Capture leads on your site
A successful travel marketing business needs a steady stream of leads.
Let me rephrase that: A successful travel marketing business needs a steady stream of qualified leads.
I won’t go into all the ins and outs of qualifying here; that’s covered in great detail in the Home-Based Travel Agent Success Course. Let me just say that your website is a great source of qualified leads.
Why? Because when someone fills out a form on your website to be placed on your mailing list they have signaled that they are interested in what you have to offer and are willing to allow you into their email inbox with information and offers.
Obviously, the first step here is to have some mechanism on your website that allows you to capture those emails. If you know how, you can do this yourself, but most of us turn to a service that can maintain your email list and send out emails to those on it. The emailing service will provide an easy to implement way for you to place a form on your site that will send them the email of interested prospects who fill it out.
Typically, you will have some options. You can have a single email list or you can give folks the choice of signing up for multiple lists. For example, one list might be for your monthly newsletter and another could be for last-minute deals. Or you could have one list for news about Hawaii and another for news about European river cruises. Just don’t go nuts.
The emailing service will also give your subscribers an easy way to unsubscribe from your list. This is extremely important because if you wind up sending email to people who no longer want it, those folks can get, shall we say, testy. And that can cause some real headaches.
One very important service that these services provide is to do everything in their power to assure that your email goes through. Most email providers get a ton of spam and in an effort to reduce the flow they are not too fussy about which emails they block. Emailing services work with places like Yahoo, AOL, and so forth to “whitelist” their lists to insure that the people who asked for your information actually get it.
The most reputable services are aWeber and iContact. These services are very reasonable when your list is small, but you must be using the service to make the investment payoff. There’s no sense in building a list if you never contact it. As your list grows, the cost goes up. Then you really have to sharpen your pencil to make sure you are making enough in bookings to justify the expense. If you are doing a good job of serving your customers, that shouldn’t be a problem.
While a form on your website is a great place to start, you can really supercharge your list building efforts with a pop-up. As the term suggests, these little bits of code on your site pop up a form when someone leaves your site (or has been on your site for a period of time which you can set). That form says, in essence, “Hey! Before you go, why not sign up for my newsletter?” You will be able to customize the form to suit your business model.
I know that pop-up ads are distasteful to some. They were to me until I finally got so used to them on the Internet that I got over it. But the fact is, when I implemented a pop-up strategy, my opt-ins (the number of people signing up) soared.
So if the idea turns you off, by all means don’t do it. But if you want to build a list fast, this strategy is highly recommended. If you have a WordPress site you can use a plug in called Pop Up Domination. It’s simplicity itself, even for the non-techie (that’s me!) and it’s the one I use.