Whilst it can be difficult to hand over the reins to someone else, many of the best leaders, business owners, and entrepreneurs have grown their businesses to amazing levels by delegating and outsourcing as much work as possible. Time management and researching cost effective business solutions, however, can be a fulltime task all on its own. Luckily, there are many options available to business owners today.
The focus of marketing has gone digital, and to maximise this properly it requires a specialised skill set but your business may not have someone with the know-how to ensure that you can make digital marketing work for you. Even if you can write great blog posts or the office manager knows how to manage social media, that’s probably not the best use of your or their time. Furthermore, when individuals with multiple responsibilities are handling the marketing, when an urgent matter arises in another area of the business, marketing efforts often end up taking a back seat or get abandoned altogether. This stopping and starting of marketing campaigns can sink even the most well-conceived strategies and make it difficult to assess whether a campaign is even working.
Here are a few steps to help determine the best way to outsource your organisation’s marketing:
Outsourcing and delegating work is an investment in your business’ future, and it isn’t just reserved for large businesses. Small businesses, start-ups, and independent entrepreneurs are taking full advantage of it too. Even if your business is your “baby” or a labour of love, letting go of the compulsion to control or oversee every aspect of it will ultimately help you reach your goals.
Generating profitable business leads is time-consuming work. From collecting data to verifying contact information, creating a solid database consisting of people who are genuinely interested in purchasing your goods and services requires patience and experience. So when hiring a VA to help you increase your flow of business leads, it's important to find a person with brilliant people skills and extensive Internet research experience.
Chances are, you utilise various methods for gathering business leads already - from online surveys and direct mail, to website landing pages and social media management, and you know full well that handling every aspect of lead generation can easily be a full-time job in itself. So instead of trying to manage all of these tasks yourself, why not hire a VA to do most of the leg work for you?
An experienced VA can manage your email lists, respond to comments and queries on your social media pages, create marketing materials and send them out, and contact prospective clients and customers directly by email and / or phone.
To make business lead generation even easier for your VA, create a list of specific tasks with deadlines or timelines. For example, dedicate three days per month to planning and development. Ask your VA to monitor social media and other online content daily to ensure a quick response. Send email correspondence once a week. Creating a well defined lead generation schedule helps you and your VA maintain a positive relationship with new and existing clients / customers, now and into the future.
What's the point of having a hundred new leads if most of them don't result in new business? Before spending time and money courting potential clients and customers, ask your VA to conduct online research to determine how interested they are in potentially purchasing goods and services.
Knowing more about a lead - such as the industry or company they work for, rank within a company and known business associates can usually tell you if the lead is worth pursuing, or not.
To make regular contact with clients and customers as easy as possible, ask your VA to build a lead contact database complete with full names, phone numbers, email addresses, business websites and even physical business addresses. Your VA can do the same with your email lists, which can be great for sending mass emails in a more personalised way.
As additional leads come in, your VA can simply update these databases. Your VA can also go through the database periodically to delete or update contact information, as necessary.
In addition to following up on leads the come from your website, social media pages or from face-to-face meetings and other interactions, your VA can also help create marketing materials, edit journal articles, post blog entries, and update webpages to generate interest in your business.
Depending on the specific skills and experience your VA has, they may even be able to design webpages or graphics, create business apps and offer suggestions for other ways to generate leads.
It's important to maintain regular contact with viable leads so your business remains at the forefront of their thoughts whenever actively considering your area of expertise. Create a quarterly marketing and communication plan for your VA to follow so you can keep these valuable business relationships intact. A combination of email, phone and direct mail marketing on a quarterly basis is typically more than enough to keep new and existing clients and customers aware of your business.
For most online businesses though, a sequential "stacking" or "stacked" email loyalty campaign along with monthly newsletters and more random personal / promotional emails does the job of maintaining a close connection with your leads quite well too, and once again a VA with the right skills can set this all up for you.
Are you looking for a sustainable source of leads for your business - and not just any leads, but qualified leads that come from carefully tended, personal interactions? If so, hiring an experienced "lead generation" marketing virtual assistant might very well be the perfect fit for your business. Contact us today to arrange a free discovery session to find out more about how a marketing VA can help you maximise your business!
