What are the best marketing strategies for new agents?
So, you’re thinking about a career in the travel industry as a travel agent and you don’t know where to start when it comes to marketing? So, to define Marketing. Marketing is the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.
To begin promoting and selling your new travel service you’ll want to attract clients. Here are a few strategies to get you started on your way.
After your company’s name, the creation of your company’s logo is the next most important marketing tool for your business. It is a visual identifier of your company. Think of it in terms of this, people like wearing clothing items of a brand that they like such as NIKE, Coca-Cola or Pepsi and other well-known companies. The design of those logos is not what makes it wearable; it’s what the logo stands for, a uniqueness the wearer wants to be identified with.
Your company “logo” must characterize who you are as a company, what you do, and who you serve. It must then be presented in a consistent manner to your clients. And it must clearly represent what your agency does so that your clients are proud to be connected with it. In other words, your logo must be your brand, your identifier.
Be sure to put your logo on every piece of mail, email, business card, brochure and social message as a way for people to always identify you and your company.
Your company business cards are like a mini promotional material for your travel agency.
Entrepreneur.com give 7 ways to make your business card your best marketing tool listed below.
- Give your card a purpose – Make it a conversation piece and your business will automatically become a part of the conversation. Turn it into a bookmark, an event ticket, a note card, scratch card or sticker.
- Track it – Include a QR code or SKU on your business card, and whenever you hand it out, give the receiver an incentive like discounts or coupons for checking out your site.
- Challenge people – Engage and amuse people when they read your card and your business will stand out. Surprise people with a fun fact or figure on your business card.
- Add credibility with testimonials – Consider adding a brief quote or link to a quote on the back of your business card.
- Support a cause – Social impact and business go hand-in-hand these days. For example, you can include: “Proud member of ‘Save the Waves.'”
- Put a face to the name – Consider putting your photo on your card so that people can continue to put a face to your name long after they’ve met you. People buy from people they feel they can trust.
- Make the handoff memorable – Use it as a conversation starter to better understand where the person’s needs, interests or hobbies lie.
BUILD YOUR CRMS (Client Relationship Management System)/Database
A Client Relationship Management System manages all aspects of managing and maintaining a working relationship with clients to render high-quality service.
There are some companies that sell client list or you can create your own list by either using an Excel document or Microsoft Office Access ® to list your clients.
Create a list of friends and family members and past clients that you’ve worked with by including the following information.
- Phone Number
- Types of travel their interested in
- When they like to travel
- Where they like to travel
- Do they have a budget?
- Do they have any special interest or hobbies?
The point of tracking and keeping the client information is that you want to market to them throughout the year. You can alternate by sending emails and mailing promotions directly thru the mail. You want to get your clients to book with you over and over again and have a steady stream of referrals.
DIRECT MAIL MARKETING
Direct mail marketing is a great way to get your travel agency’s name in the hands of clients and potential customers who want to hear about your latest promotions and services.
Here are 4 Direct Marketing Tips.
- Understanding Your Target Customers – Knowing your customers’ basic demographics, such age and sex is a great start.
- Target Your Ideal Customer – Once you understand your customers and their buying habits you can use this information to build a targeted list of potential new leads. Buying a special targeted direct mailing lists can be expensive, but at the same time is most likely to yield the best response rate and generate future loyal customers.
- Pick a Mailing List Type – Buying a mailing list will allow you to further customize your direct marketing campaign. The right mailing list will contain your most valuable prospects. The more cautious you are in scrutinizing and selecting direct mailing lists, the higher are your chances for success.
- Create a Mailing – Once you’ve either created or purchased a mailing list it is time to create your direct mail message. The direct mail promotion you create will deliver your travel agency message. The promotion will represent who and what your company is about. Make sure it is consistent with what you’re selling.
CREATING A WEB PRESENCE
In this technological world that we live in, where everyone has information at their fingertips. It is important to have some type of web presence. According to the Active Network, there are 10 Tips to make your Website Your Best Marketing Tool.
