MARKETING

This is a lesson on marketing basically the one related to blogging. Here are the types of marketing that we are going to talk about in this lesson:

Let’s start with digital marketing…

All About Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing is the ultimate way to make your product blast through your audience. It can be through the web, smartphones or any other device. With digital marketing you can find potential customers for your business and turn them into lifetime customers.

With new technology and digital innovations announced daily. It can seem overwhelming for hoteliers to stay on top of trends and work them into their own strategies.

With voice search and AI, omnichannel marketing, and the use of influencers on the rise.

Businesses have the opportunity to reach potential customers at more touchpoints than ever before.

It’s important to start 2019 with a strong foundation to your digital strategy and be able to incorporate new initiatives as the year goes on. To get you started, we put together the top resolutions for hotels based on current and forecasted trends.

#1 Understanding Changing Technology

Understand the importance of an updated website and technology. Implement design trends on your website that follow UX. And are backed by the right technology that leads user towards a booking.

Selecting the right CMS is important for your hotel’s digital strategy. Content management systems can help your hotel implement website personalization, present real-time rates and inventory, promote offers and specials, and more.

All of these factors will showcase the property and can turn website visitors into bookings and revenue.

As mobile continues to dominate, you should also make sure that you have a mobile-first, fully-responsive website design.

Last year, Google began to use the mobile page versions of a domain for indexing and caching in its search results, and subsequently, for ranking.

Historically, the desktop version of a page was primarily used when evaluating the relevance of a page to a user’s query.

#2 Focus On Customer Relationship

Digital Marketing

Make CRM a priority. The goal of customer relationship management is fairly straightforward  improve your business relationships with guests. A CRM solution can help to understand customers through data and deliver them messages that they want and care about.

By engaging guests before, during, and after their stays, businesses can fuel loyalty throughout the customer lifetime journey.

Own the conversation from the moment a booking is made, nurture the experience with marketing automation. And retain your best guests by showing them how much you value their business.

#3 Leverage Omnichannel Marketing

Digital Marketing

Learn about the importance of omnichannel marketing. Multi-channel marketing has been around for some time now and has proven to be a successful strategy for businesses.

Now, with consumers expecting more personalized communication from brands, comes omnichannel marketing. This refers to providing a seamless experience, regardless of channel or device.

Consumers expect their experiences with a brand to be the same in a physical location. On a website or app, through social media, and across online advertisements on any device they use.

All of these touchpoints create an omnichannel experience for the user. Business can take advantage of omnichannel marketing by monitoring what customers are responding to best (on social media and on the website) and create content that reflects the brand and property.

Utilizing data can help businesses understand what guests really want from the brand. From there, businesses should make sure all digital touchpoints represent the brand.

This can include look and feel, the tone of voice, and the use of colors. Multi-channel and omnichannel campaigns can help achieve high results on a fairly small budget, sometimes generating over 10X ROAS.

The final aspect of omnichannel marketing is personalization. As mentioned above, personalization can connect users to brands and help develop relationships.

By personalizing content, a business can achieve the omnichannel experience where customers will feel noticed. And appreciated no matter what platform they interact with the business on.

#4 Personalized Experience Is the Key

Digital Marketing

Give website visitors a personalized experience. A personalized online experience is more important than ever for business as customers expect brands to remember them and present them information that is relevant to them.

Data doesn’t lie. It’s evident that customers expect a personalized experience when they visit your website. 74% of consumers feel frustrated when website content is not personalized (Infosys).

And 77% have chosen, recommended, or paid more for a brand that provides a personalized experience.

It’s no longer enough to present potential guests with static website content and expect them to find what they’re looking for and make a reservation.

In fact, a Salesforce study found that, by 2020. 51% of consumers will expect brands to anticipate their needs and make relevant suggestions.

Through personalization, you can create a dynamic user experience. Rather than a broad experience that attempts to reach all possible customers, businesses have the ability to create unique content that appeals to different segments in order to achieve specific business needs.

In this way, the your website can — and should — be the primary channel for engaging your best customers.

#5 Start Leveraging Videos In Your Content

Digital Marketing

Invest in video. Video continues to dominate.70% of consumers have shared a brand’s video (Wyzowl) and 52% said that watching a product video makes them more confident in online purchases (Invodo).

Although investing in video assets can be costly, the payoff can be huge for hotels. Videos can be utilized on websites, shared on social media channels. And provide a great way for potential customers to get a feel for their experience before ever stepping foot on the property.

A video on The Grand Ely Lodge homepage recently helped the property increase the time spent on the website and decrease bounce rate. Both of which impact search engine rankings and the overall health of the website.

