At Movers’ Marketing Machine we just launched the first episode of our brand new podcast! We will be interviewing leaders in the moving industry to learn how they stand apart from the competition and grow their moving companies. With insider tips including how they structure their moving companies, grow their customer base, and achieve lasting success. Today we’re speaking with Sean Stein, the owner of A Mother’s Touch Movers in Melbourne, Florida.
Movers’ Marketing Machine Podcast Episode 1
Mark Welcome to Movers’ Marketing Machine Inside Studios here with Sean Stein, the owner of A Mother’s Touch Movers, right here in Downtown Melbourne. And your offices are in Melbourne as well, correct?
Sean Yes. We are also here in Melbourne.
Mark So that everyone knows, this is a podcast for folks that are getting started in the moving business, maybe already have a moving company. We’re going to talk about how Sean grew his business, what he did to market his business and some of the niche things he does, and some of the things he does inside the community. It really helps with growing his company. He’s all over the place. He’s doing a lot of stuff. He does a lot on his own to promote his business. How long have you been in business?
Sean So I’ve been in the moving industry for a while – over thirty-five years. I was actually in high school moving furniture on the weekends. You know, I stayed in it, and here I am today, 38 years later, still in the moving industry.
Mark You’re still moving those couches and stuff every day, aren’t you?
Sean That’s not happening. But I’ve got a bunch of great guys who are, and that’s a big key to any moving industry or any business for that matter…employees. Without employees, you don’t have a business. Your number one priority is going to be your employees. Then, after that, you can bring your work in. But without the employees, there’s no reason to bring the work in.
Mark Yeah, I totally agree. He told me a story a couple of weeks ago. We were doing a toy drive and he was telling a story about one of his guys that needed a tire. Just one. So he took the keys and the guy went to work. He came back and Sean got him four new tires! So he’s taking care of his guys. That’s very important today.
Sean Very important. I definitely recommend that no matter what you’re doing in the moving industry, you make sure you’re going to keep top guys, and the way to do that is to take care of them.
Mark So that wasn’t on the list of questions. But that’s a huge thing. I totally agree with him. It’s about who you surround yourself with because they’re going to take care of you and take care of your business.
Mark So, I’ve got a few questions here. We’re going to go through them. So we went through how long we’ve been in the business. So how many trucks do you have currently?
Sean I have six trucks here in Melbourne and I’ve got another one on the way. Another brand new one being built right now. It usually takes about four to five months to build the trucks. So, hopefully, it will be here right when the key season starts. Peak season is the beginning of April.
Mark And you can fill those trucks with no problem.
Sean Absolutely. You’ve got to get out there and market it. If you’re not going to market it, you’re not going to succeed.
Mark Awesome. So I’ve known Sean for a number of years. In the beginning, I think he had maybe three trucks.
Sean Yeah, I think so when I actually started with you. And probably one of the reasons I’ve bought more is because of you and your service that you do here with Movers’ Marketing Machine.
Mark That’s awesome! Just so you guys know Sean has been a legacy client for a long, long time. We brought Sean on and built him a website. We just launched another website for him. We incorporated a lot of different things for SEO strategies, including reviews, updated the site, and put him on a managed hosting platform. A lot of things we did to try to move him to the next level, to get a site ready and able to stay on top of Google. That’s always been our goal with him.
Mark So your target market is what? Where do you go? How far?
Sean My target market is pretty much anyone that’s alive. If they’re alive and breathing then they’re moving. Everybody moves. So you can’t say there’s a different market. You have to go after anybody that could possibly be moving, and that’s anybody. We do anywhere in the state of Florida.
Mark Awesome. So you’re moving people from Melbourne to Jacksonville or Jacksonville to Melbourne.
Sean Absolutely. Because, you know, what happens is we do all the work for the retirement homes here in Brevard. So, say maybe the retiree’s kids live here and work for Harris or some big company, and they live in Pensacola. Well, they want to get mom and dad down here closer to home in a retirement home here. So we’ll go to Pensacola, load their stuff, bring them back here, and put them in a retirement home here. We do a lot of moves from within the state to Melbourne, which is kind of an unusual thing for a local company because usually, a local company is going to go out of the city that they’re in. But because we’re in such a big senior market, we have that market where we’re bringing a lot of people from other areas of the state here to Melbourne, where there are a lot of different retirement homes. And that’s pretty much in any town in Florida.