- Have a Memorable Web Address – People need to remember your website address. Keep it short and matches your company’s name. Then make sure it’s listed on all your marketing materials and anywhere you advertise.
- Get Your Website to rank in Search Engines – Clients may or may not be familiar with your business, so make sure they can find it even if they do a search. Talk to your website builder on how to get better search engine optimization.
- Engage your visitors – Words are not enough, people like to see videos and photos If it’s attractive, people will stay longer on your site.
- Have a clear navigation – Most time visitors come to your page without an intent. Make sure your sites navigation bar is well-organized, visible, and prioritize on your popular pages.
- Update online content – A lot of sites have dated material, make sure your site is current and relevant.
- Offer online discounts – Everybody loves a deal. Offer specials & discounts on your site.
- Make calls to action noticeable – The goal is to make a sale or at the very least an email address from your visitors with the travel preferences for future promotions.
- Keep branding consistent – Make sure your logo is visible on your website, any tagline and primary messages throughout your website.
- Enable social sharing and social media – Staying connected with your client. Clearly display any social media buttons on your website to allow visitors to share your web pages with their friends.
- Create a mobile version – 18% of visitors visit thru a mobile device. Check your smart phone and what does it look like? Is it attractive? Is it engaging? Is it difficult to surf?
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING FOR YOUR BUSINESS
Social media is very important in today’s market place. Whether you use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, you can start building your accounts and social presence early. Even before you officially launch your business, you can share news and information that is relevant to your industry. Be the “go to” source of travel information, new and trends.
- Social media presents great opportunity to market your agency. You can use social media to:
- To promote the name of your business.
- To keep your name in front of the client and potential clients
- To tell clients and potential customers about your goods and services
- To find out what customers think of your services
- To attract new customers
- And to build a stronger relationship with existing customers.
What are the Advantages of using social media
Social media marketing has many advantages:
- Reach – Social media has the potential to reach millions of people all around the world
- Target – You can target a specific group. Many types of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. They all allow businesses to target specific groups, often in particular geographical locations
- Relatively Inexpensive – Many forms of social media are free for businesses, and paid options are also usually a low-cost
- Personal – Social media allow you to communicate on a personal basis with individual customers and groups
- Fast – It also gives you the opportunity to quickly distribute information to many people all at once.
- Easy – You don’t need a degree or high skill level or even computer equipment to participate in social media. The average person with a standard computer or a mobile device or tablet should have no difficulty navigating many social websites.
Here are a few Key social media services
Different types of social media are good for different marketing activities. The key social media services are:
- Facebook – It’s a social networking site that allows you to have conversations with customers, post photos and videos, promote special offers, and so much more
- Twitter – Is a ‘micro-blogging’ service that allows you to send and receive short messages from customers and potential customers
- YouTube – Is an online video-hosting service that lets people share their videos
- WordPress or other Blog Sites – Are internet sites that contain a series of entries or ‘posts’ about topics of interest to the author, much like an online ‘diary’
- Groupon – Is a website that offers discount coupons for goods, services, and events
- Instagram – Is a website that allows users to store, organize and share their photo collections
- Location-based marketing sites – Is a service that delivers targeted marketing messages to customers in particular locations, through mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. According to the Pew Institute, “74% of adult smartphone owners ages 18 and older say they use their phone to get directions or other information based on their current location.”
- TripAdvisor – Is a website that features customer reviews of goods and services.
All of the above social channels are an outstanding way to get your marketing message out to your targeted audience.
Risks of using social media
Just like anything that goes public, marketing through social media also has its risks. Some of the risks include:
- Wasted time and money for little or no palpable return
- The spreading of the wrong type of information at the speed of a click about your business (e.g. incorrect information accidentally posted by you and negative reviews posted by others)
- Legal problems if you don’t follow privacy legislation and the laws regarding spam, copyright, and other online issues.
