Strategy

Internet marketing tips no restaurant or hotel can be without

A run through of marketing tips no restaurant or hotel can be without.

Author

Micheal Hicks
Marketing Executive

Having a website gives you direct access to a sizeable 1.5 billion internet users worldwide. The trouble is that simply having a site, doesn’t mean you’re reaching the masses, or more importantly your target market.

Online Marketing is seen as a highly cost-effective approach to driving traffic to your website and encouraging a sale. Methods are affordable and can offer high return on investment, relative to other forms of marketing. Best of all, the impacts are completely measurable.

Your brand wants to be seen in search engines and hold high positions on their result pages. You aim for lots of attention around your brand and on your site. You want to be seen on other websites that attract high levels of your type of customer, and ultimately, you want them to click, buy, book or subscribe. But how?

Online Marketing tools and techniques

You must work with the available tools to create the most cost-effective and creative solution that encourages a user into action. Understanding the tools is vital, so let’s start with some definitions:

Online Marketing

Refers to all activity over the internet that connects users with your brand. Impacts can be tracked giving a clear understanding of the activity’s cost-effectiveness. Some examples include pay-per-click advertising, display advertising, microsites, email marketing and loyalty programs.

Email Marketing

Arguably the most cost-effective option. By using your customer database, you’re able to have a dialogue directly with those who are interested in your product, service or brand. They’ve given you information about what they like, so you can tailor your emails to satisfy their needs and wants. Best of all, it’s relatively inexpensive compared to more traditional forms of marketing. Email marketing must always be viewed as a personal connection with the reader, and as such, the contents (ie, the creative design, layout, writing, tone of voice) of each email must create a feeling of attachment.

But remember, keep them short and punchy – that delete button is only centimetres away!

Pay-per-click Advertising

Placing display advertisements on websites or search engines, where you pay for every user click, can be a powerful method to drive traffic. Google’s AdWords system is highly recommended.

Search Engine Optimisation (or SEO)

Essentially this refers to all activity that helps search engines, such as Google, find your website. SEO methods encourage more attention from search engines when users search for specific keywords or phrases, making your website more ‘search-friendly’.

Affiliate Marketing

By partnering with suppliers or brands that attract your target market, you can create a network of links between each other’s websites to help drive visitors between you. This linking also helps your search engine rankings.

Social Media Marketing

There are many social networks, blogs, forums or review websites that are used by your customers to help influence their buying decisions. Provided the platform is relevant to your brand, and you have time to maintain the information you publish, these will form a valuable part of your online marketing strategy.

Marketing Hints & Tips

It’s the combination of passive marketing (activity that is set-up to run behind the scenes) and active marketing (ongoing and continually managed) that provides the foundation to gain awareness of your brand over the internet. Here are some ways to make the most from your online marketing spend.

Develop online marketing campaigns

Set a time frame, create an offer and develop a campaign. Choose who you want to receive the offer and list how you’ll reach them. Are they using social networks? Are they on your customer database? Are they using Google? Choosing a good mix of relevant channels is a sure-fire way to maximise the return on your spend.

Online and Offline Integration

You must think about using your offline tools at your disposal (ie, competitions, magazine PR etc) to drive traffic to your site. When planning a marketing campaign, integrating one message on all offline and online channels will result in greater impact.

Captivating Creative

Translating a luxury experience online is not always easy. Digital ideas with engaging content and user-friendly functionality will present your brand experience in the manner it deserves.

Boost your SEO

Have your website developers or marketing agency enhance the SEO techniques in your site, or ask them to restructure areas in the site to become more search engine friendly.

Content is King

No matter the tools you choose, ensure the content is relevant to the reader whilst illustrating the products’ positive attributes.

Undoubtedly the most powerful online marketing tools are those that not only capture the imagination of internet users but motivate them to act – purchase that voucher, subscribe to the database or book that meal / holiday / spa escape. In combination, the tools available can give you the edge over your competitors, attracting more visitors to your website and introducing more market to your brand.

Article originally written for the Spa Source Directory 2010, published by GS Magazine.

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