If you want to build a successful taxi business nowadays, you’ve got to develop your brand through effective marketing. Word of mouth might have cut it in the past, but in a world where companies like Uber exist, you need to be more proactive with how you spread awareness of your taxi firm.
Wherever your taxi business operates in the UK, there’s going to be plenty of local competition who have already asserted their place in the market. You’ve also got app-based operators such as Uber to contend with – which operates in just about every major UK town and city and who have become a household name in the taxi industry.
Generally speaking, people like to stick to what they know. If they’ve had a good experience with a company in the past, they will likely return for repeat business. Here at Taxi Insurer, we’re proud that taxi firms return to us year after year for their taxi insurance needs.
So, if you want to get on their radar and convince them to try someone new, you’ve got to be smart about how you do it.
As far as customers are concerned, you’re just a company name. Branding is your chance to show them what you’re all about – in particular, how you’re different from the taxi firms you’re competing with.
Branding is the combination of marketing and advertising to present the desired image of your taxi firm. Without a good branding strategy, you run the risk of having others dictate your values and reputation.
With great branding – a clear company message and personality – the ‘sell’ of your taxi firm becomes that bit stronger. You’re no longer just pushing the name of your company but the strength of the service, the knowledge of the drivers and so on – whatever it is that makes you stand out from the competition.
If you’re successful in creating a strong brand for your taxi firm – which translates into positive customer experiences – not only will you start to build a loyal customer base, you can even think about driving a higher price point. People are prepared to pay a premium price for what they deem to be a premium service. But you need to be mindful of driving prices too high, too soon. The last thing you want to do is scare passengers off, just as you’re trying to build a base of loyal fans.
Brand identity is more than just finding the right logo to place on the side of your cars. It's about crafting a personality, so that you create a lasting impression on your customers.
Every company starts with a blank page. You might have an idea of what type of brand you want to build, but will it cut through the market and resonate with customers in the way you want and need it to?
That brings us to our first tip. When starting a new business, you should go in with an open mind. While you might have your own assumptions about what the taxi industry needs, assume that you know nothing.
Whether you’re a newcomer to the taxi industry or have 30 years’ experience, everyone should start by conducting thorough market research. How can you expect to develop a successful brand without listening to what your target market is saying?
At the top of your agenda should be finding out your audience’s pain points. These will inform your brand messaging, helping you to communicate with customers in a way that makes them want to try your service.
Identifying passenger pain points will also help you find your point of difference – the things that you can offer that no other taxi firms in the area are providing to customers right now. What makes you different from the competition should be spelled out in your mission statement, in the form of your goals and vision. For example, you might want to declare that you’re making accessible travel easier than ever (as all your vehicles are big enough for wheelchairs), or that you care about the environment as your fleet is mainly electric-based.
However, whatever you stand for, you have to truly believe in it – and then come up with a plan to implement that vision. So, don’t make promises in your mission statement that you don’t think you can follow through on.
Now for the fun bit: coming up with the logo for your taxi firm. Having a clear logo that represents your brand is essential. It’s going to be plastered on the side of your taxi fleet, across your website, business cards and more, so give it due time and consideration.
You might want to hire a graphic designer to ensure you come up with something that looks professional and striking. However, the brief in the taxi industry is typically to keep it simple – just look at Addison Lee’s logo, for example, or Uber. So, you probably want to stray away from anything too ‘out there’.
If you want to embed familiarity, consistency is key. Ensure that your logo is present and follows the design choices you've decided upon across your entire footprint as a brand – from your cars to your website.
What should you base your logo on? Perhaps it will be a clever design of your company name? Perhaps it will feature a well-known local landmark? Choose something that your local customers will identify with.
Even in the taxi industry, there are companies which operate at both ends of the market. The language and tone you adopt should reflect this, and also be in keeping with the personality of your brand based on your market research.
