Considered a “traditional” industry, transportation is one of those businesses that we cannot live without. No matter how many things we can do online, we’ll still need transporters to move the stuff from one place to another.
It might be an old and mature industry, but it’s going through an evolution. Whether it’s managing the orders or communicating with the customers, digitization has played a crucial role in almost all aspects of the business. One of them has been the way transportation businesses market themselves.
Gone are the days when you could promote your business using billboards, newspaper ads and flyers. An average American spends around 7 hours a day online, and your transportation growth marketing strategy has to align with that. As a growth marketing agency helping many transportation businesses, we at LeanSummits have come up with seven growth marketing ideas that are bound to give a boost to your business.
Let’s get started!
Set Up a Multi-Functional Website
Did you know?: 57% of internet users won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed website on mobile.
The older generation still runs many transportation businesses, and they overlook the significant digital presence has in today’s age. Unfortunately, they understand its importance when it’s too late. If you’re one of those businesses, right now is the time to take action.
Building your website is one of the first things you must do to take your business online. However, you shouldn’t do it just for the sake of it. A website will be the first place of interaction for many customers, and you must make it as functional as possible.
Here are the minimum website requirements for any transportation business:
- Communicate experience & expertise: Your expertise and experience are the first things a customer will want to check on your website. Thus, your website content should serve it employing written content, photographs and numbers.
You could write about your company history, show pictures of your on-ground staff and mention the number of shipments/relocations you’ve performed throughout the years. We also suggest you mention your US DOT number so that users can know that your business is genuine.
- Online Quotation Facility: Hardly any customer would go to your website’s ‘contact us’ page and give you a call or send an email for a quotation. They want to have it online right now!
Thus, your website should have the capability to give instant quotations to customers visiting your website. This helps them make quicker decisions and also gives you their Email ID so that your sales team can get in touch with them later. The quotation button should be available on all web pages of your website in a visible way.
- Mobile Optimized: Around 54% of users browse the internet using their mobile phones, and that’s a good enough reason to mobile-optimize your website. Moreover, Google gives preference to mobile-optimized sites in its search results.
- Simple & Fast: You don’t need to bombard website visitors with a ton of content as it will do nothing but confuse them. Thus, you should have a simple and elegant website that serves the purpose in each part. Plus, you should reduce the site load time as a slow website can put off many potential customers and bring down your SEO rankings.
Position Yourself as a Specialist
When you say that you’re a transportation company, it could mean a lot of things. A typical customer, in my 25+ years of experience, prefers a company that has established itself as an expert in a particular vertical.
Here are various niches by which you could differentiate your logistics company:
- Cargo type
- Shipment Size
- Local & International transport
- Target customers (B2B/B2C)
- Mode of transport (Sea/Air/Truck)
One thing to note is that when I say niche, it doesn’t need to be just one. You could have a few niches that suit your business and have been a success for you till now. It will allow you to channelize your marketing, sales and operational efforts in a more focused way. Plus, it establishes your expertise, which is bound to increase your inbound leads.
Leverage Customer Testimonials
Unfortunately, many scammers are posing themselves as businesses and looting the customers. Many customers have grown aware of it and don’t trust even the legitimate ones. As a transportation business, you must bridge the trust gap and using customer testimonials is the best way to do it.
In my experience, the customers get estimations from at least three clients and check the customer testimonials of each before making the call. Therefore, you should take and publish customer testimonials on your website, Google and social media platforms. You should also upload short one-two minute video testimonials as they’re more effective as they’re harder to fake.
If you haven’t built a bank of customer testimonials, it’s the right time to do so. We suggest you take video testimonials immediately after completing an order so that you can give a real-time feeling to the viewers.
Work on Your Local SEO
Did you know?: In 2017, the number of Google searches for travel and logistics increased from 8% to 14%. Mobile search was responsible for 43% of total online searches about travel and logistics. (McKinsey & Company, 2018)
The transportation or shipping industry has a lot to do with location. Customers are always on the lookout for a company belonging to the same city. For example, a person wanting to relocate from NYC is likely to search for ‘NYC Moving Company’ on Google. If you can rank in the top three or five of these results, you’re bound to generate a handsome amount of leads. Working on your local SEO game will increase the inbound leads, which means you don’t have to put any sales or advertising efforts to get those customers.
Attend Trade Shows and Events for Quality Leads
Did you know?: 14% of Fortune 500 companies reported a 5 to1 ROI for their trade show, which is $5 per $1 they spent.
Many things might have moved online but there’s nothing that beats the power of in-person conversation. Trade shows and business events give you a plethora of opportunities to pitch your business to various businesses including suppliers, retailers, manufacturers and many more.
