Digital marketing advice for tourism operators
As a preferred web developer for the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse, Kook knows many of the issues that face tourism industry providers. On this page, we've put together the first of a series of articles you may find useful, but there is a wealth of information going back many years in our blog you may also want to check out. Before you get into it, there are two simple things you need to remember.
- You don’t have to know the web, you just have to know your web team. Find a web partner who has experience in what works and what doesn't. From choosing the right domain name for your business to advising where your hard-earned marketing dollars should go, you need to rely on experience.
- Stop wondering and start asking. How many times have you wondered if you could get better results or wanted to try a different approach? You don't need to go to a web team with the answers, that's what they do! Every minute delayed is another potential lead lost.
So, how do you choose a web developer? Glad you asked....
Choosing a Web Design or Development Company
As we know, potential customers are more likely than ever to turn to the internet to find tourism destinations. Ask yourself these questions:
- Does your website captivate visitors enough to contact your destination over hundreds of others in your area?
- Does your website provide visitors with a clear path to the information they’re looking for?
Whether you’re looking to launch your tourism business on the web or redesign your existing site for greater reach and appeal, choosing the right web design team is the first and most important step. Here are 5 critical questions to ask when deciding which web company to work with. You are making an investment in the future of your business and you want to get your investment right.
- Is this going to be a good working relationship with excellent communication?
Be sure that you feel the relationship will be a good one and that you are comfortable with the levels of communication you will have with your web team. You need to have a very good relationship where you feel you can talk to your team directly at any time. Look for a team who are open, honest, sincere and trustworthy at the start.
- How experienced is the team you are working with?
You want to work with long-term professionals who have proven results across a range of projects. By asking to see previous work examples and customer testimonials you will get a chance to review their professionalism, experience and evaluate their credibility. You also need to find a team with enough size to have people with specialist skills - you will not find a professional in SEO and design and programming. Does your team have all the skills you need under one roof or are you going to act as project manager amongst multiple parties?
- Do they understand what my business goals and needs are?
Make sure you choose a team that take the time to understand your business and are proactive in partnering you in achieving your business goals by giving you sound advice and solutions that are right for your business. Avoid cookie-cutter approaches, these approaches lack the innovation and customisation your individual business may need.
- Have you met your team?
This will help you determine whether the team is in-house or outsourced. You preferably want a team of in-house specialists with the relevant skill sets who can work with you directly. If you can’t meet your team, you can’t be sure who is working on your project and if they have the relevant skills.
- Do they know the pitfalls of the web, and business?
You aren’t looking for someone who paints nothing but a rosy picture. Business is tough, competitive advantage is everything and your web team needs to have the experience to know what mistakes you might make and how to ensure you don’t.
5 Key Features Every Website Should Have
OK, so you've chosen your web team. What's next? If you've got a website, or about to have one built, here's what it needs.
- Mobile-Friendly Design
Responsive web design is the concept of developing a website design that’s “fluid” i.e. it reacts to the user’s computer screen resolution and/or device. More specifically, the design allows for an advanced 3 column layout at 1140 pixels wide on a desktop computer, but also adjusts on a Smartphone and Computer Tablet screen. Responsive web design is completely different to traditional web designing; there are many factors to take into consideration. You MUST have a mobile web design or Google penalises your search rankings. And people nowadays simply will click back and go to a better site. Getting it right is imperative for sales success.
- Excellent Site Navigation
If your visitors know how to navigate your website they won’t ‘bounce’ off it. Help them navigate by giving them a clear path from the time they hit your ANY page to navigating their way through your site. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Give someone who has purchased from you the opportunity to do so again immediately. For those who haven’t purchased from you tell them why you are better than the rest (a real reason, you can’t just expect them to take your word for it if you say “we’re the best”. Give them a menu to more information.
- Professional Photographs/Visual Images
Attract attention and stay on design trend by creating a fresh and uncluttered website using professional imagery or a visual Image to support your offer or compelling Call To Action. Visual images should capture emotion and cause action. Using sub-grade stock photos looks cheesy and will decrease your conversion rate. Do not, ever, use clipart no matter how cute you think it is to have a dancing dolphin image. Ever. We mean it.
