Published: Saturday, 16 August 2014 15:50
It is difficult not to over emphasize the importance of reviews, whether they are of your products or services. This is especially true for online reviews as more and more people are checking such reviews, which act as decisive factors in the decisions these people make. Reviews show to the world what customers think of your products or services. Most people today read reviews of various products and services before actually buying or using them. According to 2013 research, 61% of customers read online reviews before they decide to buy, while 63% of customers are more prone to make a purchase from a site that displays user reviews.
In case you are in the travel and tourism business, it is of grave importance that you seek and encourage online reviews from your existing customers. Here are some ways that you can use to encourage positive reviews online:
Ask for reviews: The simplest and yet most effective way to ensure that you get positive reviews is to ask for it. After completion of a transaction on your website, make sure that you have a call-to-action button in place, which will enable customers to leave their feedback. Of course, it is important to ensure that you do not flood your pages with such buttons but place it in such a manner that it entices and creates awareness about the importance of leaving feedback. Additionally, you could always seek reviews from your customers through emails. Most business owners in the travel and tourism niche send emails seeking reviews from past customers after they have stayed at their hotels/resorts, or booked a tour package through them, or hired specific travel services from their company.
Simplify the system: When seeking online reviews, you should ensure that the entire process is as simple as, or even simpler than the actual buying process. Ideally, a quick survey, which is easily completed in less than five minutes, is the best way to ensure quick and positive reviews from your customers. The beauty of these rating surveys is that the customer might just be tempted to leave a detailed review, which is definitely a bonus.
Display reviews prominently: Whether positive or negative, make sure that you display reviews prominently. While the emphasis should be on positive reviews, it is equally important to put some negative ones, if any, to show that you are unbiased and fair. Moreover, by publishing negative reviews, you actually increase your credibility in the market. Also, by displaying reviews prominently, you are telling people that you value their opinions, which is another positive encouragement for future customers to leave their own reviews.
Incentives and other similar measures: Another great way to solicit reviews from your customers is by offering some incentives. This could be discounts that are won by random picks or could be relevant recommendations based on their past shopping experiences and reviews. Any business that concentrates on making the shopping experience a customer-oriented one, will definitely find it easy to solicit positive reviews from its customers. Of course, care should be taken that you do not go overboard with your promises of incentives as this would create problems of its own.
Using feedbacks and opinions as reviews: Often, it is seen that customers provide feedback through mails or other formats, which are not an actual review. You could seek the approval of such customers and use this feedback or opinion as a review, with their name. Alternatively, where the customer is not open to the use of his or her name, you could publish it as a feedback from an anonymous source.
With almost everything having an online presence these days, customers who have used travel and tourism services, are posting online rants and reviews with an increasing fervor. No wonder why such reviews can make or break a business. But you can take steps to offer top-notch services and products that ensure happy customers. After all, no amount of soliciting feedback or requesting reviews would help you overcome a bad service/product or negative first impression. Therefore, invest time and effort to resolve issues that your customers may have and wow them with high quality products and services. Then, use the above tips to encourage these happy customers to leave positive reviews for your business online.
Published: Tuesday, 12 August 2014 16:22
Congratulations on taking the step to search engine optimization and internet marketing for your real estate business. Many of the tools are what top SEO firms use to market your real estate website and to target your customers. This eBook not only promotes your website with each task you do, it will teach you WHY you are doing it and HOW it will help in the long run.
Using this eBook to your advantage:
The majority of the tasks in this eBook will require an internet connection to do. Links have been provided for you for supplemental information and directly to the source.
While this eBook is intended for website owners to work through over time, you can actually utilize the information in a variety of ways.
- One task a day – Dive in and tackle a task each day, or more than one
- One task a week – for those with very little time, but want to do SOMETHING to help their SEO.
- Delegate to a group – delegate a section for your team members to work on all at once to achieve your goal quicker!
