This week I want to share some observations from my Online Marketing Class group-presentations in Hospitality at Georgian College.
Every business is different. Every business leader has their own goals, comfort level and interests. So although each group presented about an accommodation’s online marketing, there were naturally differences in style, approach, focus and strategy. From the strategy and goals spring the tactics that will work. So while one group focussed strongly on customer relationship process for their unique venue, another worked from the community focus. While one group realized that LinkedIN would be a strong pull, others saw the potential of online press releases to build visibility.
While there is no one right answer, there is a right answer for you. Today. That gets you to a strong starting point from which you can launch and test and grow your presence.
It is always so gratifying to see the different groups recognize the “right-ness” of their specific approach – even though it ignores some tools completely and does not reflect what other groups are doing.
Common Process – Unique Plans
What remained common among each was the process by which they created their plan.
They started with the business itself and the short term goals from the existing business plan. These are then broken down by target market… Of course, getting them to identify a unique target market was the first challenge 🙂 So – not everyone who likes to travel but.. “young couples between 25 and 40 who have no children and have an interest in eco-tourism” for instance.
They followed this with keyword research to determine what those target markets would be looking for. So not “tourism” but maybe “Eco-tours Canada” or “whale watching packages British Columbia”.
They then set online content and strategy for each tartget market with SMART goals and measurable key performance indicators (KPI). his gave them a call to action or two that they needed to entice the visitors to take. Then they looked at how best to reach each market online and offline to drive traffic to their landing pages.
On each landing page they are required to have a call to action that would build a lead or customer database.
As part of this visibility plan they created a 12 month schedule of social media, blog and press releases to build a consistent presence and communication tools.
It is so rewarding to be part of this course – watching as people start from a minimal understanding and grow to the point where they know they are making good decisions and beoming creative in their ideas based on the new knowledge they are gaining. Even better they grow an understanding of best practices to take forward with them no matter how the Internet changes.
Measure Something – But Not Everything
As a geek I also love to impart the understanding that we can measure anything online, How many of our ideal customers are using facebook or twiitter, how many people Google our ideal keyword phrases, how many people visit our competitiors’ websites, how many people visit our different webpages, sign-up for an offer, buy from us, open our emails, click on a link etc etc etc!
We even get into conversion rates and cost/value of each visitor.
Why is this so exciting? Because if we are measuring KPI that relate directly to our business goals, we know what works! Measuring ROI becomes a reality! and we have a baseline from which to improve and test other ideas.