What, you ask, does this have to do with your website? In every instance below you should ensure your audience knows your website address and you leave them with materials to do so.
How to Spend $150
1. Buy a client’s office coffee and pastries for breakfast. Even if only one of your clients works there, pick up some breakfast goodies and take them by the office. Arrange in advance with your client and drop off your package with a yellow ribbon and a bunch of your business cards. If you can sneak in a little time to meet everyone, do…bonus! Your client will be proud that their travel agent did something so thoughtful and the others in the office will wonder why they don’t have a travel agent that does cool things. Repeat this process with various clients until you have spent your $150. If you spend $15 per client, that’s 10 lucky offices filled with prospectives.
2. Join some new organizations around town. Networking is an absolute key to building a local business. Find some organizations in town in which you can participate and about which you can be passionate. Show up well prepared not only to participate, but also to answer the question “What do you do?” Chances are that the $150 will allow you to join more than one, so spread around your marketing investment.
3. Search for ways to advertise to the clients of other local businesses. For example, the chances are very good that the local yoga studio has an email newsletter. $25 may just buy you an article and an ad circulated to a few hundred yoga practitioners in town. What about the local health food store? Do they have a newsletter in which you can buy an ad? Advertising with small service businesses that have a loyal following carries with it an implied endorsement by the owner. Advertising to the clientele of another business allows you to leverage their goodwill as your own. $150 in $25 ads can go a long ways!
4. Print up some high quality tri-fold capabilities brochures and circulate them. How? Make a list of all of the service businesses you patronize: your hairdresser, your dentist, your child’s pediatrician, the kid’s dance studio, the day spa…any company with which you spend money. Ask for permission to put your brochures where their clients can pick them up while waiting for service. Again, you have the advantage of piggy-backing with the foot traffic of another business and receiving their implicit endorsement to an entire set of new potential clients.
5. Purchase some small promotional items such as pens or scratchpads with your name and telephone on them. Keep them in your purse or briefcase and provide one to any potential client that you so much as speak to during the day. You never know who might be a potential client, so don’t be stingy with them. Hand a pen and a business card to everyone with whom you have a casual conversation. Travel is the easiest thing in the world to talk about, so let the people you run into everyday know what you do and talk to you about their dream trip. Then hand them a pen or a scratch pad and ask for permission to send them some ideas that could turn their dreams into reality.
6. Rent a booth at a community fair, farmers market or street festival – most communities during the spring and summer months have street fairs where local vendors rent booths to showcase their wares. These booths are typically very inexpensive, so grab one and pack it with flyers and posters and your own brochures and business cards. Chat up everyone that comes by your booth and have them sign up for your email newsletter (you have a newsletter, right?) or to receive a free 1/2 hour consultation on “How to Travel for a Lifetime“ or a copy of your white paper, "5 Great Ways to Travel Better".
7. Sponsor an Ad in a school event program – primary schools, middle schools and high schools all have plays, recitals and events where the programs are sponsored by local merchants. Design a catchy ad that lets parents know it is possible to build a lifetime of family memories through family travel – and that you are just the person to see. Your $150 will take you through more than one event at one school, so spread the ads around in your target demographic. Spend lots of time going right to the heart of empathy with this demographic – speak to the benefits of using your travel planning practice.
8. Hold a Contest – Purchase 10 Starbucks coffee cards (or better yet, crossmarket with a local coffee shop) and hold an contest among the community of your choice. Make it a “best travel photo contest” for example. Make it fun! Have more than one category like best photo with people in it, best landscape, best island photo, best photo of a famous land mark, best photo on a cruise, best photo taken by a child etc. With 10 cards you can award alot of prizes. Or you can do one huge “coffee for a year” (50 weeks of Coffee!) contest for best travel essay or use three smaller $50 coffee cards. The idea is to create some excitement among your community whether that be among your newsletter, Twitter, Facebook or online forum community.
9. Sponsor a Contest and Award – choose a local community activity with lots of participants in your demographic and sponsor a civic contest and award of $150. For example, most communities have a little league soccer or softball program. Work with the organizers to promote a “Clean up our Park” day. Donate the $100 to the team that collects the most refuse in baggies. Use the remaining $50 to purchase refreshments for the kids. Or you might hold an essay contest among all the six grade students in a school to send essays on a civic topic “The Importance of Voting” and award the $150 for school supplies to the winning class submitting the best essays. It’s a great way to do some good and to get your name out in a community of families!
10. Sponsor a Tree(s) – Next Earth Day, work with a nursery to sponsor a promotion. Have the nursery run a “$10.00 off this tree” promotion. Tag 15 trees with your business card. Purchasers of those trees get a discount and your business card. You get their name and permission to send them materials on your travel planning practice. The same idea can work with other holidays – Flowers on Mother’s Day, Flags on Veterans Day (You can buy a lot of flags for $150), pumpkins at Halloween…
11. Free Sandwiches – Most communities have a local deli that is a popular breakfast or lunch place. Work with a deli owner with your target demographic to cross-promote: The first 25 breakfast sandwiches are free! The first 25 customers ordering a ABC Travel Egg and Cheese Sandwich gets a free sandwich (and your business card). You are there to mix with the crowd, help hand out the food and to let people know that you company is pitching in and doing your part for the community’s morale.
12. Work with Public Radio – Twice every year, the public radio station in your community does a fund raiser of their own where local community volunteers answer the phones. Donate your $150 to the public radio station and offer your staff to answer the phones. The radio station will mention your company name over and over on the days that your staff works, giving you lots of publicity in a very nice demographic.
Sit down and come up with a few ways you can have a widespread impact with minimal dollar investment. Sweat equity has as much value as cold, hard cash. Hint: Networking and events are in one way or another almost always involved, but low cost advertising works too!
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