It’s so very important to be aware of these dangers and to also have a plan in place to avoid them if you decide to get involved in social media marketing.
Discovering your niche market. According to Wikipedia,
“A niche market is the subset of the market on which a specific product is focused. The market niche defines as the product features aimed at satisfying specific market needs, as well as the price range, production quality and the demographics that is intended to impact. It is also a small market segment.”
Here are the Top 5 ways of finding your niche market:
- Identify your interests and passions.
- Identify problems you can solve.
- Research your competition.
- Determine the profitability of your niche.
- Test your idea.
Once you’ve found your niche you can start learning and becoming an expert in that area and advertise the fact that you are an expert online, on your social sites, email and business cards. You can also partner with suppliers who specialize in your particular niche to develop a marketing plan.
Newsletters are a great way to stay connected with your clients and promote your services. There are several free electronic newsletters available to help promote your company and track who is reading your newsletters. MailChimp, Constant Contact and iContact are just a few available to help you create the perfect template.
In your newsletter, you can showcase different travel suppliers, such as cruises and all-inclusive resorts. You can also highlight any promotions being offered.
A great way to get in front of potential customers is setting up a booth at a trade show. Once you have found a trade show that reaches your niche or target market that you want to participate in, get out there and make yourself known.
It’s an excellent way to engage with potential clients on a one-to-one basis and promote your services. Think about it, you already have a captive audience that is searching for your type of service otherwise they wouldn’t be in attendance at the trade show.
In an age of technology, nothing beats receiving a good old fashion postcard in the mail. Postcards are an easy, cost effective sales tool. Using an oversized card like a 6×11 card stands out in the mail. They also give you more ways to include photos, coupons and even a map to your location. Some travel suppliers also have postcards available and ready for you to send out to your clients or potential clients about upcoming promotions.
Online advertising is a superb way to get your company out in front of potential clients and existing clients. Online advertisement is a billion-dollar industry.
There are 2 types of online advertising options.
- CPM (Cost per thousand) – which means the price of 1,000 advertisement impressions on one web page. CPM is the least expensive and is very easy on your advertising budget. Which in turn makes it much simpler to control your spending cost.
- PPC (Pay Per Click) – PPC is a model of internet marketing in which advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked. Each click is straight forward, either someone clicked on your ad or they didn’t. You only pay for the ads that were clicked on and you’re able to put a cap on your ads.
The main point in online ads is to drive people to your website, to collect information on potential clients and increase your database so that you can tailor your marketing strategy in order to convert it to a sale.
WORD OF MOUTH
Last but not the least, the majority of my new clients are from Word of Mouth. Word of mouth marketing is unsolicited, and free advertising from past clients. It gives your business credibility.
Give your clients an exceptional travel experience and your client are very likely to give you an excellent travel referral.
Our motto is, “Some pursue happiness, We love to create it!”
References: Felicetta, Caryl, Marketing Strategy 101: Do you have a brand or a logo
 Entrepreneur Magazine, 7 Ways to Make Your Business Card Your Best Marketing Tool
 Experian, Direct Mail Marketing  Active Network, 10 Tips to Make Your Website Your Best Marketing Tool  Parrish, Cayleigh, Fast Company, How To Use Social Media To Market Your Business  Baus, Lynn, Marketing Land, Location-Based Mobile Marketing Is Where It’s At For Consumers  Queensland Government, Using social media to market your business: the basics  Wikipedia, Niche Market  Smail, Thomas, EntrepreneurMagazine.om, 5 Steps You Can Use to Find Your Niche  Wyse, Susan E., Snap Surveys, 7 Tips to Market Your Business Effectively at Trade Shows  Kehrer, Daniel, Biz Best, 10 Tips for Postcard Marketing Success  Burke, Sarah, Spokal, A Beginner’s Guide To Paid Online Advertising
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