Seth Godin writes that there are 3 kinds of advertising: Direct Response, Trust and Demand Enhancement in his latest blog: Three kinds of advertising
Of the three adverts, direct response ( where Google makes all its money) is the only measurable one, but for almost all agents it is very easy to make no margin from this ( unless you can convert and manage the scales of transaction that ‘Onthe Beach’ does). If you are a whizz with Google Adwords ( i.e. a trained Google Adwords professional) and you don’t charge your own company for your time then this may be a profitable route. If you have to buy in this resource the chances are you won’t break even on the spend. Because of the historical trading arrangements of travel agents, agents tend to expect all marketing expenditure to be of the ‘direct response’ variety, measurable by campaign. For larger agents with bookable websites, reliance on Google is a must, albeit an expensive ever rising cost. For smaller agents, direct advertising response is just not an option. Does this means that all marketing activity should be avoided then? Absolutely not – there are 2 other forms of ads that smaller agents can use. They form part of the inbound marketing methods that agents should include to nurture their potential clients.
Trust Ads ( the sort you see in news feeds on Facebook – i.e. LateCards postings of latest offers). I’d add into this, email promotions to your customer lists ( i.e. emailing offers to potential clients). Trust ads remind people you exist. Demand ads do the similar things ( for the full list and examples on Seth’s site see Seth Godin Three kinds of advertising. If you cannot afford direct response advertising ( because the ROI does not work for you), then you must continue with your Trust and Demand adverts. manage these geographically so as to ring fence a budget and be cost effective.
The one message is that you must do something and do it well. Do it half heartedly and you will spend money but have the same impact as doing nothing. Doing nothing, your business will not grow and worse, go into decline. Use the tools you have and set the budget for your business. Using LateCards advertising tools are some of the least cost ways of advertising your business and produce the largest ROI. But don’t mistake these for Direct Adverts, they are difficult to measure because they form part of the users journey in deciding on holiday purchasing. But not to use them, is like locking your shop front door.