Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I may get a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you.
Have you heard the terms “lead generator”, “lead magnet” or “opt-in” and wondered what they mean?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone!
It’s easy for people who live in “marketing world” to throw these words around and forget that you aren’t a full-time marketer. If you wanted to be you would have opened a marketing agency, not a travel agency.
Simply put, a lead generator is a valuable, free offer that you give to potential leads, aka potential customers, in exchange for their email address. Think of it as a little gift that you give someone to help them get to know your business better.
But why is having a great lead generator important for marketing your travel agency?
Well, for starters, it’s a great way to attract new clients and grow your email list. After all, the point of a travel lead generator is lead generation!
Plus, by offering something of value for free, you’re demonstrating your expertise and building trust with your audience. It’s a win-win situation!
Today I’m going to walk you through the steps for creating an unforgettable lead generator, even if you’ve never done it before. From defining your target audience to promoting your lead generator, I’ve got you covered. Grab a cup of coffee and let’s get started!
Define your target audience
The first step in creating an unforgettable lead generator is to know who you’re creating it for. In marketing we call that defining your target audience, or knowing your Ideal Client Avatar (ICA).
Why is this an essential first step? Because if you don’t know who you’re creating the lead generator for, how can you be sure it will resonate with them?
When you know your target audience you can tailor your lead generator to their specific needs and interests. This does more than make your lead generator valuable and unforgettable. It also increases the likelihood that qualified leads, aka the type of potential client you'd like to work with, will give you their email address to get it.
If you’re not sure how to define your target audience for your lead generator (and all your other travel agency marketing efforts), start by asking yourself a few questions:
What type of person is your ideal client?
What are their pain points or challenges?
What delights them?
What are their interests and hobbies?
Where do they hang out, both online and offline?
What motivates them to travel?
By answering these questions, you can start to build out your Ideal Client Avatar. This will help you create a lead generator that speaks directly to them and provides value that they can’t resist.
Remember, the more specific you can be with your target audience, the better!
Determine your value proposition
Once you’ve identified your target audience or ideal client (don’t skip that step, even if you’re tempted!), it’s time to determine your “unique value proposition”.
What exactly is a value proposition, you ask?
It’s a statement that explains what makes your travel business unique and why someone should choose you over your competitors.
One of my business mentors feels that “unique value proposition” is a bit to formal and business-ish, so she calls it your “Unique Awesomeness Proposition”. I love this way of putting it!
What makes your business awesome, and a perfect fit for your ideal client?
This is how you help your business stand out in a crowded market. It makes it easy for new leads and potential clients to understand the benefits of choosing your travel agency over another, and it’s a key element for lead generation.
Start determining what makes you and your travel agency awesome by asking yourself some questions.
What unique experiences or travel services do I offer that many other travel agencies don’t?
What benefit do I give my clients that they can’t find elsewhere?
What problems do I solve for my clients?
What are my specific strengths, quirks, unique perspective, or style?
What experiences do I have that are unique to me that benefit my clients?
By understanding what makes you and your business special, you can connect to your clients and potential clients in a unique way. But it’s a step that too many travel agents don’t take, which is why so much of the travel agency marketing you see is generic and, quite frankly, uninspiring.
If you’re not sure where to start, consider an online strengths assessment. There are plenty out there to choose from, both free and paid.
You can also ask the people closest to you what makes you special. It may sound weird, but it really works!
An exercise I had to do early on in my business was to email a survey to 20 people who know me, asking them what my “superpowers” are. Those qualities that make me stand out and that they see as unique.
It was one of the most uncomfortable things I’ve had to do, but (gulp!) I created a survey and sent it out. I got a lot of responses, and identified a couple of things that I never would have thought of! Now I incorporate those things into every part of my business.
The interesting thing about what makes you awesome and sets your business apart is that, most likely, they’re things you don’t even think about. They come naturally to you, so you assume everyone does them easily.
Not true! Most likely the things that seem the most natural to you are things that other people struggle with.
Do you love creating beautiful, unique itineraries for families with children with autism? Do you spend time finding great options and creating connections with staff at hotels, resorts and theme parks who can help them while they travel? That’s unique, and you need to incorporate it into every bit of marketing for your travel agency!
Have you lived somewhere that gives you a unique perspective on travel to that destination? Use it! Don’t be afraid to lead with that expertise. It’s what sets you apart and makes you an awesome travel advisor.
Incorporate every bit of that value and awesomeness into your lead generator, and it’ll become unforgettable to your ideal client.
Choose a format
Now that you’ve figured out who your lead generator is for and the special, unique awesomeness that should be showcased throughout it, it’s time to choose the format for your lead generator.
