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How to build a marketing strategy for freight forwarders

Investing in a digital marketing strategy for freight forwarders is crucial for the success of your business, due to the evolution of the forwarding industry.

As we know, most freight forwarders don’t know where to start, for that reason we are going to show you the best practices and the right steps to start marketing strategies in your forwarder. 

The first thing to have in mind is that you must be patient and start slowly, step by step, otherwise, you can get lost and not know what is working and what is not. 

How to build your forwarder marketing strategy with a foundation

Step 1 – Who is my audience? 

Write down the kind of customers you have, and start building your personas, we don’t recommend doing more than 5 personas, because it can get confusing and mess up your strategies. 

  • What is a persona? 

Personas are fictional characters, created to represent the different types of customers you have in your company, they are made by the demographics and psychographic factors.

The best way to create a persona is by building it with the Persona Canvas which is a board that helps you visualize your person’s characteristics. 

Think about who your clients are, and what are they like, how they work, what they like to do, how they deal with technology, what are their hobbies, etc.

Once you thought about that is time to start building your persona by demographics and psychographics. 

The demographics are usually built by:

  • marital status: is your persona married, single, divorced, or widowed; 
  • is your persona male or female; 
  • how much your persona earns per year; 
  • where does your persona live;
  • what is your persona profession; 
  • How old is your persona? 

The psychographics are usually built by what your persona enjoy doing, and their hobbies, for example, my persona likes dogs, soccer, spending time with the family, etc. 

Step 2 – How does your customer get to you?

Now that you know who is your target audience and how to speak to each one of them it’s time to know where you are going to communicate with them. 

For that we recommend you to set a Pirate Funnel (AAARRR), that maps all the interactions that your partner will have with your freight forwarder. Starting with:

  • Awareness: the volume of people you reach by your website, social media, advertising, etc.   
  • Acquisition: the volume of people that get in touch with your company, for example, that asks for a quotation. 
  • Activation: it’s the moment after your client closes a deal, is when the operation starts to happen.
  • Revenue: it’s when your partner makes the first payment for the transportation,  cross-sell, up-sell. 
  • Retention: how many times the customer came back, second, third cargo transportation, and so on.
  • Referrals: it’s when your partners invite others to make business with your forwarder company.

The Pirate Funnel must be used for each persona you have created individually. With the information you have about your personas you will fill out your Pirate Funnel according to their characteristics and personality. This way you will be more assertive in your strategies. 

Step 3: Start planning!

After gathering the essential information about your personas and knowing how they will reach you and where you can find them is time to start planning your strategies. 

Before you start planning your forwarder strategies you must ask yourself four questions:

  • How much can I spend to acquire a customer?
  • How complex is my service to be explained?
  • Are people looking for my service? 
  • How big is your client’s pain?

Now you are ready to choose the channels you will be communicating with your potential partners, keep in mind that there are many options available in the digital market, but you must start by choosing 2 or 3 maximum, after a while, you will start expanding.

Here are some examples of customer acquisition channels you might want to consider:

  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Social Ads
  • Offline Ads
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Events organization
  • Email Marketing 
  • Conferences 
  • Blog
  • Social Media
  • And much more. 

Remember to choose the best one to enhance your customer, because it all comes back to it. The client is the one who must guide your communication, a customer-centric marketing strategy. 

“Growth comes from understanding and finding out how to acquire them.” Sean Ellis

To get in deeply into marketing strategy for freight forwarders watch the webinar with Parnity’s CMO Marina Felicio.