Marketing your aviation business to a private customer is a complex and challenging task. This is a hyper-competitive field, with a limited number of aircraft sold to a few high-net worth individuals each year. The customer acquisition cost is immense, but the payoff if you can convince that person to become a customer is even higher.
That means any step you take towards a more comprehensive marketing strategy will be a win. It’s not just a $30,000 ad placed in a luxury aircraft industry magazine. You need a multi-channel approach that reaches your audience where they are with the right content and an intuitive buyer’s journey.
It’s easier said than done, but far from impossible. Instead, consider these 10 steps to create a strategy designed to elevate your jet marketing above your competition.
These are your 10 steps to a comprehensive jet marketing strategy in 2019:
- Define Your Audience
- Know Your Environment
- Set Your Marketing Goals
- Find Your Ideal Channels
- Optimize Your Website for SEO
- Build Actionable Landing Pages
- Plan Your Organic Social Marketing
- Hone in on Visual Content Marketing
- Leverage Paid Ads for Targeted Outreach
- Optimize Your Email Marketing for Longer Sales Funnels
1. DEFINE YOUR AUDIENCE
You probably have a pretty good idea about the audience your marketing should target. We know that private aviation customers have a much higher than average net worth and liquidity; after all, 73% of private aircraft in the United States are purchased with cash. But how far beyond that does your knowledge go?
Start your strategy by answering that question. Ask yourself:
- Does your audience cluster in any geographic area?
- For what purpose does your audience tend (or intend) to buy an aircraft?
- What are your audience’s emotional and rational reasons for looking into buying or leasing a plane?
- What do you know about your audience’s interests and desires beyond this industry?
In many ways, jets are the ultimate luxury good. That means knowing your customer has to be the most important step in your strategy. One step to take is to develop buyer personas, hypothetically ideal members of your target audience that you profile to guide all of the following steps in this process.
2. KNOW YOUR ENVIRONMENT
The second step in the process reaches beyond your own aviation brand. Simply put, you have to make sure that you know exactly who your competitors are, both directly and indirectly.
Again, you probably have a pretty good idea about your direct competitors. This typically includes other members of the aviation industry, jet manufacturers and others who want to sell their products over yours. These are important to consider, but tend to be easy to find.
The second, more difficult group are indirect competitors. Think about these companies as alternatives: what is vying for your audience’s money and attention at the same time you are? It might be in the same category–an exotic car or new dream home, perhaps. But it can also go beyond that. Private college tuition for a customer’s daughter competes just as much with your aviation company.
Identifying your competitors has to involve your audience, as well.
3. SET YOUR MARKETING GOALS
What should your jet marketing accomplish? Within any luxury industry, that answer usually falls in one of a number of categories:
- Brand awareness, especially relevant for relatively new corporations focusing on growth.
- Brand credibility, crucial in luxury industries like aviation where reputation matters and has to be implicit for your customers to even consider you.
- Customer conversions and new customers, the ultimate business goal of most companies.
- Brand loyalty, establishing a feeling of trust with existing customers to build lucrative long-term relationships.
Where on these category you fall depends on your business. No matter the answer, though, you have to make sure that your goals will always be measurable. Assign specific numbers and timeframes to each objective. That way, you can periodically analyze your campaigns to track your progress towards goal and make adjustments where needed.
4. FIND YOUR IDEAL CHANNELS
It’s time to focus on the execution of your jet marketing strategy. Given the high customer acquisition cost, simply running a few ads on a platform of your choice will never be enough. You have to get in front of your audience, consistently but always while presenting value that prevents potential customers from souring on your brand.
This multi-channel strategy, of course, should not be planned indiscriminately. You can’t be all things to all people, especially when it comes to luxury goods like airplane jets. Instead, choose the tactics you want to focus on strategically. We’ve given you a start here, and with the rest of this post, with channels that work together to create a comprehensive aviation marketing strategy:
- An SEO-optimized website to get in front of your audience when they’re searching for content related to private aircraft.
- Actionable landing pages on your website, designed to draw conversions and engage in more targeted messaging down the road.
- Organic social media marketing to build your brand reputation, share valuable content, and showcase your expertise in the industry.
- A content marketing strategy based on visuals to communicate both value and the emotion you need to get across for a major luxury purchase.
- Paid ads designed for hyper-targeted outreach to your specific target audience.
- Email marketing to stay in front of your audience over time, and account for the long buyer’s journey that tends to come with buying a jet.
Let’s discuss each of these options in more detail.
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5. OPTIMIZE YOUR WEBSITE FOR SEO
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a critical element that helps your website and individual pages show up high on relevant searches through Google, Bing, and other search engines. It’s one of the most successful marketing opportunities across industries, but holds a special place for luxury brands.
The more research your audience does, the more likely they’ll be searching for any and all facts related to buying, leasing, or chartering a jet plane. Your goal should be making sure that when they do, your website and its content appears as a resource for them. It subtly increases brand awareness and credibility, so that when they’re ready to buy, they know your name.
