You have a fantastic idea for starting a Travel business, or shifting your business to focus on a specific travel niche. You imagine hundreds, maybe even thousands of highly satisfied customers working with you!
You begin to write your marketing “to do” list – social media, newsletters, flyers, website etc., and suddenly you feel overwhelmed. There is so much to do! You wish you knew more about, well everything!
Help is here! Here are 5 steps to get you on your way!
Tip # 1: Keep it simple – start with your passion
If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that we cannot be all things to all people. As soon as we try, we lose ourselves in doing things that don’t matter and often for people who don’t really care.
On the contrary, as Simon Sinek says, “the goal is not to find people who want what you have, it’s to find people who believe what you believe.” This simple, yet powerful shift to focus on your passion as the driving force of your business will simplify everything.
Nothing is more compelling to your audience or motivating to you than a clear and simple marketing message that states what you care about, who you serve, and why you serve them.
Tip #2: Social Media Creates Visibility
Social media is the platform that helps make you visible to your ideal customer. From there, as Koka Sexton, Social Media guru states, “Visibility Creates Opportunity”.
Social Media is an important digital tool (when used correctly) for creating visibility in your travel niche. In the past, we associated visibility with getting out into our local community. While Networking remains critical to growing your business, the difference is that now our community is online. Getting out there means creating a social media presence.
The key is to post frequently and consistently with thought leadership that will help your target market. The number of times you post is also important. Most experts agree that you need to be visible daily or twice a day in order to beat the algorithms on most platforms.
I know that this cadence can become quite overwhelming and leave you with that feeling that you’re not doing enough, or not doing it right.
To reduce the pressure on yourself, again, keep it simple.
- Choose one social platform where your ideal customers hang out and own it!
- Use top quality images, short insightful captions and hashtags
- Don’t be too “salesy”
- Remind clients why travel is important such as, life is short, experience over things, moments that take your breath way
- Show them you care by engaging with clients likes, comments and shares
Tip #3: Email is still the best lead conversion tool
With all the hype around social media, it’s easy to think you’re missing out if you’re not there. Most agree that done right, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter all lead to more business. The challenge with these platforms is in figuring out how much business is generated from which activities.
On the other hand, Email Newsletters are highly trackable and provide clear data on the effort that brought you new business. As well, since people on your email list have given you permission to be in this relationship, your message holds the power to convert influence into bookings. The reality is that when the time is right, your ideal customers will not only read your message, but they will reach out and respond.
If you’re not engaging customers in a weekly email Newsletter, you’re leaving a big opportunity on the table.
Tip #4: Create a Website with Captivating Stories and Updated Content
Your website is your virtual store. So much so, that it is the home that all of your guests are invited to and all of your marketing efforts lead to.
Whether you tweet, post or email, the goal is to drive traffic back to an engaging and interactive website that guides your customer through their buying journey. Ultimately, it’s main purpose is to drive leads.
When your audience reaches your website, it should instantly reflect your passion and expertise. It should be simple, easy to navigate and provide answers to their questions.
You can accomplish this by using effective headers, rich, story telling content and videos, interactive media, and a sense of urgency with calls to action on every page.
If you’re focusing on groups, create specific landing pages including itineraries, maps, special experiences and FAQs.
Tip #5: Find help to do your Marketing ‘Heavy Lifting’
Ok, to summarize; 1. You need a strong, consistent social campaign. 2. You require a frequent, relevant and anticipated Email Newsletter. 3. All of this compelling content needs to drive visitors to your site. 4. When they get there, your content must be organized to lead the customer through an intuitive journey, that drives leads and converts to a sale.
So now you’re at the point where you’re not sure where to start, and when you do start, how do you manage your time.
It’s not possible to do it all. Unless you were born to be a marketer and you have time to spare, my tip is to outsource some or all of your marketing services.
- Start with either a virtual assistant or marketing coordinator to handle all of the day to day marketing administrative activities. They can be hired for as little as 10 hours or $300 a month and ensure you post with the reach and frequency required to make an impact. A single booking can pay for this service. If bookings don’t increase you can cancel at anytime.
- Hire a website developer that has a strong understanding of the travel business and your unique brand. Often agencies will use a local web designer or create their own website which starts out looking fantastic! Unfortunately, keeping it up to date, relevant and with the design standard you started with is both time consuming and very costly. I speak from personal experience. Whenever I get behind the scenes to update my website I cannot make it look right. However, I it kills me to pay $30 – $50 per hour to have something done for me.
- Find a company a Digital Marketing Services company that can do it all so that everything works together towards your Vision, but does not cost you a fortune in hourly fees.
- Hire a coach that can assess your current needs and help get you to the next level. You simply cannot do this alone. Find an expert who will help you achieve your dreams and hold you accountable.
Digital marketing is an important engine that can create a seismic shift in your business. Taking these 5 steps will help you move your business forward!
Geraldine Ree is the founder of Cruise-Shift. She has worked at the executive level for both Expedia CruiseShipCenters and as a Director for Princess Cruises for the past 27 years. Now following her entrepreneurial dream, she shares her insights on how to transform your travel business and your life.
I can help you reach your goals and take away that feeling of being overwhelmed! Please email me for a Free Strategy Session at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, sign up for my monthly newsletter atwww.cruise-shift.com
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