The Internet has certainly provided some challenges to travel marketers, but it’s also offered some incredible opportunities to expand your footprint and reach a very large audience. In today’s business climate, success is not accidental. A well thought out approach to creating and implementing your content marketing effort is imperative. It begins with determining how you are going to disseminate your marketing information and generate leads. Constructing your marketing platform may include a combination of the following options with a website and email provider as mandatory must-haves.
- Business Website – A professional looking, mobile friendly site with user-friendly updating.
- Email Service Provider – A service to manage your email list for sending out marketing blasts.
- Facebook – Some agents user their personal page while others use a business fan page.
- Twitter Account – For tweeting about travel as a professional. No politics.
- Instagram – Using pictures to tell your story.
- Pinterest – Using pictures to tell your story.
- Google + – The least popular of the social networks, but a good place to build links.
Who are you? What value can you add to the travel planning process?
The answer to these questions will help determine what kind of information you will want to feature on your website.
Hint: Branding yourself as an expert in a travel niche that you choose is extremely important in your success at generating leads and sales.
Successful Travel Agents have found that branding themselves as experts allows them to beat formidable competitors like supplier websites and the large online travel portals. These super agents determined what their “Unique Selling Position” (USP) is in the marketplace and they use it for a competitive marketing advantage.
Your niche should have plenty of travel demand and places for which you can send people to experience it.
Before you create your marketing strategies, determine what your area of expertise is going to be so you can craft the marketing platforms around the online persona you will be conducting business.
The Impact of Color
Your website and most social networks offer the ability to select color choices for your layout. The colors you select are important to your success because color has deep psychological meaning. As you pick your business color scheme keep in mind how your typical customer (target market). The color choices you make have an impact on how your target will perceive your message.
- Red = Romance, emotion and energy
- Blue = Trustworthiness, reliability and calming effect
- Green = Tranquility, natural and a sense of renewal
- Yellow = Happiness, optimism and encourages communication
- Orange = Controversy, flamboyance and social interaction
- Purple = Balance, calming and encourages creativity
Web Traffic Flow For Optimum Lead Generation
The cornerstone of your marketing platform is your business website. Your social media presence is primarily used to funnel web traffic to your website where it can be monetized by generating leads. Here is a visual of the flow:
You Need a Website
From the visual illustration above, you can see that your website is the end-point where your marketing efforts are rewarded with leads generated. There are so many free and low cost options to have a beautiful and professional looking website there is really no excuse to have a dated or non-mobile friendly site. Here are a couple options.
WordPress – Free software to power your website. Most hosting providers have already loaded which you can enable with on-click. There are many inexpensive hosting options such as GoDaddy or my current favorite Siteground. WordPress software powers over 60% of the websites and 90% of the blog sites on the Internet and they give the software away FREE. You own the domain so you control everything from look and feel to content and functionality. Another great benefit is that WordPress is open source software which means you have thousands of developers creating plugins (aka: apps and widgets) that provide cool functionality to make your site interesting and engaging. Managing WordPress is relatively easy with the user-friendly and password protected admin. For the most part, you don’t have to know code. You just need determination.
WordPress.com – This is a hosted solution where you can leave the hosting to WordPress. They offer a free option that is set as a sub-domain ( i.e. www.MyDomainName.WordPress.com ). For a nominal fee of $3 per month, you can use your own domain ( i.e. www.MyDomainName.com ). They offer hundreds of free themes and other cool benefits you can use like email.
Blogger – This is a hosted solution provided by Google. You can create very nice looking blog style and small websites. You are a bit limited, but many people have created beautiful websites using Blogger.
Agent Studio – Agent Studio is the tech arm of Travalliance Media which publishes leading trade magazine Travel Pulse. The Agent Studio websites are turn-key with the only thing you have to input is your agency name and contact info. The sites come pre-loaded with cruise and travel supplier trips and tours for hundreds of pages of engaging content. The site also provides the ability for you to create custom pages for marketing your own trips, cruises and other specials.
CTA = Click to Action
Each page on your website should have a minimum of two options for visitors to engage with you. A CTA can be a phone number for people to call you, a submit form to join your email list, a Contact Us button that launches a contact form or maybe a button that takes them to a second level web page. Your creativity is your limit.
The common factor for all social networks is that daily participation is critical to building an audience. While there are hundreds of social media sites, my recommendation is to only pick two or three to participate and be active. You will get bogged down trying to keep up with more, and will give up as a result. You simply won’t have the time to build an audience on more than two or three platforms.
We participate on Facebook with a business page, Twitter and Google+ social sites. More on social media in the next Travel Content Marketer post, but one thought to keep in perspective is the effort you put in on a given social network vs. how many leads and clicks to your website it generates.
To prepare for your Content Marketing campaign you have created your distribution platform which consists of your mobile friendly professional website and set up two or three social media sites to promote your articles.