- Properly formatted and legible text
Typefaces which are streamlined and minimal can have very strong impact. How you format your text has a huge influence on how your page looks and, more importantly, how easily people can read it. Using white space, specific font types and layout is very important to the overall look and feel of your website. Bold, white text on dark backgrounds is a no-no. But nowhere near as Comic Sans because you think it looks “relaxed like you are on holidays”. What people are actually thinking is “looks like a kindergarten brochure” which reflects on your business as amateurish.
- Key Messages and Calls to Action
Your key messages on your website (which become confidence triggers) should consist of:
- Benefits - List the benefits of why customers should buy from you in an easy-to-read language your customers will understand
- Proof - give your customers proof as to why they should purchase your product or service by using a few of your best quotes or testimonials on the home-page and link it to case studies. If you can put in a photo and a name that will give it more credibility
- Features- list more features of your product and service, which will add to the benefits that you have already listed.
- Awards and Recognition – list all the relevant successes you have had particularly if you have received any Awards
- Having a strong Call to Action (CTA) will compel your visitors to dig deeper into your website.
Website Traffic and Analytics
OK, so now you have a shiny, bright new website that engages visitors, how do you get an audience? Simplified, there is organic search traffic (people coming from Google), referral traffic (from other websites, social media etc), direct (people who type your domain into their browser after they've seen your domain name elsewhere like a business card), and paid search traffic such as Google AdWords and Facebook Advertising. Is your website getting enough visitors? Whether you are getting ten visitors or ten million: quantity is not as important as quality. What you really need to know is how much did it cost and how much did it return. Your reporting systems need to be able to give you ROI key metrics. This allows you to see how much of your profit margin you have spent on getting people to your site. Even organic traffic comes at a cost - at a minimum you have to get your site ranking in the first place by writing great content and you have to keep it there by constantly improving as Google changes its algorithms and more competitors come into your market. We will get into the whole organic rankings and SEO song and dance in our next instalment for ATDW. But just because you rank for a phrase doesn't mean it's the one that gets you a sale. Or the type of high value customer you want. ROI (Return on Investment) Traffic Management Customers selling products (or booking rooms) are provided with exact details of how much revenue each traffic source returned. But even if you are not actually selling online we still provide a cost per sales lead amount. Not all traffic sources will work for your business. You need a web partner who has the skills, experience and relationships with many traffic providers to grow your business online. You also need to find a partner that offers all services, not just one, otherwise they will, of course, be telling you the service they provide is what you need, because that's all they've got to sell you. Measuring & Tracking Visitors Google Analytics is the industry benchmark for web metrics. It's a service offered by Google for measuring visitors on your website, and exploring how they engage with it. Google Analytics can present useful data on your website and its visitors, including:
- how many visitors the site is getting
- how often users are visiting
- where visitors are coming from
- what visitors are looking for
- Most importantly, what is converting
Analytics is a useful tool for enhancing the user-experience of your visitors and managing the most popular content on your website. Google Analytics can track visitors from all referrers, including search-engines, emails, social-media sites and pay-per-click networks. Analytics offers a unique set of features to heavily segment and evaluate each of your visitors, whether it is through language, city, state, or any of the countless other metrics. Analytics can work with other Google products such as Google Adwords to optimise campaigns by tracking both landing page quality and conversions. But even if your website isn’t directly selling online, Analytics offers a plethora of ways to evaluate what content or key messages are leading people to make enquiries and so on. Analytics helps you decide whether the time and money you are putting into your website is paying off or not. And if it's not, the stats usually even tell you why not.
Verve Travel Management, Melbourne Victoria Organic Search Traffic increased by over 275% in 6 months by engaging in an SEO strategy which improved keyword ranking. We did this by improving on-site optimisation (perfecting the structure of the site) to achieve higher Google rankings organically.
- integrating Google Analytics
- Refining page titles, meta descriptions, fixing tag structures on their site
- Rewriting content with better search phrasing
- Improving Call To Actions
We also developed a digital strategy for Facebook and Instagram targeting 3 ads in 3 ad sets by creating:
- A look-a-like audience on Facebook based on the list of 12,000 previous guests
- A remarketing list of people who have visited the website
- A look-a-like audience on Instagram based on the list of 12,000 previous guests
You don’t have to know the web, you just have to know your web team
If you are looking for a responsive, reliable web team who still communicate with their customers by phone or face-to-face, talk to Kook. Call us on (07) 54 777 990.