A Simple Way To Take Stock Of What Worked This Year

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What worked for your business this year?

It’s that time of the year, the leaves are changing and the weather is getting a bit colder outside. Now is the perfect time to start planning your 2018 marketing efforts. In order to know where you are going you have to do an audit of what you did this year. Here are a few steps you can follow to see how well your 2017 has gone so far.

Are you ready?

If so, with pen and paper on hand start by making a list of everything that worked this year for you marketing-wise. Let’s keep doing more of what worked, and stop wasting time and money on the things that didn’t produce results. The questions below will help you see the overall picture of how well you did this year.

Where are your clients coming from? ___

How many clients came through referrals? ___

How many clients found you via Social Media? ___

How many clients found you at a live show (bridal expo, consumer show, etc.)? ___

How many called you from a mailer they received from you? ___

How many found you online (Google or another search engine)? ___

List any other sources of clients and how many clients did each source produce for you?________________________
________________________

Now, look at all these sources and take note of which one brought the most clients. That source is the #1 thing you must continue to use in order to capitalize on what works for you and your business.

Finally, start thinking how you will nurture your top two source channels. As you plan your 2018 marketing start designing your plan around these sources and you will get your marketing plan started in the right direction.

 

Brenda

How To Come Up With Content For The Year In Under An Hour

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Have you ever sat down to write a blog post and end up staring at the screen for hours on end? I know that feeling all too well, the lack of guidance turns into paralyzing fear and nothing get’s written for a while. That’s how our blogs end up not being updated in months, which is not good at all. If you publish useful and compelling content your loyal audience often feels left out when they don’t hear from you and they don’t know why.

To keep you from having writer’s block here are a few tips to make it easier for you to come up with content for the year in an hour.

Step: 1 Make a list of the most frequently asked questions you receive from your clients.

Step 2: Make a few columns with the top questions. For example, most clients have questions about budget, travel time, destinations and travel requirements.

Step 3: Under each column go ahead and do a “brain dump” of every single issue you can address under that subject.

For example: Under budget you can address: How to save for your honeymoon, how to set up a honeymoon registry, payment plans, insurance value, etc.

Before you know it you will have tons of ideas under each column. If you have five columns you only need ten ideas under each column to have enough content for a year.

Another strategy is to promote a product or service every month. You can write a blog post at least twice a month about that destination or product.

Finally, you can also have a set editorial calendar. You can designate a day of the week to write about “Getting there” or new hotels opening soon. You can also do a weekly column of things to do and activities for a different destination.

By having a set editorial calendar with a theme your writing will be much more focused and you will be able to “batch” as many blog posts as you can. If you can keep 3 months of content already written and scheduled to be posted you will be well ahead of everyone else.

Which method do you like the best? Do you have a different method to create content?

Everything You Need To Know About Marketing With Prices

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We have been beat upside the head numerous times about the fact that we don’t market based on price and we shouldn’t talk about it.

Once again, I partially disagree! Keep reading…

People don’t know how much things cost. You know that for a fact when you answer the phone and out of the other end comes out such an unreasonable request you think you’re being “punked”. I had one of those calls; a female called and wanted a weekend getaway from Philadelphia to Fiji for under 5k. I honestly kept looking around to see where my prankster was going to jump from.

Selling travel (or anything else) is in part an educational process. Many times you have to educate clients on geography and economics with a dash of politics to boot. I say that to say that people don’t know how much things cost and why. When you advertise try it both ways, post the image of a destination like you usually do and post another one with a starting price for two. Make sure you clearly post it is a starting price. Another option is to post the image with a deposit amount and again, clearly print that deposits are “as low as”.

People will understand there are fluctuations but it is easier for them to understand that their trip to Tahiti will start at $4,999 a person instead of the $1,500 pp they have budgeted. This will better qualify your leads and encourage them to contact you today as opposed to “one day”. Of course, we will never compete based on price, we will never enter a bidding war to gain a sale, that is not the client we want.

To recap, we do market with pricing when appropriate, however we don’t compete on pricing wars.

Have you ever marketed a trip based on price, meaning did you display the deposit or price pay per person? How did that go?

 

Why Direct Mail Is NOT Dead

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When was the last time you walked to your mailbox, opened it and retrieved anything that was not a bill? Let me guess……it’s been so long you can’t remember.

When I studied fashion design I had a tendency to be ahead of the cycle of trends. That was not a great thing as you have to stay on trend at the right time to have a hit. One of those trends I keep thinking about right now is direct mail.

There’s a huge hole in the marketing space right now and this is the perfect time to capitalize on it; that hole is Direct Mail. If you are not sending your clients beautiful pictures on postcards you should be.

Direct mail is not cheap but it should only be used with your very hot leads at the right time. Hot leads are those that respond to your social media posts, read your newsletters on a consistent basis and are very interested in traveling soon. Send them a handwritten postcard with a great deposit offer and I bet they will come calling.

Here are the three elements your postcard must have:

1-A beautiful, clear picture of a great destination

2-One clear call to action (book today, deposit today, call me, etc.) (Bonus points for a landing page just for this direct mail offer)

3-A handwritten message

Follow these pointers, stay consistent, measure its success and rinse and repeat!

When was the last time you received anything enticing in the mail?

Brenda

Why You MUST Make Time To Market

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The Truth about…making time to market

The truth is that if you don’t market you won’t get new business which means you won’t have any sales which means you have a very expensive hobby (whew, that was a mouth full).

Having said that let’s talk about designing your day. I’m not oblivious to the fact that most of the time you walk into the office with the best of intentions, but your day gets away from you between calls, emails and clients.

