In Seth Godin's latest bestseller, a must-read for any business owner, he explains how different businesses ‘market', their goods and services.
The High Street Travel Agent, small niched online travel agent or tour operator is a mix of a direct marketeer and a brand marketer. Most businesses are. Most travel agents don't see themselves as brand marketers though, although they are more brand marketer than direct marketer.
Businesses built on foundations of Permission and Trust will not only survive, but thrive after the Covid-19 pandemic ends.
The most marketing a travel agent will say they do is Boost a Facebook post, perhaps pay for a Facebook advert, maybe advertise in the local paper/magazine. These may redeem results, but never in the quantities that we want, and often, never produce a return on investment. That's why Travel Gossip does not have lots of posts on ‘Hey – just boost your facebook post and life will be rosy'
No one is boosting travel offers right now
The business owner forgets – direct marketing is expensive and is difficult to make work in a crowded market place. Read Seth's book if you don't believe me.
Direct Marketing doesn't work in a pandemic lockdown –
Brand marketing does.
You are a Brand marketer with permission to market to your subscribers – use it now.
What is a Brand marketer?
If you are a high street agent, you are a brand marketer. You say to people – look at me, I have knowledge, expertise and testimonials. You can trust me and if you do, you'll have a better holiday.
In fact, if you are not selling anything unique ( i.e., the customer can buy it elsewhere), then you are a brand marketer – you are selling yourself.
What this means is that to build your business you need to communicate with your customers and potential customers frequently with information they are interested in.
It's easy to do a facebook post, but facebook makes sure your post is only seen by a small percentage of your followers and you are governed by their algorythm. The only way to be sure to be seen is to pay to boost the post. That direct marketing tactic might work, probably won't. Facebook will make you feel better by saying what bigger reach you made boosting the post.
Did it change your business for the better?
Can you rely on this in the future?
The cheapest most efficient way to do this is email marketing.
Done right it's amazing.
Even in this time of lockdown due to Coronavirus, exceptional businesses are emailing their subscriber lists, those they have permission to contact. A strange upside to this is that customers, who are also scared / on edge at this time as Covid-19 affects everyone, are more pleased than ever to receive the email – some even respond with promises of buying holidays in the future. Who ever responds to marketing emails?
So do it
It helps get us through this crisis
It helps you understand that the hard work is worth it
It helps you understand you have a brand, it may be small, but it's effective and can grow.
If you are in doubt – read the following ( reproduced with permission, thank you Christian at Thames Travel for sharing)
[I wanted to thank you for your efforts with the marketing emails and everything you’re suggesting we all do to survive and thrive!]
We sent the below email to our database yesterday and have had some wonderful email responses of good wishes and promises of great holidays. I wanted to share some of my favourite ones with you.
That is a brilliant email. Very well done! Please pass my (and Angela’s) best wishes to everyone at Thames Travel. We’ve had four great holidays organised by Thames Travel:
- Costa Rica
- South Africa
Wherever shall we go next?
Dear Christian and Claire,
I hope you are well and not too rushed off your feet trying to rebook holidays!
What a lovely summary. We booked our first ever holiday with your mum and dad in 1993 – a trip to sharm el sheikh in AUGUST!!
We think you’re amazing and the first thing when I am planning once this is all over is booking a nice holiday with you guys…
Take care and all the best,
Great post Thames Travel! Must be very reassuring for your clients.
And love the travel themed books and movies. Will try to catch a few of those now but e have time.
Thanks for the update Christian (and John!) and for the reading suggestions. Literature is a decent alternative to actual travel!
All the best
Our thoughts are with you and the team. It’s a difficult time for everyone but hopefully we will all come through healthy and ready to re build our lives and businesses in an even more positive way. We’re sending you all much support and looking forward to many years of travel and memories with Thames travel moving forward
There has never been a better time for brand marketers to connect with their audience. Of course we are all in a very scary place, but the future is scary without the right businesses in place who look after their customers having been built on the solid foundations of permission and trust. Use this time wisely and reap the rewards later.