The Power of LinkedIn for Travel Marketing, PT 1

linkedin marketing travel companies

LinkedInThrough many decades of experience, advertisers and advertising agencies have uncovered some basic principles for creating successful strategy, copy and design. Following these suggestions doesn’t necessarily guarantee a winner every time, but it can prevent costly mistakes that destroy the selling power of your ads.

Commandment #1: Match the message to the market

Far too many marketers spend an inordinate amount of time tweaking and word-smithing ad creative, while spending only a fraction of their time on the actual list selection. Creative will only affect about 20% of your response rate. The other 80% will be list and offer. The list therefore is the one area in a campaign where the marketer should spend most of their time.

So, the first step is to make sure your advertising is being seen by the right audience. This may seem like a simple and obvious rule. Yet, many travel companies believe that a great ad will appeal to everyone who likes to travel. They’re wrong.

“Copy cannot create desire for a product,” wrote Eugene Schwartz in his book, Breakthrough Advertising. “It can only focus already existing desires onto a particular product. The copywriter’s task is not to create this mass desire — but to channel it and direct it.”

And that includes travel products. As exciting as your exotic Thailand spa may be, advertising it in a magazine that’s read by people who rarely travel outside the US, or don’t already frequent spas at home, is a waste of time and money.

Commandment #2: Provide an irresistible offer

As you know, an offer is simply what your prospects get when they respond to your ad or mailing — combined with what they have to do to get it. In its simplest form an offer might be “Call us toll-free and save $25”. The discount is what the prospect gets, and the phone call is what she has to do to get it.

“The irresistible offer is an identity-building offer central to a product, service or company where the believable return on investment (ROI) is communicated so clearly and effecticiently that it’s immediately apparent you’d have to be a fool to pass it up,” writes Internet marketing pioneer, Mark Joyner.

This is the biggest difference between direct marketing and general advertising. Direct marketing focuses on driving the largest volume of qualified prospects to an irresistible offer, while general advertising spends its time agonizing over the messaging in the ad and the most creative way to express it. General advertisers are concerned with image and brand. Direct marketers focus on presenting reasons why consumers should buy their products/services right then and there, as well as overcoming any objections the consumer may have. They are concerned with the action they want the consumer to take — and how to get him or her to take it now.

So, which is better for marketing — the brand-driven approach of general advertising, or the irresistible offer-driven approach of direct marketing?

A recent study by the Kern Organization found that when marketing sells the offer instead of the brand, it generates approximately 10 times more orders and sales.

Commandment #3: Write an attention-grabbing headline

Today’s consumer has less time than ever for reading articles, editorials, essays, short-stories, books — and ads. Your prospects will spend only a fraction of a second deciding whether to read your ad or turn their attention elsewhere.

The factor that most affects getting your prospect to stop and read is the headline (after the market match and irresistible offer that is). This one creative component carries 80% of the responsibility for getting your ad read, so it behooves travel marketers to give headline construction the attention it deserves.

In his book, How to Make Your Advertising Make Money, John Caples says, “If you can come up with a good headline, you are almost sure to have a good ad. But even the greatest writer can’t save an ad with a poor headline.”

Headlines can do four things for you: (1) grab attention, (2) target the audience, (3) deliver a complete message, and (4) draw the reader into the body copy.

And there are four elements to a powerhouse headline that will accomplish those goals. It must be: (1) urgent, (2) unique, (3) ultra-specific and (4) useful.

Urgency in headlines convinces people to open the email, click through to the landing page, or a purchase now. While urgency is very important for headlines, if you can’t apply all 4 U’s to your content, urgency is the one to leave out.

Uniqueness is critical because if visitors have seen similar content or benefits elsewhere, they won’t bother with yours.

Usefulness is what compels readers to keep reading. You must offer a benefit, solve a problem, or otherwise provide value for your audience.

Specificity is important because it increases how useful the content is and makes it more compelling.

Stay tuned for our next exciting installment of the 10 Commandments of Powerhouse Travel Ads when we bring you Commandments 4-6: (4) Pump it up with great graphics, (5) Craft a lead that shoots straight for the heart, and (6) Design a layout that sells

Until next time …

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The Power of LinkedIn Publishing for Travel Marketing

LinkedInOkay, all of you who have published on LinkedIn raise your virtual hands …

That’s what I thought. Very few consider LinkedIn when deciding where to publish content, and in point of fact, that’s a big mistake.

Now that it is open to the all LinkedIn users, it’s still something of an afterthought among content marketers. This is a shame, because publishing on LinkedIn is pay dirt for content marketers who know how to use it effectively. Let’s look at a few of the reasons why you need to be putting great content onto this platform!

5 Reasons why LinkedIn needs to be your content choice!

To establish authority – Publishing before a community of professionals is an excellent way of becoming the thought leader you are seeking to be. This can help you in so many ways — not only on LinkedIn, in terms of added connections and influence, but in your industry and Google as well.

Syndicating your content – Being able to post content that you may have used on your blog a while ago is a great way to find a new readership. Many times the audience on LinkedIn will not have seen your content, and may be more inclined to give it a serious read, given the nature of the platform.

Getting your content before a targeted audience – This is a professional site populated and frequented by pros, and as such you’ll find a lot less of the fluff traffic that might otherwise come upon your content. This is achieved by publishing before your connections, and to LinkedIn Groups for wider reach.

LinkedIn audiences are more engaged – The audiences on LinkedIn have shown to be more engaged , and like to ask questions, comment and even contact you if your content strikes a chord.

The possible viral effect – One way LinkedIn publishers hit it big is when their content starts to get some traction, LinkedIn often steps in and promotes it on of their Pulse category pages, and even better, sometimes on the home page itself! Accomplish that and you’ll be well on your way to authority status on LinkedIn and off!

If your travel company serves professionals in any way, LinkedIn can be a gold mine for finding potential corporate travelers, as well as leisure clients and guests. After all, even CEOs take vacation now and then.

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Beware the Pitfalls of DIY SEO

As the Internet has matured, and users have gotten more savvy, saving money by handling SEO on a DIY basis has become more attractive to many businesses. Unfortunately, in most cases, DIY SEO ends up costing companies far more often than it pays off.

Here’s an excellent article by Heather Lloyd Martin, top SEO Copywriter in the industry, about when DIY will, and will not pay off.

I walked away from the conversation shaking my head.

“SEO services are too expensive. We can’t afford to hire someone.”

“I’m smart. I should be able to figure this SEO stuff out myself.”

“My team is top-notch. No, they don’t have any formal SEO training, but I’m sure they’ll get it. Maybe I’ll send them to a conference…”

Stop it. Just. Stop. It.

Why do I sound so frustrated? Because I’ve chatted with large and small companies that have all said some variation of the “We can handle this in-house excuse.” Granted, their intentions are good. They really do plan on tackling their own SEO. They don’t mean to blow it off.

But they do. Time and time again.

Yes, some companies expertly take on their own SEO (and SEO writing.) These companies put time, money and effort into making it happen, too. They don’t expect the Google gods to magically hand them rankings. They don’t expect to learn by osmosis. They just do it.

But then, there are the other companies. The ones that fall into a “wishful thinking” trap.

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