The fifth “C” in the five-part series of the 5 “C’s of brand marketing is “Client Acquisition.” And really when it comes down to it, one would think it should be the most important, yet it is in the fifth position behind Content, Consistency, Clarity and Connection. Why is that?
Because if you get the other four right, attracting your ideal client becomes a byproduct of the others. If you nail the other four Cs, it will almost seem like you are gaining clients effortlessly. And that’s how it should feel – to your potential client – effortless and natural. Nobody likes to feel like they are being sold to.
In case you missed the other 4 C’s, here’s a quick recap.
And it should follow then that clients naturally want to do business with you. The travel industry is not dead. I know it might feel that way at the moment. But more than ever, this is the time to either get in the business or stick it out. My feeling is that many travel advisors (mid-April or May) packed up shop, took up decoupage and split.
And it’s completely understandable. Just look at the year this industry has had. But like all things in the universe, there are ebbs and flows. No doubt about it, we are currently at the bottom of a canyon but there will be a ying to this yang…mark my words. And for those who stay or for those who are looking for an exciting new industry to get into, there is no better time than now to dive into the travel industry and master the 5 C’s of marketing. Those who stay and put in the work will reap the rewards on the other side of this mess that we are calling a global pandemic.
This pandemic will be a neutralizer. People are not done travelling. And as soon as it becomes safe to do so again, travellers will need travel advisors more than ever. For multiple reasons, not least of which is how to travel safely. And how to get the most travel value for their money. There is so much pent up demand right now – everyone is going squirrelly with wanting to get out and explore. As soon as the tides shift…hold on to your hats Nelly, we’ll be in for a wild ride.
By the way, this is true in almost every industry. Just look at real estate. Housing markets surge, and then they crash – it happens all the time. And every time it happens, those agents who can’t bear the heat drop out. And in their wake, what is left behind are the serious agents. The ones who are willing to put in the work – even when they see no immediate reward, they persevere. And those are the ones who ultimately make the most money. Those are the faces you see on bus shelters around your city. The travel industry is no different.
If you are a travel advisor and you’re wondering what steps you should be taking to prepare for the post-pandemic boom, you’re in the right place. As an advisor the ideal situation is to have an email list of 500 + clients. If you don’t have that right now, that should be your goal.
That’s right — an email list. I still meet agents that tell me they don’t have a good email list, and for those who do, it’s teeny, weeny, includes all their aunts and uncles and third cousins and because of that, they don’t even use it. Mostly, agents tell me they feel like they’ve got nothing to say. So right now, they are staying low and waiting. My question to them is always…what are you waiting for? Now is the time you need to be planting the seeds of travel inspiration to your clients.
And that’s where this article comes in! It’s all about how to reach new clients – aka client acquisition.
The most important thing you can do at this very moment…today…is to start building your email list. If you’ve already got one, stay tuned because I’m pretty sure you aren’t thinking…”No thanks, Diane.” I have all the clients I need. Regardless if you are sitting with nine, or 900 or NONE, this article is for you.
Why do you need an email list?
According to McKinsey & Company here are some mind-blowing stats:
- People are 40% more likely to buy from an email than they are from Facebook and Twitter combined.
- People are willing to spend on average 3 x more on an offer they’ve seen via email than any other social media channel.
And listen to this…
According to Hubspot, at the end of 2019, the average ROI for email marketing was $42 for every $1 spent on email marketing. Cool eh? But what’s even cooler, the travel industry is doing far better than the average. For our industry, it’s $53 earned for every $1 spent.
And now that you know you need an email list, how do you get one?
The number one way to build your email list is to create a lead magnet. A lead magnet is something that you give for free in exchange for an email address. As I’ve been researching this article, I’ve been creeping on a ton of travel advisor websites to see what’s up. I wanted to see how creative agents are, and how they are attracting new clients.
And do you know what I found? Very few of them had a lead magnet on their website. And the handful that did, were out of date and some even led to error pages. Wow! I don’t know what screams “Don’t trust me with your travel planning,” more than an error page on an opt-in offer.
