Can we agree that if you are not marketing your travel business is some manner, you are probably not going to make it in this business? Marketing is a science, and while luck may have a role to play, if you are not sure of what you are doing, you may be doing more harm than good.
While times change, concepts are usually pretty consistent. Recently I discovered a handout from college outlining the 5 questions every marketing person must be able to answer. I am sure at the time, it went in one ear and out the other; but there were some highlights in there that apparently made sense 30 years ago, and to a large degree still make sense today—with a little updating.
1. Who do you target?
Everyone! Teachers…bosses…friends…lovers…business acquaintances…mail carriers…police officers…the list goes on, but it is everyone!
Stop being shy and promote yourself and your business by letting others know what you do. Stop asking yourself why they would buy from you. Even if they’re ‘not in the market’ for your business right now, how about the people they know? Maybe their network can be useful to you? Anyone can be a good lead. Someone likely knows someone who needs what you can offer.
2. What do you use?
I am a big fan of this one. Your business card is the cheapest and most cost effective marketing tool you have. Never leave home or work without it. Carry plenty. It’s your mobile advertisement. Make certain to list your website URL, business name and your name prominently. We live in a connected world; don’t stick the URL in a corner of the card, but put it front and center along with your business name. Use the back of the card (or the inside if it is a folding card) to say something short and meaningful about what you offer. Give us your dreams, and we’ll give you the world!
3. How do you pitch?
You don’t. But…wallflowers—have a seat. Don’t overwhelm them, but let people know quickly what you can provide. This is not the time for selling. Make it simple, “If you or someone you know can use a travel expert, here’s my contact info. Thank you.” That’s it! If they throw it away when you turn your back—you lost a few pennies. If they keep it—your name is now in their pocket! And if you get the chance—touch them. Physically! Offer them a handshake—it is also a powerful tool.
4. What’s so different about you?
You need to know what you provide that the competition is not. It may be more convenience, more experience, lower pricing, or something else. This is the famed “elevator pitch” and you better know it down pat. If you have the opportunity to speak to someone, it is imperative to authoritatively say exactly what it is you do in as short a time as possible. We have talked about elevator pitches here before and cannot emphasize enough how important they are.
Also, make certain that this pitch (or similar) is front and center on your website’s homepage. Remember, we are a connected world.
5. What is the end game?
The goal for marketing is not reaching ‘x’ number of customers or invoicing ‘y’ dollars by a specific self-imposed deadline. Your goal should be to get people to think of you before they think of anyone else. Some surefire ways to know that you are on the right track is when people begin to recognize you (and your business) on sight and business tend to come up in every conversation. You will start connecting with more and more people. And with social media, the opportunities to expand that are exponential.