Many businesses run free webinars for marketing. You promote your webinar to as many people as possible, attract more people into your marketing funnel, conduct the webinar to promote something at the end (even if it’s just getting their e-mail address for follow-up marketing), and eventually sell them something.
Although webinars are very popular in many industries, curiously most travel agents don’t use them. And that’s a pity, because they are the ideal tool (highly visual and can be very interactive), generate leads and build loyalty, and can set you apart from others in your industry.
To get you started, here are five ways you could easily run webinars for clients and prospective clients.
1. Destination Webinar
If you have any favourite destinations you like to visit or promote, run a webinar that describes that destination. Make it 80% about the destination and only at most 20% about promoting your services.
For example, if you’re talking about Bali, you can explain the best time of the year to visit, the different parts of Bali, how to shop, scams and traps to avoid, how to respect and fit in with the culture, and so on. The idea is that you provide a valuable service (especially to people who don’t know much about the destination) and clearly demonstrate that you’re not just a booking agent, but a trusted adviser.
2. How-To Webinar
There’s so much you do in your business that you just take for granted, but your clients would love to know. Put yourself in their shoes, imagine this is their first time, and run a webinar that teaches them your “insider secrets”.
For example, cruises are fun and interesting experiences, but first-time passengers don’t know what to expect, even if they are otherwise seasoned travellers. If you promote and book a lot of cruises, a webinar about cruising would be very valuable to them. You can explain things like: what visas they need to get, how to get Internet access, whether they should buy products on board or not, how to make the most of days in port, and so on.
3. Planning Webinar
If you organise or host tours, run a pre-tour planning webinar for your clients to explain how the tour works, how they need to prepare, and so on. You might be doing this anyway as an in-person meeting, but consider a webinar as well. Some people might not be able to attend the meeting in person, some prefer to participate online, and some will feel overwhelmed and will appreciate the opportunity to watch the webinar recording later.
4. Client Loyalty Webinar
From time to time, run special webinars for your clients (those who have actually booked with you). In these webinars, you can promote upcoming tours or packages, make them special offers, and generally give them something that other people don’t get. You can be more promotional in these webinars than your public webinars, because you’re talking to people who already know and trust you. In fact, they want to do business with you again, so they expect you to tell them how!
For even greater benefit, tell your clients they can invite a friend to these webinars. That way, they feel special because they invite somebody else to a “private” event, the friend gets access to something special, and you get the opportunity to pick up a new client.
5. Special Interest Webinar
Finally, consider running special-interest webinars from time to time, to test the market and do some initial market research.
For example, if you’re interested in promoting a walking tour in Tuscany, an art tour around Europe, an eco-tourism trip to Cambodia, or some other special-interest group, one way to guage interest is by running a webinar about it. Just make it an informational webinar, with a lot of time to answer questions from the audience.
This will be useful for you in a number of ways. First, it will give you an idea of how many people are even interested in the idea at all. Then, their questions will help you understand what they most want to know. And finally, the audience becomes a “warm” list of prospective clients to approach when you do decide to go ahead with the project.
How could you use these ideas in your business?
What’s stopping you from doing your own webinars? Are you worried by the technology, not sure what to say, worried about being too “sales-y”, or something else? It could be a combination of factors, but rather than letting them stop you, ask yourself how you could get past them.
If you have never done webinars before, just get started! The technology is reliable, it doesn’t cost a lot, and it’s an easy way to reach out to your network.