And to be clear, I’m not counting a website button that says, “Sign up for my newsletter” or “Contact me for a consultation.” While I think both of those CTAs (Call to Actions) need to be on your website (perhaps displayed with a bit more creativity), they don’t count as lead magnets.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news but nobody wants to sign up for your newsletter when they don’t know you and you haven’t offered them any value. I’m speaking from experience. While I was building my website, I had a home page with a placeholder that said “Coming soon…sign up for my newsletter.” And guess what. Over the course of 13 months – I had 3 sign ups. Thank you Moira, Martin (DH) and David.
Heck, my first 50 email subscribers were friends of mine who I basically browbeat into signing up. I wanted to feel that there was at least a beating heart on the other end of my emails. So while I still think it never hurts to have a place for people to connect with you and hear what you have to say, this is not an effective way to gain new potential clients.
And the problem with “Book a consultation with me,” is that it’s sort of near the end phase of planning. I think it belongs on your website but as a scheduling tool – not a way to get new blood into your business tool. No one is going to sign up for a consultation when they are still in the dreaming phase of travel planning.
What makes a good Lead Magnet?
I decided to come up with a downloadable .pdf on the 30 best lead magnets ideas for the travel industry. I know it’s hard to be innovative and creative all the time, so this is some inspiration to get you started. This will be posted on my website very shortly, in the meantime, if you’d like me to send it to you, just drop me a note in the comments section.
The good news is, you really only need one kick-ass lead magnet to get you started. I would rather you perfect your one lead magnet than have 10 of them that are so-so. You can have more than one lead magnet…for example if you are someone who sells travel across more than one travel niche. Then it makes sense. But be sure you are at least getting high conversion rates on your first lead magnet before moving onto your next.
The reason being, the next step will involve you spending money on Facebook to promote your lead magnet. You don’t want to be throwing money at a non-converting lead magnet. Advertising on Facebook is not difficult but it takes a bit of finesse and some patience to get going. A step by step guide works better in a video than trying to explain the process in an article. By the way, these are the types of step by step tutorials I’ll be covering in the upcoming courses I’m creating.
Your goal will be to get that lead magnet out in front of as many of your ideal clients as possible so that you can start building your reservoir of loyal clients. There is no better time to start this than right now. Right now when you don’t have a thousand other balls ricocheting off your walls. And I know, my course isn’t quite ready yet but in the meantime, why not register for Facebook’s own online ads academy called Facebook Blueprint.
As soon as you have one valuable subscriber on your list, then she is yours to nurture and build a strong connection and relationship. And the best part, she is your client to lose. Nobody can take her away from you and the only way she will even unsubscribe is if you don’t take care of her by offering killer content that is clear, relatable and delivered on a consistent basis. And once the trust is developed, the sales will follow.
Marketing takes the shape of a funnel
At the top of the funnel, is all your social media marketing that you do. It’s the relationship-building stuff. It’s your inspirational images in your Instagram posts. Your listicles on Pinterest. And your travel updates on Facebook. That’s the “admiring from afar” stage. Very few people will book a trip with you straight from a post on any of these channels. But it’s through these channels that you can direct them to join your email list. And you do that of course, using your lead magnet.
So if social media is the top part of the marketing funnel, then you can think of your email list as the middle part of your sales funnel. This is where all your potential clients will spin and spin and spin until you put the perfect offer in front of them and one will drop. Bingo. And the longer they stay in that funnel, spinning about, the more they get to know you, like you and trust you.
And that is the secret sauce behind converting shoppers into buyers.
Wait a second. Before you go. In homage to this article, why don’t you download one of my lead magnets? Find out “What Your Travel Style Says About You” or “10 Benefits of Joining the Travel Industry.” Or hey…if you aren’t on my email list yet, you can also “Join the Tribe” below.
Good strategy…a well managed and curated list from the start will pay dividends down the road
You are definitely someone who would know. Thanks Jeff.