If you’re looking to attract high-end customers, for example, you might want to use professional language. But if you’re just going to be a regular taxi firm, a laid-back, conversational tone might be more appropriate.
It’s important to make a considered and clear language choice because it will define how you communicate with customers across your entire business – from your website to social media and so on.
As long as you’re clear in how you wish to communicate, a good copywriter will have no trouble in putting that onto the page.
Whilst developing your taxi firm’s identity, it’s useful to have in mind all the things that can make a brand falter.
Arguably the biggest mistake that a business can make (alongside not taking out adequate taxi insurance, of course) is to simply copy their competitors. You’re unlikely to be able to take much market share from them by following in their footsteps. Of course, you need to be aware of what has made them successful, but the aim is to differentiate rather than imitate.
Put your own twist on things – from your mission to tone of voice. However, make sure that everything you say and write is clearly communicated to customers, so they can make sense of what it is that you’re offering in the first place and how it differs from other taxi firms in the area.
That consistency in communication should carry over from online to offline and vice versa. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you have to make big adjustments between platforms. That same goes for when you start to scale your business – don’t sacrifice the things that make you, you. At the end of the day, you must be doing something right if you’re in a position to grow!
Whilst it’s important to stay true to your values and vision, that’s not to say that your brand identity shouldn’t grow with your taxi firm.
Over time, you should get a sense of how customers are responding to your brand – the bits that are resonating and the bits that aren’t. You can get this sort of insight through Google Analytics, surveys, reviews and social media listening tools.
Being across customer feedback will give you the opportunity to implement changes to your brand as needed, so you’re always appealing to the maximum number of customers.
Interested in creating your new website today? Check out our top tips to consider when building a website.
So you’ve created the perfect brand for your target audience – but unless you actively nurture and sell it, it’s unlikely to come good on its potential. That’s where marketing comes in, providing your taxi firm with the platform to build relationships with customers – generating leads and getting bums on seats.
If your brand is the skeleton, marketing is the opportunity to put some meat on the bones. It means you can realistically take the fight to the existing taxi firms which are occupying the market share that you intend to come along and steal.
However, you can waste a lot of money on marketing if you don’t get it right. In a 2022 survey by Exposure Ninja, only 21% of the businesses they quizzed say they are getting leads or sales via their blogs – leaving 79% of businesses with nothing to show for their blogging efforts.
Does that mean that blogging doesn’t work as a marketing effort? No. But, as we touch on in our content marketing tips section, you’ve got to do more than just write and upload a blog to your website if you want to see some kind of return on investment.
First of all, however, let’s look at some of the offline marketing channels which – if utilised correctly – can prove extremely effective for taxi firms.
You might be surprised at how easy it is to get your taxi firm mentioned in the local press . A new taxi firm serving people in the area is very newsworthy on a local level. A local journalist will probably welcome your email pitch with open arms – they might even dedicate an entire news item to your business launch if you sell it well enough. And it won’t cost you a penny!
It’s harder to get some organic coverage on your local radio station – but there’s nothing stopping you from paying for an ad. A radio ad is the perfect opportunity to get some of your brand’s personality over to your audience, whilst also communicating some of those values that make you different from other taxi operators in the local area.
Flyers and brochures still hold value in terms of creating awareness of your brand. But really, you want to find a way of getting customers from offline to online. QR code stickers are a great way of doing just that. Simple to use, QR codes just require the user to scan them with their smartphone camera and they are directed to where you want them to go. For a bit of incentive to get users to scan your QR code, you might want to offer a discount on their first ride.
The humble business card feels a bit outdated nowadays. But it can still prove extremely effective if you use it smartly. For example, imagine the impact it could have if you were to hand out your business cards at prime locations such as train stations, where people are actively looking for a taxi service like yours.
