By: Andrew Vick
On a personal level, the New Year often brings resolutions and promises to change, get better, do more of certain things like exercise and less of other things like eating cheeseburgers. From a marketing perspective, it is healthy to re-evaluate what is working and what is not. Here are a few tips and things to look for as we roll in to 2016:
Where To Start – Analytics
Evaluating where you’ve been and where you need to go has to start with Analytics. Hopefully your implementation of Google Analytics goes well beyond merely being able to see traffic and general trends, but if not, you still have something to start with. Is traffic up or down? Which sources are driving traffic to you? Paid or unpaid? Where are those sources geographically located? Does that align with where your guests are coming from? What percentage of your traffic comes from “mobile”? If you have a more advanced implementation, the questions become far more valuable – what sources of traffic are converting and at what rate? How does that compare to last year/season/month/week? Is my average online transaction up/down? Is the average stay longer/shorter? All these questions and so little time, but if you can glean some value from them, they will oftentimes lead you to focus on some key areas.
Below are what I see to be the key areas to make sure you have a handle on, or at the very least, a strategy for. Hope isn’t a good strategy.
- Mobile Web Strategy
As of May 2015, Google reported that mobile has officially passed desktop browsing in terms of search queries and volume. What does that mean for you? You’ve been told this for a couple of years now – a mobile strategy is required. Responsive web design is the buzzword you’ve become accustomed to. It enables your brand and calls to action in order to work across multiple devices. The entry point into this technology is attainable at a wide variety of budget levels, so make it a priority in 2016 to create a plan and market strategy for your mobile presence. Give your guests the access they crave from whichever device they prefer.
- Relationship Marketing
In my experience, this tends to be the most often overlooked, most cost effective way to drive cost effective bottom line revenue. Take a close look at your analytics and take note of those channels that are coming to your site because you have a relationship with them (email, social, etc.). Is that traffic staying on the site longer? Visiting more pages? Converting at a higher rate? Those channels should be performing at a higher level than those coming from general search, and if not, it’s time to take a look at the marketing initiatives that support those relationships. Are your emails relevant and segmented by audience? If not, work diligently to understand your audience and target appropriately. Are your posts on social media engaging and are you paying attention to your Weekly Page Update? Start there, and then consider the upgraded targeting ad features on Facebook. The retargeting and integrations within Facebook Ad Manager are powerful data driven features that typically drive great results. Serve ads based on retargeting, custom lists, actions, behaviors, page visits…the list goes on.
Instead of continuing to focus on quick, short-term and often expensive conversions, concentrate on long-lasting guest relationships.
Many people have the impression that content is only used for search engine optimization. While that is one of the main reasons you should be creating regular, original, relevant and engaging content, the following points tell a compelling story about other important roles for content.
- Relevant content builds trust and loyalty with your audience. If you can position your company either as the expert in your area, by types of accommodations or by any other defining aspect, you will win with both site visitors and search engines.
- According to SmartBug Media, 90 percent of customers find custom content useful while 78 percent believe that companies with custom content are interested in building positive relationships.
- Content marketing costs less than traditional marketing. According to Mashable, it is 62 percent less per lead.
While this is by no means an exhaustive list or comprehensive strategy outline, it should provide food for thought. Discuss these items with your internal team, set up a strategy outline with your marketing partner or reach out to a trusted advisor.