The benefits of solid freight broker marketing and lead generation efforts will be more apparent immediately for a freight broker than for many other professionals. It may seem like the investment is not worth the return. Still, initiative-taking freight broker marketing can transform their organizations into more efficient, scalable solutions, and that scalability promotes continued benefits for the brokerage. And while learning how to sell services may not be a broker's primary strength, they must not overlook it. However, the path to more leads and sales is complex and trodden with risk. Still, brokers need to know why investing time and energy into developing a solid lead generation system is essential for any company looking to grow their business and turn that into more business clientele and service partnerships.
Let's take a closer look at what freight broker marketing is, its value, and how brokers can approach marketing the right way.
I. What Is Freight Broker Marketing and Why Is It Important
Freight brokers are a necessity in today's globalized world for international logistics, as they are often involved with transactions involving at least two different countries and many government regulations. Freight brokers have both import and export freight agents working under them to generate freight leads through various channels such as phone calls, emails, referrals, or social media pages. This teamwork helps them meet their customers' needs while also meeting company goals on revenue and profitability. Turning this lead-generation tool are the gears of a strong freight broker marketing engine that's designed to draw attention, generate intrigue, and turn that intrigue into a signature on the proverbial dotted line.
II. Recognize the Value of Market Research for Freight Broker Marketing
To understand what types of marketing efforts are successful, brokerage companies must research before approaching any marketer or advertising company. In other words, know thyself! This kind of preparation is essential because it will help you better understand your target audience and figure out where they spend time online interacting with content related to shipping and transportation (in other words, if they read blogs about supply chain management).
Suppose you already have a list of contacts at various manufacturers, carriers, and shippers that you've built through your sales analytics department. In that case, you can also use this simple list to begin thinking about how they interact with the market. The more knowledge brokers have, the easier it will be for them to determine which forms of marketing make the most sense for their business model.
Freight broker marketing is reaching out to carriers or manufacturers to sell your services. The better you know your target audience’s needs and how they like to buy (inbound vs. outbound), then you’ll better understand what kinds of marketers would appeal most to them and what platforms they're using when searching online. It becomes easier for freight brokers and marketers to plan a cohesive strategy that aligns all efforts under one umbrella.
III. A Few Simple Examples of How to Generate Leads for Freight Brokers
Finding the best way to generate leads for freight brokers can be troublesome. There are apparent tactics, like cold calling or cold emailing, but these are cold and lack the individualized touch by definition. Instead, brokers should focus on other ways to build out their prospect lists and create meaningful connections. That includes taking the following steps:
- Create advertisements to direct potential clients to the freight broker's website offer advertising space on their site.
- Set up a booth at trade events or industry conferences to promote themselves.
- Take out ads on search pages to direct people to the freight broker's website.
- Work with third-party marketing companies that offer freight broker lead-generation services through content creation and advertising campaign management.
Regardless, the premise is still the same. Freight broker marketing and lead generation for freight brokers are about building relationships and growing a network.
Consider this: If you're confident that your business can help move freight, then you need to start thinking like a marketer and how you can reach out to those who could benefit from your services as quickly as possible. Investing time into effective marketing could begin with having a clear list of tips for keeping your services top-of-mind for potential clients.
IV. How to Nurture Leads and Create a Greater Conversion Rate.
One of the essential things freight brokers can do to generate leads is follow up with potential clients. This means staying in contact with them after they've expressed interest in your services and keeping track of their needs so you can provide relevant information when it becomes available. It also means being initiative-taking in reaching out to them at regular intervals (usually no more than once a month) to ensure they're still interested in what you have to offer.
Freight broker marketing may mean that you will often send potential clients information about rates or services but never follow up to see if they received the email or had any questions. Not only does this waste the time and energy that went into compiling the information, but it also makes it seem like the freight broker is not genuinely committed to providing high-quality freight services.
Another way freight brokers can generate leads for freight shipping is by creating advertisements that direct customers to the freight broker's website and offering advertising space on their site. Once potential clients get to your site, they'll see the types of services you offer, and it will be much easier for them to decide whether they want to work with you. Furthermore, brokers can follow these tips to keep their services in prospects’ minds.
1. Follow Up With Potential Clients After They’ve Expressed Interest in Your Services
There are several diverse ways to follow up with potential clients. You can call them, email them, or even send them a letter. But whatever method you choose, be sure to act quickly. The sooner you follow up, the more likely it is that you'll land the sale. Freight broker marketing begins with following up and knowing what to expect as soon as possible.
2. Stay in Contact With Them to Track Their Needs
It's essential to track a lead's needs over time to ensure that you provide them with the best possible service. By staying in contact with them, you'll be able to determine what they need and when they need it. This approach will help you provide them with the information they need to make a purchase decision.