Almost 70% of online searches are made via Google. Google My Business allows the physical location of your business to be found on Google Maps which lets your customers locate your more easily. It is the new Yellow pages with the addition of your exact address and location being provided via Google Maps. If you customers are searching for you on a mobile device they can received turn-by-turn directions to your door via Google Maps.
1. Get more traffic for free
Who doesn’t want free advertising for their tourism business? That is what you are getting with Google My Business. You need to take advantage of every advertising opportunity that you can and there is nothing better than being able to advertise to customers in your area for no charge. Additionally, it can drive traffic to your website.
2. Track leads
You can find out how your customers found your tourism business and what they searched for online.
3. Share photos
You can create a virtual tour online to showcase your tourism business. According to Google’s data, “businesses that added photos to their listings received 42% more requests for driving directions on Google Maps and 35% more clicks through to their websites.”
4. Analyse phone call data
With custom insights, you can even keep track of how many calls you’ve received. Because the contact number is clickable it can record what has dialled you from your listing
5. Beat scammers
Is your business name similar to another one? Because you have to verify your tourism brand it means that you don’t have to worry about customers being confused.
How to sign up and have your tourism business listed on Google My Business
To start, you need to have an account with Google and if you don’t already have one you will need to set one up. Once you are all setup to go to google.com/business. You will be asked to agree to some terms and conditions from Google and then be taken to a form for you to complete with details of your tourism business such as name, phone number and category. To confirm that you really do exist you will need to verify your tourism business, this can be done via phone, text or post. Until you have verified your tourism business no information will be displayed to protect against scammers.
Tips for How to Properly Use Google My Business
Once you have completed the sign up and verification process here are a few tips to maximise your listing:
One of the most important steps is the completion of the keywords and category section. Include a description of your tourism business that is appealing and accurately describes what you offer your customers.
Utilise images and videos
Your Google My Business listing can include up to 10 images and five videos for no charge. Remember that this is free advertising so make the most of it! Include not only internal images but those of the outside or key landmarks so when your customers are trying to find you that know what to look for.
Create a Google My Business Page for each of your locations
If you have multiple locations for your tourism business then you need to create a different listing for each location with its specific address, contact details and images.
Encourage customer reviews
Make sure that your satisfied customers tell everyone else about you by leaving a review and rating their experience. Remember that a better rating will attract more customers in a big way, it is almost a guarantee for tourism businesses. Always make sure that these are genuine reviews otherwise they will do more harm than good. If Google suspects that they aren’t authentic or they suspect that you are simply soliciting reviews for a higher rating then if could have the opposite desired effect and actually push your rating down rather than up.
Whilst Google My Business is not as ‘flashy’ as some of the other social media options available is an essential tool for your tourism business. Making life easier for your current and potential customers by ensuring that your business can be easily found is a vital part of your marketing strategy.
Do you have any questions or need some help setting up your Google My Business page? Contact us today we are here to help you achieve success with your tourism business.
Whenever I ask a tourism operator this question the resounding response is “I simply don’t have the time.”
So how do you make time and how can we assist to make things easier for you?
I want to help you out by sharing the 7 key tips that I have found really helpful.
Tip 1: Make a Plan
Spend the time planning your digital marketing strategy. A well-developed plan can steer you in the right direction and help you identify and achieve your digital objectives. Never underestimate the power of taking the time to build a solid foundation as a well thought out plan will ensure that you are catering to the needs of your target audience and you are tapping into the hidden desires that they forgot even existed. Planning is a skill that no tourism marketer can afford to ignore but so often we leap ahead.
A well-crafted content calendar can be a huge reliever of the stress associated with your digital presence. You can see what days you have you have to create content on, how many times you have to post (and exactly here), the topic, you budget allocated to the promotion and the key message of the campaign you are focusing on. But most importantly, you can see why you are taking the actions as you have developed the plan based on your ideal customer.
Tip 2: Analyse, Fix & Go Again
Yes you need to make a plan but never be afraid to ‘tweak’ it or veer from it. So you ask – first we have to make the plan and then we need to change it? Yes, the plan is always a work on progress and if it’s not working them you will need to give it some tweaks.
Analysing and reporting on the success of your digital campaigns regularly will allow you to check what is working and what’s not. This is one if the key features of digital marketing in comparison to print based marketing. If you put an advert in a local magazine you do not have the analysing and reporting options and ability to alter it like you do with digital. By delving in to the analytics you can identify what is not giving you the return on investment and needs to go. Then you can invest your time and investment into the tactics which are meeting your objectives such as generating you bookings.
Tip 3: Use the Right Tools
It’s important to use the right tools to save you both time and also your sanity. Take advantage of automation tools that allow you to make to best use of your time.
If there’s a tool that can ease your work load and budget constraints or increase your productivity then grab it with both hands – you owe it to yourself.
Tip 4: Keep Learning
Have you ever met a digital marketer who isn’t still learning? No, we are all constantly learning and evolving in a world that is moving at what sometimes seems lightning speed. Make sure you stay up-to-date with the tourism marketing trends as staying curious is important.
Tip 5: Self-Motivate
Digital marketing is new and rapidly changing and can often become overwhelming for many tourism operators. Focus on picking just two channels and getting the basics right for them. For example SEO to ensure that can get found on those all important local key searches. Then when that is done perhaps put a plan in place to write two blog posts a month. This is where building that foundation digital plan becomes so important as you know exactly what you need to diary time for.
Tip 6: Seek Help
You are not an island – don’t ever be afraid to ask for help. Building a support network around you so that you have someone to reach out to is important. Seek out the help and support of mentors so that you can ask questions, welcome feedback, to gain knowledge and have the accountability that you may require.
We have developed the DigitalKickstart Facebook group to provide a forum for tourism operators so that you have a place to ask questions, share their knowledge, obtain feedback or get that accountability that we need in a supportive environment. We would love you to join us as we grow this group. If you would like to talk to us about how we can help you with your digital presence then please drop us an email and we can organise a time to catch up.
Tip 7: Switch Off
Don’t risk burnout, anxiety and insomnia always recognise the importance of switching off. Every day there are hundreds of thousands of pieces of content published in relation to digital marketing – there is no way that you can read them all so why even try? Arriana Huffington, the founder of the Huffington Post, is one of many key influences who advocate the taking of well-timed breaks from technology.
She suggests implementing such rituals as meditation, mindfulness and switching off your phone at dinner and during holidays to help you relax, unwind and recharge your batteries. You need to do what works best for you and your tourism business but always remember that awaking refreshed and rearing to go each day will help with the creation of your next epic Tweet.
Are you wanting to create better communication with your customers? Email marketing is a highly effective marketing tool for tourism businesses. It allows you to nurture relationships with your current, future and potential customers. Keeping in touch via email marketing has one of the highest returns on investment of all the marketing you can do (other than work of mouth). So even though email marketing seems like it has been around for ever it has revolutionised itself to become more of a show pony and is now a key component to generating leads and sales for your tourism business.
Growing sustainable long-term relationships and developing loyal valuable tourism customers is a growing challenge. The reason why email marketing is so powerful, is because it is permission based. This means that people have made a conscious decision to ‘opt-in’ to receive communication from you and are therefore more engaged than those on other forms of online marketing which in turn positions them further along the buying funnel resulting in a higher chance of purchase. Targeting travellers comes down to reaching the right people at the right time with your unique offer. Potential travellers are liking to begin their online research well in advance of when they actually finalise their arrangements and make their bookings.
Developing an effective email strategy means they you must establish an ongoing interactive relationship with your prospects and customers. To assist with this, you should use profiling of your prospects and customers to gain an insight into all their wants, needs and desires. This way you can ensure that the communication you are sending out is targeted to them.
You might already be doing some marketing on Facebook for your tourism business but if you are probably not taking full advantage of the power of the combination of your email marketing strategy and Facebook lookalike audiences.
Your email list is a goldmine of customer data and it creates a resource of promising leads as they have already moved through the initial step and are well on their way through your conversion funnel.
They already know about your tourism business and by signing up they have identified their interest about wanting to know more and to keep in touch with you. This is the key reason why email marketing is such a powerful component of your tourism marketing strategy.
In Facebook, you create the Lookalike audience and then choose your custom audience of newsletter contacts as the source group. By utilising your mailing list, it is providing a reliable and high-quality source of leads. By targeting a new audience that is similar to your already qualified leads then the chances of getting good returns on your ads greatly increases.
If you need a hand to setup you email newsletter template or would prefer someone to manage your email database and send your newsletters for you, then we can help. Just click here to send us an email and we will contact you to arrange a time to catch up.