#6 Optimize For Voice Search

Optimize for voice. As the use of voice assistants grows, businesses need to optimize their websites in order to capture this audience.

Although still in the early phases of being a viable distribution channel for businesses, voice search is already shaping consumer behavior, with the use of digital assistants higher than ever.

In order to stay on top of the changing landscape, businesses must optimize their website content for voice by combining traditional SEO, technical SEO, and incorporating patterns inherent to voice commands.

A robust content strategy also helps in voice search optimization for those in the beginning stages of the travel planning journey.

At this stage, users can have their devices search for destination information. Further into planning, they may say to their device, “Siri, find me the best hotel rates in downtown Boston.”

The impact of voice search will have on the hospitality industry is still uncertain, but, based on current trends.

We can anticipate that the voice search landscape will continue to evolve. And businesses can expect to see new opportunities for engagement and revenue.

#7 Beware Of AI

Digital Marketing

Be aware of AI & BI. Over the past few years, we’ve heard about artificial intelligence. Advancements and innovations will have even more people talking about its potential impact on different industries, including travel.

AI & BI (business intelligence) can analyze consumer behavior by utilizing data from across the web to help businesses understand users. By beginning to plan for AI technology this year businesses can have an edge over competitors.

#8 Keep An Eye On Upper Funnel

Digital Marketing

Don’t ignore the upper funnel. Often times, when analyzing the success of a campaign. Businesses are led to believe the most important KPIs are bookings and revenue.

While these metrics are significant, it’s also important to understand the purchase funnel. Marketing to users who are still in the early phases of their travel planning journey means engagement metrics are equally as imperative as reaching those who are ready to book.

When a customer is in the upper funnel, or the dreaming phase of the travel planning journey. They are undecided on which accommodation they will book. With 67% of users more likely to book with a brand that provides relevant information for the destination they’re interested in (Google).

Consider adopting or investing in some of the following initiatives to capture the attention of those beginning to think about their next getaway:

  • SEO-Optimized Destination Content — feature local neighborhood guides on the website.
  • Lifestyle & Editorial Blog — create long-form editorial content about the destination
  • Destination Video — create and share video so travel planners get a better sense of the destination and hotel property
  • Destination-Focused SEM — target keywords promoting destination-specific content
  • Native Advertising — reach potential guests with relevant content on websites where they spend their time
  • Social Media — be visible on social media where customers ask for advice from friends and family throughout the dreaming phase
  • Metasearch — have a presence on Google and TripAdvisor to ensure the website is discovered during the early phases of travel planning

#9 Start Influencer Marketing

Digital Marketing

Try influencer marketing. It’s been a hot topic in the hospitality industry, but with 92% of consumers saying that they trust word-of-mouth recommendations more than any other type of advertising (Nielsen), it’s clear that influencer marketing isn’t going away anytime soon.

Using influencers can be a very effective method to attract new customers to your property as well as a way to generate fresh content for your brand. The first step is to identify key advocates that embody your brand and can deliver the messages you want to convey in an organic way.

Additionally, you need to look at the follower loyalty of the influencer. Having a high follower count is much less important than the engagement their content receives (i.e. how many people interact with their posts).

#10 Invest In Chatbots

Digital Marketing

Invest in a virtual concierge for your business. As a form of AI, chatbots or virtual concierges will make a splash in the coming year. This technology allows for instant messaging in real-time with website visitors.

Many people are already used to interacting with chatbots online and 80% of businesses are already using or plan to use bots by 2020 (Oracle).

And with the development of Facebook Messenger bots, it’s easier than ever for businesses to utilize bots in their online presence. The bots are programmed to understand questions and provide answers.

The benefits of chatbots include reaching an audience directly, saving time and money on customer care, qualifying customers, handling transactions, and re-engaging users.

A good example of this is Marriot’s Facebook Messenger chatbot The bot helps customers link rewards accounts and was so helpful that the company transitioned it into a booking bot.

Overall, as you begin to execute your 2019 strategy, it’s important to be aware of the continuously changing trends and technology updates.

Your resolutions can be a guide for your digital plan and should adapt throughout the year as business needs change and as technology innovations become available to you.

Using this as a “checklist” can help ensure that your strategy stays on the right track and that your digital performance is successful through 2019.

I think you have gone through the digital marketing segment. Now, it is the time to go through the content marketing segment…


Digging Deep In Content Marketing

When somebody talks about content marketing, most of the people think of advertising. Though both of them are intended to serve the same purpose there is a vast difference between the two.