3. Share Data and Insights That Are Useful to Your Audience
Such information might include new products or services, as well as market updates. Still, the best-laid path is to keep the lead interested in your company before, during, and after a sale closes. A combination of intelligent, relevant content and an elevated level of personal engagement will help any freight broker marketing or lead generation program achieve its goals.
4. Stay Informed of Carrier Rates and Changing Market Dynamics
It's no secret that freight brokers need to be well-informed of the freight market if they want to be successful. By understanding carrier rates and the changing dynamics of the freight market, brokers can better interact and convert leads to sales.
Consider this example. Freight costs will likely stay high through much of 2022. According to Transport Topics: "data shows total truckload rates year-over-year are holding around 12% higher. They are forecast to grow 2.5% to 3% throughout the year. (That compares with a 29% rate increase in the spot market and a 14% rate increase for contracts in 2021.) But year-over-year results could start stabilizing later in the year because of a surge in rates last year."
Such volatility will be a significant driver of any conversation with a freight broker in 2022. Access to relevant industry information will mean the difference between being an expert by a prospect or an unreliable service. Further, this will help build trust between the broker and the client, which can lead to a successful sale and continue a positive freight broker marketing sales cycle through more networking via the new client too.
5. Use Big Data to Learn About Your Lead's Needs
Big data is a valuable resource in freight. Consider how analytics to manage inventory plays into the customer experience better. As reported by Grainger, "Now, thanks to real-time data and the ever-expanding Internet of Things, it has never been more accessible or more critical for businesses to have clear visibility into their inventory across all channels. As supply chains continue to expand around the globe, keeping track of inventory in real-time is key to keeping your customers loyal and happy. With fulfillment of web orders coming from multiple physical locations, it’s essential that every time an SKU is scanned in-store, the item quantity is simultaneously updated with each purchase and shows in real-time to the online customer.
Efficient inventory management can make or break your business. According to the latest e-commerce research by the Baymard Institute, more than 69% of online shoppers will abandon their online purchase when one or more of their items are not in stock. And the problem extends beyond one lost order because only 17% of shoppers will return to that same retailer after having a poor ordering experience."
The same concept applies to lead nurturing and conversions in freight broker marketing. For instance, the lead will die if you cannot fulfill a request. Some tips will be lost but knowing when and why that happens is the trick.
Part of this process involves carefully selecting the metrics that you will use to measure the success of your marketing and sales efforts. This will help you to determine what is working and what needs improvement. It is equally important to manage the initial contact, including ensuring all questions are answered and they are given all the information they need.
Freight brokers need to have the right metrics to track their customer sales journey. Without the right metrics, brokers won't properly gauge progress and could lose leads or sales. Some of the most important metrics to track include:
- Number of leads generated
- Lead conversion rate
- Average sale value
- Customer lifetime value
These are just a few examples, so be sure to track the most relevant metrics to your business.
6. Revisit Your CRM Software and Invest in New Functionalities Where It Makes Sense
A high-quality CRM is essential to managing leads throughout freight broker marketing. The right CRM will help you keep track of all potential leads, as well as their contact information, what stage of the buying process they are in, and any notes you may have about them. This information is essential for keeping your lead pipeline full and ensuring that you don't miss any opportunities. Additionally, a good CRM can automate much of the follow-up process, saving you time and ensuring no chance slips through the cracks.
7. Consider Outsourcing Freight Broker Marketing to Create Content and Engage Your Audience
Freight brokers need help from the outside to engage with freight prospects for a few reasons:
- Freight is a complex and detailed industry, so it can be challenging to know where to start when trying to market your freight business.
- Freight brokers often have a lot of leads coming in, so it can be hard to keep up with all of them and determine which ones are worth pursuing.
- Freight brokers need to focus on their day-to-day operations and leave the marketing to experts who can do it more effectively and efficiently.
Outsourcing your freight broker marketing can help you connect with more freight prospects, qualify them more quickly, and increase your chances of converting them into customers.
The Big Picture: Have a Freight Broker Marketing Plan to Close Immediately and Without Sacrificing Your Cash Flow
There's a simple reality in freight brokerages. Cash flow depends on a steady stream of leads and sale conversions. However, that same profitability is still at risk when bringing on new shipper clients, and it might not be possible to maintain operability with a shipper's payment cycle. As a result, the decisive step to freight brokerage marketing is also an overarching premise: brokers must be ready to close and start moving freight immediately. This is true regardless of how well-vetted prospects may be, and if your company cannot handle that truth, your brand will be at risk. Start by implementing the steps above to generate more leads, market your brokerage, and turn those leads into sales. And invest in a proven solution that can help improve your cash flow throughout new sales. Request a demo of ComFreight's HaulPay to get started.