Many trucking firms rely solely on “load boards” to find new business opportunities. Using these online marketplaces, owner-operators, freight brokers, and individual shippers all share information about available loads and transportation needs—and usually on a one-off basis (i.e., find a customer with a need, fill that need, and move on to the next customer).
While load boards do provide a valuable service for the industry, they shouldn’t be your trucking firm’s only source of new business. By adding other marketing tactics and strategies to your current lineup, you may increase your firm’s customer pipeline, enhance its revenues, and keep it in growth mode.
Marketing Tips for Your Trucking Business
Operating in a highly competitive industry, small trucking companies need a dedicated, consistent marketing approach to help them attract a continued pipeline of new customers. In addition to using industry load boards, trucking companies may use these seven marketing tips to start getting more customers today:
Ensure your website is up to date
If you don’t already have an online “calling card” where customers may learn more about your company and its services, now is a great time to set one up and make sure it is functioning properly. Include information about your services, the problems they solve for your customers, and an “about us” section that talks about your founders, team members, and core values. Use your site to post company news (e.g., new routes, services, offerings, etc.) and to keep customers and prospects up to date on what’s going on in the transportation industry (e.g., rates, capacity, labour issues, and so forth).
Demonstrate your expertise with a company blog
One of the best ways to attract eyeballs to your new or improved website is by posting useful content that helps solve your customers’ biggest pain points. If trucking rates are going up, for example, post a short blog on four tips for offsetting these increases. Or, if capacity is constrained going into the holiday season, tell them how to circumvent the problem to get their critical loads delivered on time. These blogs may be short and to the point, but also include a call to action (CTA) at the bottom offering to help your readers work through these and other transportation-related challenges.
Ask current customers to provide reviews & recommendations
Your current, happy customers are by far your best marketing tool in today’s competitive trucking environment. Get in the habit of asking them to post reviews about their experience on social platforms, and other review sites. These sites use search engine optimization (SEO) to boost their rankings on the search engines, which means your prospects may see them first when they search for your company’s name online. The higher the number of stars, the better. Encourage your customers to provide reviews and recommendations liberally on these sites, knowing that most people want to help, but few will take it upon themselves to post a review on their own.
Join trade associations and attend industry events
Trade association membership not only benefits your trucking company, but it also helps project a positive image of your organization to prospective and current customers. It shows that you are willing to put time and energy into your industry as a whole, and helps set your company apart in a field where organizations come and go. By attending industry events—some of which may be virtual in nature for the time being—you may network with other trucking firms, share best practices, and establish your company as a committed, long-term participant in the transportation industry.
Use social media and sponsored posts
Set up a presence on social media platforms, and start posting content that appeals to your current and prospective customers. You may post the blogs (developed for your own site) on social channels. You may also pay for sponsored posts, which appear on your timeline but that reach a bigger audience.
Support your community
Sponsoring a local ‘Little League’ team or a 5K fun run in your community are both great ways to get the word out about your company. Hand out company flyers, stuff pens with your company logos on them in the racers’ goody bags, and have your company’s name printed on the back of the baseball players’ shirts. Get creative! Your own community is a terrific source of potential customers for your trucking company.
Put your heads together and cross-promote
The entire world relies on transportation to get products from point A to point B, which means pretty much everyone has a stake in some aspect of the trucking business. For instance, a local third-party logistics provider may rely on independent trucking firms to handle their less-than-truckload (LTL) loads, while a small retailer may need last-mile delivery services that your firm may provide. To tap into these opportunities, form a group of aligned, non-competitive organizations in your area and then cross-promote one another’s business. You may do this in a formal networking environment (i.e., meeting one morning a month for two hours of networking) or just use coupons, reciprocal web links, social media, and/or bundled promotions to help each other expand your customer bases.
Track Your Marketing Goals
Marketing isn’t a “set it and forget it” exercise to use only when your customer pipeline dries up. You should be using these and other marketing strategies on a consistent basis, tracking the results of your efforts, and then regularly tweaking your plan for the current environment. If a new opportunity surfaces and an older method is no longer producing results, don’t be afraid to swap them out and try something new.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or an opinion on any issue. It should not be regarded as comprehensive or a substitute for professional advice.