Inbound Marketing for AviationHow does inbound marketing for aviation  build your prospect list and improve your sales? It’s the best way to provide your sales professionals with quality aviation lead generation – people self-identify that they want to know more about your products and services.   We discuss three methods – buying, borrowing, and building a list.

Building (and tending) your house list is really about building security for your company. If you have a growing number of people who have expressed an interest in your product that you are communicating with regularly, you know you have future sales waiting to happen.

In the aviation industry, there are a lot of external factors to the buying decision. The only control we really have is about how big of a pipeline of prospects we are willing and able  to build.

Your “house list” is the beginning of this pipeline.  We discuss ways to grow your list, whether you’re just starting out, or have been in business for awhile.


Narrator: You’re listening to aviation marketing Hangar Flying, the community for the best sales and marketing professionals in the aviation industry. You can’t learn to fly just from a book. You learn from other pilots who know the tools, the skills, and the territory. Your hosts, John and Paula Williams, are your sales and marketing test pilots. They take the risks for you and share strategies, relevant examples, hacks, and how-tos. Be sure to subscribe on iTunes so you won’t miss a thing.

Paula: Welcome to another episode of the aviation marketing Hangar Flying podcast. I’m Paula Williams.

John: I’m John Williams.
Paula: We are ABCI, and ABCI’s mission is …
John: To help you ladies and gentlemen sell more products and services.

Paula: Exactly. The last episode, in Episode 2, we talked about campaigns in general and talked about an overview of that. Today, we’re going to zoom in a little bit closer on one of those three elements. Remember there were three elements?

John: Yes. There was the list, the offer, and the presentation.

Paula: Exactly. Today, we’re going to zoom in a little bit closer- … Every week, we like to provide a freebie or a download or a tip sheet of some kind, and this week is no exception. You can download a tip sheet with Ten Ways to Build Your House List. Go ahead and go to, for Episode 3, and you can download that list of ten ways to build your list.

First of all, why do we want a house list of prospects?

John: Because those are the folks that have already signed in and they have opted in, and that means you can talk to them and try to sell them things.

Paula: Exactly. When you’re using other people’s lists … For example, if you buy an advertisement in a magazine, then you’re using the magazine’s list in your marketing program – essentially borrowing their list to send your ad. If you have your own list of people who may be interested in your product or service, you can send them e-mail whenever you want to, you can call them on the phone. You can do all kinds of things that are a lot less expensive than traditional marketing.

John: Absolutely.

Paula: Right. That’s why we recommend having and building your own house list, and that’s actually a marketing strategy from a school of thought called content marketing or inbound marketing for aviation. A lot of people call it different things, but it’s basically inbound marketing is a means of adjusting what used to be called interruption- based marketing where you were blasting TV or radio or newspaper ads out to everybody.  (That is sometimes called “outbound marketing,” or traditional or “push marketing.”) And it’s great for aviation businesses.

This way, you’re actually cost effectively targeting people who will raise their hand and say, “Yes, I’m interested in your product or service and I may have something in common with you.” Those are people that you really want to be targeting with your marketing efforts.

Some of the reasons you might want to control your own list are … John: Money.

Paula: You want to control your own money, so you want to control your own list. Right?

John: Absolutely.

Paula: Right. In fact, your list of customers is an asset in your company, the same as an airplane or a piece of equipment or anything else. In fact, I would say it’s probably your most important asset in your company, probably right next to your checkbook. John might disagree.

John: Actually not, because it doesn’t matter what happens to the factory or your other means of producing services. If you still have a list, you can always sell something to them.

Paula: Exactly, and that’s assuming that this is a list of people that know, like, and trust you. Something happened, a regulation changes or the price of gas changes or something dramatically alters your business model, if you still have a great list of customers that know, like, and trust you (which of course means they’re pleased with the customer service you’re providing!) and want to do business with you, you can alter your business plan to something else and you still have an asset.

John: Exactly.

Who Goes On Your List?

Paula: Right. Let’s talk about how to define the criteria. When you start looking for people, you don’t just want anybody with a pulse and a checkbook, right?

John: It’s called demographics.

Paula: Demographics and psychographics. There’s lots of names for it, but basically, it’s just the things about individual people that make them more likely to want to be one of your customers. In some cases, that might be like an FAA designation, like a licensed pilot or a licensed FAA Part 135 certification, something like that.

John: Geography, any number of things that are attributes of a group of people.

