During these odd times we're all finding different ways to cope and use our time.
Anyone with a tourism business has two options right now:
1) hope for better times or
2) do what you can right now to strengthen your marketing so your business is poised for recovery.
Since hope isn't a very reliable marketing strategy, the second option is likely to be most productive.
So what do you need to do? Many of us have been clearing out our cupboards and using our free time to make our homes feel good. Now's the time to give your marketing a good spring clean too.
Assuming money is limited but you have a little more time than usual, here are my recommendations. They focus on three essential marketing tools: your website, social media and direct mail.
Your website almost certainly needs a bit of a refresh, or at the very least a few new pages, some more key words, better images and a general freshen up. For one thing, it will help your search engine rankings if you pay it some attention. You need it to stand out from others, ready for when recovery comes. So, pretend it isn't your website. Step back from it.
Take a look at every single page. Pay most attention to your home page. Ask yourself:
As you do this, write done all the improvements you might need to make. Now is also a really good time to think about re-writing some pages to make them more search engine friendly. If you'd like to undertake a deeper audit to look at every aspect of your site and how you might like to improve it, email me for a free checklist to help you do that. If you'd like to know more about how to improve your website, you might enjoy this practical short online course.
Your social media
Are you using the right social media, often enough, with the right messages? You might feel most confident using twitter but if your target market are all on instagram, you're not fishing where the fish are. Now would be a good time to get to grips with your social media, to improve what's you're doing and really understand the tools you're trying to use.
Many people use social media but don't plan out their messages or think about their engagement. Engagement is what really makes the different, and it's what generates bookings and visits. Don't be tempted to think that because places are closed to visitors, now isn't a good time to be on social media. It is. Journalists are still looking for stories. Visitors are still planning trips even if they can't go on them immediately. You can always build awareness, which is one of the foundations to any successful business.
Your direct mail
Direct mail is probably one of the easiest, lowest cost and most effective, yet under-rated forms of promotion. It means sending out carefully written, targeted mailings to people who've chosen to receive them, whether by post or email. It is often mis-used or under-used, but with a few simple rules and knowledge it can be very powerful.
Social media is excellent for raising awareness of what you do. But you can't control it and you're reliant on people seeing your posts and taking action. Ideally you will combine social media with direct mail - using social media to encourage your followers to join your mailing list, so you can decide when to write to them, about what messages to send.
Building a good mailing list is a really good way to build a relationship with your visitors and customers. It enables you to create trust (by mailing when you say you will, with relevant information). Success relies on three factors:
If you don't yet use direct mail, now is the time to start. If you already use it, now would be a good time to think about the emailing software you use and learn about its advanced features, consider how you can build your list, and plan out some really good content. If you'd like to learn to do all this, now is the time - see the online courses here.
Free tourism marketing advice
Please note: all articles are copyrighted Susan Briggs