SEO is complex. Almost 80 percent of searches go to the top three position, and it takes hard work (and time) to get there. Consider just some of the factors that Google takes into consideration when it dynamically ranks search results:
• Website architecture
• Links to your website
• Website domain security
• User-friendliness for mobile devices
• Content structure
And those are just some of the more than 200 ranking factors. No wonder, then, that getting your website to a top result on a relevant keyword can take months. Still, considering the fact that more than half of your online attention will come from search engines, it pays to invest in finding the right keywords to optimize for, and building your website specifically with rankings for those keywords in mind. For an example of effective SEO, check out these search results of the simple ‘buy a private jet‘ keyword.
6. BUILD ACTIONABLE LANDING PAGES
Of course, getting users to your website is only the beginning. You have to make sure that, once they’re there, you engage them enough that they want to learn more.
That tends to happen most frequently through landing pages. Technically, the term landing page simply describes a page that your visitors land on when they first arrive on your site. In a marketing sense, it describes the pages you want your audience to land on, ideally to prompt them deeper into the sales funnel.
In other words, your landing pages don’t just have to be valuable and visually attractive, but also need to be actionable. They should not just include a sign up or lead generation form, but naturally lead to it through compelling content and simple layout.
This example by one of the industry leaders is a great starting point, but you can dig deeper. Notice how the contact form is hidden at the bottom; near the top, it might generate more conversions. The page rightfully outlines the various options, but might also benefit from clearer value proposition to entice sales and inquiries.
7. PLAN YOUR ORGANIC SOCIAL MARKETING
Social media has become a vital part of digital marketing in general, and the same is true for the aviation industry. They spend as much time on social media as others, but come into the network with very different expectations. It should be your goal to meet and exceed those expectations.
That means choosing the right channel. Snapchat, with its young audience, is probably not the right fit. The networking platform LinkedIn, however, might be. And of course, Facebook is a catch-all solution that’s home to all demographic and geographic segments.
Of course, you can’t simply create a presence on a network and hope for the best. Instead, you need a comprehensive strategy designed to reach the right audience with the right content, at the right time. Share relevant content about what it’s like to own a jet, tours through your various models, and more. The odd behind the scenes footage never hurts. Check out Jet Aviation for an example of a well-run luxury jet social media account.
8. HONE IN ON VISUAL CONTENT MARKETING
On social media, your landing pages, and throughout your website, you always need to keep visuals in mind. Few people buy a private jet because they absolutely need it. Typically, it’s more of an emotional purchase, a status symbol and opportunity to revel in luxury. You have to pick up and hone in on that emotion.
The best way to accomplish that is through visuals like video and photos, which generate far more emotions than simple text. The more interactive, the better; consider investing in 360 degree video content to show your audience around your facilities and your aircraft.
Of course, your content always have to make sense, and tie back to your core value proposition in a way that your audience appreciates. When you do that, it becomes incredibly versatile. Videos can be embedded or shared on any social media network, your website, and even ads. More on the latter comes next.
9. LEVERAGE PAID ADS FOR TARGETED OUTREACH
All of the above, if you have the expertise in house to build it, it’s free. But of course, not all of your jet marketing has to be. In fact, quite the opposite is the case.
No, that doesn’t mean you should spend $30,000 on a print ad. But what if you could take that same budget, and transfer it to a campaign of paid ads? The possibilities here are significant:
- Display ads on Google’s Display Network that reaches more than 2 million websites.
- Social media ads, targeted on factors like income, recent travel, and recent high-impact purchases.
- Search engine ads, which make up the first few results of most relevant searches and are keyword-based.
- Retargeting ads, reaching recent website visitors for follow-ups and to stay top of mind.
Each of these opportunities come with their own sets of benefits Each of them require some expertise to target, and develop creative. Of course, here as well, video tends to perform well. Above all, they can give you an opportunity to quickly get traffic to your website for further engagement and conversions.
10. OPTIMIZE YOUR EMAIL MARKETING FOR LONGER SALES FUNNELS
Through your landing pages, you can build a comprehensive email list. But of course, that matters little if you don’t know how to engage that email list. The result should be an in-depth lead nurturing campaign that, like the retargeting mentioned above, focuses your audience and keeps their attention on your brand over time. When they’re ready to buy, they will remember you.
To make that happen, you need to pay special attention to how you can optimize your email marketing. The aviation industry is home to some of the longest sales funnels in the entire economy. If you don’t stay top of mind, you’ll soon be completely out of consideration. You can take a few measures to prevent that from happening:
- Build out an email plan based on the average length of lead-to-customer conversion in the aviation industry.
- Segment your email list based on common characteristics you know about your leads, such as income, geographic area, or other factors.
- Plan out your email schedule, with each message coming at least a week apart to avoid overwhelming your audience.
- Treat every email strategically, paying special attention to the subject line, the call to action, and the readability of the message.
ARE YOU READY TO OPTIMIZE YOUR JET MARKETING EFFORTS?
Yes, marketing any company within the aviation industry can be difficult. For high-value goods like jets, that only becomes more challenging.
First, the luxury jet market is growing fast, and not expected to slow down anytime soon. Second, a recent survey found the aviation industry far behind other industries in how they leverage digital marketing like social media and SEO. Combine the two, and it’s easy to see the opportunity.
All you need is a comprehensive plan. With the right partner, you can stand up that plan and start working towards every new customer interested in and buying a new luxury jet.