Paula: Right. Your product or service might be only applicable to people that have a certain fleet size. Maybe you’re looking for people that have six or more aircraft that they have to keep track of. Maybe you’ve got a software system or something like that.

John: If you’re selling parts and a lot of them are timed replacement, then timing since purchased thing to consider.

Paula: Exactly, or the aircraft type. Maybe your product or service is only applicable to piston aircraft or turbine aircraft. Those are all different criteria that you can find in different places Since the FAA keeps all of this data, there are ways to get this data. The FAA website is probably the hardest that we’ve ever seen.

John: Yeah, but there’s all kinds of other folks that have demographic data in aviation as well.

Where to Get Lists?

Paula: Exactly. We’ve used JETNET and AIRPAC with great results. They do charge for their service, but it is well worth the money for aviation companies, to not have to mess with the FAA database, which is not the easiest thing in the world.

John: It’s not even easy when all you want to do is renew your aircraft registration.

Paula: That’s true. Rather than dealing with them, it’s sometimes worth the money to use one of these third-party lists and work with a consultant who can help you kind of narrow that down, what are the criteria that will help you identify a qualified customer. Another thing that you might want to look for are things like psychographics. These are things that we can get from the web. You may have heard from some of the scary news stories that the social media sites, particularly Facebook, collects a heck of a lot of psychographic data about you based on your performance, based on what you click on on websites and other places.

John: Absolutely. Some of you may find it a little creepy, but nonetheless, the data is there to be used.

Paula: Right. If we leave all the data use to the bad guys, you know, the big companies, then they get all the good out of it, so we might as well use it as well, since it’s being collected. Some of the criteria you might want to use as far as behavior or psychographics would be people who live in a certain area, people who have a certain amount of activity, people who are active on the Internet or not. You might look at household size or household configuration. You might look at purchase habits or political leanings. In fact, Facebook’s psychographics are so good that you can actually get into their Ad Manager without actually having to purchase any ads.

You can get into their Ads Manager and get psychographic data such as upload your e-mail list to Facebook and then run some reports about what is the household size of our average buyer, what is the income level, what kind of car do they drive, where do they live. All of these are really good pieces of information to know because then you kind of know more about them and you can target your advertising not just to get it in front of them, but to make sure that it resonates with them and you don’t cross up with their political standards or whatever it is that you may not know about them.

John: Exactly. Next?

Paula: Okay. There’s three ways to build a list if you’re starting from scratch or if you’re starting from a list that you want to make larger and increase your market share. You can buy it, build it, or borrow it.

John: Yeah. Whatever you do with it, the intent is to increase the size and depth of your house list.

How to Buy a Prospect List

Paula: Exactly. First, let’s talk about buying a list, and actually, we’re talking more about renting a list because they do go out of fashion pretty quickly. People change their location or their contact information  and email address pretty frequently. You can rent a list from AIRPAC, JETNET. You can get it directly from the FAA records. The United States Postal Service is actually a pretty good source of information and lists and so on, so all of those things. There’s also a lot of list brokers outside of the aviation industry that can help you target individuals, especially if you’re in a charter organization or something like that that is after consumers rather than aviation professionals.

John: Yeah. When she says “buy it,” you buy it monthly, as long as you want it, because they update it monthly.

How to Build a Prospect List

Paula: I guess “rent” might be a better term, but that doesn’t fit with the “Bs,” you know, buy it, build it, borrow it. Another thing that you can do is sometimes you can use a magazine or a service like Aviation Broadcast, use their list to disseminate your offer. That offer may be something like bait, and here we get into the building idea. We talked about buy it, now we’re talking about building it.

Aviation inbound marketing is what we’re after here.  If you offer some kind of a special report or video or tip sheet or something that has a high perceived value that people can download from your website as an example, then you can put out an ad in a magazine or on Aviation Broadcast or one of the e-mail broadcasters and convert those people, not necessarily into people that will buy your product, but people that are on your house list that you can advertise to whenever you want to. John: Exactly.

How to Borrow a Prospect List

Paula: Okay. You can also borrow a list, and this is one of the most overlooked ways of building a list. This would be where you take a business that’s maybe not a competitor of yours but a complementary business and you do something like an endorsed e-mail or a joint venture where you put a product together that is common to both of you, and then you’re kind of expanding into their world. In a lot of cases, you may be selling to charter organizations, but actually your end customer is the aircraft owner who has their airplane on leaseback. That would be something where you’re selling through one organization to another. You can do some really nice arrangements where everyone profits when you share customers in that way.