There are tons of options for lead generators that you can use for your travel agency marketing. The key is to choose a format that can clearly communicate your value and awesomeness, and speaks to the needs and desires of your ideal client.
If you’re wondering what exactly I mean by format, here are a few popular formats for travel agency lead generators:
Quizzes or assessments
A lead generator can be almost anything. Do you write regular blog posts and there’s one that’s resonated more with your audience than the others? Create a PDF of it and offer it for download in exchange for email addresses.
Quizzes can be things like “Discover your travel personality” or “Where should you travel next?”. Something that allows people to answer 5-7 questions and get a result. The result should fit them and allow them to learn something about themselves.
Assessments and quizzes don’t have to be in depth or serious. Have you ever filled out one of those quizzes like “which Hogwarts house would you be in” or "which celebrity personality are you"? We all like to learn more about ourselves, and that’s exactly what a quiz or assessment is designed for.
Checklists and cheat sheets are also very popular. If you’re an expert in beach resorts or cruises, consider a packing list for people who are experiencing a trip like that for the first time.
If you specialize in a specific destination or type of travel, sample itineraries may work well for you. Don’t worry that people will download the itinerary and book it all themselves, if they’re going to do that they aren’t your ideal client anyway.
Take a look at cruise companies, both river and sea, and land-based tour companies. They always give a day-by-day itinerary for each sailing or tour, and they still get tons of people booking with them!
You don’t need to list every hotel or specific tour you’d book for your clients, but you can if you'd like. When your ideal client starts reading through the itinerary and looking at those hotels and experiences, they should be saying “Yes! This is what I want!”. When they realize you can make those dreams a reality, they won’t hesitate to have you design their trip.
Remember, the goal of your lead generation is to provide value to a potential client, as well as demonstrate your expertise and build trust. Choose a format that will allow you to do that and leave a lasting impression on your audience.
Create your content
Now it’s time to actually create your lead generator. Did you have any idea there were so many steps before you start creating the content?
This is where the rubber meets the road, and you get to showcase your expertise and provide value to your travel leads.
Your content needs to be engaging and valuable. Not sure how to create engaging and valuable content? Keep these tips in mind.
Note: Not every tip works for every type of content, so it’s ok to pick and choose based on the type of content you’re creating.
Keep it focused and concise
Your lead generator should be easy to consume and provide some type of quick win for your audience.
If you’re creating a quiz or assessment, keep it short and sweet. As few questions as possible, with a fun and insightful outcome.
Itineraries should be a couple of pages with lovely photos, not a 15-page hour-by-hour breakdown. Save those for your actual clients who are paying you!
Checklists or guides should also be short, no more than a page for a checklist or a few pages for a guide. Don’t think your potential clients want a guidebook for all of France. They’re looking for something short and quick, like “5 things to do on your next trip to Paris” or “3 tips to make your next Disney vacation even more magical”.
Hint: people love numbers because they can quantify the value they can expect to receive from your lead generator. Instead of “How to make your Disney vacation more magical” tell them exactly how many tips they’ll get.
Provide practical and actionable advice
Potential clients should be able to implement your advice and see results.
If you provide an itinerary or guide, like “The 5 top crêperies in Paris”, include links to each place you mention. That way readers can easily click through and take a look for themselves.
If your lead generator is a packing list and there are specific items you recommend, make it easy for them to find those items by including links to where they can purchase them. Don’t forget, if you use any type of affiliate link you need to disclose it.
The faster and easier it is for your potential customers to feel like they’ve gained something, the more unforgettable your lead generator will be for them.
Use visuals to enhance your content
This is especially important for guides and itineraries. You want your potential customers to be inspired by the content, and to be able to imagine themselves exploring that location, staying in that hotel or having that experience.
The best way to do that is with beautiful, compelling photos. They can be your own photos or stock photos, but make sure they’re gorgeous!
You can also incorporate graphics or infographics where they’re appropriate. If you’re providing a breakdown of where travelers are most interested in going, don’t just tell people. Show them. Create some type of easy-to-understand infographic that’s fun to read!
Canva is a great place to start if you want to find stunning photos or create engaging infographics. If you’ve never checked it out before, it’s a great resource that I recommend for all travel advisors.
Keep it conversational
Do you feel the need to make sure that everything you write is considered to be proper English, with perfect punctuation and grammar?
(Did that feel a bit stilted to you? That was intentional!)
Write the way you talk. Use contractions, and don’t be afraid to throw out the grammar rules you learned in high school English.
That doesn’t mean you should write in a way that makes you sound unprofessional, but if your normal way of talking is casual your writing should be too. When someone who knows you reads what you've written, they should be able to detect your personality!
One great way to make sure your writing is conversational and natural is to read it out loud. I do that with every blog post, email, social media post, and anything else I’m writing.
I’m sure it makes people think I’m a bit nuts when I’m working in a coffee shop, but that’s ok. It keeps them from trying to strike up a conversation. 😉
If you read what you write out loud and it feels unnatural, rewrite it. It should flow just like when you’re talking to a friend.
Address pain points
Is your lead generator a packing list for chronic overpackers? One of their pain points is probably needing or wanting something and not having it. A good way to address it is to point out that people live in every destination they’re traveling to.
With the exception of things like medication, they’ll most likely be able to buy anything they truly need. Plus, buying something while traveling is a great way to bring home a souvenir they’ll actually use and enjoy!
Does your ideal customer want to travel, but has no idea where to go to find the authentic, unique experience they’re looking for? Address that pain point with a quiz or guide. Show them how traveling to a specific destination expands their horizons and provides the experience they’re craving.
By creating a lead generator that speaks directly to your target audience’s needs and desires, you make it so they want to provide their email address in exchange for what you’re offering.
Design your lead generator
You’ve created your content, now it’s time to make it pretty!
The design of your lead generator is important because it’s the first thing your potential clients see. It’ll impact their perception of your travel agency, so it needs to be both professional and reflect the personality of you and your agency.
This doesn’t mean your lead generator needs to look like a boring business PowerPoint presentation. Not by a long shot!
It should reflect your brand, so unless your brand overall looks like a PowerPoint your lead generator shouldn’t either.
So what should your lead generator look like?
It should be high-quality. Images and graphics should look professional and in-style, but still reflect your brand. No clipart that looks like it came from the ‘90s.
Your color scheme should align with your branding so it’s clear it came from you. If you use a template, like the ones available in Canva, always update the colors to reflect your brand.
Layouts should be clean, simple, and easy to read and navigate. White space is your friend. Don’t use long sentences and paragraphs that exhaust your potential customers before they start reading.
Make sure fonts and formatting are consistent. Fonts should be easy to read. That means you may need to avoid those pretty calligraphy fonts, unless they’re consistent with your brand and easy to read. If you write in Word or Google Docs, use the built-in “style” functionality to create consistent headers and body text.
Include your logo and contact info. After all, your lead generator is supposed to help familiarize people with your brand. It can’t do that if it’s not clear what that brand is! It should be simple for people to contact you once they’ve downloaded your lead generator, without having to google your agency name.
There are lots of resources to help you design your lead generator, and you don’t need a background in graphic design to do it. Canva has tons of templates you can use as a starting point, or if you have a larger budget you can hire a graphic designer to create a custom design for you.
Promote the heck out of it
Now that you have a beautifully designed lead generator, with amazing content that speaks directly to your target audience and clearly demonstrates your uniquely awesome travel business, it’s time to make sure your target audience can find it.
After all, if your target audience can't find your lead generator they won’t be able to download it. Promote the heck out of it!
You can promote your lead generator in lots of ways. Consider trying a few of these options:
Include it in your social media bios, as well as creating specific social media posts to let people know what it is and how they can get it.
Add a link to your lead generator to your email signature.
Create a pop-up download form on your travel website. Yes, they can be annoying, but the truth is, they’re effective!
Include a form on your website in addition to a pop-up. If people close the pop-up but then decide they actually want the lead generator, it should be easy for them to find.
Create a dedicated landing page for your lead generator on your website, and optimize it for search engines to help draw in people searching for similar topics.
Use paid advertising, like Google Ads or Facebook Ads. If you’re not sure how to create an effective ad you’ll want to spend some time going through Google or Facebook Ad training. You can also get professional help to reduce wasted money on ineffective ads.
When you understand your target audience and where they spend their time online, you can promote your lead generator in the places they already are.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with promoting your lead generator. Track your results to figure out what works best. Then do more of what’s working well for your travel business and less of what’s not working.
Every travel advisor and travel agency is unique, so what works well for one travel company may or may not work well for you. That’s ok, it takes time to figure out exactly what works for generating leads in your unique travel business.
The bottom line
Creating an unforgettable lead generator for your travel business is a powerful marketing tool. It can help you attract new clients and grow your email list.
Now it’s time to start creating your lead generator. Follow these steps and you’ll provide value to your target audience. You'll also showcase your expertise and what makes your travel business the perfect fit for your ideal client.
Have some fun and create something unique. You’ve got this!
If you’re not sure you want to take the time and energy to create your lead generator, that’s ok. You’re busy creating amazing itineraries for your clients, and marketing your business takes time you simply may not have.