Your customer’s buying behaviour is always changing, especially in the digital age, when the newest and latest trip-finding platform is just around the corner. But does that mean that you always have to be changing, too?
In some ways, yes: as adventure seekers and avid travellers find new ways to research their vacation options, connect with brands online, and use social media to decide who to buy from, you need to stay on top of where and how they are making those decisions.
But if you do your groundwork and put in the effort, one thing can always stay the same—and that is your strong relationship with your customers.
People are overwhelmed with choice. It’s not just where they’re going on their next vacation, or who they’re going to go on a tour with when they get there. It’s where to stay, which airline to fly with, what gear to buy, what clothes to pack, what kind of case to pack them in, how will we keep the kids entertained, which restaurants are a not-miss (and which are for-sure-skip), should we reserve ahead, what international phone plan should I use, is it worth it to upgrade to economy plus, are these shoes going to be comfortable, will I need a hat?
They’re exhausted from having to make decisions! But you already knew that, because you’re right there with them, in the same media-saturated world. But what you may not know…
…Is that by connecting with people while they sort through all these choices—instead of confusing them further with yet another hard sales pitch—you can build a lasting relationship. And while a sale is the golden egg, a lasting relationship is the goose.
A recent Kissmetrics study showed that 96% of visitors who come to your website are not ready to buy anything. 96 percent! So if you’re not using the time they spend with you to deepen your connection with them, you’re just spinning your wheels and wasting a huge opportunity.
Here are a few more amazing stats to consider:
- Last year, Millennials planned on taking almost 7 trips over the year, with GenX and Boomers planning for 5 each (AARP)
- 73% of travellers use online sources to help them choose their destination (TripAdvisor)
- And 59% of travellers begin researching their next trip between one and three months before departure (TripBarometer)
They’re out there, in big numbers, and they’re likely coming to your website and social media feeds to check you out. So what’s the secret to turning all that traffic into real relationships—and, next, into real bookings?
The secret is to first turn that traffic into leads.
A lead is a critical step toward building that all-important relationship with a potential customer. You can get them when you show your customers that you have something of value to offer, something that can solve their problems.
Offer them that value, and they will hand over their contact information. That is your lead, and it means they are ready to pay attention to what you have to say.
With a good-sized list of high-quality leads, you can create a steady stream of income at a lower cost, because you’ll be spending less time, money and effort attracting new customers (resources you can now put towards other parts of your business). Instead, you’ll be marketing yourself to people you have started to build a relationship with—people who are already closer to being ready to buy from you.
And the more you nurture that relationship and enhance that customer loyalty, the more you will improve that customer’s lifetime value to your company.
You’ll also be creating a brand ambassador who will not only be more likely to book with you now, they’ll be more likely to book second, third, fourth or even annual trips with you, for years. They’ll also increase your brand reputation and awareness by speaking highly of you to their friends and family.
So you know you want leads. Now, how do you go about getting them? You do it by taking these simple steps:
Step 1: Captivate Your Customer
To get your customers’ attention, you first have to understand them. Think about who your ideal customer is, and then put yourself in their shoes. Next, take a three-level thought journey to reveal the thing that will captivate their attention:
- Level one: What is motivating them to travel? To want to try something new? To get a hit of adrenaline or a week of relaxation? To choose what they’re going to do and where they’re going to do it?
- Level two: What problems, concerns, fears, anxieties do they have that can make choosing and preparing for that trip feel stressful?
- Level three: What quick and simple and high-value tool can you create for them that can help them solve that problem?
Your tool doesn’t have to be pages of content or an hour-long webinar. Make it as simple as possible, so they can get a win or result quickly. A packing checklist, a regional bucket-list planning guide, a package-comparison tool, a trip preparation hotsheet—these are all high-value, easy-to-consume pieces of content that will help your customer get one step closer to saying yes to their next adventure.
Step 2: Capture Their Contact Details
That high-value piece of content you created is what’s called a “lead magnet.” You solve their problem by offering them that very useful tool or information for free, and in exchange, they give you their contact details.
Remember to make the process of submitting their contact details as simple as possible. Name, email address, maybe a privacy-policy checkbox, depending on the laws in your area, click submit. And then take them to (or send them) your piece of content.
And voila! They have the information they want—and you have a lead.
But! All leads are not the same. That email address you have is a basic lead—someone who may, or may not, be interested in buying at any time. What you really want is a high-quality lead: someone who is definitely looking to book, and soon.
So, now, how do you turn a lead into a high-quality lead?
Step 3: Connect Like a Friend
Immediately after your future customer has offered you their contact information in exchange for your killer piece of content, follow up. But don’t just follow up with a generic sales pitch, follow up like a friend.
Personalize the email. Use their name. Talk to them like a fellow adventure lover, not like a possible sale. And then offer them even more value: maybe a link to a blog post that provides even more information about your region or activity, tickets to a seminar, or details for an upcoming webinar—something more in-depth than the quickie tool you’ve already given them.
Then, ask for the action. This doesn’t mean asking them to buy, it means asking them to take the next step toward finding out what you offer, like reading more about your tours, or, even better, scheduling a call with your travel expert. Once you have them on the phone, that’s your opportunity to make your sales pitch..
It seems like such a slow process, I know! But don’t get discouraged. It takes an average of six to eight interactions to qualify a lead. Keep following up like a friend, and eventually, when they’re close to making a decision, they’ll take action. And if you’ve built a good relationship, they’ll take action with you.
Are you ready to get started on your lead-generation journey? It takes a little bit of effort to lay the groundwork in the immediate term, but you’ll be rewarding yourself with tons of real tour bookings and repeat business down the road—for a heck of a lot less time and cost than working the hard-sell angle day after day. And it can all be boiled down to a few simple tasks:
- Captivate your audience with content designed specifically for them . . .
- Get those contact deets in exchange for that content . . .
- Follow up with those customers respectfully, and treat them like a friend . . .
- Offer more value before you ask for their business . . .
- And don’t give up before you’ve refined your efforts and given the process a chance to prove its magic.
Follow these steps and you’ll be generating leads and building long-term relationships like a pro.
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.