Finding the perfect little black dress is often easier than defining a marketing initiative, but it’s not impossible and certainly easier if you’ve done your homework…
There’s no once-size fits all approach when it comes to designing a marketing initiative that’s going to hit the sweet spot and propel your company in front of the eyeballs of your existing and prospective customers.
Lucky you if you’ve been following the steps we’ve outlined in the past few weeks. Half the job is done!
By now you know at the very least what you’re trying to achieve as a business in 2014, what resources you have at your disposal to get there and who your target customer really is. You can answer the what, the how, the when, the who and the why.
You’re in travel, so it stands to reason you have almost no time to devote to marketing. So pick three, just three marketing initiatives to focus on in 2013.
Whether this is content marketing, social media, community marketing, traditional marketing or even three mixed initiatives, it’s more manageable focusing your efforts on a three well-planned and properly implemented initiatives than trying to be a marketing superstar, tackling them all and hitting a wall.
And to help you, I’m going to give you three ideas to ‘steal’:
A referral lead is one of the strongest you can get. Why? Cause customers are far more likely to believe a friend they trust than they are you when they hear how amazing your company is. Besides, a referral already knows something about your business. The referral gives you immediate credibility you would not achieve through other marketing. Set-up a referral programme so that your raving fans market your business on your behalf:
• Offer a discount on travel next time your referee books with you.
• Contact your customers on each step of the journey and ask them for referrals on all your marketing collateral, including your email, itinerary, ticket wallet, brochure and flyers, etc.
• The best time to get a referral is when your customer returns from holiday. Why not tie in their holiday bragging rights with a referral to your service?
• Keep top of mind by reaching out to them with regular, relevant and engaging content across the platforms on which they engage, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
• Run a survey asking your clients how you could improve your service.
• Keep track of your referrals and thank your referees for referring you, thank them for their business and make them feel special with handwritten notes, flowers or postcards.
• Host and event, encouraging your customers to ‘bring a friend’.
Don’t just talk about your product or service, tell a story and incorporate your product or service within it. To pull off a content marketing initiative, you need a central content hub and that can be in the format of blog or website with regularly updated content:
• Use one of the easy WordPress blog templates to set up a blog.
• Set up a Facebook company page and a Google + profile.
• Based on your buyer profiles, brainstorm and identify the kind of content that will meet their needs.
• Assess the content you already have available and how this could be used in a story across social media platforms like your blog, Google + and Facebook. Perhaps you have safari photos your game rangers have taken. Perhaps your staff have gone on educationals and have insider knowledge about a certain destination.
• Create a content calendar (link to http://www.cedarsage.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/EditorialCalendar_BlogSocia.jpg) at least one month ahead of schedule so that you’ve got a plan on what’s being posted when.
• Familiarise yourself with a tool like Hootsuite (http://mashable.com/2013/09/18/hootsuite-beginners-guide/) a tool that helps you monitor what you’re saying, when you’re saying it and what others are saying about you. You can schedule posts and save searches about any topic.
USER GENERATED CONTENT
Ever witnessed something and tweeted about it immediately? Posted a review on Trip Advisor? Or posted a photo on Facebook and tagged a particular company? All these actions are regarded as User Generated Content; pure gold for companies not only because it means their customers are sharing the load of creating content, but also because the relationship they have with and loyalty they feel for the customer actually encourages them to contribute to that company. In every consumer, there’s a little rant and raver just dying to come out. Go on… help them to it!
• Keep it simple. Ensure you’ve set up platforms like a Facebook company page or blog that makes it easy for your customer to share their content.
• Encourage your best customers through all your marketing mechanisms to share their experiences with your product on these platforms.
• Respond immediately, thanking your customer for posting the content.
• Create a case study featuring an experience with your customer. Use them to tell your story.
• Ask your Facebook fans, Twitter followers etc for their opinion on relevant issues, your experience of things related to your business, your service.