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Trashbolt to Bring Hauler Marketing into 21st Century

K. Ryan Hasse, CEO of SalesStryke Software, creators of TrashBolt, explains why waste management companies must make it easier for customers to buy their services online.

The TrashBolt Software Sales System for Haulers makes it fast and easy for online shoppers to buy waste services by placing a “smart buy now” button on the hauler’s website. TrashBolt’s sophisticated system first geolocates the customer, and then provides those buyers who are in the hauler’s service area with the ability to view a quote and purchase waste services, all online 24/7/365. By identifying where someone is (geolocation), the corresponding products and services can be presented as a quote, and the buyer can sign, pay and complete the purchase.

Another benefit of the platform, says K. Ryan Hasse, CEO of SalesStryke Software, creators of TrashBolt, is the ability to use the software’s geolocation capabilities to create differentiated marketing campaigns that target both current and potential customers in a hauler’s service area. TrashBolt uses the names and addresses in the hauler’s service area as a basis for targeted marketing, both print and digital. 

Hasse talks to Waste360 about why waste management companies should be using geolocation technology for marketing and why they must make it easier for customers to buy their services online.

Waste360: How can haulers better meet the needs of customers online?

K. Ryan Hasse: Why is Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder, the richest man in the world by far? Because his website has a buy now button. Amazon made it super easy for people to buy everyday things. There’s nothing unique or particularly compelling about most of the products offered on Amazon; they mostly sell the same stuff many other stores sell. Amazon just made it especially easy to shop, buy and pay. 

Amazon’s sheer magnitude and amazing success is a clear indication of how people want to shop for goods and services. Often called “the Amazon Effect,” buyers now expect to be able to buy everything online, including waste services. There are even online automobile vending machines! It’d be foolish to think the waste services industry is somehow immune from this shift in buyer behavior. If you are a hauler, you need a buy now button to compete in today’s world.

In recognition of the Amazon Effect, the waste services industry is very far behind in adapting to the way buyers buy. I speak with haulers all the time who, personally, seek the convenience of buying online. Yet, they inconvenience their own customers by making them call in for service, leave a message on an answering machine or fill out a static online form requiring the customer to wait an undetermined amount of time for a return phone call, maybe play phone tag or some other form of delayed response. Today’s buyers don’t have the patience for this 1990s stuff.  They want to be able to shop online, 24/7/365, maybe even with their smartphone—view a quote, sign, pay and done.

Another significant buyer phenomenon is that people tend to wait until the last minute before making their purchase. The Amazon Effect has replaced old-school pre-planning with a buy now button, emphasize the "now." Buyers are saying, “Give it me now, solve my problem now, make it easy for me to buy now, and then do your job, leave me alone and let me get on with my day.” In today’s world, ease of purchase is a mark of quality. Just ask Jeff Bezos. 

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While TrashBolt positions haulers to capture the online buyer, our platform is much more than a buy now button; it’s a complete sales, marketing and customer notification platform. We work directly with haulers to improve their search engine ranking via new and better websites to capture those buyers who use search engines to shop. Buyers frequently search for services “near me” online. A hauler needs to rank high to capture that type of buyer. The big, national companies know this stuff and have already deployed their search engine strategies and optimized their websites and their buy now functionality. They’re winning business smaller haulers aren’t even competing for. The TrashBolt System levels the playing field. 

Waste360: Are you seeing that haulers are stuck using traditional marketing methods or perhaps not doing any marketing at all?

K. Ryan Hasse: We see a combination of old methods, general marketing apathy and ignorance. First, it’s OK for haulers to not know this stuff. We do. It’s our job. We see haulers, clever and resourceful owners, who’ve optimized so many elements of their business, operations, product mixes, customer service and driver retention strategies. In this way, they’re often better than the big nationals. Even so, many, if not most haulers, are 20 years behind in their sales and marketing approach.

Some haulers are just resting on their laurels and hoping that their name recognition will carry them forever, so they do very minimal marketing. In those cases, the threat to their business is that the big, national companies are dominating the search engines and making it easier for the online purchaser to buy now.

Another threat is the newer, progressive hauler with a buyer-centric marketing campaign in conjunction with a buy now button on their search engine optimized (SEO) website. A hauler new to your market can rapidly capture significant percentages of the local market in very little time with comparatively little cost. We know, we were a hauler and we did just that, bringing a brand-new name to new markets, and with smart technology, creating profitable density in a matter of a few months—a brand-new market! Waste Management bought the hauling business, but we kept the technology and are bringing it to haulers. 

