Marketing may seem terribly complicated, and it can be at times, especially with all the online options available. But when it comes down to it, marketing is a simple science–the study of human psychology.
I’ve been through times in my business where I wish I could make the phone ring or inbox ding (and more recently, cell phone ping with a new text message). When it comes to making that happen, I learned a while ago from marketing guru Dan Kennedy, that you must lead a client though five steps before they’ll reach out to you and ask for your help.
Most small businesses miss this. Many skip to step two and some even skip to step three. When a client doesn’t understand your offer, you get no action. But when you know these steps, it makes getting the phone ringing a lot easier.
- Awareness of the need and/or desire – In the case of a travel advisor, you must make your client aware of his desire to travel. They are busy and caught up with the daily stresses of life. But when they’ve spent the morning shoveling their car out of 12 inches of snow to get to an important meeting; and then sees a photo in an email from you of the turquoise blue sea, white sand, blue skies and an empty hammock that’s calling their name…I can bet you they’ll be reminded of their desire to travel.
- Picking the “thing” that fulfills the need or desire – Your next step in the marketing sequence is to let them know that a quiet, Caribbean getaway is a viable solution to their frustrations with the long winter, stressful schedule and lack of sleep they’ve been experiencing.
- Picking the source for the “thing” – Now it’s time to insert yourself in the equation and explain why you are valuable to the client. Typically, they don’t have time to spend countless hours on the Internet looking for the right package and perfect location. You can make it all happen without them lifting a finger because of your expertise, recent personal visits,you’re your invaluable connections.
- Accepting the source’s price/value argument – If you charge a service fee (and you should), this is where you list all the benefits you provide when working with a client. If you don’t charge a service fee, you still list the benefits of working with you instead of someone else. (Hint – this is why it’s important to specialize, target your market and own your value).
- Finding reasons to act now – the airlines don’t help us much in this business, but this is a rare case when they do. When in doubt, blame it on the flights. At this point you can mention that prices for flights are still reasonable, but are likely to skyrocket soon. Or you can blame it on availability, if flights don’t come into the equation. Your favorite little hotel right smack on the beach currently has availability, but with only 5 rooms, they may not last very long.
And there you have it. Your prospects must be led through these five steps in your marketing efforts in order for them to reach out and call you. Mess up the order or skip some steps, and your marketing becomes confusing and not worth the effort. Make sense? Do you use this system?
Meredith Hill, ex-President of Hills of Africa Travel, founded the Global Institute for Travel Entrepreneurs (GIFTE) to empower frustrated and struggling travel consultants who weren’t getting the marketing support they needed. As the fastest growing industry organization dedicated to marketing education for travel professionals, GIFTE’s mission is to revolutionize the way travel advisors market and grow their businesses. GIFTE’s products and programs provide all the tools, resources and support travel professionals need to reach a whole new level of success in travel – one that includes making more money while making a difference in the lives of their clients. Learn more at www.travelbusinessu.com, or visit and “like” GIFTE’s Facebook Fan Page at www.facebook.com/GlobalInstituteforTravelEntrepreneurs.