TRO is spending this week exploring the possibilities of well-crafted travel agency newsletters. It is hard to put a direct value on each subscriber to your newsletter, but suffice it to say that your readership represents a pool of clients, both existing and potential, to which you can market in an extremely cost-effective manner. Building a strong list of subscribers should be a goal on which you continually work. Patience is the key as it takes time to accumulate a stable base of subscribers, but the end result is a very valuable asset for your agency.
Know first that it is possible to buy and rent lists of consumers in almost any geographical market. The quality of such lists vary, but in general are very weak in comparison to lists you build yourself. Far better than buying a list is the process of cross-marketing with another retailer. You provide a link to your retail partner’s newsletter in your publication and vice versa. Some of your partner’s clients will sign up for your newsletter and some of your clients will sign up for your partner’s newsletter. With proper incentives, cross-marketing is an excellent opportunity to bring on new subscribers to your list.
Your website or blog are primary tools for name acquisition. Have a simple signup form on your website to accumulate names from persons who might view your site. Don’t confine your sign-up form to only one page of your site. Put it on multiple pages and make registration easily accessible. Only request information you really need, and avoid intimate requests for information such as age or income level. Keep it simple!
Some agencies will include an incentive for signing up for the newsletter, like a free report on a timely topic – “The top 10 ways to save money when traveling” or “5 Travel Scams To Avoid“. List the benefits of your newsletters, like travel insights and tips. Keep an archive of newsletters on the site to allow visitors to see past issues.
Put information about your newsletter in all of your documents when you deliver them to clients. Reminding clients of the other communications tools you have for their benefit will contribute to the overall relationship you already enjoy with them. When working with new clients in person, ask for their permission to send your newsletter to them and have an email field on your client profiles. Likewise, when attending tradeshows set up a sign-up list for people to subscribe by leaving a business card or by physically signing a form. On each copy of your newsletter, include a “forwarding” option to allow the user to send it along to someone else who may be interested. Finally, if you belong to clubs, social groups or other organizations, place a sign-up sheet for your newsletter on the community bulletin board.
Again, patience is a virtue when building up a list of addresses, but the end-result is a valuable marketing channel for your agency.