Mark And you know this is going to be one of the nuggets that I was going to ask toward the end as far as what little special things that he’s done. I have actually have been to a lunch and a breakfast with Sean at one of the local retirement communities here and called the Fountains and he’s their exclusive mover. So I can tell you one of his little nuggets he’s going to tell you is if you’re moving company and you can partner with a retirement home – or one or two or three of them like he has – it’s a goldmine for you. They’re always moving. It’s funny because he told me he’s got the retirement community on one side. He moves those folks. And then sometimes he’s got to move them over to assisted living facilities because now they’re getting older. So they do another move.
Sean It’s an ongoing thing. And you’re right, it is a goldmine. It’s a great opportunity. It doesn’t matter what the economy is like since when seniors have to move, they have to move. When I started the business here in Melbourne in 2009, we all know the economy wasn’t doing well. So I knew I had to go after that target. And I did. I went to all the different retirement homes and I got my foot in the door. And like I said, as you said, it is a goldmine because, you know, usually you’re packing, your unpacking, you’re moving. And it’s one of those things where if they have to move then they have to move. It doesn’t matter what the economy is like.
Mark So if you’re not doing that, I’d say, here you go. You heard it here first. I mean, this guy’s definitely going after it. I’ve seen it firsthand. There’s a lot of people and they’ve got to move stuff around. Sometimes they’ve got too much furniture. Right? I imagine that happens a lot.
Sean Yes it does. You’ll come and move them to the retirement home and then two weeks later, you’ll go back and take the rest of their stuff to storage. The house has been sold or whatever the case may be because usually, they’re not taking everything out of the house. Usually, they’ve lived there for a long time. So what’s left may be distributed between family members. You may take it to storage, you may take it to the donation center.
Mark Now, do you offer storage as well?
Sean Yes, we do offer storage, but we also do donations to help out families here in our community. A lot of people have lost homes and all that due to the economy back then. And when that happened, we started collecting furniture to help them when they got back on their feet. We would have furniture that we had collected and we would take it directly to them when they got a new place, whether it be a whole house load or just a bed. It’s so nice to say that has slowed down a little bit with the economy doing as well as it now. But, at one point, it was really a tough situation. So we still do that. But like I said, it’s not as demanding as it was.
Mark That’s awesome. I can tell you, he’s a very giving man. We won’t start talking about his toy drive because we’ll be here for two hours. But he does a toy drive that’s insane.
Sean And that’s a huge thing about being a moving company. You want to be in the community. You want to be seen in the community. That community, wherever you’re at, is the reason you’re surviving. So you need to give back to that community. And that’s a huge saying. And to me, a toy drive’s a great way to do it. So we started the toy drive 13 years ago and we started off the first year with about 150 toys and now we’ll collect over 10,000 toys and help out probably around 3,000 kids here in Brevard County. Like you said, don’t get me started on that because that’s really big in my heart.
Mark So what’s your unique selling position? What do you do differently than other moving companies? I know what he does, but I don’t know if you want to give all the tools of the trade away.
Sean Well, I mean, obviously, the name of my business is A Mother’s Touch Movers. I’ve been in the industry for a long time and realized that before I started my business back in 1993 in Atlanta, I realized that 70 percent of all moves are booked by women. So I thought, well, I want to pick a name that appeals to women. That’s how I came up with A Mother’s Touch Movers. Also, back in the ‘90s, there was no Google. It was all Yellow Pages. So, I also wanted something that started at the top of the Yellow Pages, which A Mother’s Touch did. That was very unique back then. And to be honest with you, it still kind of pays off for me. If I go to a Chamber meeting and they’ve got a list of the companies that are there. We’re usually at the very top because of the “A”. But, it’s a lot different now. There is no more Yellow Pages.
