At Jadewolf Marketing we build digital marketing funnels for luxury travel brands, but we know that a lot of marketers and business owners are often not very familiar with the concept or just have a very superficial level of knowledge when it comes to direct marketing. If you want to learn more about the marketing theory behind funnels, go check out this earlier blog post, which has some non-technical explanations that can help.  This blog post on the other side is intended to give you a short and sweet overview over what our usual process looks like when we build a funnel for a client, so let’s dive right into it.

how to build a digital marketing funnel for luxury travel

 

Strategy

 

Before you start creating new content, setup your dashboards and buy ads, you need to nail down a couple of important things in the strategy phase of the project. At Jadewolf Marketing we ask for an obligatory strategy project first, so we can get to know our clients and design a funnel for them that is custom and not just copy pasted. The minimum checklist for a strategy project consists of:

  • Your luxury buyer personas (who is your customer, what do they want)
  • Your luxury media mix (where to buy affluent traffic)
  • A step-by-step production and project management plan
  • Funnel calculations & forecasts (KPIs, goals, predictions)

Our standard strategy project in addition to all those basics includes also a lot of market research, luxury auditing and SWOT analysis among other things. But to create a decent funnel you need at least the four things mentioned earlier.

how to build a digital marketing funnel for luxury travel

 

Content

 

Should you use landing pages or a mini-website? Restructure a part of your website into a content or download hub? Drive all traffic to a mobile optimized page? How many stages should the web-funnel have? A lot of thought goes into great luxury content, but some of the core building blocks you can chose from are:

  • Luxury copy-writing
  • Rich-media (audio, video, images) with luxury aesthetics
  • CRO (conversion-rate-optimization) design
  • Opt-in or contact/callback forms
  • Direct booking checkout capabilities (hospitality marketing)
  • Live chat / messenger bot automation
  • Animations or interactive features
  • Potential lead-magnets (ebooks, guides, etc.)

Once the content is built and all the creatives are on-point, it is time to move into marketing automation to convert our high-net-worth website visitors into leads or bookings

how to build a digital marketing funnel for luxury travel

 

Marketing Automation

 

If somebody opts in after checking out your content, you need to be able to do something with that contact information, be it an email, name, phone number or even more sophisticated information like preferences, dislikes, requests, questions  and so on. At this moment you can start lead nurturing via email to help your agents, brokers or sales reps or try to get some up-sells or cross-sells on bookings or reservations. The amount of options you have with marketing automation are huge. Maybe you just want to do some brand marketing and tell a brand story to your prospects through several videos you send over via email? Imagination is the limit. Depending on the amount of traffic you want to generate and the sophistication of your funnel, you will need several elements at this stage for your automation:

  • CRM (customer relationship management) software
  • ESP (email service provider)
  • An automation platform (like Hubspot, Marketo, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, etc.)
  • Great email templates
  • Luxury copy-writing and great visuals

 

Analytics

 

The last element you need for the back-end are your analytics for attribution modelling. It doesn’t matter if you want to have a simple setup with UTM parameters and Google Analytics only, or if you want to measure every last bit of action in your funnel through heatmaps, live recordings, 3rd party click tracking, sales pipeline KPIs and business intelligence dashboards, you need to measure (!) otherwise it is not direct marketing and you will never generate insights for future projects that can help you reduce costs and increase ROI.

Buying Media

 

Assuming that by now you have built out your content and setup your marketing automation and analytics measurement, it is time to start the media buying process. Media buying for luxury is an art-form onto itself (cause it is very easy to waste your money here) so this blog post by no means can summarize the whole process that goes into creating a solid luxury media mix. The basic criteria are things like media formats, placements, duration, frequency, CTR, CPM, CPC, platforms, audiences, media kits, websites and rate negotiation. To give you some ideas on where you can start looking for targeted traffic, here are some example traffic sources:

  • display ads on websites
  • email sponsorship or insertions
  • sponsored content (advertorials)
  • programmatic & mobile ads
  • influencers
  • paid social media
  • search marketing
  • re-marketing
  • partnerships & affiliates

When buying traffic the main thing you have to keep in mind is the wealth tier you want to reach (mass affluent, super or very high-net-worth or even UHNWIs) and the audience segment targeting in regards to the industry or type of buying intent you are trying to match (people interested in yachting, people looking for luxury villas and so on). So many people go wrong here with their DIY approach that it often hurts me to hear all the stories about wasted advertising budgets when clients first approach us to take over their media process.

how to build a digital marketing funnel for luxury travel

 

Testing The Funnel

 

Now that the triad of content, automation and traffic is established, it is time to give everything a final quality check, see if everything works in the back-end and then start the actual campaigns and run traffic through the funnel. The moment of truth so to speak. Within one or two weeks of driving traffic to your luxury travel marketing funnel you should be able to tell from the type of leads or direct bookings you are generating if you’ve done everything right or you need to make adjustments.

Beware though, depending on the type of traffic sources you selected you might be limited at this stage when it comes to last second changes! Involving your sales people (brokers, travel agents etc.) with an SLA or feedback cycle at this stage is also crucial to see what your  average closing rate and deal size will look like. As rule of thumb, when it comes to funnels, strategic mistakes you make earlier on are harder to fix than tactical errors you make later on (a tactical error being something like a bad headline, or wrong CTA on a button, while a strategic mistake is something like choosing the wrong media source or thinking all your customers are of a certain demographic when they actually aren’t).

If everything went according to plan you now should have a well converting luxury marketing funnel that produces the type of customers your business needs to thrive and grow, eureka! I hope after reading this blog-post you will understand the value of sophisticated luxury direct marketing and will give it a try in the future yourself.

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