One of the banes of being a marketer is that you cannot ever claim to have become an expert. And if somebody’s chest-thumping their expertise, they’re probably lying. That’s because people and technology are always changing, which changes the marketing landscape.
Having been a marketer for more than 25 years in the logistics industry, I’ve crafted marketing strategies for dozens of freight forwarding companies. After all these years, it’s sad to see many transportation companies using the same tactics that worked decades ago. However, some companies want to adapt to the demands of the digital world but don’t know how to go about it.
I’m writing this blog post specifically for all freight forwarding and transportation companies looking for marketing strategies to boost their business. Written for modern-day digital and growth marketing techniques, it comprises practical ideas that deliver results in such a competitive industry. Let’s get moving!
1. Great Service + Great Relationships = Great Business
Did you know?: Customers who are fully engaged generate 51% more sales than customers who are actively disengaged. They also spend an average of 23% less.
For new clients to be acquired and existing clients to remain loyal, customer relations are essential. This is why the freight forwarding business must invest in maintaining and building relationships. It will help you get out there and make sure that people remember your name in a positive light.
Customers will be more likely to return to your company if they receive good service. You need to offer the best logistics services to satisfy customers. This is one key for attracting more repeat customers to your business.
One of the best ways to build relationships is to provide personalized service to your customers. As a small or medium forwarding agency, this is where you hold an edge over the big ones. The personal connection can give you a competitive edge.
Here’s what you can do:
- Provide a single-point contact to your clients
- Solve logistics and supply chain issues speedily
- Inform customers of your latest services & offerings
- Use CRM tools to manage customers effectively
- Provide instant support through chat and phone
If your customers experience that your team is openly listening and can work with their needs to provide the best solutions, your revenue is bound to increase.
2. Develop Niche Routes and Industry Specialisation
Being a freight Companies in a particular niche and industry gives you an advantage over less experienced forwarders as it helps you gain specialization in market and operation. This way, you can reduce your number of competitors and generate higher revenue.
There are many niches you can distinguish your logistics company.
- Regions & Routes
- Type of Goods
- Cargo type
- Shipment Size
- Local and International transport
- Target customers (B2B/B2C).
- Mode of transportation (Air/Sea/Truck)
Note that niche does not necessarily need to be one. There are many niches you could choose that fit your business and have proven successful. It will help you concentrate your sales, marketing, and operational efforts. It establishes your expertise, which will result in more leads.
3. Establish Thought Leadership
Did you know?: 54% of Decision Makers, and 48% from the C-Suite, say they spend more time per week reviewing thought leadership.
The biggest thing separating a prospect and a customer is the trust gap. There are many ways to bridge it, but the most effective one is to make them believe that you know your business and are capable enough to provide the services they require. In other words, you need to become a thought leader in the industry.
The only way to project your expertise is by sharing valuable content with your target audience. The content could be the latest developments, industry challenges, case studies, research & statistics, technology integration, etc. For instance, you could provide tips to face the ongoing shortage of truck drivers.
There are various modes through which you can share it; let’s see a few of them:
- Short Videos (1-2 min)
- Podcasts on YouTube & other platforms
- Articles and Blog Posts on your websites & industry websites/magazines
- Keynotes at trade shows and conferences
It should be authentic and useful no matter which kind of content you share. Plus, you will need to be consistent as you don’t establish authority by sharing a few videos or blog posts. One sign of having established authority – at least a little – is when people start looking forward to your content. Once that happens, you will get business from ways you’d never probably imagined. But always remember that it’s a long-term game!
4. Investing in Digital Marketing to Drive Leads (Inbound Leads)
Did you know?: Emarsys reports that around 42% of the world population uses social media each day.
One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen freight forwarding companies make is their over-reliance on sales to generate outbound leads. It might be essential, but converting these leads is difficult and takes time. A customer who approaches you is much more likely to be converted into a customer than the ones whom you contact.
