OK, I will warn you right now, that what you are about to read is stunningly brilliant. I will also disclaim that the concept was not mine, but devised by a guy I don’t know named Alec Brownstein. Alec’s story is incredibly impressive—you should read about it. But as I thought about it, I realized his brilliance is easily adapted to the travel industry—and I will take the credit for it. In one form or another, we all advertise. If you are still advertising in the newspaper, go get a cup of coffee. If you are advertising online, stick around as I explain why it just might be a bad and expensive idea to advertise what you’re selling.
Hopefully, you have all heard of Google AdWords. If not, they are the ads you see at the top and to the right of the search results in Google. You may recall that Carnival Cruise Lines threw a hissy fit last year when they realized that some agencies were getting the coveted real estate and not Carnival. You likely also know how competitive (and expensive) nailing that spot for the keyword “cruise” or “cruise vacation” can be—you might be paying $15, $20, or more per click with no guarantee of results. But suppose you could sell a 50 or 100 cabin group on a cruise and pay 5¢, 10¢, or 15¢ per click? Do I have your attention now?
Don’t pay to sell your product. Pay to attract your prospect. How much do you think the keyword “Memphis Flower Club”, “Chattanooga Rotary”, or “Columbus Photography Club” might cost? Pennies! No one is competing for these keywords…unless you are a travel professional and are targeting that group. The beauty here is that most organizations have obscure, complex, or forgettable URLs.
This can be used to your advantage because most people seeking that group are either members of that group, interested in becoming a member of that group, or have some other connection to that group. With a complex URL, unless it is bookmarked (and studies show that very few people effectively utilize bookmarks), the prospect is likely to Google the organization. And what is the first result they see?
Hey Memphis Flower Club do you want to sail on the Holland America Line’s Eurodam next summer and explore the tulips of Holland with Billy Bob’s Travel?
With Ad Words, you only pay for clicks, not impressions, so what are the odds that the person clicking on the link and landing on your unique landing page for that cruise is interested? My guess is that it is pretty good.
Create your ad and keywords to attract the client. Don’t sell the product. In Alec’s case, he was counting on his prospects Googling themselves. You need to count on your prospects to Google their interests, schools, clubs, etc.
Google has been feeling the pressure from other ad serving companies and have infused the market with $100 coupons for AdWords. Take advantage of it. Use the $100 to play around and see what you can do. A few cautionary tales on AdWords, the key to success is to monitor, change, monitor, change, monitor, change. A day should not go by where you are not looking at your AdWord performance, at least until you have the process down pat. Also, realize that Google cannot stop the AdWords immediately. If you terminate a campaign because your $100 is up, likely there will be a minimal charge assessed because of the lag between reporting and termination.
It makes perfect sense to me. Most of us do not stand a change of getting top positioning in search engines organically. Paying for top positions can be incredibly expensive. Don’t sell them what you’ve got, sell them what they want.
Give it some thought. I am sure there are hundreds of other applications for this reverse psychology trick—what did you come up with? Please leave a comment!