Whether you’re just launching your travel firm or are a seasoned travel advisor, marketing plays a huge role in the success of your business. It helps you reach new clients, stay top of mind with existing clients, legitimize your business, establish yourself as a travel expert, and so much more. But before you dive headfirst into marketing (or if you already have), make sure you are not making these 10 marketing mistakes.
If You Build It, They Will Come
You’ve spent weeks – months, even – creating a beautiful website, carefully curated social media pages, and a blog with plenty of posts. Then you sit back and wait for the leads to start pouring in…and keep waiting and waiting. If you build it and leave it, they will not come. You need to regularly update your website, blog, and social media pages to grow your audience. And eventually, you will start seeing leads.
Trying to Do It All
It’s easy to get carried away with the excitement of launching a marketing plan. You may plan to post to your blog five times per week, set-up a Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn page that you will update daily, have a weekly client-facing e-blast, and sign up for multiple networking events each month. But after a few months, you’ll feel run down by your marketing duties, let alone your main job of selling travel.
Instead of trying to do it all, focus on a few things that you are excited about and set realistic goals. If you love blogging, plan to write a new blog twice a month. You may end up posting once per week, and you can feel great about exceeding your goal! For social media, choose only two or three channels, and take time to get comfortable posting on each. Over time, you may increase your frequency of marketing or even add other elements, but by taking it slow you are less likely to totally burn out.
Making it All About You
Your website and social media should not be all about you and your travels. As a travel advisor, you’ve been to and will go to some amazing places, but you are a travel advisor; not a travel blogger. When you add content to your website, blog, and social media, keep the client top of mind. What is in it for them? What travel tips can you share that are interesting and useful to the client?
Going to a blog or social media page and seeing the last post was in 2017 is a red flag. It can look like you aren’t legitimate or worse, no longer in business. If you don’t blog regularly, remove the time stamp so it is not obvious if it has been a few months. And for social media, make sure you keep up with it. If you are totally overwhelmed with posting regularly, reevaluate your strategy so you can be successful.
No Clear Strategy
Don’t waste time going all in on Instagram for two months then pivoting to Facebook then putting all your energy into e-mail marketing. You need to have a clear, consistent, and manageable strategy from the get-go that you stick to for at least six months before reassessing.
Not Measuring Results
You don’t want to spend hours on marketing without determining your return. When you create your strategy, set your overall goals (example: drive traffic to your website, get a certain number of new clients) and tactics, and then develop a plan for measuring those goals. You can monitor traffic to your website from different channels via Google Analytics or create a spreadsheet to track lead sources. Regularly look into your data so you know the most valuable ways to spend your time.
Looking for Overnight Success
You can have the perfect marketing plan and stick to it for a year, but that doesn’t mean you will see immediate results. A successful website and social media handles take time to build and grow. We have advisors with amazing blogs, but it took several years of consistent blogging before they started to see regular leads.
Staying Behind a Screen
Marketing is not all about the digital world. Some of the most effective marketing tactics are getting out there and networking in person. The best travel advisors build relationships with their clients, and meeting people face to face is a great way to start a relationship. Host a casual travel night, speak at a garden club, go to your workout classes and chat with the other people in it – whatever you do, make sure you get out from behind a screen and meet people in real life.
Thinking Social Media is the Key to Success
We’ve all seen the Instagram influencers that make bank from their social media page. It may even look like just about every person on Instagram has some sort of ad and 100k+ followers. But this is not the case.
If you go into your social media marketing plan thinking you, too, will have sponsored content and more leads than you can handle, think again. Social media is a way for you to legitimize your business and show your personality, but it is not the golden ticket – at least not when you’re starting off. Social media can result in leads, but it is a great tool to create brand awareness and drive traffic to your website.
Handing it ALL Off
You may read all these mistakes and think: I got it…the only problem is I hate marketing. You’re not alone. But before you hand off all your marketing to a 3rd party, take time to create your strategy and try each part of it on your own. You need to get a better understanding about how it works, what works, and who your audience is before you let someone else take the reins. You may discover that posting on Instagram 3x/week isn’t as bad as you thought or decide that your audience is actually on LinkedIn. Once you have insight about your business and marketing, you can make a better decision and how to invest your money in outsourcing.
At Brownell, our ICs have access to our in-house marketing team that can guide them as they create their marketing plan – and help them avoid these marketing mistakes. Learn more about our marketing team here.