You can talk to the foot traffic at your booth, network in the halls, and capture quality logistics lead. Post-event, you can engage them with lead nurturing materials and content. This is one of the best ways to generate qualified top-of-funnel leads.
The COVID-19 pandemic might have put a brake on these events but many of them are still going on in online mode. They might not be as effective, but something is better than nothing after all.
Here’s a link to the best trade shows going to be held in 2022.
Up Your Social Media Game
Did you know?: Facebook is the most preferred and rewarding platform in the trucking industry.
You might think: “Why does my business need social media?” This might have been true some years ago, but not anymore. Social media can be a great way to interact with your customers. Here’s what you can post on social media to boost your brand visibility:
- Valuable content that solves customers’ problems
- Pictures/videos of your on-ground services
- Customer testimonials
- Latest offers and discounts
Another great use of social media in the transportation business is running Facebook and Instagram ads. For instance, you can show your ads to people who’re engaged and live in a particular area. You might have to invest some money after these ads, but it can yield a great ROI as the order size is usually large.
In short, it’s time to move on from “this is how we’ve always done” and add new marketing weapons to your arsenal.
Automate Quotation Follow-Ups and Invoice Reminders
Did you know?: Marketing automation results in a 14.5% rise in sales productivity and a 12.2% decrease in marketing overhead.
Whether you like it or not, there’s no escape to quotation follow-ups. It’s an important part of the transportation business as it helps you increase the conversion rate. You could do it the old way by calling customers or sending manual emails. Or, you could adopt a smarter way by automating your quotation follow-up emails or text messages. Quotation follow-ups remind the customers about making the decision and help you stand out from the rest.
Invoice reminders is another area where automation can be a boon to your business. With automated reminders, your sales team is least involved, and they can focus on generating business. In our experience, these reminders work great as most people want to pay but forget about it.
Build Great Relationships with Your Customers
The transportation industry has no shortage of fraudsters, and that’s why customers rely on word-of-mouth when choosing transportation businesses to move their valuable stuff. That means you need to build a strong relationship with them from the moment they get in touch with you.
Each piece of communication – whether emails or calls – needs to leave a positive impression in their mind. In my experience, nothing works better than highly personalized messaging delivered in a conversational tone. Plus, it would be best if you always asked about their feedback as there’s no better business coach than a customer.
Apart from your communication, your on-ground team will also play a huge part in customers’ overall experience. You must leave no stone unturned in building a positive and respectful company culture so that each employee understands the values and represents them in each interaction.
Provide Valuable content
Did you know?: 47% of buyers go through at least three to five pieces before engaging in conversation with a sales representative.
You must provide your customers and prospects with relevant and up-to-date content to grab their attention and keep them interested. This will improve the customer experience and build authority and credibility for your company. Here are some ways you can provide valuable content to your prospects and customers:
- Newsletters: You could create a weekly or bi-weekly newsletter to share information about your business and industry news with your customers. You could also put the discounts and latest achievements that interest customers enough to share your updates with their friends.
- Blog Posts: Blog posts can be really useful to deliver useful content in an elaborative manner. For example, moving companies could give tips to pack stuff quickly and easily or suggest the best packing equipment. Moreover, blog posts can be effective to boost your SEO.
- Video: Videos are the most effective form of content, and you could be missing out on many customers if you don’t use them. You could create videos that provide useful information to your target audience.
Sounds Like a Lot of Work? Here’s What You Can Do
Having spent years in the transportation industry, I know the above ideas sound like a lot of work to you. It’s not that you don’t want to do it, but investing so much time and effort might not be possible for you. We get it.
One way to implement all these ideas and not overburden yourself or your team is to hire an experienced digital or growth marketing company. These agencies take care of SEO, social media, website, email marketing and pretty much everything that falls under the umbrella of marketing. Moreover, growth marketing companies can help you enhance your business’s other aspects, such as sales, support, operations, etc.
The agencies might probably cost you a few thousand dollars a month, but the ROI you get will make it look like a small investment. Plus, you’re infusing new energy into your business that will keep you ahead of the competitors and yield results for years to come.
LeanSummits: Expert in Transportation Business Marketing
We at LeanSummits have over 30 years of combined experience in logistics. We have worked with Brokers, Carriers, 3PL, and 4PL providers. We pride ourselves on helping these logistics companies adopt new transportation management systems and improve their supply chains. Most importantly, we have helped them find new customers and new business opportunities that have helped them grow.
We have adopted new technologies, improved existing processes, and expanded into new markets. We can help companies grow their existing business through our experience in logistics marketing.
Book a free consultation to know how we can help you grow your transportation business.