Steve Ekstrom's 80/20 Rule

As we approach our 4th season in business, Fire Starter Brands has built an incredible reputation for delivering relevant information to our clients, industry friends and tour operators.

For many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.
— The Pareto Principle

In fact, our average open rate on an email blast to tour operators is over 40% with a click thru rate that exceeds 18%. Our Quarterly Direct Mail program regularly tracks an engagement rate that exceeds 20%.

What’s the secret? Our own 80/20 rule. 

We’ve found that the easiest way to keep a buyer or prospect engaged is to give them something useful, relevant or entertaining and seemingly unrelated to the product you’re selling. The last 20% should be a subtle (sometimes not-so-subtle) reminder of how your product or service can help the client. 

If you studied business management you may have heard of the Pareto principle that suggests that 80% of the results will come from 20% of the input. 

Why is this 80/20 rule important? 

First, you’re giving your customer content that they can use or relate to. It’s like a free gift!

Second, you’re building rapport. You are demonstrating that you understand the needs of your customer and can be a reliable resource.

Third, you stand out from the crowd. Most marketers are focused solely on what the buyer can do for them - bring in revenue, help meet a goal, deliver new business, etc. You’ve got to find a way to stand out.

Fourth, people like doing business with those they know. Sharing a personal story or an insight into how you work helps the buyer feel a more personal connection with you, their supplier.

Fifth, you aren’t a used car salesman. In the 150+ personal visits I’ve had with tour operators and travel planners in the past year, there’s a common theme – they get hundreds of emails a day from suppliers who want nothing more than to make a sale. Sending a strictly promotional email just doesn’t cut it anymore.

Oh, and one last thing... Update your list! Nothing drives down results like spinning your wheels on uninterested, irrelevant or poorly qualified contacts. It amazes me to see the number of solicitous emails, mailings and calls I get from suppliers who haven’t taken the time to notice that my company does not book group tours. If they’d qualified their database before starting the project, they’d have likely gotten better results.

To summarize - keep it simple, keep it relevant & take it easy on the sales pitch. People will do business with the people they trust, can relate to and happen to offer a solution to a problem they’re seeking to solve.