John: You could do multiple tiers. You could start with a bank, who then has charter customers, who then has aircraft owners, et cetera.

Paula: Right. Just use your imagination and follow that chain and you can get a really good joint venture or endorsed mailing or something like that that’s really profitable for everyone involved. Let’s talk a little bit about pros and cons, first about buying it. The pros of buying a list is that it’s quick. You go to AIRPAC or JETNET and that day, you can come out with a nice little spreadsheet that you can go ahead and start marketing to.

John: It’s always updated, so the information at the ninety-plus percent level is accurate.

Paula: Right. Most of these services will sell you a program that has updates on a regular basis where they have a program that will just refresh your list, which is really nice and really convenient. The pros are speed and convenience. The cons, of course, are cost and that it goes out of date pretty quickly. If you get a one-time list, you need to use it quickly, make sure you convert those to your house list as quickly as possible.Okay, pros and cons on building it. Pros are this is the most targeted way to get the most loyal customers. If you’re looking for quality over quantity, then building it is the way to go.

John: It’s a good way to go for other reasons, too, because in order to make this work, they have to opt in and puts you in conformance with the CAN-SPAM Act.

Paula: Exactly. You can e-mail them without worrying about it. And you can usually call them without worrying about it. You can even fax them, all kinds of things that are low-cost marketing options for you once they’re on your list. You can use email marketing, digital marketing, direct mail- all of the options are open to you!  We recommend a combination of all of these things, and build is always in the mix. Cons of building it are, of course, speed.

John: Very slow.

Paula: Right. If you’re a startup, you may also need to look into some of these other options as well, because building a list is something that you want to do over time and have that going on all the time. Over several years, you can build a really fantastic list, but it’s not going to happen in three or six months.

John: Obviously, the ideal approach would be to do all three of these things simultaneously and integrate them.

Paula: Right. Let’s talk about pros and cons of borrowing a list. The pros, of course, is that in an endorsed mailing or a joint venture situation, you get to borrow the credibility of your joint venture partner. If you’re a startup or something like that and you can get into a joint venture or some kind of a deal with an organization that has more credibility than you do, that’s a really good place to be.

The cons, of course, are that you are not calling the shots yourself. You have somebody else that may have terms and conditions, and in some cases, that involves money or some kind of financial consideration, especially if they have a huge list and you have a tiny one, you need to make that offer somewhat equal in value. That could be in terms of credibility, in terms of numbers, in terms of money. Those things have to balance out so that everybody’s getting a good deal out of the deal.

Tip Sheet Ads for SharpSpring(1)John: Also, if you happen to be a startup or new, unless you know somebody in these large organizations, they’re going to look at you like you’re crazy.

Paula: Exactly. You may want to go through a marketing consultant or you may want to spend some time building up that relationship before you propose something like this. It’s not something you do on a first date.

John: Exactly.

Paula: Right. Okay. We talked about the pros and cons of buying a list, building a list, and borrowing a list. Conclusion basically is that all three have their strengths and weaknesses. If you’re a brand new organization, you probably will need to buy it or borrow it while-

John: While you build it.

Paula: ... while you build it. Exactly. Okay. If you’re an older organization and you already have a pretty good list, you may be able to get by with just simply putting most of your efforts toward continuing to build your list, because if you’re looking for that quality over quantity, again, that’s the simplest and easiest and cheapest way to maintain control over everything.

All right, so that’s pretty much it for lists. In the next episode about your marketing plan, that’s Episode 4, we’re going to be talking about the offer, how to build a killer offer, because you need, again, all three of those elements, the list, the offer, and the presentation, to have a really good marketing campaign. Speaking of lists of leads generated, and we talked about social media being a really good way of building your list, we just produced our 2016 Social Media Guide, and that is out on Amazon right now. Please do go ahead and pick that up. If you have a copy and if you’ve read it already, please do leave us a review on Amazon. That helps us out a lot, so we really appreciate that.

Our next webinar is going to be on November 11, and it’s going to be designing campaigns, where we go into more depth about this whole process and you’ll be able to see as well as hear us. That makes it a lot easier in some ways. Thank you for joining us for the podcast. Make sure you subscribe on iTunes and please do leave a review.

John: We’ll see you in Episode 4, The Jedi Returns.


Narrator: Thanks for joining us for aviation marketing Hangar Flying, the best place to learn what really works in sales and marketing in the aviation industry. Remember to subscribe on iTunes and leave a rating.