With a little structure I think you can accomplish most of what is on your to-do list everyday.

Here are a few tips to design your day:

1-Your business hours don’t have to be the same as your work hours. If your work hours are 9-5, advertise your business hours as 10-4. This will give you an hour first thing in the morning and before you go home to establish the things you must do that day and the next day.

2-Find either a paper planner or calendar app that works for you.

3-Create a work schedule, if you worked for a corporation you would probably have certain days and times blocked off for meetings or training. Do the same with the things that are important to you and have to get done.

4-Block the following in your calendar:

Marketing-Twice a week

Prepare travel documents-3 times a week

Mail/Deliver docs-once a week

File documents-once a week

Meet with IC’s/employees-once a week

Update your CRM-every two weeks

Reconcile commissions-once a month

Education-Once a month (at least)

Purge Brochures-Every quarter

5-Stick to it!!!! Respect your time just like you respect your client’s time, they will respect you more for it.

Do you keep and follow a daily/weekly schedule?

Brenda

Social Media Advice No Ones Tells You

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Social Media is one of this things you either love or hate; it can be overwhelming and most of the time you may feel like you’re not doing enough. I’m here to tell you the truth.

The truth is you don’t have to spend hours on end on every single social media channel and whatever the “new” thing is.

I say this again, you DON’T have to be active on every social media channel.

Let’s go back to your clients and look up where they find you (you do ask how they find you right?)

Track the responses and write down what the most common answer is.

Now let me be clear, I am not saying “forget about Social Media”. If most of your clients are finding you via referrals they are probably going online to look you up. They are going to look at your website, your Facebook page and if they are active on Social Media they will go find you at their favorite channel (probably Instagram).

If that is the case I would make sure your website is the BEST website you can afford, your blog is updated and your blog posts are consistently posted on Facebook. I would also ask your past clients to submit a review on Facebook.

Instead of spending time trying to post 5-7 times a day on Facebook I would spend that time nurturing your past clients in ways we have discussed before.

Which social media channel does your ideal client hang out at?

 

Brenda

The truth…on loving your clients

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The truth…on loving your clients

Truth is, your clients are your most valuable asset and the #1 reason your business grows, here’s why:

1-They bring the best referrals in future clients

2-They are cheaper to market to than new leads

3- They are your captive audience

4-They are your cheerleaders

5-They legitimize your business

In the midst of your marketing efforts you must ALWAYS pay special attention to your past clients. Don’t forget that you already have a relationship with them. Tweak your message a little so it is different than the one you have for new leads and potential clients.

Here are a few marketing strategies to use with your past clients:

A- Email them a little less frequently than you would your new leads (keep clients in a separate email list).

B- Make your message more personal

C- Send them trip ideas with starting cost and deposit information.

You want to send them personalized trip options with cost, they may be on the fence on wether they can travel this year or not. Take the guesswork out of their plans and show them what is possible.

D- Mail birthday, anniversary and holiday cards.

E- If you consider hosting a local event please invite your clients first and make them feel special by recognizing them.

Love your clients and they will love you back in the form of more business!

 

Brenda

Travel Agent Marketing Tip Series #4

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The problem with competition is that it takes away the requirement to set your own path, to invent your own method, to find a new way. Seth Goding. Marketing Tips for Travel Agents #4 by Brenda Young Marketing Strategist

Tip #4-Be unique and be consistent across all mediums.

Travel Agent Marketing Tip Series #4-Be unique!

Now that you have narrowed your niche, know your target clients and keep your brand message consistent. Use your client’s pain points to speak to them on your website, blog, social media postings, emails and direct mail. By constantly addressing their pain points they will know what to expect from you. By staying consistent it makes it easy to come up with blog posts and social media postings. You will never have to sit there, stare at the computer and wonder what to post about. I recommend you sit down, write their three paint points in three separate columns and write under each all the topic ideas related to that pain point. You will have tons of content to post and market with.

Q-How many different logos do you use? Can your clients recognize your brand without seeing your name?

 

Travel Agent Marketing Tip Series #3

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Tip #3-Brand yourself and your agency according to your niche and target client.

Travel Agent Marketing Tip. What does your brand say about you and your expertise? What can your clients expect from you? Does your brand make your clients feel like they can trust you with their dream vacation? Does your brand image (name, logo, website, business cards) reflect tour specialty accurately. Does your target client know that you specialize in East European cycling trips (Adventure/Active Travel)? Take a look at the other brands your ideal clients follow (Bicycle manufacturer, cycling clothing and equipment, etc.). Is your branding complimentary to them, do you “belong” in that industry? Take a look at your brand, hire a professional and develop a brand image that speaks to your ideal client. Your online website is equivalent to your store, keep it professional, provide adequate information about you and your services and keep it easy to navigate. The leads will come!

Q-Are you a Walmart brand or a Nordstrom brand?

Travel Agent Marketing Tip Series #2

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Tip #2-Now, that you’re an expert target the right clients.

Once you narrow your niche you have to also narrow down your ideal client. It will save you money and headaches as you will determine where your ideal client “hangs out” and you can focus on marketing in only those channels. If your target client is not on Twitter then why waste your time on Twitter? Knowing your clients at an emotional level will allow you to brand your business in a way that satisfies and helps their pain points. If a cycling enthusiast has always dreamed of touring east Europe but is scared that it would be too expensive and dangerous you can speak to these issues on your website and marketing materials. They will call you because they know you understand exactly how they feel about planning this huge trip.

Q-Who’s your ideal client? Do you know what stresses them about planning their vacation?