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A 2012 Marketing Plan – A Travel Agency Newsletter

The need for regular communications with your existing clients as a way of maintaining  relationships and staying in contact is clear. One of the best ways to stay in touch with clients is through a newsletter. Even if you do not own the company for which you work, you might consider a personal newsletter to build your brand with clients and to further establish your value to your agency. While publishing a newsletter is no small undertaking, it is well worth the effort. Done well, it will build your brand and contribute substantially to your marketing efforts, helping to establish you as an expert in your field. Done poorly, it may do damage to your practice. So let’s do this well.

To be a success, your travel newsletter will require good content, good design and a circulation. If we take each of these components up in turn, we can better understand how to begin. Here are a few tips that will assist you in working a newsletter into your marketing plan for next year.

The most important consideration is content. Your newsletter should be centered around an editorial mission – its reason for being. Perhaps the mission of the newsletter is to inform and entertain. Perhaps your newsletter’s mission is to present the best travel bargains available or the most interesting trips of the month, or perhaps a some mix of these objectives. Whatever its mission, you should be able to state it in a short sentence.

Having an editorial mission will keep you focused on appropriate content, giving your newsletter an “edge” in capturing the reader’s attention. Some content you can derive from the faxes and emails that arrive each day from suppliers. Other content can come from sources like USA Today or Budget Travel or any of a number of mainstream media. While you cannot infringe on the copyright of these publications by reproducing their articles, you can summarize and link to them, or you can use them as inspiration for your own articles. Make sure that your content is engaging. Just listing 20 “ho-hum” specials without any unifying rationale will not be likely to contribute to your brand in a positive manner. Readers like short, easy to understand articles with a headline that grabs their attention. “5 places to Hide-Out this Fall” / “The 10 Top Destinations for Buddy Trips” / “Girlfriend Getaways“. The headline should grab the reader and push them into the article. Keep in mind that TRO publishes content specifically for professional travel agents to send to clients in newsletters.

The design of your newsletter, especially early-on, should be simple. It can be plain text in an email if done well, or it can be a multi-color print product. Your newsletter might be a conventional format like TRO’s Travelgram, or it might be a blog-style periodical. In any case, keep the need to be very easily readable in mind. Good fonts and font sizes, bold headlines and good use of white space. People scan a newsletter for articles they want to read. Make the headlines highly visible and engaging. Make good use of graphical elements. All of our previous discussions about professional design and graphics apply here as well. Use a good template or have a local graphic artist assist you in your design.

Circulation” speaks to the readership as well as the timing and manner of delivery of your newsletter. Will your newsletter be a hard-copy print product? If so, how will you deliver it and to whom? Will it be emailed? If so, to only your existing clients or to potential clients as well? How often will you send it out? Maybe it will be only on your web site. If so, how will you promote the newsletter? Make it easy for your readers to comment on your articles and to pass it along to others.

Once you commit to a newsletter, you need to continually develop your writing and research skills. A few weeks into the process you can evaluate the return you are generating. You can decide if your brand is receiving the positive feedback for which you hoped when you launched your new endeavor.

Exercise – Consider adding a newsletter to your 2012 Marketing Plan or enhancing your current efforts at publishing a newsletter. Write down the “editorial mission” of your newsletter. Look for good templates that make your content highly visible and readable. As an experiment go to USA Today and Budget Travel or Forbes Travel or TRO’s daily Travelgram and find content that you might use in your newsletter.

 

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  4 thoughts on “A 2012 Marketing Plan – A Travel Agency Newsletter

  1. Robin Fender says:

    Thank you for tips regarding newsletters. I need all of the info that I can get on how to put a newsletter together and what to say to attract my clients which I don’t yet have. I’ve been struggling trying to get my business up and going and I appreciate any info you can give me.

  2. J E Masson PhD CTC says:

    In your Travel Agency Newsletter you promote an e-mail means but do not indicate by whatmeans or through what company can this be made. Can you recommend any such company? Thank you.

  3. John Frenaye says:

    For email broadcasting there are many services including:

    AWeber
    Constant Contact
    Mail Chimp
    Emma
    and a bunch more……

    I like AWeber as they REQUIRE you to have a double opt in list. There is no way for you to add a prospect and have them receive your email without THEM authorizing it.

    The argument against that is that people like to put prospects in that meet at trade shows, etc. Valid point. And you can do that, but ultimately the prospect will have to approve it!

    The others (to my knowledge) do not require that and will allow you to simply add any email address to your email database.

    I have found that my list may be smaller than other lists, but that my open rates and click through rates are considerably higher. My average open rate is in the high 50% range and my click through is in the low 30%.

    Why the difference? The folks that are on my list are engaged and they want the information I am providing.

    I woudl much rather send 100 emails to 70 clients who read them and 1 client who buys than to send to 10,000 with 2500 who read them and no one buys.

  4. Richard Earls says:

    Be sure to register for and use TRO’s Community. There are lots of great agents participating who can give you great advice from a “working” travel professional’s perspective!

    http://members.travelresearchonline.com/troforums/

    Richard

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