Getting Back to Basics: Truck Stop Strategy
My grandfather was an owner-operator, actually the first to ever lease onto Comtrak Logistics (now Hub Group Trucking). When I was young, he would run regional routes from our little town in northwest Alabama to Birmingham, Memphis, and a few other cities never more than a few hours away.
Every day he and a couple of his friends would hitch up and hit the road. But at just about every truck stop they came across, my grandfather and his friends would stop and have a cup of coffee or two, stretch their legs, and just hang out for a few minutes in the drivers only area.
Now, this may seem like a pointless story, but it has significance for your driver recruiting strategy. If you would have wanted to recruit a driver like my grandfather, one of the best strategies would have been to target your recruiting around truck stops.
Truck stops are the one place where you know large varieties of drivers congregate and provide a great opportunity to target your recruiting.
We say this a lot, but print isn’t dead. Actually, among many driver demographics, excluding company drivers, print is ranked as one of the top resources for job searches and for industry information.
There are also some drivers, especially owner-operators, who aren’t connecting and consuming information the same way as many driver audiences. They may not even own smartphones or laptops. Don’t exclude this audience just because they are less tech savvy.
There is definitely a reason why you should be using print advertising as an additional touch point in your campaigns.
Print ads are great for generating phone calls. If your preferred method of generating applications is through inbound phone calls, then print should be one of your advertising priorities. As a rule of thumb, always use a tracking number in your print ads to better track where your leads are coming from.
Any recruiting strategy that ignores print publications is going to lack in growing brand recognition.
It is great to talk about the innovative ways to create highly targeted online advertising (and that’s next!). But it’s also important to incorporate some of the more basic methods of advertising into your campaigns. Utilizing physical signage can help get your message in front of a few hundred drivers a week.
Unfortunately, many fleets focus on the message and not on the calls-to-action (CTA) on the sign. Signage, just like all of your advertising, should direct drivers to take a specific action. Tell them to apply through your website, or call a phone number, but they always need directed to the next step.
Advertising signage without a CTA is just a pretty poster.
To better track how well your signage is converting, you can use a specific URL on all of your signs at truck stops. These URLs need to be short and easy to remember. For instance, you might use a custom URL like “awesomefleet.com/apply.”
Digital advertising has some of the most cutting edge ways to target drivers. Now you can even target your ads by specific truck stops. Narrowing down an online audience by geography can tell you a lot about where those drivers will be willing to operate.
It is also possible to target these online ads by other, broader criteria. According to the platforms you are using, you can target specific routes, regions, demographics, and even specific lists and tagged audiences.
You will find the best ways to target your specific driver segment by what type of haul you are recruiting for and what kind of qualifications you need.
Events are a great way to raise your fleet’s profile and brand awareness among drivers, and many fleets rely on them as a major part of their recruiting strategy. Opportunities to talk to drivers face-to-face are rare, but can have a huge impact.
Spending a ton of money isn’t always a requirement for success.
A tent on game day, with drinks and a grill, can be a nice change for a driver who is away from home while their favorite team is playing. It is also a great opportunity for your recruiters to really highlight your fleet’s corporate culture. Always remember to bring your most personable and outgoing recruiters and engage as many drivers as you can.
Every application counts, but be sure to track how many hires come from these recruiting efforts.
Just a few days ago, we talked about 3 ways you can use content marketing to recruit more drivers. There are a number of benefits to using content as a part of your overall recruiting strategy.
But you can also use custom content as an additional touch point in your truck stop recruiting strategy.
You know that drivers are mandated to stop and rest every so many hours and truck stops tend to be a safe place to park your rig. Many stops will even have driver only areas where drivers can relax, shower, and find a bite to eat.
This is a big opportunity for you to place your custom content directly in front of your audience. Not only will you be getting in front of thousands of drivers, but you have an opportunity to broadcast your recruiting message to this highly engaged audience.
Beyond this, content marketing can also give your fleet a personality that will be remembered.
Truck stops are the places where drivers are consistently congregating. Including unique ways to incorporate truck stops into your recruiting strategies will guarantee your messaging is getting in front of drivers.