Have you ever wondered why your marketing efforts are not successful? It is probably because you are most likely not a marketing expert! If you are a travel agent your specialty should be, and likely is, sales.
Sales and marketing are not the same thing. One should lead to the other. Marketing is key to increasing your sales, reaching your customers and customer retention. But it is an area where travel agents and even agency groups so often fail.
Good marketing instincts are not human nature. A lot of us don’t have a clue how to do it effectively. It is a specialty – partly learned at college or university or after years in the marketing trenches – and it is partly gut instinct, in those who have it. The rest of us really should leave it up to them but we are always tempted to give it a try ourselves. Bad idea!
When you become a home based agent, the very last thing you should have to worry about is marketing your services and special products and promotions to your database and to potential new clients.
Who ya gonna call?
One of the most important services you should look for in a host agency or agency marketing group is guess what? Marketing. So be sure to ask in advance what do they provide? What does it cost? How much is included in your base fee?
Target marketing is really crucial if you want to keep your customers. And remember the old adage, it costs 10 times as much to acquire a new customer as it does to retain the ones you’ve already got. Customer retention is where you should focus a lot of your marketing efforts. But how?
In this day and age, you have to use different channels to reach all your customers. One size does NOT fit all. Once you understand all that you should be doing, it is so important to find a host agency that provides the most comprehensive marketing services.
Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, LinkedIn
Feeling overwhelmed when it comes to social media? You are not alone. Yet this is an important channel for some, but not all, of your customers. We all know the familiar “I will never be on Facebook” people and many more who wouldn’t have a clue how to tweet. Yet many people today, particularly the young, rely heavily on social media for their information. And so do some of their parents. You can’t afford to ignore this channel. Best of all, it’s essentially free.
Many host agencies have addressed social media as part of their marketing programs. But some offer far more comprehensive social media marketing tools and technology than others, so when you are looking for a host agency, be sure to explore how they will help you use social media, and, most important, ask what the cost is and how much of the work is up to you.
Can your host agency provide you the ability to post messages to a lot of social media sites simultaneously? How easy is it to create your message or flyer? Are there social media-appropriate messages for you to adapt as your own? Do they provide templates for the social media sites?
Social media messages need to be short, to the point, funny, clever or poignant, and need to attract attention. Social media is not the place for hard-sell, so you will need to tailor your messages to fit the medium.
But don’t forget snail mail and email
And remember, this is just one channel you can use. There’s also direct mail (aka ‘snail mail’) as well as email. All of these are effective channels for marketing to certain customers.
So be sure to ask all the right questions of your host agency about their social media programs, so you can tap into this amazing marketing tool, as well as engage the more tried-and-true methods as well.
Are you a home-based agent?
This article appears in Sphere, Travelweek’s monthly e-newsletter for home-based agents.
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