There are a lot of marketing principals that apply to driver recruiting. But if there is one that is more important than any of the others, it might be:
Know your audience.
You can have cutting edge online marketing, savvy social networking, and spend thousands exhibiting at events. But if you don’t know the audience you are trying to target, you are setting yourself up to waste a lot of time and money.
A driver recruiter has a fairly complex audience consisting of owner-operators and team drivers with various levels of experience and a plethora of different certifications. Knowing how each of these groups behave is vital to anyone who wants to reach them.
1. Owner-operators and company drivers consume content in different ways.
Of course there is plenty of overlap in terms of behavior between these two groups. Both go to a lot of the same events, visit some of the same websites, and end up at the same truck stops. But there are also a lot of differences. Owner-operators aren’t just drivers, they are business owners. They are more concerned about preventive maintenance, changes in the tax code, and of course fuel efficiency. Owner-operators are also older, and generally less tech-savvy than company drivers.
Owner-operators consistently list print as their number one source for trucking industry news.
If you use all the same channels in the same way to reach out to both of these audiences, don’t be surprised if you get disappointing results.
2. Drivers talk to each other.
Do you know who truck drivers talk to? Other truck drivers. If your fleet has a few rude dispatchers that give drivers a hard time, you can be sure that a lot of drivers know about it. Because truck drivers have to spend so much time alone in the cab of a truck for hours on end, many spend time at industry events and truck stops socializing.
You should also remember that print advertising is a vital part of word-of-mouth marketing. Print can not only drive phone calls for open positions in a big way, it can also improve brand loyalty and keep your fleet in the front of driver’s minds when they are looking for work.
3. Drivers know you need them at least as much as they need you.
Recruiters like you aren’t the only ones that know about the nationwide driver shortage. Truck drivers are acutely aware that they, in many ways, have the power in their relationships with the fleet they drive for. Right now there are at least 30,000 open positions for qualified drivers across the country. If you are an experienced driver with a clean history, you can probably go find one of those open jobs any time you want.
What does this mean for you? Remember that getting a driver on board is only half as hard as keeping him. Find ways to reward loyalty. Even a small drop in your annual turnover rate could make a drastic difference in your fleet’s bottom line.
Truck drivers are an independent, increasingly tech-savvy, and social demographic. The more you know about them, the better you will be able to reach them.