What I did is I started the business targeting women because they do book most of the moves. And, okay, I’ll give it away. I know you didn’t think I would do that, but in our logo, you can see we actually have a rose. It goes through the movers. It’s on the trucks. And at the end of every move, we give our customers a rose.
Mark That’s pretty cool. Yeah, the ladies light up, too.
Sean That stands out. You want them to remember you because of the great job you did. But then you throw the rose on top and man, they’re gonna remember you. I’ve gone to so many estimates in the past and the person said, “I can’t wait, I hear I get a rose!”
Mark That’s his client retention there. That’s his tool for client retention. He’s got his systems in place. He’s got his good employees. He’s got something that helps his clients to remember him. So let’s talk a little bit about what kind of marketing efforts you do digitally to drive leads? I mean, that’s a big thing, I’m sure.
Sean Well, yeah. I mean, Facebook is obviously becoming the new huge social media thing. And I think Facebook is great. For me, it’s more of a branding thing. And as well as I do, in any business, you have to brand it. You’ve got to brand it and then you’ve got to market it. And there’s no certain order there. You’ve got to do both. But yeah, search engine optimization is huge because the Yellow Pages are gone. I look at the dashboard every month and most searches are on mobile phones. People are going on and they’re Googling “Movers,” “Melbourne, Florida Movers,” “Atlanta, Georgia Movers,” “Roanoke, Virginia Movers,” whatever the case may be. That’s how they’re finding their movers usually. So what you want to do is you want to brand yourself, you want people to know who you are, and then you want them to Google movers in that area. And once they see you, they’re going to be like, “Oh, yeah, I see them all the time.” You know, Mark, I’ve always said that if you want to hide a dead body, put it on the second page of Google because nobody’s looking there.
Mark 77% percent or close to it don’t go to page 2. We’ve known that for a long time. Ranking on page 1 is huge. So, we’ve been doing that now for how many years?
Sean We’ve been doing it for a long time.
Mark And kept you pretty highly ranked over the years. And it obviously changes.
Sean Well, to be honest with you, my first four or five years in business, maybe a little less than that, I probably went through four to five different SEO companies. And then once I got hooked up with you at Movers’ Marketing Machine I never had an issue.
It’s very important because what I found was there are so many SEO companies out there. And what they’re going to do is they’re going to promise you the world and then they’re going to start off really good. And if you’re not staying on top of that on a daily basis, you’ll notice it’s dropping a little bit, you know, and they’re not keeping up with their end of the bargain, but they’ve got you on that deal. So you need to have somebody that is adamant about what they do, and Mark, we all know you are. Your SEO is very important and I’ll be honest with you, there’s not a morning that goes by that I don’t get online and Google different things like “Moving companies Titusville Florida,” “Moving companies Palm Bay Florida,” Moving and storage Melbourne.” I want to see where I’m at. You don’t get any calls do you? Because I’m never complaining.
Mark Yeah, he’s never complaining. That’s true.
Sean I’m all over the front page. And not only just a listing, but we’re talking maps, we’re talking organic, we’re talking business pages.
Mark Sometimes when I’m explaining strategies, Sean thinks I can speak Chinese! Because he tells me, “Mark you’re speaking Chinese.” So when I get heavy into the analytics and stuff he starts going, what the heck?
Sean I just tell him, Mark, I don’t understand a word you’re saying. That’s why I’ve hired you. You keep producing page 1 all the time and I’m good.
Mark Very cool! Well, that’s what we’ve been doing. And we’ve added some things.
Sean Like I said, I went through a lot of different companies for the first few years because they would do a good job for the first month or two and then after that, it went downhill. I couldn’t find myself anywhere. So once I did come to Mark and actually, Mark showed me where my website was wrong, and that was really the key to it. So he rebuilt the website and once he rebuilds that web page, obviously, everything that needs to be put in there. That’s the key to being on that front page of Google. People don’t realize that it’s all about your Web page. Because Google’s got a mind of its own. We all know that. Right? And you have to kind of do what Google says. They’re a lot bigger than we are.
Mark Yeah, that’s true. They’ve got a bigger studio than we’ve got.
Sean That’s all right. We still love Google.
