How to Make Your Marketing Materials Stand Out

If you’re anything like me, you receive several travel-related email, flyers, brochures, and marketing materials every single week.

The vast majority of these communications are a complete waste of time and money. Don’t get me wrong – I occasionally enjoy browsing the pictures of exotic locations over a glass of wine, but most of the marketing materials end up in the recycle bin.

As a marketer of travel then, how do you stand out amongst all this information?

How do I get people to spend their limited time and energy on my materials, while ignoring the others? How do I convert these people’s attention to move to action, and actually book with me?

Here are a few ideas:

  1. Look at what everyone else is doing, and do something different. Most travel companies and/or travel agents send a regular list of “deals” to their lists. The problem with this is that none of these “deals” are particularly different than what all the other providers are offering.
  2. Be an authority. Teach people something they don’t know that is of interest, and if they are considering purchasing that product or service, you will be their first call.
  3. Don’t repeat promotions from travel product providers. This is really tempting because the travel companies provide you with all the templates to promote their products. It’s slick and professional looking, but completely lost amongst all the other stuff people get.
  4. Make it personal. People want to do business with real people, which is one of the reasons the workers at call-centers provide their first names. The more people feel that they know you, the more likely they are to book with you. Express your opinions, and write in the first person. Would you rather read a personal note from someone, or a marketing brief prepared by a corporate communications department?
  5. Be contrarian. You will get much more attention if you challenge the conventional wisdom about anything. This doesn’t mean being negative or confrontational, it means giving people a contrasting view point. For example, maybe you want to suggest to people that winter is the best time to visit Europe.
  6. Don’t try to be all things to all people. You will be much more successful if you tell people exactly what your expertise is, and you refer their other requests to someone else.
  7. Communicate with your list often, and give them valuable information, rather than just trying to sell them. I try to send my list good, valuable information twice a week. It means I spend a lot of time writing, but this is how I market. I provide good information, and measured opinions, and if there is any sales material, it is most definitely a “soft sell”.
  8. Communicate beyond your neighbourhood. My specific market is the Northeast and mid-west, although I have clients from all over the United States and Canada. I occasionally get requests from other parts of the English-speaking world including the UK and Australia as well. In this day and age, you need to look beyond your own time zone to build a business. About 1% of my clients live in the same metropolitan area that I do.

Ultimately you want a large list, and some small percentage of that list will book with you no matter what. They are not interested in trying to save the last $20 by booking with an anonymous on-line agency. They are not interested in shopping a travel offer around. They want to deal with you because they feel they know you, and they trust you.

Once prospects feel they know and trust you (and your actions reinforce that you are worthy of that trust), then all the other competing glossy marketing brochures become meaningless – except for looking at the pictures of exotic locales over a glass of wine.