The UK has thousands and thousands of taxi companies, ranging from some of the largest Hackney Carriages down to freelancers that run their business from their taxi. So the competition is high and fiercely competitive.
NB – There are price comparison websites for taxi companies. Do you want to be on one of them, or to operate independently.
The main marketing tool that many taxi companies utilise in today’s world is their website. By having a website, you can ensure that you have that 24-7 visability. The website does not have to be flash and expensive. It can be quite a basic website that looks clean, presentable and attractive. There are a number of specialist website designers for taxi companies around, ones that have designed similar websites and know what looks good. The centre of marketing for taxi companies is your website.
The majority of business that you will receive is from people looking for a local taxi firm. Normally to take them a short distance, for this reason, having your website optimised to cover the local area is important. There are many SEO companies for taxi firms around, ones that have optimised similar websites and have experience in the industry. SEO is an essential practice for any business these days (as the internet is a big place) as you needs to stand out. A big part of marketing for taxi companies is through your website being found.
Many taxi companies are using PPC to ensure that their website appears on page 1 of search engines for the required keywords/searches. From the many PPC companies around, it is advised to use PPC companies who work with taxi firms rather than any old firm (in the UK or overseas). Experienced agencies will have a better understanding of the search phrases you need to use.
PR is a fairly new promotional tool for the taxi industry. As much of the marketing is localised (yellow pages, local radio, leaflets) or web based (as above) however PR is a low cost and high value tool for you. There are a few PR agencies for taxi companies around the UK, no niche PR agencies, but ones that do have experience in working with the industry. PR is a very good form or marketing for taxi companies.
Many taxi companies have looked into advertising on the local radio. Radio advertising has a very good hit rate of reaching prospective customers. Again, as long as you have a memorable name or a phone number that can be readily remembered, it should work well. There are numerous advertising agencies that know radio advertising for taxi companies that can help put together an effective radio advertising campaign.
Leaflet distribution for taxi firms is popular. We are all used to getting flyers and business cards through our letter boxes. Low cost it can be a very effective form of marketing for taxi companies.
Most people that will use you will be people that use you as a one off (as opposed to using them every day) and therefore there is the element of being in the right place at the right time. People do not tend to choose a taxi based on cost of fare (as most charge the same per mile) or the brand, but the number that they can remember or see at the time of need. It is not about quality of service, courtesy of the driver, it is which company is around and can take you from A to B. However saying that, with the growth of companies like Uber, the personal touch is becoming more important. Ensuring that a flyer/business card or number is to hand is important to prevent people seeing the number of a competitor. For this reason, leaflet drops, banner adverts, local advertising is wise. With the use of smart phones, getting an app designed is a good idea. You can then use marketing for taxi companies to encourage people to download it.
The definition of a taxi is a vehicle for hire with a driver. It is said that taxis were operating in China centuries ago (as small units that two people carried passengers up hills etc.). However the modern car of today (in the west) dates back to the early 17th centaury with horse drawn carriages operating in both London and Paris. This was where the Hackney Carriage came from and is the black taxi cab we all know today from major cities. The first documented service is in Paris in 1640 started by Nicholas Sauvage. His cabs were called ‘fiacres’ and were horse drawn carriages (the German name for the horse drawn carriage is ‘fiaker’. In England it was the Hackney Carriage that dominated the cities. This was upgraded to the ‘Hansom Cabs’ in the early 19th centaury due to improved safety features. One interesting note is that it is still a legal requirement for Hackney Carriages to carry a bail of hay in their boot (for the horse).