Mark Yeah, I agree. They’re the king for sure. We looked at his old site that we built probably five, six, seven years ago, it was still a great site. It was performing. But, the theme had gotten outdated and it was no longer being supported and trying to tell your client, hey, look, you know, the theme that we chose is not being supported anymore is tough. They want to know what you mean. So that was a tough one. Then we also wanted to integrate reviews. How important are reviews?
Sean Reviews are huge. Here’s the thing with the moving industry. Technology is not going to change the moving aspect of it. We need manpower and we need wheels. The wheels were made a long time ago. You need dollars. That’s not going to change. What is going to change is your marketing strategy and things like that. Things are going to change with your marketing strategy. Websites have to be updated. Things like that all have to change. That’s the only aspect really of a moving industry that’s going to change. It’s going to be your marketing standpoint. You’re going to have new things going on, whether it’s Facebook marketing, whether it’s an update to your web page, there will be necessary changes. I don’t know what you’re telling me when you tell me certain things but you honestly tell me when things need to be changed.
Mark We put him on a paid hosting program. So, WordPress, I think they just had an update last week. You know, he goes from WordPress 5.2 to 5.3 and then you’ve got plug-ins that all these things where he wonders what I’m talking about. Trust me, I’m not a designer, but I know that these things are important. It’s just like your phone and your computer every now and then it’s got to get updated. And a lot of people get really annoyed when all of a sudden your phone updates and things look different. Well, it also affects your website in the same way. It updates and it doesn’t look the same. So you have to pay attention to that. But it also helps you with your SEO rankings if your site is loading fast. So we put them on a fast server that’s going to bring his site up fast. We have some video sliders in there. We want to make sure that things load quickly and it stays updated. So, our new server host company allows us to update WordPress as it needs to be and then the plugins are updated once a month as well. It’s backed up daily in case something happens. That’s something we switched to recently that we spent a lot of time and effort researching to see who’s what. And it was a big move to move all of our sites over. And to be honest with you, it’s taken us probably 5 or 6 months and we’re still not done. We probably have another 8 or 10 sites to go, but we’re getting there. But his site is now brand new on that server and is mobile optimized. And we’re getting started on a system for generating client reviews.
Sean But that’s a great new system. And I like it a lot because you actually go to them to get those reviews. So many people are so busy nowadays. It’s hard for them. I got to go give them a review and then forget. So if you kind of throw that reminder out there to them and make it easy for them that’s huge.
Mark Correct. Now, we’ve just got to get your people to keep following up.
Mark We’ll help you. Basically, it’s a program that we have that enables an email to be sent and a text message to ask for a review. You know, the day after the move. So that way he can keep gaining reviews.
Sean That helps our rankings too, right?
Mark Absolutely. It’s huge.
Sean I mean the more reviews you have, the higher your ranking. So that’s really important.
Mark We also have a citation system. We manage where his citations are. They might be listed on all these different apps and websites. So, we want to make sure that his listings correct. It makes sure that the website is correct, and the phone numbers and all of his other information can be found around the web.
Sean A Mother’s Touch is on every online listing. Am I right?
Mark Yeah. We monitor around 250 places.
Sean Well if you find a different address someplace it really screws you up.
Mark Yeah. I’ve had clients that moved and or they tried to do a little thing where they would use a home address to try to get a second separate business listing with Google. But Google is pretty smart. Eventually, they figure that out.
Sean So that’s why I hate moving.
Mark Exactly. We’ve got a few more questions here. So on that subject, we do have a new system coming. I talked to you a little bit about it. How cool would it be to be able to deliver a video ad to the people that are getting ready to move in the next 30 to 90 days explaining that, hey, A Mother’s Touch Movers, the best moving company?
Sean That’s a great idea. And that’s where I said that technology’s changing so much. That’s why you have to be able to change. You’re not going to change the wheel or manpower. That’s all that’s needed. Technology won’t change that. But that’s awesome because that’s what you want. That’s direct marketing. That’s marketing directly to somebody that’s moving. And there’s no better advertisement than that.
Mark Because we know they’re in the buying market right now.