While advertising goes on bombarding the idea and propagating the features of a particular brand or product, content marketing creates something unique which is related to the brand but does not go gaga over it.

It subtly underlines what is required and also connects some emotional string with the audience in the process. So what exactly is content marketing? Let us understand it better with an example.

Imagine that a movie of your favorite Hollywood star is set to release this Wednesday at the box office. You will see that months before the release they will start posting trailers on television, Facebook, YouTube, etc.

They will probably even start a Twitter handle with the movie name and might even create a promotional website for the movie if it is backed by a stellar production house.

Content Marketing Spending In 2018..

After that, when the release date approaches closer the stars of the movie will give interviews to the paparazzi, attend popular TV shows and create enough buzz so that the audiences are thrilled and excited about the movie.

While doing all this stuff they highlight the subject of the movie, its backdrop, what inspired it, etc. But they do not spill the beans about the actual story and content of the movie.

This is exactly what content marketing does. You cannot single out a method and name it as content marketing. It is a complete process which involves creating unique content for the targeted audience, builds stories around the brand and uses social media and other online platforms to promote it.  

Content Marketing – A power that drives businesses

If you are thinking that content marketing is a mere buzzword and it will not last forever, you are wrong. Content marketing is always evolving and it has transformed completely over the years.

Artificial intelligence has already crept in content marketing and some of the content you read today is written by machines with the help of algorithms.

However, the best ideas still come from the human brain and therefore digital marketers are relying heavily on the content produced by the joint effort of developers, designers, and content writers.  

It is a well-known fact that content marketing generates more leads (almost thrice) as compared to the traditional marketing techniques. So how does it benefit you?

Let us see this through an example.

Let’s say a particular brand sends heavy promotional content on your laptop in the form of pop-up ads on a daily basis.

After a while, you get irritated by them as you find that their content is mostly the same with some minor modifications.

You would mostly block such ads or even block that website which sends you those ads with the help of your browser settings.

However, if the same brand sends attractive e-mails that cover latest offers and stories related to their foundation and history.

The customers like it and may even end up buying their products and services to get associated with their legacy. Most of us prefer Coke or Pepsi even if we are not a great fan of their beverages.

It is simply because we like to associate with these brands that are presumably spreading happiness around the world.

This is the power of content marketing! It associates you with a brand and even before you recognize it you become a loyal customer.

Now that you have understood its concept and effectiveness, let us learn about the best content marketing types and practices:

Blogs

Blogs are probably the oldest and most effective type of content marketing. An amazing blog which has a perfect blend of interesting facts and information attracts tons of visitors on your website.

Also, they will become your regular readers if you provide them with fresh, unique and useful content consistently. Websites that have a blog section tend to get more popular than the ones which don’t and by this. You can gauge the true power of blogs!

Videos

Videos can be your best choice if you wish to engage and entertain your audience at the same time. Most of the people spend hours watching videos and you will see an instant rise in the organic traffic of your website if your website or Facebook page provides amusing yet helpful videos.

You can post interviews with popular industry experts to lure your audience. After watching such videos they will think highly of your brand and you promote your business indirectly.

Case studies

A case study presents detailed information about an organization, its foundation, hindrances that came its way. How it overcame them and a lot of other information.

Cases studies are typically used in B2B content marketing strategies where one firm (typically a digital marketing team) claims to have helped its clients by posting their case studies on the website.

This attracts partners and clients who share similar expertise and have similar issues.

Whitepapers

A white paper is a well-documented portfolio of a brand and its services that entice the clients who are seeking a particular product or service.

It is yet another B2B marketing tool but speculations are rife that white papers have become less relevant in today’s market.

However, a carefully investigated and researched white paper still proves to be a marketing magnet as it presents actual facts. And evidence to establish a particular service or product as a superior alternative over others.

Posts

Today, businesses are majorly relying on digital marketing and social media is most effective than ever.

Therefore, creating inspiring and unique posts and posting them on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. has become quite a norm these days.

Companies usually hire designers and content writers for creating interesting social media posts. They promote these posts strategically with the help of their digital marketing team.

However, small companies and start-ups cannot afford to employ so many individuals. And therefore they outsource these services from an IT firm or digital marketing experts.

Trending content forms like memes, gifs, etc. also can be incorporated into your digital marketing strategy.

You can do it because appealing gifs and memes get instantly shared. And before you know your services have already reached over 10 million people.

Infographics

Infographics are a graphical depiction of data that present a complex set of information and instructions in a lucid way.

They are used to connect a wider audience with a brand by including statistical data. The result of a survey, or by drawing comparisons with the help of pie charts or bar diagrams.

