The beginning of a new year for many is the catalyst to summons new enthusiasm for your business and putting in place all the things you need to do to achieve your business goals. In this post we’re sharing our top five tips to increase your return on investment in marketing your tourism business and how to get more value from your digital assets.
After a very busy 2017 and enjoying growth in our small business, the first week of January provided a sanctuary in my calendar when our clients (people like you) were having a well deserved break, or possibly being very busy having a bumper holiday season and the emails pretty much stopped and the phone stopped ringing completely. Whilst we’d be worried if this happened at any other time of the year, over Christmas and New Year, it’s our Christmas gift. Besides getting my life and business admin in order, I also took the time to review our business plan for 2018. This meant taking my own medicine and following the advice we provide to clients in coaching sessions to support them to grow their businesses and improve their digital footprint. Here are my top five tips to renew your digital marketing focus in 2018.
#1 What are you trying to achieve and how are you going to get there?
No operational plan or marketing activity can be successfully implemented without a clear understanding of your business goals and the top strategies to achieve them.
What are your business goals for 2018? Is it increase your profitability…by how much…by when? Is it to reinvigorate your product and the experiences that you offer? Are you looking to enter new markets?
Review your business goals and set SMART (Specific Measurable Achievable Relatable Time-specific) goals for 2018. Keep lean and focused and aim for no more than three goals and just one big hairy goal will do!
Be clear about who your primary and secondary target markets are. You can’t be everybody’s ideal choice, but you can be highly appealing to narrow segments of the market. Be guided by who your most profitable customer is and the people most likely to purchase from you and develop personas for these markets. What are their pain points and how does your product and customer service meet their needs? What are their likes and dislikes, demographics, purchase behaviours and website, social media and technology choices? With a deep understanding of your ideal customers and their purchase behaviours you can focus your marketing strategies in their direction. You can read about develop customer personas in this great tutorial called Smart Marketing Spend.
As a member of Tourism Tribe you can download the Digital Marketing Strategy Template with helpful tips to developing your digital marketing strategies and setting your strategic context.
#2 Get tangible benefit from social media
The vast majority of small and medium businesses are on a journey of experimentation with social media. They haven’t yet implemented a consistent approach and aren’t convinced on how it is working or not to help them meet their business goals.
2018 is the year to make social media work for your business!
By now you’re convinced that social media is not going away. Facebook is the social media choice for all ages and increasingly consumers are referring to Facebook business pages for information and to contact businesses. Instagram continues to grow in its usage and is the pictorial canvas for businesses to connect with target audiences and grow brand awareness. So how are you going to ensure that your efforts are rewarded and you can measure the impact on your business?
The priority is to get organised and to get into a cycle with your marketing. You need to ride the digital wave, not be swept along by it. Develop an annual marketing plan listing key events in your region, holiday seasons and things going on in your business. Schedule quarterly campaigns and brainstorm monthly content themes that will support the events and holiday seasons as they approach. At least a month ahead map out a monthly content and social media calendar outlining what content you will create, how many posts you’ll do (be specific to each platform, do not post the exact same post on Facebook and Instagram) and be consistent.
Facebook rewards consistency and your post will get into more users’ newsfeeds if you post often and be fairly consistent in the number of posts you do a week. Aim for one per day and if that’s too much, then four per week.
Enlighten yourself with the best hashtags to use on Instagram and apply those tags consistently and specifically for different posts. They will give your posts a longer life with people finding your posts well after the date you posted them.
#3 Implement a video strategy
Video is much more engaging than still images and communicates your message more easily than written words and Facebook will reward you if you post video directly on their platform rather than linking to Youtube. All of the major platforms like Youtube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are competing to get you to post video directly with them, so do it and enjoy the reach they’ll give you!
Invest in development of professional short web ready videos that you can post on your website and also use in blog posts and on social media. Post them on your own Youtube channel as well and be sure to load a good description and tags.
Skill yourself or others in the business in capturing and editing video…it’s fun and easy with your mobile phone (I’m assuming your mobile phone is only a couple of years old) and make 15-30 second videos a regular feature of your social media posts.
#4 Be your own customer
It’s time to critique and nit-pick your own offering. You might be doing pretty well, but there are always things you can do better if you’re in the mood to look for them.
Do some secret shopping on your staff to see how well your enquiry is handled.
Go ‘incognito’ (Google it!) search for your type of business to see how well you appear in Google for those searches. Try searches on friends’ phone to see how well your website appears, without putting in your business name, and how easy it is search your website and book online.
Putting yourself in your customers’ shoes is a valuable test to see if you’re completely happy with what they find and how easy it is to do business with you and your discoveries will guide you in the creation of your digital priorities.
#5 Get data savvy
2018 is going to be even more data friendly than 2017. There can be no excuse for businesses not to use data to help make their business decisions, because it is so accessible. The Open Data Institute website for your State can lead you to hundreds of open data sources that could be interesting for your business decisions.
You’re sitting on an amazing data asset in Google Analytics to tell you about how people are using your website, what they’re finding useful and where you’re losing them and that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Get familiar with the basics of Google Analytics so you can answer these questions yourself or at least know its capabilities so your digital support person can give you the reports you need. Learn how to analyse the reports and then you’ll truly be informed and your digital strategies will be much more focused and results driven.
So what are you waiting for? Start goal setting, reviewing and planning so that you can make 2018 a fantastic year for your business, your staff and your customers! There are so many opportunities in the digital age for small businesses to be able to shine against their larger competitors and to be able to reach and connect with their target niche markets.
To achieve great results you need to be focused on your segment of the market and prioritise the channels you’ll spend your time in. You must have the most appealing content, be consistent, provide excellent service online and in person and measure and analyse your activity.