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How to build a marketing strategy for freight forwarders

Created on | Last updated on October 6, 2023 at 12:55 pm

Investing in a marketing strategy for freight forwarders is crucial for the success of your business.

The digital marketing industry has grown a lot in the last few years in the most diverse markets.

For the forwarding industry, this is no different – marketing is becoming one of the companies’ priorities, and day by day forwarders are starting to invest more and more in it.

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing is the promotion of products or brands through digital media. 

To summarize digital marketing is all your company’s marketing efforts in the online environment aiming to attract new customers, build a relationship with your audience, and increase brand awareness. 

Therefore, you can use channels like websites, email, social media, search engines, blogs, and more to build a marketing strategy for your forwarding company.

Benefits digital marketing brings to your freight forwarder

Building a consolidated marketing strategy for your freight forwarding company can bring many benefits, such as:

Attracting new clients and partners

Usually, this is the main focus of most digital marketing strategies, acquiring new customers and partners.

There are many ways to achieve this goal, for example, through emails, ads, social media, blogs, and much more. 

Receiving feedback from your customers and audience

Once you start working with digital marketing in your forwarding company you have to be prepared to receive feedback, either positive or negative.

Regardless, feedback is always a good exit to start working on touchpoints of improvement inside your company.

Improving the relationship with your customers

Digital marketing means online presence, and directly dealing with your customers and partners in all of the touchpoints.

Therefore, once you get closer to your forwarder clients and partners, you start to build and improve the relationship you have with them. 

Through your digital marketing, you show them how much you pay attention to them, and that they are your priority. 

Strengthen customer retention

The more you establish a presence for your company and show your clients how much they are essential to your business the more you will see them coming back to close shipments with you.

Become a reference in the market

Working with digital marketing strategies inside your freight forwarder helps your company to become a reference in the industry.

Once you have a good presence on your website, you are active on social media, you show your customers and partners their importance to your company they will start to indicate you to others.

Along with that other freight forwarders will see your presence online as a way of inspiration.

Increase your forwarder company’s brand awareness

The digital marketing strategies you do inside your freight forwarder company will directly impact your brand awareness. 

Again, once you make yourself present in the online environment you will for sure increase your brand awareness.

This means that you will be acknowledged by your forwarder customers, partners, and competitors. 

Reinforce competitive differentials

Make sure to show your forwarder clients and potential ones what makes your forwarding company different from the other forwarders out there. 

Show the benefits that your customers and partners will have by closing business with you, and make sure to show the industry your differentials.

Increase the company’s profitability

By investing in a marketing strategy for freight forwarders and achieving the benefits mentioned above: generating more leads, more sales opportunities, increasing your brand awareness, and improving your relationship with your partners and clients – you will certainly improve your company’s profitability.

How to start building a marketing strategy for freight forwarders

Most 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. 

Before diving headfirst into the world of digital marketing, it’s crucial to lay a solid foundation by understanding some fundamental concepts.

These principles serve as the compass guiding your strategy’s direction and effectiveness.

The foundation for an effective digital marketing strategy

From grasping the unique dynamics of the logistics industry to comprehending your target audience’s specific needs, these insights are indispensable:

Know your 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 they are 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.

Understand the customer’s path 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 set up a Pirate Funnel (AAARRR), that maps all the interactions that your partner will have with your forwarder. Starting with:

  • Awareness: the volume of people you reach through 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 do 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.

Planning your marketing strategy for freight forwarders

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 it’s time to choose which channels you will begin your digital marketing strategies. To start it’s always better to go through the most common ones, such as:

  • Email;
  • Social Media;
  • Facebook and LinkedIn Groups;
  • Blog;
  • Google and Social Media Ads.

These channels will give you a lot of ground to cover, so if you want to start slowly go one by one, and then start mixing all of them together.

After you choose the channels you will work on you need to start planning and organizing what you will produce, and for each channel, you have to build a different plan. 


When we think about email marketing strategies there are two types of content you should deliver to your audience, and that is: commercial and institutional.

Commercial emails are the ones you will try to sell your forwarding business and maybe add a special condition. 

As for the institutional emails, you should let your clients know what your forwarding company can offer them, and how they can benefit from it. 

The difference between them is that the commercial email needs to create a sense of urgency, while the institutional email doesn’t.

Think about sending 1 email every 15 days. 

Social Media

As for social media, you can cover many kinds of content, here you will find a list of content suggestions. 

It’s important to build a monthly plan with 2 or 3 posts per week to keep in touch with your audience.


Writing a blog post can take a lot of your time, so the best choice for you to start is to make one every two weeks. 

As for the types of content, in one week you can write about the news and insights of the forwarding industry, and on the other, you can write tips and guides to help your customers during the operation. 

Google and Social Media Ads

To wrap it up, when we think about Google and Social Media Ads is better to build a bi-weekly, or monthly plan.

One that focuses on selling your forwarding company and its services, and an institutional one for you to increase your brand awareness.

Or even a seasonal campaign that focuses on a specific date, or promotion.

Start working on it!

Now that you have a complete guide on how to start building a marketing strategy for freight forwarders it’s time to work on it!

In the beginning, you can get lost in creating your digital marketing planning, that is why we prepared a spreadsheet that will help you plan your strategies in the best way possible.

Take a step further on your freight forwarding company and invest a little time to enjoy all the benefits digital marketing can bring to your forwarder. 

To have an overview of the content above, watch the video below: