Hong Kong-based freight forwarders, fulfillment centers, and logistics companies often struggle to find new overseas customers. Shipping and logistics is an international business by nature and your customers may not necessarily attend trade shows in Hong Kong.
As such, it’s essential to leverage online marketing tools to effectively reach out to customers in the right countries, looking for the shipping and logistics services that you have to offer.
Google Adwords allows you to bid for specific keywords related to your services. Clearly, you only want to pay for clicks from people searching for your specific shipping and logistics services.
1. Selecting keywords
Shipping and logistics companies are always specialized to some degree. If you’re offering ocean and air freight from China and Vietnam to the UK and Ireland, then you might want to consider the following keywords:
- Shipping from China to the United Kingdom
- Shipping from China to Ireland
- Shipping from Vietnam to the United Kingdom
- Shipping from Vietnam to Ireland
- Airfreight from China to the United Kingdom
- Airfreight from China to Ireland
- Ocean freight from China to the United Kingdom
- Ocean freight from China to Ireland
If you bid for a broader keyword or phrase, such as “Ocean freight from China”, you’ll end up paying for clicks from people not based on your target market.
That will almost certainly drive up your cost so much that the ad campaigns are no longer profitable.
2. Select your target countries
If you are focused on shipping from China and Vietnam to the UK and Ireland, then it doesn’t make sense to show you ads anywhere else. As such, you must set your ads to only be visible in the UK and Ireland.
You can also go even deeper and show your ads only in specific cities or regions, and on certain days. When it comes to shipping and logistics, you might as well just show your ads during office hours.
After all, who is searching for freight forwarders on a Friday night anyway?
3. Set your bid and daily budget
The great thing with Adwords is that you can control costs. First, you can set a certain cap on how much you’re willing to spend per click. Second, you can also set a cap on how much you’re willing to spend per day.
- Max. cost per click: 10 HKD
- Maximum daily budget: 200 HKD
The actual cost may well be much lower than the stated 10 HKD, as the cap only states the maximum you’re willing to spend per click.
Further, 200 HKD per day is often more than enough to start generating more customers.
The point is not to get a lot of clicks, but the right clicks – from people searching for freight forwarders specialized in their specific route.
4. Select ad objective
When people search for freight forwarders and other logistics companies, they often have two things in mind:
a. Get a shipping quotation
b. Talk to someone to understand what you can offer
As such, you should not just send them directly to your website homepage, but to a quotation request form. That way you’ll start collecting qualified leads right away.
You should also give them the option to book a free consultation call, in case they want to learn more about your services first.
Youtube Video Ads
Youtube makes it possible to show video ads to people who have recently searched for your targeted keywords. For example, if someone in London recently searched for ‘Shipping from Vietnam to the UK’ you can show a video about your freight forwarding and logistics services.
You don’t need a Hollywood budget to make a brief company introduction video. You can use your phone or hire someone to create an animated explainer video.
What’s really interesting about Youtube video ads is that you’ll be one of the very few freight forwarders using the platform to reach out to customers.
Writing articles, just like this one, about relevant topics can also drive traffic back to your website, which in turn can be turned into leads and ultimately customers.
The principle is the same as when selecting Google Adword keywords. Try to figure out what your potential customers might be looking for online, and write blog articles around that.
Blog Topic Examples
- How to get the best freight rates from China to the UK
- How to get the best freight rates from China to Ireland
- How to get the best freight rates from Vietnam to the UK
- How to get the best freight rates from Vietnam to Ireland
There’s a lot of competition in the shipping and logistics industry on the internet today. Companies like Freightos.com and Flexport.com have spent years investing in content marketing that drives large volumes of traffic to their websites.
As such, I don’t recommend that you as a local Hong Kong-based freight forwarder attempts to go heads on, but focus on highly specific articles that are directly related to the shipping services you offer.
As said, it’s not about getting tens of thousands of visitors, but targeting those who are looking for what you have to offer.
Call to action
You should place ‘free quotation’ or ‘call booking’ forms and buttons on your website to ensure that your website visitors can easily get in touch with you.
Offering free eBooks, whitepapers, price guides or how-to-guides is another way to improve your brand value. This is especially important in B2B online marketing and sales, as the person visiting your website may not be the only decision-maker.
As such, it’s helpful to offer free downloadable material that can support their decision-making process internally.
Keep in mind that you are more likely to win their business just by offering a little bit more than your competition.