convinced. This situation is not alone. I have run across  several of these start up niches that are opening advertisement  spots prematurely, especially in the oilfield industry.

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If you have any questions regarding what to look for when thinking about advertising online and need some advise, feel free to email me at mikes@transfaccapital.com

 

Mike Schepper