I stepped into the transportation industry almost 25 years ago, and as a marketer, it was scary to see so much competition around. During all these years, the competition has grown stronger and stronger. Many businesses have been dusted due to their inability to keep up with the changes.
If you’re a company in the transportation and logistics industry in 2022, then there’s no option but to focus on digital marketing. Many companies are still plagued by age-old thinking, don’t take it seriously, and regret it later. No matter which type of company you are in, don’t be one of them.
We at LeanSumiits are a transportation growth marketing company helping companies grow their business. Although we try to assist them with each aspect/department of their business, digital marketing has the most yielding one. In this blog post, we’ll share how you can get your business uplifted using modern-day marketing methods. We won’t go into too much detail but will give you enough to get you started.
First Things First: Why Digital Growth Marketing?
Have a look at the above image. It’s from Google Trends, which shows the Google search volume of the words ‘hire movers’ in the United States. As you can see, the interest has been continuously rising over time. This means more and more people are moving online to hire movers.
Now you might think it’s happening as it’s a B2C business, but no. A report from McKinsey shows that more people are searching for services online – be it trucking, freight forwarding, ocean cargo, rail cargo, or air cargo business.
The simplest and most important rule of marketing is to go where people are. And it’s pretty clear that we’re more online than ever. Now, I hope you don’t have any reservations about enhancing your online presence.
How to Get Started with Digital Growth Marketing as a Transportation Business
Now that you know how important it is to up your digital growth marketing game, let us take you through a step-by-step process.
Step 1: Focus on Few Routes and Niches at the Start
You might be providing across-the-board services as a transportation company, and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, it isn’t easy to market all your offerings initially. For instance, ‘NYC trucking company’ explains your service much better than ‘transportation company.’ That’s why I always insist on focusing on a few niches when starting your digital marketing efforts.
You have many options when it comes to choosing which side of the business you’d like to promote. Here are they:
- Regions & Routes
- Type of Goods
- Cargo type
- Shipment Size
- Local and International transport
- Target customers (B2B/B2C).
- Mode of transportation (Air/Sea/Truck)
You could select the niches based on your expertise, resources, and business goals. This helps customers know about your expertise and establishes an element of trust.
Step 2: Create a Buyer Persona
Once you’ve figured out which niches you want to market online, it’s time to understand who your target audience is. Often people are over-confident as they think they know who their target audience is. However, there’s a difference between ‘knowing’ and ‘understanding’ them. That’s why you need to create a buyer persona.
A buyer persona is an imaginary representation of your ideal customer or target audience. It is easier to target your ideal buyer with targeted content if you have a clear picture. After defining your buyer personas, it’s easy to create organic posts or social ads that directly target those customers. Social Advertising has precise social targeting to help you get your ad seen by the right people.
Here’s what a buyer persona primarily consists of:
Spending power and patterns
ChallengesStage of life
Adaptability with technology
Preferred mode of communication
Level of education
Professional success & failure
Product or service that will help them
Typical working day
Source of their industry information
Most used social networking platform
Industry events they attend
Blog/newspapers they read
The decision-maker in the company/family
Preferred mode of sales communication (emails, calls)
Mode of product/services research
Step 3: Set SMART Goals
“I’m going to get fitter this year.”
“In 6 months, I want to build my fitness to the extent that I can run 5 miles in 45 minutes.”
Which goal do you think is most likely to help you achieve what you want to? The latter, right? That’s what SMART Goals look like.
Most business owners in transportation want to grow their business but don’t know what ‘growth’ looks like. That’s where SMART goals come in.
Fundamentally, SMART Goals are specific objectives that can directly contribute towards your overarching business goals. They should be the foundation of what your digital marketing efforts are aimed at. All SMART objectives must be:
Specific: As we saw in the example above, both goals were directed at being fit, but the latter statement defined it much better. The same applies to your business goals as well.
Do you want to increase your online reach? Want to increase your revenue? Want to increase the number of leads? Try to think about how you would like to measure your business growth.
Measurable: One of the most common reasons marketing strategies fail is that businesses don’t keep track of their goals. For instance, your might want to increase profitability, but you can’t measure it unless you’ve defined it in terms of percentage or a specific number. This will help you take corrective measures if you’re not moving towards your goals.
