A lot can happen in 60 seconds. Every minute of the day, Facebook users share 2.46 million pieces of content. Twitter users tweet 277 thousand times, Google receives over 4 million search queries, and YouTube users upload 72 hours of new video. That’s a whole lot of new content in just one minute.
The competition for travelers’ attention, especially repeat attention, is incredibly high and growing literally by the minute. That’s why it is so imperative to establish a digital footprint that extends far beyond your own corporate website or blog. The key to winning the Invisible Sale is to create propinquity — or the opportunity for repeated interactions— between you and an unqualified traveler. In the buzz of all that content being created, you have to make sure your a prospective is seeing your brand.
The art of generating helpful, relevant content that is strategically dispersed throughout the websites and social networks favored by your today’s digital planning travelers is creating what I call your Painless Prospecting platform. As your unqualified prospects move through your platform and run into you and your content repeatedly, they begin to qualify themselves through their actions and interactions with you and your content.
As you set about establishing Painless Prospecting platform, there are three legs you’ll need to focus on:
1) Home Base
Everything you do online and offline is designed to drive prospects to your Home Base. Your Home Base needs to be a website, a blog, or both. If your company has multiple brands, you might have multiple Home Bases. Regardless, your goal is to always drive prospects back to your Home Base, where you can use your content and tracking technology to qualify prospects and drive them down the appropriate sales funnel.
The single most important thing to think about when crafting your home base is how well it functions. In your website, you want to create a funnel-optimized, mobile friendly, qualified lead-generation machine that is committed to achieving only one goal: the constant creation and qualification of convertible leads for your brand.
In the simplest terms, an outpost is a place where you and your content show up from time to time and where your prospects congregate. A good example is submitting a guest post on a popular travel blog, authoring an article for a magazine or some kind of review penned by an influential travel blogger. You create and post the content there, but you’re not investing a lot of time in doing so because your goal is to generate awareness. You’re trying to leverage the platform owner’s audience to create awareness of you and your product or service, and give prospects a simple way to follow you back to your Home Base.
Similar to outposts, embassies are places where you find and interact with prospective guests, but in a much deeper and engaged manner—embassies are where you’ll plant a flag and plan to spend a good amount of time interacting with the people you find there. Embassies are the place you’re going to meet people, introduce people to one another, and get introduced to people.
Unlike outposts, effective embassy management requires plenty of work and a hefty time investment on your part. But that effort should translate into significant value in the form of new leads, reputation enhancement, or opportunities to connect with resources that enhance your ability to grow visitor usage of your brand or destination. You’ll have only a few embassies in your platform, so you need to select them strategically to maximize the effectiveness of your prospecting platform.
Your Ever-Changing Prospecting Platform
Keep in mind that your prospecting platform is not a static digital footprint. It ebbs and flows as you, or your company, emphasize different products or services. As you move in new directions or target new audiences, any propinquity point can vacillate between serving as an outpost or acting as an embassy. This might be due to a change in your strategy, a changing business climate, or just a realization that a particular propinquity point is under- or over-delivering based on your current effort level.
As you embark on this journey to build your own Painless Prospecting platform, know that you will make mistakes along the way. Failures will occur. Platforms or outposts will end up not making sense or not generating a big enough return on your time and investment to justify continued involvement. That’s okay. Failure is the price of learning. The key is to fail small while simultaneously setting yourself up to win big.
For more information on creating a painless prospecting platform for your own company, join me at TBEX Europe in Athens when I’ll present Propinquity: Leveraging the Secret Science of Relationship Formation to Grow Your Sales on Friday, October 24th at 10:45am or pick up a copy of The Invisible Sale.
Author Bio: Tom Martin is a no nonsense, straight-talking 20-year veteran of the advertising and marketing business who favors stiff drinks, good debates and helping travel brands grow their businesses. As an internationally recognized digital marketing keynote speaker, blogger, founder of Converse Digital, and Author of The Invisible Sale, Tom marries his two passions, marketing & technology, to teach companies how to leverage digital marketing channels to achieve and sustain sales growth, enhance brand perception and painlessly prospect for new customers. Follow him on Twitter at @TomMartin.