Not so long ago, business growth and customer acquisition were based on client relationship progression, great deliverance, and customer referrals. At least for small businesses that is. While such practices remain true today, as the internet has grown along with social media and advertising, the necessity to implement digital marketing tactics is more imperative than ever – it’s sink or swim.
In essence, marketing provides companies with an essential balance between inward and outward focus. You have your own processes and differentiating operations that set you apart from your competition, but you’re potential market doesn’t understand this. Your own customers may not even recognize this, causing your customer retention to be volatile!
Marketing in the Logistics Industry
As most of us can agree, the logistics industry is a solid 5-10 years behind the rest of the marketplace. Many freight forwarders, truckers, and 3PLs still rely on archaic paper-filing systems and rotary dialing phones (ok… maybe it’s not that bad, but you get the point.)
How does a company follow current marketing trends in an industry where half their customers and competitors don’t understand what SEO or content marketing are? It all comes down to balance and accommodation; using the right mediums of communication to get across your message in the best way possible.
Marketing: What it Entails
A lot of people hear the term marketing and immediately associate it with advanced technology and the newest social media trends. While this is true, all marketing has ever sought to do is design clever ways to put a message in front of potential clients. You have a message you want to tell and people who need to hear it – marketing provides a way to make that happen.
In fact, marketing doesn’t have to entail technology use at all! Billboard, mail, print outs, brochures, etc. all fall under the category of marketing and remain, in some circumstances, more effective that digital marketing approaches!
If you are in the logistics or shipping industry and want to learn more about marketing your business, here are our top tips:
1) It’s a Relationship Industry
As stated before, the logistics industry has revolved around relationships for a long time. Don’t make the mistake of forgetting it!
Marketing in the logistics industry should always revolve around relationships. Do everything you can to build, maintain, and engage with the community with your message. Here are a few ways you can do this:
Social Media Groups: LinkedIn above all other social media applications is the best platform for B2B marketing. There are tons of logistics, transportation, and supply chain related groups and communities on LinkedIn that allow people to share things about their business. Find a few, sign up to be a part of them, and commit to regularly posting on the pages to build community and relationships with those in the industry.
Tradeshows: Tradeshows in the logistics industry are a HUGE opportunity to market your business. More important than the traffic that moves through a tradeshow is the relational elements present. You have the opportunity to introduce yourself, exchange emails, and get to know other potential customers in person. You essentially “skip” the sales rep phone call stage and jump right to the in-person meeting.
2) Content Marketing
Interlog USA had no content marketing before 2017. Our web traffic hovered around 50 visitors per month and we would get approximately 1 inbound inquiry every 3-4 months.
After we started posting content marketing materials (blog posts and articles) 2-3 times per week, our web traffic rose significantly. How much? We just finished last month with 13,500 visitors in October alone. We now receive 1-2 inbound inquiries per day all because of content marketing.
While the logistics industry is archaic in many ways, you cannot forget the importance of digital marketing – primarily through Google. Google is the first place most of your customers will go when looking for how-to instructions, informative industry news, and other content. You’re an expert in your industry. Make that information available to the people who aren’t, and it will pay off in the long-run!
3) Build Your Lists and Know Where to Market to
Every business has some type of Excel sheet buried in their computer with past clients, current customers, or miscellaneous leads.
There are tons of affordable CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems. But one with a single user license if that’s what it takes. Move your leads and customers into their appropriate buckets, organize them, add street addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers.
As you revise your marketing processes, you’ll have a clearly defined and structured list of leads, customers, and past customers to market to. Email campaigns and print advertisements are more effective when sent to the right people at the right time. Without the tools to track where your leads are at and when you last interacted with them, predicting these times is a random guess at best.
Marketing does not have to be complicated! It’s a way to create balance between your internal processes and your external messages. You are your team are experts in your industry. You understand why your company is better than the competition – but your potential customers don’t! Marketing is all about finding the right channels to communicate this.
If you are looking for tips on marketing your company, we would love to speak with you! We’ve seen the implications of a solid marketing strategy and would be glad to hear what your company does and how you can improve your current processes. Reach out to one of our team members today!