I’ve spent a long time working with outdoor adventure brands, helping them reach more customers, build relationships and get high-quality leads for their tours.
And with each company, no matter what kind of travel they specialized in—ziplines or scenic road trips or trekking tours—there is always one thing that makes all the difference in what kind of returns they see on the time and money they invest into their ad and marketing campaigns.
And that one thing is having a great lead generation strategy.
A lead is contact information, such as an email address, for someone who may be interested in what you have to offer—and the more likely they are to be ready to make a purchase with you, the higher quality the lead.
A lead generation strategy, meanwhile, is the plan for how you are going to get those customers to hand over their contact info to you, happily and willingly, and how you are going to follow up on those contacts to build a relationship with them and, eventually, lead them to a booking.
So why does this type of strategy have such an effect on ROI? Well, here are five big reasons:
Unless you happen to be G Adventures or the like, chances are you have a pretty small sales staff—one that doesn’t have a lot of time to filter through thousands and thousands of names and bits of contact info for people who may not even be interested in travel, never mind in your specific region or activity.
These type of contacts are called low-quality leads: you don’t know what the person likes, if they will ever want what you are selling, or even who they are—and they don’t know who you are, either.
A good lead generation strategy will allow you to quickly organize your leads, sorting different types of customers into different “buckets”: those who may not be interested in a vacation; those who are stuck at their desk, dreaming of some kind of getaway; those who are specifically and seriously considering taking some kind of adventure tour; and those who are in full planning mode, and who are right now making a decision between you and your competitors.
By using a strategy that segments these high-quality leads, you are making sure your sales team is not wasting their time grinding out calls and proposals to people who have no interest in taking the kind of trip you offer, or maybe even in taking a trip at all. Metaphorically, your sales staff will be working on opening only the jar lids that are already loosened—meaning they’ll pop open far more, in much less time.
It’s a win for them (especially if they’re on commission) and it’s a win for you.
Did you know that 92% of first-time visitors who come to your website aren’t going to buy anything? Most of the time they’re just window shopping, looking around, dreaming, thinking, maybe trying to decide which tour is right for them—or maybe just killing time.
So chances are they’re going to leave your website before taking any action, and once they do, they’re not likely to return.
What they will likely do is get lost down the rabbit hole of the internet, looking at this tour and that one, getting distracted along the way by a quiz or a cool article. And later, when they’re ready to actually make a booking, they’re probably not going to remember which tour operator offered what specific tour. So they’re going to choose the one that looks most familiar.
That’s what will happen, that is, if you don’t have a good lead generation strategy.
With a good strategy, you can follow up with these first-time web visitors, keeping your brand fresh in their mind making you that one that is most familiar. It gives you a meaningful way to start building a friendship with them, and earning their trust. It gives you, as the business owner, a little bit of control.
And sometimes a little bit is all you need to make a big difference.
Raise your hand if you ever spent a bunch of money on an ad campaign, like, say, AdWords, only to be left feeling like you didn’t get the kind of return you hoped for.
I feel you.
Time and time again I see companies like yours spending their hard-earned dollars just to get more traffic to their website. Because traffic means sales, right?
Remember that 92% figure! You don’t want just any traffic, you want visitors who want what you offer. A good lead generation strategy will allow you to create highly targeted Facebook ads that are far more effective by creating specific audiences from the emails you collect. These ads will cost much less than generic Google or other online ads that are just thrown out there for anyone to see. (For more on this, read on about the magic of Facebook ads here.)
Without a strategy that targets your ads to the specific customers you want, you’re just living in hope that the people who click on your ad are also going to click that “book now” button.
And if they don’t, which most likely won’t, that money you spent is not coming back to you.
And I don’t just mean with money—although it will bring in that ROI. I mean that it helps them invest their loyalty with you.
A lead generation strategy is not just about collecting emails. It’s also about following up and building relationships with those new leads. If done well, it not only communicates to you who your customer is and what their values are, it communicates the same about you to them.
With a good lead generation strategy, you can meet customers where they are, and build a solid relationship by communicating with them in a way that is appropriate to how well they know and trust you.
Say someone has visited your site for the first time—you can send them a friendly reminder email, offering them something interesting they might like. Or say they’ve already got some neat stuff from you and are very familiar with your brand; for those people, you might want to pitch your tours a bit more. And so on.
Using a robust lead generation strategy to customize relationships in this way will help you avoid scaring off unready customers with a hard sell, while closing the deal with those who have their wallet in hand. It’s a long-term approach that creates lifelong customers, and lifelong returns.
And that is the bottom line, isn’t it?
Nothing is more frustrating for independent travellers who are determined to plan and book a trip without the assistance of a travel agent than the endless slog of trying to narrow down the limitless options for places to go, places to stay and tours to book.
But if you have a lead generation strategy, you get to arrive in their world before they get overwhelmed and frustrated. You get to show them how easy it is to book a tour that will meet their adventure-seeking hearts. You get to give them the gift of relief from ceaseless humming and hawing over option after option.
Since you are the only operator who seems to understand what they need, they’ll feel taken care of, they’ll stop procrastinating, and they’ll book a tour.
And they’ll book that tour with you.
Lead generation is definitely not a short-term marketing strategy.
It takes time to build a list of qualified leads for your business. And it takes time and energy to build relationships, trust and loyalty with people who are eager to travel to your destination but have a long time to go before their departure date.
But by making the effort to combine a well-planned lead generation strategy with your advertising and marketing campaigns, you will see a positive change in your ROI. A good lead generation strategy is a pathway to a future friendship with that first-time visitor. And people like to travel with their friends.
In less than 20 minutes, you’ll learn how to turn your website traffic into high-quality leads and bookings for your business.
Click below to learn more about this free online mini-training.