Whether you are on the Outer Banks, or any other tourist friendly vacation destination, you have no doubt waited out another winter while making business plans for the summer. We all know that the busy season comes and goes in a flash. The flurry of activity is dizzying, and business owners are often overwhelmed with the staffing up prior to the busy season, as well as the day to day operation of their business. Keeping up to customer demands is often so demanding that very few marketing efforts are undertaken. It is easy to be complacent during the busy season, and rest on the marketing efforts of the off season, but this lack of marketing effort could hurt you in the long run. Here are some digital marketing strategies that we have gathered from other successful seasonal businesses.
Mobile Search is Here to Stay
A recent study has found that over 70% of online mobile searches lead to online action within an hour. I would guess that this number is even higher for a beachfront vacation destination where tourists don’t have much brand allegiance or name recognition. When a prospect takes to their mobile phone to do a search, it most likely means they are ready to buy now. If your website is not mobile friendly, you are doing your business a serious disservice. Reach out to a web design company to find out if your site is mobile friendly.
Location, location, location
When a consumer is on vacation, he or she will forego a lot in terms of convenience. Their vacation time is the most important currency to them, so they will gladly spend a few extra bucks if it means saving time in the car. Are your local directory listings claimed, and consistently optimized? With more prospects utilizing the Maps feature on their smartphone (see above) to drive their purchasing habits, these directory listings are as good as gold. If your business shows up as the closest answer to that prospects purchasing query, they are much more likely to patronize your business. Even if you are not the closest location, not showing up at all for a local search is akin to business malpractice. Want to know what your local listings look like? We’d be glad to show you, just click here for a free scan.
Generate Word of Mouth Advertising
Word of mouth advertising continues to be the crown jewel of the marketing world. A recent study shows that 68% of consumers trust online opinions from other consumers. Online reviews are the modern day equivalent of the water cooler word of mouth recommendation from a colleague, and any business that is not reaching out for these reviews is missing a serious opportunity for more business. There is software available that will automate the process of reaching out and encouraging a review, as well as syndicating the great reviews that your business has generated. If you have no program in place to do this, now is the time to put an online reputation management plan in motion.
We know that the fun time of the year is about to start, and September will be here before we know it. Make an investment in the future of your business by utilizing the strategies outlined above. A beachfront, tourist destination has unique business challenges at each stage in the sales cycle, make sure that your digital marketing strategy both attracts new customers and retains those that you have worked so hard to acquire. Here’s to a great summer! Any other tips? Feel free to share.