The best way to generate inbound leads, you rightly guessed, is digital marketing. It has tremendous potential to boost your business, but it can take some time to see the results. The biggest advantage of digital marketing is that any geographical boundaries do not bind you. You can easily target international customers by implementing a well-crafted digital strategy.
Here’s what you can do to create an inbound marketing funnel:
- UX-focused website design with useful functions
- Publish SEO-centred long-form blog posts
- Build email database and utilize email marketing
- Run location-specific ads on Google and Social Media platforms
- Publish high-value content on social media
Although personal relationships are essential in the freight business, digital marketers can make them even more important by branding and creating multiple touchpoints that keep your audience engaged and turn them into customers.
5. Join Freight Forwarder Logistics Networks
Agents have to stay in contact with each other to ensure that freight can be handled efficiently and fulfil international requirements. Through the concept and use of logistics networks worldwide, it has become easier to make these connections. Joining these networks is one of the best ways to create business connections with people in other countries.
These online platforms make it possible to interact with agents from all over the world and facilitate freight forwarding globally. Members of logistics networks are often the most successful freight forwarding companies.
Here are some of the best Freight Forwardars’ networks:
6. Leverage Trade Shows & Conferences
Trade shows and conferences hold great importance in the transportation industry. That’s because they provide a great opportunity to showcase your business to suppliers, retailers, manufacturers, and others. A good in-person can be much more effective than ten calls.
You can talk to your booth visitors, build relationships in the halls, and capture quality leads. You can engage them after an event with lead nurturing materials, and it’s a great way to build relationships. You might not get an instant business, but having your business in your potential clients’ memory can make them turn your way when they have a need.
You can visit this website to find out the best logistics trade shows in 2022.
7. Helpful & Constant Communication
Did you know?: Customers who are engaged are five times more likely to repurchase customers and increase customer lifetime value (CLV).
Although people may try, there’s no one defined metric that makes the customer choose a particular service over the other. It has more to do with their feelings than some checklist. One of the best ways to give them that feeling is to communicate well and regularly.
Starting from the moment they inquire till their order gets delivered, your sales and support teams should ease the burden and anxiety off their shoulders. For example, you could make them aware of each stage of the order to relieve them of the anxiety. This way, you can let them know that they can count on a professional team that is at their side throughout the process.
If they have good experience with you, they will recommend you to friends and partners or contact you with new projects, meaning more business for you. You can ensure new and repeat business by tuning into your customers’ needs and anticipating their wants, often before they know it. Communication with your customers is key.
The Ultimate Tip: Hire a Transportation Growth Marketing Agency
After years of working in the transportation sector, I’ve realized that most of the company founders don’t specialize in modern-day marketing. In such a scenario, implementing these ideas may seem overwhelming to you.
A skilled digital and growth marketing company can help you implement all of these ideas while not overwhelming yourself or your staff. These agencies work as your growth partners who help you with everything, including SEO, sales, social media marketing, advertisements, etc. They identify the points you could improve as a business and work with you to grow you as a company.
It might cost you a few thousand dollars per month to hire an agency, but the ROI that you get will make it seem like a small investment. Additionally, the agencies will infuse new energy into your business, keeping you ahead and delivering results for years.
LeanSummits: Transportation Growth Marketing Agency with Proven Experience
Having witnessed freight forwarding companies struggle with their marketing, my partners and I decided to help them by being their growth partners. Therefore, we founded LeanSumiits – a modern-day logistics growth marketing agency.
LeanSummits is a team of logistics professionals with over 30 years of experience. We have worked with Brokers and Carriers and 3PL and 4PL companies. We pride ourselves in helping these logistics firms adopt new transportation management methods and improve their supply chains. Our most important contribution is to help them find new customers, new business opportunities, and grow.
We are aware that there may be external factors that could impact your services. This can be overcome with good marketing planning. When we execute as part of your team, we believe that this is the best way to provide value.
We have used new technologies, expanded into new markets, and improved existing processes. With our extensive experience in logistics marketing, we are confident of growing your business.
Call us to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can assist you in growing your transportation business.