Successful travel advisors all have one key thing in common. They fully understand the concepts of managing a marketing funnel.
What’s a marketing funnel
A marketing funnel is a set of stages a client might pass through before they decide to book a holiday with you. Imagine a client being a marble. They drop into your world at the top of the funnel. At this point, they are considered a “cold” audience because the “know-like-trust” factor is low. But as they move their way down the funnel, like a marble, they get warmed by the friction created by the spin.
All of a sudden…one day, you’ll present them with an offer that speaks to them. Maybe it’s the perfect destination. Maybe it’s the right price point. Perhaps it’s perfect timing or a combination of all, but whatever it is… they will drop down to the bottom of your funnel and will eventually pop out ready to book.
In a perfect world, they’ll have an incredible holiday, return from their trip, unpack their bags, and drop back into your funnel at the middle stage and begin the spinning process again.
You can learn more about marketing funnels in How to Attract the Perfect Client to Your Travel Business.
The top of the funnel is where most of your client attraction marketing happens. This would include your social media posts or any marketing you do to a cold audience, people who aren’t already familiar with you.
The middle of the funnel.
The middle of the funnel begins when a potential client agrees to hand over their email address and become part of your travel community. That’s where they start the spin.
But if you don’t keep them engaged while they are in the middle of the funnel…they might pop back out from the top. That is no bueno. Because once they’ve gone, they are unlikely to come back in the funnel again.
And this is where many travel advisors get stuck. They don’t know how to keep their clients engaged and interested in the middle of the funnel.
Email marketing is the #1 way to keep clients engaged
Sending out weekly or bi-weekly emails and staying top-of-mind is a must – even if your client isn’t opening your email. Just showing up in their inbox is a gentle reminder that you still exist.
I know many agents who gave up on email marketing during the pandemic because they thought, “What’s the point?” The point was/is…that now those agents have to start to warm up their audience from scratch again. Consistency is key.
That Newton guy was onto something when he discovered the first law of motion.
But email is not the only thing in our marketing arsenal.
Create a private Facebook group
If you don’t already have a private Facebook community started, I would highly suggest you start one. It’s never too late. Creating a private Facebook group allows you a soapbox or platform to speak to and interact with your audience.
It’s always a bit scary launching a Facebook group because every group starts with zero members. But don’t worry about it. You can always ask a few friends to join the group to make it a little less awkward. Just launch.
Every marketing effort you ever embark on should have a goal of obtaining a client’s email address. I suggest asking for an email address to gain entry into your private Facebook group. Doing so may cause some people not to join, but quality beats quantity every day of the week.
Go live with destination presentations.
Nothing beats live video featuring you and your knowledge. You’ll want to keep topics within your travel niche, and you’ll want to remain consistent. Don’t worry about being super polished. Your audience will forgive you for the lack of studio acrobatics and high-tech features.
Tools you’ll need to go live….
Streamyard isn’t the only game in town, but why confuse you with too many options? Streamyard’s free version is robust enough to keep you busy with enough features that you won’t need the paid version out of the gate.
Streamyard allows you to go live on Facebook, Linked In, and YouTube. It allows you to share your screen – Invite suppliers as guest speakers and allows your audience to ask questions and comment. There is so much you can do. Viewing a quick video tutorial on YouTube will have you on your way in no time.
I still prefer creating my presentation in Canva because it offers many design options, but you can technically do so in Streamyard.
I would keep these presentations short, somewhere between 10 to 20 minutes. Any longer than that, and your audience starts to nod off.
Always start your lives on time. You may be tempted to say things like…”Well, we’ll just wait for a few more people to join before we get started.” Resist that urge and just start.
Initially, you may very well be speaking to an audience of crickets. That’s okay and to be expected. The video will remain on your Facebook page as a replay, or you can upload it to other social media platforms. For that reason, you won’t want that delayed padding at the beginning.
Go Live with Q&A sessions.
Next up, go live with a Q&A session where you can answer the most burning questions of the week. You can either use real-time examples from your previous week or ask your audience to submit questions in advance. Again, keep these sessions short.
Go live with Trivia Challenges.
Who doesn’t like to play games? We all have an inner child screaming to get out. Keeping things interesting just makes things more fun in the middle of the funnel.
People love travel trivia challenges. It allows them to learn while being interactive.
My favourite tool for this is hands down….Live Reacting. You can build interactive trivia programs inside the platform. And best of all, the program will tally the score for you. Live Reacting isn’t free, however. There is a trial version, but it’s not long. It will cost you $20 a month to host multiple sessions. It’s well worth it.
You can give away prizes such as gift cards, but even better….you could give away points for future travel booked through you. Or you could give away value-added bonuses like dinners in destination. The more creative you can get, the better.
Benefits of going live
- Going live creates engagement, and Facebook’s algorithm highly favours engagement. You’ll want to ask questions that elicit a response from your audience. That’s why the trivia option is perfect because members will have to respond to play.
- When going live, your audience gets to see you…and talk to you. They’ll get to know you more, and you will become more relatable.
- Going live can be so engaging that your audience will naturally invite friends to join – encourage this. Going live is an excellent list-building exercise.
- Going live allows your audience to ask questions and comment.
- And again, live sessions can be made available for replays and posted on other social media platforms.
- Finally, going live gives you something to talk about in your weekly email.
How to schedule your Facebook lives
You might be thinking…how am I going to do all of this? It seems like a lot of work. And it is, but the results will be worth the effort. Remember, each live session should be short. Scheduling 30 minutes from start to finish is more than enough.
In your weekly (or bi-weekly) email, announce the schedule and include shareable links.
For example, you could send out an email on Tuesday, then do a Presentation Night on Wednesday, a Trivia night on Thursday and then a Live Q&A on the weekend, if you wanted. Or maybe one week you do one event per week when you are starting.
Whatever you decide, start as you mean to go on. It’s better to start small and grow, then start strong and then dwindle.
And a final piece of advice for going live…there is nothing wrong with having something on offer at the end of every session. Encourage your viewers to book a complimentary consultation with you. Always leave the viewer with a way they can learn more about you.
Keeping an audience engaged and interested as they spin around the middle of your funnel will pay dividends in the end. Creating top-of-mind brand awareness goes a long way in securing future bookings. Everybody is going to travel at some point. If you keep yourself on their radar…they will choose you when they are ready to book.
If you know someone who could use some marketing tactics that actually work, please share this article with them and ask them to join the tribe.