A great way to generate surplus leads as your potential clients, it inspires your customers with high-quality content and stunning presentation.

E-mail Marketing

Some digital marketers think that e-mail marketing and content marketing as two parallel ways of promoting a business. However, a smart digital marketing expert knows how to incorporate e-mail marketing into a content marketing strategy.

E-mail marketing is used to connect with a huge customer database at once. It helps a brand to target potential customers and maintains the interest level of existing customers by providing information about new offerings and services.

Therefore, you can include content marketing practices like infographics, e-books, link to a blog, etc. all in a single e-mail to captivate the audience.

5 mind-boggling facts about content marketing  

  • Many entrepreneurs think that if the content is not completely original it will fail – It is partially true as most of the marketers take ideas from trustworthy sources, modify it and present it in their own style making you believe that it is original.
  • E-mail marketing generates greater results than other types of content marketing – This is completely true and therefore most campaigns and promotional strategies try to provide innovative content through e-mails.

  • Images attract eyeballs faster than a catchy headline. Yes, it is true and therefore you will see an image for every blog and article you will read on the internet.
  • You cannot rely on one social media platform when it comes to content marketing – This is another fact which is why most marketers are providing diverse services on each of the social media portals like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.

  • 8 out of 10 customers get influenced by online content – The days of mouth publicity are long gone as today people make purchases. And deals online.
  • Therefore, online content influences their decision more than anything else.

How to curate a precise content marketing strategy?

A wisely crafted content marketing strategy has a lot more positive impact on your business than trying out all the marketing tools one by one.

Therefore, it is advisable for you to ideate, plan, strategize and implement a content marketing strategy in a step-by-step process. Let us see a brief case study to expedite it better.

Mr. Singh ran an IT firm and was looking forward to other business opportunities that would supplement his revenue.

He ended up signing a partnership with a popular astrologer. Together they decided to start a venture that deemed to purchase gold and gems from traders and sell them to popular jewelry brands.  

They designed a website for that and due to mutual contacts, they ended up signing huge agreements with top merchants and traders of their region.

However, due to lack of local market research and analysis, they failed to understand who was their potential customers and did not strategize any ways of targeting them.

Results……

As a result, they failed to meet the expectations of their traders who denied discounts due to their poor sales.

From this case study, we understand that even established businesses make blunders especially while starting a new project. Mr. Singh could have saved his losses had he crafted a precise content marketing strategy that incorporated target audience and ways to lure them.

Now let us see how to plan a content marketing strategy through a step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Market survey

Before creating and designing any content, it is important to understand the market and your potential competitors. You will have to analyze the topics chosen by your competitors. And their perspectives regarding the topics that appeal to you.

Always make it a point to create something that stands-out while developing content that resonates with your target audience.

Buzzsumo is a site that provides useful insights into the trending topics according to your business. To curate smarter content strategies using this site.

Step 2: Think like a customer

Most of the content curators are not aware of the things that are actually needed by a customer. Therefore, it is a must for you to think as an audience. And inculcate perspectives of different people to broaden the range of your content.

Step 3: Content creation

This is the most crucial step which will determine whether your campaign is a success or not. After choosing a particular topic, determine the ways of presenting it. Starting a blog would do fine if your business is service based.

However, if your revenue depends on product sales then you will need to create short but engaging content including videos. And memes that would directly influence your social footprint and online sales.

Also, identify the keywords that would be the most suitable for improving your SEO rankings at the same time.

You can make use of websites like Buzzsumo to understand different types of content that are trending on various social mediums.

Step 4: Sweet Amalgamation

Now that you have created interesting content, it is time to unite all the above 3 steps and curate a strategy that seems best on all the three parameters.

After that, you will need to figure out the dispersal modes for your content. If you intend to reach a wider audience in a less amount of time you can make use of e-mail marketing. Or you can make use of social media platforms if you wish to see steady growth in your traffic and sales.

To enrich the experience of your customer and to keep them interested in your brand. You will always have to shower sweet confectionaries in the form of engaging content and lucrative offers.

A mail that greets your clients on their foundation dates or wishes your customers on festivals might look meaningless. But it helps you strike some emotional chord in them.

This invariably pays off in the end and therefore it is advisable to think of smart content marketing strategies and execute them to perfection!

This lesson has came to an end, I hope that you have learned all about the two marketing concepts.

Abhishek Tiwari is the chief SEO expert and Founder of "SEO Crunch". He is the wizard of SEO Crunch where he teaches about SEO and Marketing. Abhishek is also a good motivator and a speaker. Also, he always tries to learn new things in life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *