How to Capture More Leads for Your Travel Business: 10 Email Subscriber Strategies

Avatar on Aug 16, 2016. 7 min Read

Countless online marketers have said this, but it’s worth repeating: “the money is in the list.”

Email is still the most effective way to convert fans into buyers. Businesses collect $38 for every $1 they spend on email marketing. That’s an incredible return on your investment.

I’ve already looked at why your travel company needs a blog page, and the mistakes you should avoid, so now it’s time to look at how to draw the customers in, past reading your informative blog posts.

As a travel business owner, it’s unlikely that visitors will feel comfortable making a purchase after their first interaction with your website. Instead, they likely need multiple interactions with your brand to educate themselves and make a decision.

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This means it’s imperative that you begin building a relationship with your visitors by email. You should begin building your email list immediately to gather a steady stream of leads.

But building an email list isn’t easy.

If you only add previous customers to your list, you can only sell to that small group. Yes, these are still valuable leads (because you know they like what you sell), but what about all those potential new customers? How do you collect them?

1. Create Useful, Educational Content That Solves Your Customers’ Problems

If you expect a visitor to give you access to their inbox, you have to do something for them first. This usually means creating free, high-quality content that appeals specifically to their needs.

Figuring out what those needs are is the most important part.

First, create buyer personas that represent your customers. Buyer personas are not assumptions, so dig into any data you have already. Make sure to conduct interviews with past customers.

Second, plot a buyers’ journey to map out a prospect’s path through your content. Then create an editorial calendar that addresses the needs of your personas at different points in their journey.

The Luxe Travel knows that travel seekers love high-resolution photos of people enjoying their vacations, so that’s how their content is laid out.

Remember: the best content is produced according to a strategy.

2. Put Your Best Content in a Lead Magnet

A lead magnet is a piece of content that’s irresistible to your ideal customers. Refer to your buyer personas to make this content awesome. Some popular lead magnet types are…

  • An email course. 5–7 emails on a subject designed to educate the prospect and move them through their journey.
  • An eBook/guide. This should be in-depth and significantly longer than a typical piece of content.
  • A video course (either immediately accessible or drip-fed).
  • A checklist. People love actionable content.
  • A coupon. Travel is expensive and many people shop around for better prices.

You can take this further and offer webinars or personal consultations, but the most successful lead magnets deliver value immediately.

3. Use Content Upgrades to Keep Sign-Ups Coming In

A content upgrade is a piece of supplementary content that supports your free content. The upgrade should be related to the free content, but far more actionable. In order to access the upgrade, the visitor is required to submit their email address.

Audience Ops smartly displays their content upgrade in a highlighted block with a call-to-action so it stands out.

Let’s say you published a blog post titled “X Must-Know Ways to Spring Break in Florida.” Within this post, you would (at least twice) offer a document that supports what they are reading.

You might offer an actionable guide called “X Steps to Save Money on Plane Tickets to Florida.” Since the upgrade closely relates to the blog post, you know the reader will find it useful.

Your content will always be available, so your content upgrade will continue to collect sign-ups over time. This creates a powerful access point for visitors to slide into your sales funnel.

4. Use Specialty Plugins or Apps Designed to Capture Leads

The most important part of inbound marketing is the automation you put in place to do the work for you. There are numerous third-party apps and installable plugins that add functionality to your site; functionality that builds your list.

Dreamgrow Scroll Triggered Box pops up an opt-in box when a user begins to scroll. IcegramSumo Me, and OptinMonster all offer various lead capturing tools.

Integrate these tools with your email marketing software (like MailChimpActive CampaignDrip, or Constant Contact) so you can deliver your lead magnet right away.

5. Slide-Up Boxes Are Tried and Tested

Surely you’ve seen these before. You’re browsing a website when a box slides up from the bottom or out from the side. Or maybe you find yourself in front of a giant welcome mat (which are becoming increasingly popular because they work).

These are some of the most common and effective lead capturing methods because they alert the user that specialty content is available without seriously disrupting the user experience.

There are many types and styles of these boxes, so you’ll have to choose one that suits your needs and your website’s design. We use a toaster widget in the bottom right corner of our site. It pops up once the user begins scrolling (which tells us they become engaged with the page).

6. Add a Hello Bar for a Familiar, Effective Touch

When most people arrive on your website, they are focused looking for something specific. They have a problem and they’re looking for a solution.

Instead of exploring your header, footer and sidebars, they may jump right into the meat of your page and ignore your self-promotional elements.

A Hello Bar is a tastefully designed, full-width bar that falls down from the top of the page. The movement causes just enough motion to make the visitor aware that something new has joined the page without causing too much disruption.

Use the Hello Bar to offer sign up access to your list. Bribe the visitor with your lead magnet. The bar can also offer a link to a specialty landing page.

While Hello Bar is the standard for this type of lead capturing, there are similar alternative plugins.

7. Display a Sidebar Ad Alongside Your Content

A well-designed web page usually employees a sidebar. Sidebars are exceptional ways to display supplementary content alongside a page’s main content.

Safari Drive does this well. The offer a link alongside all of their blog posts doesn’t just ask visitors to sign up to some arbitrary newsletter. They offer an extremely valuable and lengthy safari field guide that’s written by experts. The “download” call to action implies that the visitor will receive something tangible right now. Plus, the ad stands out without being distracting.

8. Get Them One Last Time at the End

In a world of instant information and fast-paced entertainment, most readers skim web content until they find what they need. They’ll hop down your headings until locate the passage that appeals to them.

So if the reader made it all the way to the end of your article, they must have truly enjoyed your content. They must have enjoyed the value.

The end of the post is one of the best opportunities to turn a visitor into a subscriber. Right as the article ends, hit them again with a sign up option. Use this spot to display your lead magnet or your content upgrade.

You could also reinforce the value you just delivered. Ask, “Enjoyed this article? We’ll send you an email whenever a new one is published.”

9. Grab Them on Facebook

Instead of drawing visitors to your website before converting them into subscribers, what if you could reach them where they spend the most time?

The average Facebook user spends 50 minutes per day on the social media platform, which is a large chunk of their general Internet usage time. People use Facebook for socialising, entertainment, and even work, so they log in often.

Facebook lead ads make signing up profoundly easy for Facebook users by automatically filling in their contact information. With two quick clicks, the user can drop into your mailing list.

Since the Facebook user wouldn’t have much exposure to your content at this point, it’s essential that your lead ads are packed with value. You absolutely must use sophisticated targeting to deliver the right ad to the right people. But if your offering is good, people will jump on board.

10. Use Exit Intent Technology to Redirect Users Before They Leave Your Site

70% of people who leave your website will never return. The Internet is a big place and there’s a lot of content out there to consume.

Instead of losing these people forever, use exit intent technology to convert a few more. Apps like OptinMonster and Sumo Me detect user behaviour. If a user makes a move to leave your website, the exit intent software displays a last-chance offer to gather their email address.

When using exit intent technology, it’s always important to consider the user’s mindset. They are leaving your website because they didn’t find it valuable enough to spend more. That means you really have to impress them with an offer.

Figure out why people tend to leave your website. Are your prices too high? Offer a discount or piece of content that explains how to travel on a budget. Are they unsure of the next step to take? Offer a quick one-on-one consultation so you can walk them through the travel planning process.

The Takeaway

Before you starting signing up for apps and writing offers, I should warn you not to employee all of these strategies. Don’t brutalise your users’ experiences with constant promotional offers. Remember that your first priority should always be to provide value. (But you’ll definitely want to follow tips #1 and #2.)

The beauty of a lead is that it is self-vetted. It streamlines your sales process so you only go after the opportunities that can earn you real money. Start building your list so you can turn website visitors into dollars right away.

Now, what are you waiting for? If you want to find out how we could help your travel business get more bookings, let’s have a chat.

Oh, and if you’re looking for more tips, we’ve put together a handy email course called How to Grow Your Travel Business With Content Marketing which is full of ideas to help get your company up to speed with your competitors.

Thanks for reading! Are you a travel company owner or marketing director that wants more bookings?

About The Author

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Co-founded 10x Travel in 2012 to help ambitious tour operator businesses get more bookings online with a consistent, automated sales process they could rely on.

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