I see so many bad websites that travel agents are relying on. It’s very rare that I find one that does what it’s supposed to do.
So what is a website supposed to do? Bottom line: Get you bookings. The reality is, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to make that happen, thanks to developments like WordPress. In this article, I share with you the 3 things your homepage should do:
1. Add Value
Rather than trumpet your 25 years experience and lots of corporate mumbo jumbo talk, the first thing a website visitor should receive is good, valuable information when they visit your website. And that doesn’t mean blaring travel specials that may or may not even be a good deal.
My advice for adding value – post a short (3 mins or less) video that answers one or two of the most common questions you get asked. Or, post a video that gives your 3 greatest travel tips. Place the video front and center on the home page of your website and have it automatically play when the visitor arrives. Don’t share obvious fluff that everyone knows. Do some work and come up with some great tips or answers, so that the person leaving your page thinks, “Hmmmm….I didn’t know that. That was great advice.” If you are thinking to yourself that you want to keep those kinds of tips for your clients, then you need to learn to live according to this golden rule: “When you give them your best, they will pay for the rest.”
The other way for your site to add value is through your blog posts. If you write a blog, make sure the content you provide adds value to your target market. Ask yourself these questions to come up with blog article ideas: What questions do you get asked all the time? What’s your favorite secret tip you share with your best clients? What’s new and newsworthy for your specialty?
2. Capture their contact details
If you get lots and lots of traffic to your site, it’s completely worthless if you have no system for capturing the contact details of your best prospects and then following up with them. The famous “subscribe to our newsletter” trick doesn’t work either. If you currently have that on your site, take it off because the only people subscribing to your newsletter are your great Aunt Betty and Uncle Jim.
You must tempt your best prospects with a reason to share their contact details with you. The best way to tempt them is to offer more free information. I like to call this the “Pink Spoon” report. When you go to Baskin Robbins and can’t decide which flavor you want, you ask for a free sample and they give it to you in a tiny pink spoon. Your free offer is similar. Website visitors that are interested in what you offer but not ready to pick up the phone and call you might share their name and email address in return for some great valuable expert wisdom that they can’t find searching the internet. Here are some ideas for a great “Pink Spoon” report:
- “Top 5 Insider Secrets to Planning a Seamless Destination Wedding”
- “The Busy Mom’s Family Travel Planning Kit”
- “10 Ways to Bypass the Lines When Doing Disney”
The report can be a simple Word document that you have converted to a PDF. Be sure to add great photos and put some effort into the look of it. You want it to impress. But don’t let your imagination stop there. Instead of a written report, you could record an audio, create a video, or a combination of these 3. Do what’s easiest for you and make sure you put yourself in your prospect’s shoes when assessing the final product. Would you be grateful for this information if you received it?
Your “Pink Spoon” report should be automatically delivered to them once they enter their contact details in an “opt-in” box. This process is easily handled through an affordable auto-responder system like Vertical Response, iContact or Campaigner.
Then the key is to follow up, once they opt in!!! The best system for following up? A weekly electronic newsletter will do the job extremely well. Discipline yourself to this system and you will thank yourself 10 times over.
3. Tell them what to do next
People silently want to be lead. And people are best at following simple directions. So give them a very simple call to action. What is the next thing you want website visitors to do? Schedule an appointment with you? Complete a survey? Pick up the phone and call? Opt in foryour free offer? It’s your choice, but give them 1 simple choice. Don’t give them multiple options. Give them 1 option, make it very obvious (big buttons work well)and make it as easy as possible. Like, one-click easy, or else you will lose them. Here’s my favorite call to action:
“Click Here to Schedule a Complimentary Travel Planning Session with me.”
Now it’s time for you to go look at your website and ask yourself if it meets all 3 of these criteria. Be honest. If it doesn’t, fix it!