Sean So they’re not really thinking about a mover at that time. But then you throw that at them and they go, wow. Yeah, that’s right. Let’s call these guys. So it puts it in their mind. Oh, that’s right, we’re gonna have to start thinking about a mover.
Mark Right. And then if you guys know, I’ve been around the video side of the business for a long, long time. I’ve probably done over five thousand TV commercials and a lot of media buys media strategies. If you can deliver that video message to them with sight, sound, and motion positioning you as the best mover in town, put it in front of people that have money in escrow, put in people that just signed a contract with the bank or a realtor. We’re able to do that and they’re going to be moving the next 30 or 60 days it’s better to put you there as opposed to the next guy. So that’s an ability we’re going to roll that out soon. So that’s gonna be something fun that we’re going to be doing. So stay tuned on that. We’ll be talking about that. Let’s see…let’s go back a little quick. You talked about your trucks. What box do you use? I know that’s something you love to talk about.
Sean Yeah, I mean obviously there’s a lot of different choices. I’ve been in the industry for a long time to know what’s best. I’m one of those guys that I like everything to be exactly the same. In other words, I want my fleet to look identical. I think that’s key because it’s more like a branding thing. You see all three of those trucks pulling down the road near identical it makes a difference. So I use the Kentucky box. It’s a little more expensive and it takes a little bit longer because it is in such high demand. The chassis they build at international get knocked out in a month and then it goes to Kentucky Box and it takes about four months before they get that box on there. Now they also paint it and all that. My color has this beautiful blue to it and I’m telling you, that’s the key thing. You’re a moving billboard. You know, when I see these moving trucks out there that just have a name on the door of the truck, I’m thinking you’re missing it. You’re missing out. You have to advertise. That’s a moving billboard.
Mark Like our production van that is not wrapped up.
Sean I know they’re trying to save money, but that’s how you make money by spending it. You have to spend money to make money. It’s a true story. You have to have a marketing budget. Those trucks are moving billboards. I had people on a daily basis sending me texts of them behind one of my trucks or saying I see your trucks everywhere. People tell me that every day. But you have to make them stand out. Obviously, my trucks are blue just like this with maroon writing. They’re Kentucky Box. By far the best moving box there is. You can design them in so many different ways. You can have different doors, different positions on that truck, on that box. So that’s really up to how you want it. I pretty much go a standard box on each truck. And let me tell you, it makes a huge difference when people see that it looks good. You have to look professional. If you see a ratty old truck out there moving somebody you think you’re going to call them?
Mark I noticed that being close to the business.
Sean I have so many of my employees come up to me and say, yeah, this lady is going to call, she walked over and said, oh, that’s the most beautiful truck I’ve ever seen and we’re moving soon. And they gave her a card. Not only that, but I had one of my drivers tell me the other morning, We were over in Orlando and this other moving company was at a storage unit and a guy walked up and goes, man, that’s like the best looking moving truck I’ve ever seen, you know? That’s what you want. You want people to talk about it and to know it, you know? I’m a firm believer. I told you once before earlier that your employees are your number one concern. Number one, after that, comes trucks and equipment. Because without those two you don’t have customers. You may, but are you going to keep them? That’s what you want to do. Repeat business is huge. So employees, trucks and equipment and then after that, everything else falls into place.
Mark Awesome. Well, guys, I think we covered a lot of ground here today. It’s been a lot of fun. This is something we’ve been wanting to do. Sean was busy today, had a lot going on and, you know, I wore my fancy shirt and I’m like “You coming”?
Sean He told me he had the fancy shirt on. I said, I’ve got to get over there to do this podcast!
Mark Yeah. He was running around. So it’s all good, man. I appreciate it very much.
Sean I appreciate you having me and I look forward to many more of these. We’ll get some people going in the moving industry and let him know what’s going to work for them. You and I both know what does work. And we’re more than willing to pass those secrets out to people because it definitely works. And we want everybody to be prosperous.
Mark If you guys want more information about how to move your moving company to the next level, please reach out to me at Mark@MoversMarketingMachine.com. We’ll see you next time. Peace.