Arguably the best offline marketing you can do is to brand the side of your taxis. Not only is it cheap (you just need to pay a small price to ‘wrap’ each of your vehicles), you could get as many as 30,000 impressions (sightings) each day. That kind of brand visibility is not to be sniffed at! Nowadays, people don’t just look for a telephone number, they want to see your social media presence and whether or not you have an app – so choose your icons wisely!
While offline marketing can be great for some quick wins, online marketing is crucial for building a sustainable business.
Even for a relatively traditional, offline industry like the taxi sector, firms still need to engage customers digitally. So, when they go looking for a local taxi firm to take them to the airport, into town, or wherever it might be, your taxi firm registers on their radar and appears in their local Google search.
We’ve split our online marketing tips into the two categories we think carry the most weight: social media and content.
Don’t spread yourself too thin on social media. Focus on the channels where your audience are most engaged and where you can have the biggest impact. Taxi firms often have the most success with Facebook and Instagram. But no matter which channels you opt to be active on, you need to make sure you’re creating content that captures your brand’s personality and plays into the strengths of the platform.
If you’re struggling to come up with post ideas, you might want to check out your competitors to see how they’re using social media. Again, you don’t just want to rip them off by copying them like for like – you need to be putting your own spin on it – but it’s entirely legitimate to adapt your strategy around where your competitors have had the most success.
Where many businesses fall down with social media marketing is that they try to be too promotional. Let’s be honest, nobody is going onto social media to see what their local taxi firm is up to. So, you’ve got to be creative with your content, straddling the line between informative and entertaining. Why not tell people how you’re looking after your drivers’ mental health?
Social media is a great opportunity to show off some of the personalities behind your taxi firms, in particular, the faces of your business: your drivers. Why not introduce your audience to some of them? Perhaps you’ve already got a budding social media influencer on your team? Not only does it make for some cheap content, it proves your authenticity as a business while helping to build customer trust. If you do promote the use of social media among your drivers, remember that the laws about mobile phone use behind the wheel have changed.
From mobiles to sat navs to chatty customers, drivers have to contend with a number of distractions on a daily basis. Sometimes these distractions can cause an accident. If they do, taxi insurance will help you pick up the pieces.
Talking of influencers, receiving a positive review from a social media influencer can do wonders for generating sales. In a recent survey by SlickText, more than a third (38%) of consumers said reviews are the most helpful social media content. If those reviews come from someone with some serious social clout, they have an even greater impact. But just be aware that you’re probably going to have to give away a free ride or two to get influencers to post about your taxi firm!
As effective as social media can prove to be, you still want to be driving customers to your website whenever possible. Content is the thing which can take customers from social media and search engines to your site. But you need to be strategic about how you go about it. Document exactly how you plan to engage customers, and how the content will lead you to achieving your goals as a business.
If you’re going to commit to content marketing, you’ve got to ensure that you can sustain it. There’s little point in just posting the odd piece of content now and again as you won’t see the search engine benefits. Creating an editorial calendar, in which you outline each piece of content, what the theme is, and what time you’ll post it will help keep you on track.
It’s the old adage that a picture can speak a thousand words. It still holds true, especially in the taxi trade where you can talk until the cows come home about the quality of your vehicles and the safety measures you’ve put in place – but only once you show you customers does it become ‘true’. Make visual content a priority.
There’s only so much content you can possibly create that relates directly to your taxi firm, let’s be honest. Plus, you’ll do well to engage your customers about solely taxi-related content. Instead, mix it up by going off topic and position yourself as a helpful local resource rather than just a taxi firm.
Finally, don’t forget to amplify your content on your social platforms. The more people that like and share your content on social media, the better!
That’s probably given you plenty to think about for the time being. But before we leave you to build your taxi brand, we wanted to give you one last tip, which is to build partnerships with local businesses – particularly hotels and restaurants – places where people are usually needing a taxi service like yours.
We have more tips on where to advertise your taxi business if you need them!
Building a successful taxi brand is a journey. The specialist team at Taxi Insurer are here to support you all the way.
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Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.