Guest Post: How travel plus storytelling on Facebook can equal sales

Guest Post: How travel plus storytelling on Facebook can equal sales

By Laura Jennings, head of strategy and client service at Headstream Content Marketing Agency

For the travel industry, marketing should be easy, as holidaying or travelling by their very nature create anecdotes and stories (not to mention great pictures) that customers often want to share.

But how can you be more tactical and do your best to encourage actual sales rather than just interesting and attractive marketing materials?

Sequential storytelling can help, especially at this time of the year when many people are beginning to think about their summer holiday, but haven’t necessarily decided where or what they want to do.

The aim is to build knowledge of a product or service gradually with potential customers, then to narrow down your audience, increase the sales message, and target those most likely to purchase.

You are effectively emulating the customer journey – from not knowing about the product to hopefully buying it.

A great place to do this is on Facebook as it allows you to really focus on those people who are relevant, so your efforts (and advertising budget) are not wasted.

The plan is simple but effective:

1. Identify your desired audience
Drill down – by demographics, affluence, location, household size, interests etc.

2. Raise awareness of your brand with that audience
Brand-led content: Awareness focus
A general awareness advert could tie it in with wider national campaign, local advert, a seasonal or current event. Video content works particularly well as a format that has higher engagement levels than simple text or even images.

3. Target your ‘primed’ audience with more specific message
Linking to specific product or service pages: Awareness/ Direct Response focus.
You can be more specific about offers/services with those who have now seen your video, with a link to a website for sales/bookings.

4. Follow-up
Targeted to web page visitors, linking to specific product pages: Direct Response focus.
Send a reminder out to those who didn’t purchase.

Here are those stages in greater detail:

1. Identify your audience

It all starts here. It’s vital to figure out what inspires or motivates your desired or potential customer.

This could be someone you want return custom from, or someone new to your brand. Obviously there are a whole range of ways of doing this, some more effective than others, and that would be a whole separate article.

For argument’s sake, let’s say you have an idea at least of who you want to target. Then you can segment even further with Facebook.

For example, you could target families with children who you think may be interested in summer cruises. You could find lookalike audiences based on existing customers / existing page fans / website visitors / video views and more.

2. Raise awareness of your brand with that audience

This stage is to tap into something that your audience will like to hear about. It could be seasonal, extremely likely if you’re selling cruises. However, it is not a sales-pitch and you’re probably not talking about specific products or prices at this stage. It’s just for awareness.

This is an ideal opportunity to use story-led content to introduce/ remind the audience of your brand values and what experience you offer in the broadest sense.A video is a great platform to show off the amazing scenery, on-board facilities and kids club for example.

Facebook1

Brand led content (seasonal video)
Targeted to ATL audience
Optimised for reach and frequency
Awareness focus

3. Target your ‘primed’ audience with more specific messages

This should be targeted at those who have seen the first piece of content. It means they’re aware of your brand even if they don’t know precisely what you have to offer yet. This is your chance to make that clear. Where do your cruises go? Is the kids club part of package? What special offers do you have?

Make your content clickable through to your website, allowing people to find out more, and importantly, to make a purchase.

Facebook2

Link to product or bookings page
Targeted to viewers of the brand video
Optimised for clicks
Linking to specific web pages
Awareness / DR focus

4. Follow-up

Don’t forget to give your potential customers a nudge. You want them to be actual customers don’t you? Simply target with a reminder a few days later, telling them how they can book their holiday and when any offer runs out.

Facebook3

Nudge. Targeted to web page visitors
Optimised for conversions
Linking to specific product pages
DR focus

The Results

Sequential storytelling on Facebook can drive brand awareness and, importantly, purchase consideration. Each part of the process has to be carefully considered, but the end result is that you maximise the efficiencies of your Facebook advertising budget.

The people who see all elements of a ‘story’ are more likely to click-through, view your product, and hopefully go on to purchase. Of course, you can also measure the success of any campaign with visits to your website and sales as a result.

The other advantage is that you’ve built an audience for the future.

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