Marketing has two functions – the retention of existing clients and the generation of new clients. Our mission is to discover where in the sales process we can fine-tune our one-on-one skills with consumers to turn them into repeat clients. But almost before we get to sales we have to step back and ask a very important question: Is your marketing attracting qualified leads?
Good marketing will not simply generate leads. Good marketing will generate qualified leads by setting the expectations of the consumers who contact you for travel services. Marketing conditions the sales process. If a majority of the leads coming to you are not qualified, your marketing is not working well for you.
Leads will come to you from a large number of sources. Your advertising will generate leads, as will referrals. Your web site generates leads and the articles you write for the local newspaper will generate leads. Each lead generation channel will have its own character, and resulting return on investment. The time you spend examining the quality of the leads produced by each of your lead generating marketing efforts will be time well spent.
Each marketing effort you undertake should align with your company’s core mission statement. Your mission statement should inform all of your marketing and advertising. Your mission statement tells the world what the values and purpose of your travel agency are, setting the expectations of the people who approach you for assistance with their travel. If enough clients are not moving from being a mere lead to a repeat client, the first place to look for a problem is your marketing material.
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For example, a very common mistake is for travel agency marketing to heavily emphasize price as a central feature of the marketing effort. A high percentage of the resulting leads will naturally be focused on price. Clients driven primarily by the price advertising are naturally going to be won or lost on getting the lowest possible price. Inherently, these consumers are shoppers. If your intent is to generate many leads and to work off of low price and high volume, your marketing is working for you and you can reasonably anticipate many of your leads will not materialize as the consumers continue their shopping.
If however, your marketing focuses on your services as a travel consultant, on the testimonials of past clients and on a personalized attention to clients, you will get fewer leads, but of a much higher quality.
For a moment, think backwards. Begin with the type of person you want as a client. What is the perfect client’s demographic? What are their interests? What does the perfect client want from you? Now, consider what type of marketing would draw such a client to your travel practice. What language would you use in your advertising to attract the perfect client? What qualities of your travel practice would you emphasize? Where would you place the ad?
Now, examine your marketing collateral and efforts. Are they designed to attract the client you desire? Are they in fact attracting qualified leads?
An excellent exercise is to analyze the last dozen or so new potential clients with which you had contact. How many of those potential clients became actual clients? What worked well for those who became your clients and traveled with you in the earliest stages of your contact with them? Do you know through which marketing channel they heard of your travel agency? Did they see an ad or did a referral send them? The more you can learn about your successful marketing and sales efforts, the better you can fine-tune your entire sales process. Next, try to determine the problems that arose with the contacts with whom you had very little contact before they disappeared on you. How was the lead generated? What was their attitude when they called? How did they sound? Where in the process did you lose them? What were their expectations? Did they get their expectations from your marketing?
A real benefit to generating a high percentage of qualified leads is the time you will now have to spend with each lead and to refine the balance of the sales process.