After Completing this ebook You Will Have:
- Learned essential skills for marketing and promoting your real estate website on the Internet
- Created more inbound links for people to find you
- Improved the foundation for your site
- Listed your site on top Real Estate Directories and Social Sites
- The ability to track your growth the way professional SEO Firms do
- Formed a social media network full of potential prospects
- Developed a reason for search engines to crawl your site more often
- Submitted your site to top search engines
- Utilized your time wisely while using very little money to achieve your goal
- Increased your breadth of ways for people to find you
- Produced effective marketing campaigns to drive traffic back to your site again and again
- Given followers a reason to revisit your site
The 18 page eBook is chock full of hundreds of tasks for you to employ STARTING NOW, which you are sure to use again and again - FOR FREE!
Published: Monday, 11 August 2014 12:52
Pinterest took the social media world by storm when it emerged as the third most popular social media platforms in the US in February 2012 in terms of traffic, with a user base of over 10 million users. Later, many experts claimed that marketers need to focus on Pinterest as it brings in more traffic to websites as compared to the combined power of Google+, LinkedIn, Reddit and YouTube. If you are yet to leverage this platform or are not sure about how to build an engaged audience, here are 7 steps that can help:
- Have a complete profile: This is the first step towards reaching out to your target audience and engaging them. Unless people know who you are, what you do and what’s in it for them, they will hardly come back to give your profile a second look. Therefore, upload a good picture of yourself, use your own name and write a little bit about what you do or about your company. Though you can use your company’s name to create the profile, it’s important to remember that people prefer to connect with humans rather than faceless companies. Of course, that changes when the company is a bigwig like Nike or Pepsi.
- Create a lot of boards and bring variety: You won’t benefit from Pinterest if you post random images in the hope of getting repins. Since the platform lets users browse images by category, you need to create more boards on a wide variety of topics. This will make it easier for your boards to get noticed by your target clientele. You may even create boards to tell short stories and forge a connection with your audience. After all, storytelling is one of the best ways to create your USP while reaching out to and influencing your audience.
- Name your boards and fill the descriptions: Bring in some creativity while naming your boards. Refrain from using mundane titles like ‘cool stuff’ or ‘weekend fun’ or ‘things I love’ etc. Instead, use creative and catchy board titles that grab the attention of your audience. Also, remember not to pick too long a title because if you do, they’ll be truncated and won’t have the same appeal. Selecting the most visually engaging picture for the board cover image is another crucial thing. Lastly, write a description that invokes interest and entices your visitors to click on them.
- Use quality images: Pictures speak a thousand words but only when you choose the right ones. To entice and engage your Pinterest audience, you need to use the highest quality images (preferably those with their dimensions in the range of approximately 600 to 800 px) for your boards. Refrain from using tiny or unclear images as they won’t entice your followers.
- Find free online tools to use: You can find quite a few online tools that let you create your own infographics, banners, images and inspirational posters. Remember – you shouldn’t be forced to spend a fortune on hiring a graphic designer when some cool tools and a little bit of DIY tips can get you through.
- Know your audience: Since many studies have shown women to form the majority of engaged Pinterest users, businesses often stereotype the platform and focus on fashion, DIY, make-up tips, home décor etc. But you shouldn’t make the same mistake. Remember that Pinterest users are complex and the people who enjoy fashion/beauty tips are also reading up on career choices and entrepreneurship ideas. Therefore, know your audience better and focus on creating inspirational, engaging visuals for them (both men and women) that generate steady engagement on Pinterest.
- Help solve problems: One surefire way of creating an engaged audience is to help solve their problem or answer their questions. Therefore, find the pain points of your target audience and then plan your boards to provide solutions. Include useful infographics, step-by-step pins etc (which your viewers can refer to, later) to help solve their issues/problems.
Offering a sneak peek into your new products/services, special offers/discounts to your most enthusiastic Pinterest followers, arranging competitions and giveaways to winners etc are some other effective ways of creating a loyal Pinterest audience. So, use them and see how your Pinterest users bring big business your way.
Published: Friday, 08 August 2014 12:39
Pinterest is undoubtedly one of the more popular social media platforms for businesses today. Since it’s a visual media, focusing more on pictures and videos, it garners a lot of interest. Since many experts suggest that Pinterest often brings more visitors to a website that the combined effort of other social media platforms, it pays to showcase your offerings on this platform. Apart from generating interest and grabbing eyeballs, you can also divert a substantial traffic from Pinterest to your website. As a travel agent, here are seven ways that to leverage the power of Pinterest:
Showcasing your photos: You might have certain destinations as your prime locations and several photographs of these regions that you want to highlight to your prospective customers. Just imagine how enticing it would be for a traveler to see the choicest of photographs pinned in an appealing manner. You can do it to showcase your photographs and thus, encourage the prospective travelers to visit that destination by enquiring about and booking your tours. After all, photos speak a thousand words and choosing the right ones to showcase on Pinterest can give your tourism business a big boost.
Specialty specific boards: Often as agents, you are confined to certain specialty areas, which could include cruises, or honeymoon/wedding tours, or tours for aged couples/families with children etc. Pinterest allows you to create boards that are specific to your specialty areas, which in turn help in garnering more interest and therefore more targeted traffic to your website. Since most of those who actually visit Pinterest are serious buyers, the best you can do is to highlight your specialty areas via this platform. What’s more, Pinterest allows you to add your price for these specialty areas. Surely, it’ a win-win for you.
Increasing credibility: As a travel agent, when you post pictures of your own family or those of your friends onto your pin boards, you are actually increasing your own credibility, while also making it extremely personal. Travel pin boards score over others in this area where each picture is a cherished memory of the person who has traveled that route, which in turn ensures better business for you.
Collecting, maintaining and making available relevant data: As a travel resource center, you often have a vast collection of information, which could help the traveler decide on his or her course of action. Various destinations have their own peculiarities and special features, which are often not as renowned as some others. Showcasing these features through pin boards is a wonderful way to ensure your credibility as a travel resource center whilst also ensuring that you attract the attention of the prospective travelers. These could include simple tips on what gear to carry when traveling to a particular destination, the type of attire to carry with you, or even tips on how to enjoy the various sightseeing options that are locally available.
Creating your own unique niche: The beauty of Pinterest lies in the fact that it allows the freedom of creating your own unique niche, which is different from the norm. You can put your creative hat on to formulate something unique on this media (could be tours off the beaten path, taking tourists on hitherto unknown walking trails/to witness not so common sights and sounds etc). This will ensure a better way to engage with your present and prospective clientele.
Sharing trivia: Pinterest is a place where along with pictures, you can share trivia that’s relevant to your area of business. This could include recipes that are region- or destination-specific, information regarding museums and other places of interest, health and relaxation tips and the like.
Increasing web traffic: Finally, it is believed that a picture is more effective than words, which means that traffic to your website will get increased manifold due to the use of this wonderful social media tool.
Given the multitude of benefits that you can gain from Pinterest, you should get stared today. Prepare a list of your destinations, specialty services and target audience and then start pinning and sharing some wonderful pictures that will definitely bring in more traffic to your website and help your business reach the next level.
Published: Wednesday, 06 August 2014 12:36
Twitter is, undoubtedly, one of the most popular social networking sites today, with nearly millions of tweets being shared daily on a regular basis. While Twitter defines the number of characters you can use per post, it does not restrict the kind of posts that you can tweet. Therefore, it is possible to share videos, pictures and other links as tweets, making it easier for you to conduct business.
However, given the enormous amount of tweets every minute, ensuring that your tweet does not get lost in the melee is extremely important. This is where Twitter hashtags can help by ensuring that your tweets are instantly picked up during searches. If you have a travel and tourism business, you can use hashtags to drive more engagement on Twitter. If you are in a dilemma about why you should use hashtags, here are some reasons that can help you decide:
Helps find target audience: When in any business, it is important to identify and interact with the right target audience. This holds true for the travel industry. With the help of Twitter hashtags, your job gets simplified as they help connect people from all across the world. By using hashtags with your keywords, you come up instantly in the searches that are entered by your customers , both new as well as existing, making it easy for you to interact and create a bond with them. The beauty of these interactions is that while it creates the necessary buzz required to ensure a huge fan following, it also keeps the chats personal and close, making it an excellent mode of communication.
Drives audience to your content: Twitter restricts the number of characters that you can use for a single post. This in turn means that your tweets often do not have the depth that you require to ensure better communication with your followers. However, with the use of hashtags, you can actually drive your followers to your main content, website, blog or even other sources. Thus, the hashtags provide an excellent way to drive organic traffic to your website, travel videos and photos or other relevant content.
Better engagement with customers: It is believed that the use of hashtags increases the engagement two times than what you would otherwise have with your customers. Not only are you present in the chat sessions that are prevalent in the areas of your business but you can also engage with them when they visit your website or profile. Hashtags ensure that every business is given a good opportunity to interact and further expand their business with a huge network of people from across the world.
Now that you know the importance of hashtags, here are some tips to leverage their power for your travel and tourism business:
Identifying existing keywords that are in use by the public at large and utilizing these hashtags when talking about your business is a great way to ensure that you are topping the search lists. For instance, ‘travel’ is a commonly used keyword and therefore #travel will definitely help you stay high up in the search lists. However, the key is to identify specific keywords that cater to your area or destination or even type of holiday to ensure that you do not have to fight with others for predominance. Therefore, if you are into organizing tours for lovebirds and honeymooners, you may use hashtags like #honeymoon, #coupletraveling, #romanticvacation etc on your travel photos. Other relevant keywords could be #explorer, #traveltheworld, #wanderlust, #traveladdict, #travelpics, #travellife, #roadtrip, #travelingram, #snorkelshorties, #theadventurebegins etc from which you can pick the ones that suit your images the best and are used by your target audience.
You could ask past customers and guests to use a particular hashtag while sharing their photos on various sites. This would enable your business to grow by attracting all those visitors who view the pictures or are looking for similar vacations.
Personalizing your Twitter feed with pictures that are important or related to your destination or type of business will also enhance the image that you create and share with your customers.
As a travel business owner or agent, it is obvious that you have to ensure effective and quick communication with your customers. What better way than by using Twitter hashtags on your photos to drive in more visitors many of whom who eventually become your customers?
Published: Tuesday, 05 August 2014 12:42
The advent of social media and its subsequent rise in popularity has definitely changed the way we do business today and the tourism industry is no exception. Word-of-mouth has always been the best way for others to learn about new holiday destinations and exciting vacations. Quite naturally, the impact of social media on the tourism industry is a powerful one. Here are some facts on how social media has changed the tourism industry.
Much has been said about the value of the word-of-mouth publicity or marketing campaign. In the tourism industry, you cannot refute the fact that this is the basis on which a particular business operation succeeds or fails. Social media websites have given a great upstart to this marketing strategy by making tourism businesses go global with a simple click of a button. Sharing of holiday pictures on Facebook or Pinterest, checking in through Four Square or even tweeting an experience are some common examples of how people know about destinations and plan their holidays. It is, therefore, expedient that as a tourism business owner, you utilize this to your best advantage.
Business owners have always toiled to ensure proper branding of their businesses, often resorting to elaborate tactics, which are heavy on investment. However, with social media, most businesses today rely on their customers to help with their branding. The tourism industry too is leveraging this trend. If you really think about it, travelers plan their vacations based on the recommendation of their friends or colleagues. As a business owner, therefore, it is important that you cash in on this particular trend and ensure that your brand becomes a popular and much talked about entity out there in various social media platforms. This could be done by popularizing your existing brand message through past guests or clients or simply finding out the relevant messages out there and utilizing them to your advantage.
Building and managing a good reputation
Reaching out to your guests and patrons has always been important in the tourism industry. After all, these are the people who will spread the word to others, thus patronizing your business. Before the advent of social media, this used to be really difficult and quite laborious. However, with social media websites, it is easier today to track all comments and suggestions made by your guests and patrons. Reviews, both positive and negative, written on various travel websites, are easily addressed today, making it possible for you to build and manage positive online reputation with your patrons.
Romancing your clientele base
Often, it is seen that a traveler will make plans based on the inputs he or she gets from the internet. Showcasing your expertise in the best possible way, with the help of attractive pictures and videos, quick interaction with clients and sharing of experiences of past guests are all easy ways to attract new customers while maintaining and building the loyalty of the older guests. Statistics show that nearly 52% of the travelers change their plans after seeing destinations and vacation ideas that are showcased in an attractive manner, while 48% remain true to their plans.
Increased level of trust
Another major impact of social media on the tourism industry is their ability to kindle a high level of trust amongst the patrons. Reviews of friends, family members and colleagues rank at a real high of 92% while other customer reviews follow close behind at 70%, thus making it a great way to ensure increased levels of trust in your business operation.
Blogging, sharing of pictures and videos, writing reviews about various holiday destinations et all are becoming the norm today. There is no doubt that the social media has a great impact on the tourism industry. Therefore, it is more important now to decide on the steps that you will be taking to ensure that your business leads the way forward.
Published: Thursday, 24 July 2014 00:11
Social media is one extremely powerful means of connecting with new people. But to use this avenue for building your audience and finally, growing your business, you must ensure that you have consistent presence across different social media and networking platforms. Also, you have to focus on keeping your audience hooked to your content and entice them to return for more, time and again. For this, you have to provide them with the content that they will love to see and read. Though it's important to share your content in an engaging and interactive way, it might get a bit expensive as well as tiresome doing it all on your own from scratch. This is where some free content creation tools can help.
Here is a list of some of these tools, which you can use to create engaging content for free:
If you have a bunch of words in mind and are not sure about how to present them in an interesting way, Tagxedo might be a good choice for you. It turns news articles, famous speeches, slogans and articles into visually engaging word clouds. These not only help you present the content in a new light, but also offer insights into the content with a new visual analysis.
This is a useful tool for creating original images for your posts. All that you need to do is take a screen shot of what you want to display in the image and then mark it up. Use shapes, sketches and annotations to get your point across.
Often touted as the best free photo editor that you can use without registering, this is a user-friendly tool. Even if you aren’t very tech-savvy, you can still use it to great effect. While the Photo Editor can come handy for adding a frame to your image or resizing/ cropping it, some more photo editing tools can be used to spice up your images with effects, thus creating unique pictures that grab attention and eyeballs. Creating photo collages with the Collage Maker is yet another much-loved feature of this tool. You can also make a Facebook Timeline Cover with the help of BeFunky.
If you would like to get engaged with your audience on a more personal level, Qzzr is a great tool to use. You can create useful quizzes for your blog or website and test your audience's knowledge. This also helps you capture leads, present exciting offers and drive significant social traffic to your web pages.
If you want to tell your audience a story, Storify is the tool to opt for. You just need to collect news stories, videos, images, links, updates etc from different possible sources. You can search all these from one place and then publish it on Storify. You can also embed urls in your stories or embed your own Storify stories elsewhere on the World Wide Web. You can share such stories with your audience and help them go viral.
This is a website that provides you with high resolution photographs, which you can use for any purpose. If you have a book of quotations and would like to share it on your social media page, you can do that with Unsplash.
If you are planning to share dynamic and interactive images for your business, ThingLink might be a good option for you. You can use it to add multimedia overlays or text to an image to make it more interactive. Whether you need to make an infographic, a photo album, a map, or a presentation, you can do all that with ThingLink.
Starting from interactive presentations to interesting infographics and other engaging content, you can create a lot in your browser for free with this tool. Using a variety of templates and presets or a blank canvas (if you want to start from scratch), you can create content, share it publicly or with a limited group with restricted access, and export such content everywhere (be it embedding to a site, sharing online or downloading to use in an offline mode).
Perhaps you have heard the adage: Sometimes the best things in life are free. These free tools show how you can create content for your social media campaigns without spending a ton. So, start using them to create superb content that will help you strike a chord with your target audience and keep them engaged and happy.