Perhaps the greatest shift in the transport and commercial carrier industries has been one of volume. When millions of people transitioned to work from home, thousands lost their jobs, and fear of contracting COVID-19 kept people from leaving the house, they took to the internet. Suddenly, rather than a quick trip to the grocery store, Amazon, UPS and other commercial carriers became bringers of all things great and small. This spike in demand has persisted across direct-to-consumer and wholesale markets, exerting strain on the road-bound and airborne transportation companies that are integral to both the discretionary and non-discretionary supply chains globally (1).
As more discretionary industries, including consumer goods, pivot sales energy towards e-commerce systems, it’s possible that this spike in volume will not subside, or at least that levels of goods in need of transportation will not revert to their pre-pandemic levels. These spikes are equating to huge revenues for those companies positioned to make the most of the traffic increase.
For example, this month, Transportation and Logistics Systems, Inc. (TLSS) stocks jumped 300% as the company’s annual revenue neared $30m. Frank Mazzola, Chief Operating Officer of PrimeEFS and ShypDirect, TLSS’ primary delivery partners, announced that, in response to COVID-19, the company is expanding. "To meet the increased demand, we are hiring more drivers and adding new routes in our seven states of operation as more and more people are being asked to stay in their homes," Mazolla said, with Marketscreener also reporting that TLSS is acquiring GRC Trucking, Inc (2).
While transportation companies and commercial carriers may be at capacity, there are more successes to be had in the coming months—and despite looming economic uncertainty, transportation companies are expanding.
But the transportation market is competitive and small players are drawing new business away from big carriers like TLSS. Transportation companies have existed since long before the advent of the internet and, as such, not all transport firms and commercial carriers are positioned to make the most of their online presence. Regardless of the traditional, brass tacks nature of the transportation industry, the simplest way to get in front of future customers is to double down on your online presence.
The reason is simple: before entering a contract with a transportation company, potential customers will do their research. Unless they already have an industry contact, they’ll do that first by asking around and then by checking online to get basic information. This portion of research is so preliminary that not even a phone call is warranted; potential customers simply need to suss out basic compatibility between their needs and what services a given company might offer. But this is not a stage in the research phase that a competitive company should let go to waste.
No, this is the time to get on your future customers’ short list.
This can be boiled down to a series of straightforward steps that coalesce around a series of tried and tested methodologies. When a potential customer happens upon your website—or better yet, when a targeted campaign directs them there—they will probably be looking for three
Transportation Companies Need Cohesive Marketing
They will want to see a cohesive brand identity, which implies a thriving business and an investment in marketing and communication strategy. This also implies an efficient, technology friendly company—a reputation which transportation companies and commercial carriers need to be exuding in a post-pandemic world which will necessitate contact-less, digital technologies along the supply chain (3).
What Expertise Do Customers of Transportation Companies Need?
Next, they’ll want to quickly get a sense of your company’s expertise. This can be achieved by clear, careful messaging which delivers precisely the right amount of information—as a rule of thumb, simple is best. This messaging should say who you are, what you do and how you do it. In kind, a list of your services should be immediately available, so potential customers can know at a glance if a partnership is even possible. Naturally, not all transportation companies and commercial carriers are right for every possible business lead; it makes sense to be honest and frank about the services you provide to encourage the best relationships possible.
How Do You Actually Generate Real Leads?
Lastly, they’ll want to know how to get in touch. To get on your future customers’ short list, you need to be approachable and easy to contact. The best web presences inspire trust, demonstrate expertise, and encourage a chemistry meeting with potential clients. A hashtag has never inspired a new business partnership, but chemistry meetings do so all the time. Ultimately, transportation is a high capital industry; the buy in can be huge depending on the scale of a customer’s project. In order to encourage that buy in, you want to be the first company a potential customer calls.
Old school truckers, take heart: it’s still all about relationships. Great brand identity can just push things along in the right direction. Your transportation marketing plan can be as simple as that.
1 “Cargo Pilots Push for Better Rules to Protect against COVID-19 as Shipping Demand Spikes.” Dallas News, 22 May 2020, https://www.dallasnews.com/business/airlines/2020/05/22/cargo-pilots-push-for-better-rules-to-protect-against-covid-19-as-shipping-demand-spikes/.
2 MarketScreener. Transportation and Logistics Systems, Inc. Stock Jumps 300%; Revenues Spike Toward $30 Million Annually | MarketScreener. https://www.marketscreener.com/AMAZON-COM-INC-12864605/news/Transportation-and-Logistics-Systems-Inc-Stock-Jumps-300-Revenues-Spike-Toward-30-Million-Annua-30672756/. Accessed 28 May 2020.
3 StackPath. https://www.fleetowner.com/covid-19-coverage/article/21132142/covid19-trucking-lessons-learned. Accessed 28 May 2020.