How Your Travel Agency Can Generate More Leads Online (Part 2)
(continuation from part 1)
Email Marketing Strategy
If you are keenly interested in effective travel agency lead generation strategies, email marketing is just one part of it. Mind you we are not talking about generating and sending mismatched cold emails to strangers, no; that’s not the way to go.
Like some of the things mentioned above, you don’t have to spend money from the start. Mailchimp and other email marketing automation platforms offer 100% free plan to get you started.
You only begin to pay monthly fee when the size of your list grows above 2000 subscribers.
The following actions are free to take in order to generate more travel agency leads online. Note that it’s for website owners only.
- Create specific lead magnet – lead magnets are audience specific contents or offers given to prospects in exchange for their contact information. While it seems like most eBooks are boring, the topics and contents could be made appealing.
For example travel agency lead magnet could be an eBook or video with titles like ’25 Country Visa Fees Under $1000’ or ‘Corporate Travel Cost: 15 Expert Tips Before Commitment’.
For people to download this, they have to give you their email addresses and possibly phone numbers too.
- Add lead generation feature to your blog – often times, business blogs pulls in more traffic than static pages on a website. By adding lead magnets and newsletter opt-in forms, you’ll be building your list consistently.
- Send periodic messages – it doesn’t have to be promotional messages every day. Find contents that will interest your audience and add specific service promotions in between periodic messages. You can use automation features of email marketing tools like Campaign Monitor to push your messages even while you sleep.
If you are not building an email list of past and prospective clients, a great number of qualified prospects who visit your website on daily basis will leave and never return. If you have the skills, It won’t cost you any money to add travel lead generation strategies within your website.
Now let’s look at some other ways in which you can spend money to grow your brand awareness, increase the volume of quality leads and possibly experience better ROI on your marketing budget.
Paid Online Marketing Strategies
The problem with free online marketing strategies is that they are practically affordable to everyone in your niche. Yes, everyone is doing that same thing. But when it comes to spending money, the number of business owners goes downward.
Based on experience, my observation is that free means are often the least effective and it takes longer time to see results if any.
With paid online marketing strategies, not everyone can afford to lose even a single dime through the initial tests. However, if you want to reduce that probability of losing money, you may decide to take an online course on any of the options discussed above and below this paragraph.
Let’s dive into the specifics.
Google Ad-words Advertising
This is a form of search engine marketing in which people pay money directly to Google in order to have the links to their website placed in search results.
Unlike organic search engine optimization, you can start seeing measurable traffic volume flowing into your website within one hour after advert approval. The instant nature of the traffic source makes it possible to create and launch a test campaign to validate or invalidate your value propositions.
The Google ad-words pricing model is that when a prospect clicks the link to your website and visit it, a certain amount will be deducted from your prefunded account.
For example if I search for ‘hotels in Abuja’ and then click an ad that appears like the one below, Google will deduct money from the advertisers prefunded or post paid account. This is why it’s called pay per click or performance based marketing.
In effect, you are paying to attract real prospects, not just for visibility only. You pay only when you attract a prospect to visit your website.
With regard to paid search engine advertising through Google ad-words, here are some of the key things you should consider to create profitable ad campaigns.
- Research and select relevant keywords – use the keywords that your prospective clients are actively searching for. So that when your advert is clicked, they will see you are the best travel agency within reach. In a typical campaign, you can use hundreds or even thousands of keywords.
- Define your target location – this is another great factor that influences who becomes a lead vs paying client. While anyone can download your lead magnet from anywhere, the prospects within your target location are better positioned to visit your travel agency office. You can target your ads by country, state, city and popular locales.
- Use location keywords – according to a study by Google, around 54% of people who search for local keywords on their mobile device visits an offline location within 24 hours. Searchers of location specific keywords often have visitation intent. In all my client campaigns, location keywords often have special attention.
- Use Ad extensions – these are special features of Google ad-words that offers more entry and attraction opportunities within an advert. Here I am referring specifically to location extension that makes an address visible, call extension that makes phone numbers or click to call button visible and site link that adds multiple destination urls (pages) within the ad.
- Leverage dedicated landing pages – don’t make the beginner mistake of driving all traffic to your home page only. Instead, try driving traffic to your service description and landing pages with special lead magnet.
- Target mobile users only – in some countries like Nigeria (telling from experience), majority of internet users as well as search traffic flows through mobile devices. However, you can create mobile only and desk top campaigns and do some split tests to find out what works better than the other
In the case you don’t have the expertise to put it all to work, consider taking Google ad-words training course or hire a consultant. If you have the money, go for full time expert.
In terms of cost, you can start with Google ad-words budget of $100 upwards, assuming you want to run it yourself.
Facebook Advertising For Travel Agencies
Maybe your idea of using social media to promote a business is limited to free posting only. Well, be informed now that there are different options for using paid advertisements to reach your target audience within social media. Facebook is just one of the platforms.
LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and others still have paid ad options.
Through this medium, you’ll be paying money directly to Facebook to have them place your advert within selected locations in their platform currently used by 2 billion people around the world.
And the most interesting thing here is that you can target people based on their age, location, industry, job title, marital status and many other variables.
Now compare that with free posting on your business page that is visible to anyone and everyone.
Below is a sample Facebook advertisement. To get the best results from your Facebook ads, here are some tips you should consider.
- Use value based creative – creative refers to the image or video used in your advert. The quote below will make you understand more of what I mean.
‘Strong copy will not overcome a weak offer. But in many cases, a strong offer will succeed irrespective of weak copy written by marketing morons’ – Gary Halbert.
- Do some deep targeting – it is obvious that everyone on Facebook cannot afford your services. By targeting demographically qualified prospects only, you’ll be automatically excluding time wasters. This is a full guide on Facebook ad targeting options.
- Do some split testing – don’t expect your first ads to hit the ground running. Create variations of your offers, images, ad copies and destination urls. You can as well test different ad formats and device targeting.
- Plan for lead generation from day one – don’t just drive strangers to your landing page and expect them to buy immediately. People buy from people (brands) they know, like and trust. So try to generate leads first before asking for the sale.
- Add pixel for retargeting – not every prospect who visits your website for the first time will become a qualified lead or paying client. Using Facebook ad pixel will help you build an audience for effective and profitable retargeting.
For better understanding of how it works, check this Facebook re-targeting case study of $15 ROI on every $1 spend.
In between these paid and free online marketing strategies, you are bound to find something that matches your preference. However, trying to do everything the same time on your own will result in limited effectiveness. In fact, the pace of progress will frustrate you to a halt.
Done very well, the search engine related options will help generate more travel agency leads online.
And as we have noted earlier, you’ll start attracting only qualified prospects that are actively searching for your services. Perhaps, the search volume will depend on demand within your target market.
With Facebook advertising, you will have multiple targeting options to reach a bigger number of working adults who may have the need for your services, either now or within the next 90 days. Imagine your travel packages displayed vividly well inside the smartphones of top earning C-suite executives in your target location…?
This; my friend is possible – but only if you put what you learn to work. Mind you that having good knowledge is half the battle.