Imagine if I tried to get you to pay money for something you'd never heard of? Would you pay? For your sake, I hope not!
Would you buy something you knew about, but didn't see how you could benefit from it? I doubt it.
Imagine now that your friend has recommended something to you. They're full of praise and you can see how great it would be for you too. You're thinking about when you can buy it, how you can get it. Your mind isn't even focusing on how much it costs - you're ready to pay what is necessary to have it because you can really see how you'll benefit.
I quite often tell my clients to try to get inside the mind of their visitors and customers. That can be quite hard to do, especially if you don't necessarily get to actually meet them all.
Why do I suggest this marketing mind-reading? If you can imagine what your clients and visitors are thinking, it's much easier to create promotional messages on your website, in your social media and other activities. It makes your marketing much more effective. You tend to stop saying 'we' and start saying 'you', an important transition.
You might say you don't know how your potential visitors think, yet hopefully you know your own mind, and can distance yourself a little from your own marketing, to see it from the visitor's perspective.
My example above illustrates that it's much harder to get people to part with their money if they don't know what they're buying. Most of us don't spend money until we've got a good answer to the essential question, 'what's in it for me?'
If someone you know has made a recommendation to you, and you can see how you'd benefit, (you've mentally answered 'what's in it for me?') you're ready to pay money.
So, it's worth bearing in mind the five stages we all go through when deciding to buy something.
When people haven't heard of you at all, it's much harder to sell to them. At this stage you need to stand back a little and consider how to get them interested in the first place. Promoting your local area and telling potential visitors about the destination will be more important than simply telling them about your business. You need to use some kind of hook - such as the beauty of your local area - to attract them in the first place.
At this stage, media coverage, general social media messages and local collaborations work best. Messages need to be repeated quite frequently to have an impact. It's best to vary them, and try to think about your business through the eyes of someone who's only just finding out about it. What do they most need to know to become more interested?
Once people have heard of your area, or maybe even your business, your promotional work isn't over. You now need to help them think about what you offer, and to start to show how it's relevant to potential visitors. This is when you need to start to show what's in it for them.
Once some one can positively answer the question, 'what's in it for me', everything changes. They start to imagine themselves spending time in your area. They can see why it's worth considering your business. They start to need more detailed information, becoming more interested as you enhance their understanding of what you have to offer. But remember, they may still also be considering other places too so you need to keep promoting to them, to show how your business is special, better or different from others.
This is where potential visitors have moved beyond understanding the answer to the question 'what's in it for me?' to actually wanting to come to you, buy from you or make a booking. They're convinced. You could still fail to give them the right information, upset or irritate them in some way, but if you get it right, these visitors are yours! This is also an important point when if you impress, they may start to tell others about you.
Response means they're now booking, buying, visiting, and actually paying money! We used to see this as the end goal but that would mean ignoring the power of recommendations, reviews and social media. You can't quite rest yet - you still need to impress and encourage the people who like what you do to tell others....
More Tourism Knowhow
Sign up to get fresh ideas & marketing knowhow for your tourism business - free
Please note: all articles are copyrighted Susan Briggs