Businesses across all industries depend on technology, and freight brokerage is no different. To be successful in today’s market, freight brokers must be familiar with online marketing and mounting successful online campaigns. If your freight company doesn’t use online marketing, familiarize yourself with the basics to maintain a competitive edge.
TOMA stands for “top of mind awareness.” In other words, your company name should be the first one shippers or other customers consider. The most successful freight brokers build their marketing strategies around TOMA. There are a few simple, but important, steps.
First, develop a core idea about what your business offers. Ask yourself what makes your freight company different from competitors. It could be your timing, the way you pack and ship items, your rapport with shippers, or the technology you use. Once you have a core idea, build marketing campaigns around it. When customers think of your company, they will think automatically about what makes your business unique.
Second, speak directly to your customers. Today’s freight and shipping customers are inundated with advertising. Every company promises to save the most money and time, or to treat their freight with the most care and respect. You must go beyond these basic promises, and find what sets you apart from competitors.
Third, personalize your message. Make it interesting, funny, or memorable in some way. Tailor your marketing campaigns to reach specific audiences. For example, if most of your customers live in one U.S. region, talk about how your freight company deals with weather hazards there. If your customers deal in certain items, use facts or stories about those items to get their attention. Then let your customers know how important they are.
Use Action Words
Decisions are made in the moment. To engage and keep customers, picture them at that moment of decision-making. They may be teetering on the edge. If so, a well-placed command might make a difference. Use action words in your marketing campaign. A phrase like “Contact us today” gets much use for a good reason – it works.
Additionally, make all your words count. Use strong verbs in your advertising. Don’t say, “We will get your freight to its destination on time.” “Get” is a weak verb, and the rest of the sentence takes away from it. Instead, try something like, “Hauling fast, day or night.” This puts the action at the front of the sentence. It also conveys commitment to timeliness with a catchy phrase.
When brainstorming strong verbs and adjectives, consider the associations you want customers to make. In other words, what’s the first thing you want them to think when they see your advertising? Let’s say your customers are concerned about the condition of their deliveries. Your language should convey commitment to careful packaging, thorough inspections, and safe delivery. If you serve many rural customers, they may be concerned you cannot locate them to make deliveries. Discussions of quality GPS tracking and other technologies will alleviate this concern. So, too, will advertising that promises your drivers’ commitments to finding every location, no matter how long it takes.
Stay Consistent, but Be Creative
Your marketing program must be consistent. If your advertising style changes every week, shippers and other customers will get confused. They also may become weary of your advertising and move to the next company. To avoid this, keep the basics in mind. Even if your advertising’s content changes, your mission statement, slogans, and overall services should not.
However, you must also be creative. Customers rely on the basics, but they want to be entertained or amazed when they see them. Update your website regularly – once every few months is a good rule of thumb. While your website’s text should use basic, readable fonts and colors, don’t be afraid to add vivid graphics, videos, and sound bites. Give your customers something to see, hear, and interact with – and not just read off a screen.
Keep Technology Skills Up-to-Date
Not everyone is comfortable with technology – and that’s okay. However, we live in a digital world. Make new technologies work for you, not against you. Offer training for your marketing team and other employees. Consider mounting a “hotline” where employees can have technology questions answered. Read technology and business news so you know what works (and doesn’t work) in marketing.
Additionally, ensure your technology, especially your desktop and mobile websites, is safe from penalties. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is crucial to marketing freight brokering. SEO keeps you safe from penalties by Google and other search engine algorithms that demote your page. Poor SEO means poor rankings. Check links periodically to ensure none are broken. Update links as new, reputable sources become available. Build good relationships with technology providers, such as GPS systems. These will help you get discounts, training, and other help when you need it.
Online marketing isn’t the future – it’s now. For freight brokers to stay competitive, they must engage in strategic online marketing techniques to ensure they stay in line with their industry.