Attainable: Here, the message is: Don’t aim for ridiculously high goals. There should be a balance between optimism and enthusiasm, with a touch of realism. Too often, marketing managers are asked for targets. It’s tempting to tell the bosses precisely what they want. Realism is what the bosses need to hear – they will be basing their growth plans on the results that you and your marketing staff can deliver.
Relevant: A meaningful goal is one that’s relevant. It’s more important to you to focus on something that is relevant than not. Setting goals for something you don’t have control over is like setting goals for something you don’t care about.
Example – If your goal is to increase revenue by 50%, you shouldn’t say that your goal is to increase your website traffic by 200%. The former is the goal, and the latter is the means.
Time-Bound: Each of your smart goals must have a deadline or target end date. It is vital to be realistic in your objectives as it’s challenging to measure success in a campaign that doesn’t have an end date.
It would help if you chose a timeframe that makes sense for your organization. Your past successes will help you to determine the timeline. It is a good idea to follow traditional business timelines such as the quarter or fiscal years.
Step 4: Assess & Allocate Your Resources
Marketing your business was much easier a few decades back. You find an advertising agency, spend money, and market your business by billboards, flyers, newspaper ads, etc. There was no social media, no Google, and no need for complex digital skills.
With time, customers’ demands and preferences have changed, and so has marketing. Today an average internet user spends 145 minutes on social media every day. Rather than checking yellow pages or asking friends about services, they Google it.
To cater to such a complex set of requirements, you need a team of skilled people. This would include a social media marketer, graphic designer, copywriter, SEO, etc. Plus, you will need a marketing budget.
Most companies I’ve come across don’t have people with digital marketing skills. If you are one of them, you will need to hire people either full-time or freelance. And, of course, you or someone from your team will need to guide and coordinate with them. It’s always good to have one person whose sole focus is to promote your business online.
Step 5: Brainstorm & Create a Pilot Marketing Plan
This is your opportunity to get creative and craft a custom marketing plan that works for you. You won’t have a sound marketing strategy without going through the first four steps. Thus, you must do them if not done.
As you’re just setting your feet in digital marketing, you shouldn’t get fixated on things. I suggest you do it for 3-6 months without taking too much on your plate and expecting too much too soon. For example, you’re not going to generate much revenue if you’re yet to have a well-optimized website and social media presence. Thus, you should start with basics unless you have a big team and a huge marketing budget.
Here’s what I suggest you do if you’re building your online presence from scratch:
- Build a multi-functional website
- List your business in various online directories
- Create a content marketing plan (SEO & Social Media)
- Build your email database & use email marketing
- Automate your sales and marketing emails
Note that there’s no standard process to market your business digitally. You could create your path. Apart from the steps mentioned above, you could run ads on Google and Social Media for instant results. Needless to say, you will need a reasonable marketing budget for it.
If you’re still wondering where to begin, it’s a good idea to see what your competitors (good ones) are doing to generate business. It’s also suggested that you sit with your team to brainstorm ideas.
Is it too Much Work? Hire a Transportation Growth Marketing Agency
Most people who run transportation and logistics businesses are primarily occupied in operations and sales. It’s understandable as they’re pretty crucial to a business. But the downside is that one cannot focus enough on other sides of things such as marketing.
The best way to implement all these ideas is with a transportation digital marketing company. This will not overwhelm your staff or yourself. These agencies work as your growth partners and help you with SEO, social media marketing, sales, etc.
Although hiring an agency might seem expensive, the ROI you get from it will be worth it. Agencies will help to infuse new energy and drive results for your business. They will create new business while you take care of the existing one. It’s a win-win!
LeanSummits: Cutting-Edge Transportation Marketing Agency
After witnessing transportation businesses struggle with marketing, my partner and I decided to help them grow. That’s how LeanSumiits became a modern-day growth marketing agency for logistics.
LeanSummits consists of experienced logistics professionals who have more than 30 years of combined experience. We have worked with Brokers and Carriers as well as 3PL and 4PL firms. We take pride in helping these logistics businesses adopt new transportation management strategies and improve their supply chains. Our most significant contribution is to help them find new clients, business opportunities and grow.
We recognize that external factors can have an adverse effect on your services. Marketing planning is key to overcoming these external factors. If we work with your team, we believe it is the best way to provide value.
We have successfully used new technologies, expanded into new market segments, and improved our existing processes. Our extensive experience in logistics marketing will help you grow your company.
Call us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about our services for growing your transportation company.