Name recognition is only going to go so far with today’s changing buyer demographic. Think about it, when you’re buying something online, are you reading a long company story, or are you content with a Yelp review? Seriously. It’s just trash service. Make it easy for me to buy, do your job and don’t make me think about it ever again. That’s the emerging buyer.

For the last 50 years, some haulers have had limited marketing options, such as a standard mailer or other types of paper advertisements that don’t capture today’s online buyers. And for lack of anything better, those work, but in light of what today’s buyer wants, haulers that respond to the Amazon Effect are the ones who are going to capture the easy, self-service business. This represents a shift of marketing efforts to meet a shifting buyer demographic, and TrashBolt is leading haulers through this shift.

Marketing to online buyers begins with SEO and an optimized website with a buy now button powered by TrashBolt. Add a polygon generated list of buyers via our mapping system and launch into a series of targeted marketing campaigns: charity email/e-newsletter blasts to donor databases with a donate now/buy button in the email or e-newsletter, a QR code on the bin, cart or dumpster, marketing with realtors to capture move-in business—like a refrigerator magnet with a QR code on it—and so much more. TrashBolt brings all of these marketing possibilities and more to haulers. 

Waste360: How do Trashbolt’s geolocation capabilities help increase sales?

K. Ryan Hasse: By making it much easier for haulers to reach buyers and buyers to buy now. 

In order to market to customers, haulers must know who lives in their service area, their addresses and their names. TrashBolt begins with a mapping polygon, a digital map of every address, commercial and residential, in a hauler’s service area. Lists can be generated from that polygon data. For customers, additional services can be texted, emailed or otherwise promoted. The same technology is used for advanced communication: service interruptions, holiday schedules, recycling day reminders. Great communication with customers is marketing. 

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For noncustomers, customer relationship management function ability allows a hauler to profile the noncustomers in a service area. General marketing campaigns are effective in small percentages, like mailers at 1 to 3 percent response, but highly targeted campaigns that focus on move-in customers, specific competition switchover promotions and donations/purchases in conjunction with local charities have much higher response rates. TrashBolt was built with promo code functionality for tracking. 

Combining these approaches with an easy buy now capability is a way haulers can greatly enhance their existing marketing campaigns. For example, a QR code or text number on a flier that sends the customer a link to the TrashBolt system—sign, pay, done. This is what people expect. This is quality in their eyes. Being merely good at trash collection is expected by the customer and not always enough to earn their business.   

Some haulers use our managed marketing services to market into their service areas. We can implement multifaceted marketing campaigns that leverage our technology. It’s a turn-key, cost-of-sale approach. This leaves a hauler to do what they’re best at—hauling. 

Waste360: QR codes have been around for a while, but you advocate for haulers to use them. Why are they useful?

K. Ryan Hasse: When a sales associate walks up to you with an iPad or a clipboard, which looks more professional? Which speaks of quality? Which seems like good customer service versus old school? The point here is that even if a customer didn’t use the QR code, they saw it alongside your logo. You look good in the customer’s eyes. 

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You’re right, QR codes have been around for a while. But some haulers are still in the 1960s with their sales and marketing approaches. Still, may people will use a QR code because it’s more desirable and way easier than making a call, leaving a message on a Sunday and maybe playing phone tag. TrashBolt can put a QR code on a mailer, a door hanger or on the bin, cart or dumpster itself. When the customer moves out, haulers should leave the cart at the residence with a QR code on the cart. They should make it as easy as possible for a new homeowner to sign up for services. QR codes can be used in conjunction with a texting dictionary to do different things, like pick up the Christmas tree or add services.   

Of course, this means the sales platform needs to be mobile enabled, a responsive design, to service the mobile buyer. TrashBolt is designed for mobile and desktop buyers, even if the hauler’s website isn’t. 

Waste360: What advice would you give to haulers to help them be more innovative in their marketing or outreach?

K. Ryan Hasse: The best advice I can give is for haulers to understand and admit to themselves that the buyer demographic has changed—that their customers shop and buy online just like they do! Haulers that think they can get away without recognizing how customers buy are fooling themselves and leaving themselves very vulnerable to haulers that make the change. The big nationals know this and are dominating the online sale, capturing lay-down, self-service sales simply by making the purchasing process easy.   

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The next thing a hauler should do is Google “trash service near me.” What are you going to see? You’re going to see Waste Management, Republic Services or whatever big national is in the area because they are mastering the online sale. These big companies are capturing business the smaller haulers aren’t even competing to get. And that’s too bad because these aren’t the price shoppers; they’re the convenience-oriented, self-service shopper with the lowest cost of sale. 

TrashBolt can help haulers capture more in-route business. It’s what we do. 

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