eJourney Tourism

Build it and they will come… not!

April 26th, 2015

If I had R100 for every time I heard a travel organisation say their brand-new website was going to drive loads of tourists to their destination, I’d be a rich woman.

The reality is building a new website, is much like building a house. You spend more cash than you’re willing to admit in public, include unnecessary features and go way over your desired deadline.

Your new digital home may be pretty and come with all the bells and whistles, but if you haven’t told anyone about it, nobody’s going to peek through the windows, much less pop in for tea.

Yes folks, investing thousands in building a new website is just the beginning of a digital journey. It is not the destination. And website visits sadly do not just fall from the sky.

What that means for you, is that prior to launching your brand-new digital home, you should be working on a solid marketing plan to let the world know just how pretty and special it is, and why they should be popping in for a visit.

First off, give some thought to why you want people to visit in the first place. Do you want them to read your web content? Share it with their friends perhaps? Engage with you online? Give you a call? Or even sign up for your weekly deals?

This is important because when you’re gauging the success of your website in future, and marketing around these goals, these are areas you’re going to have to consider before making any changes. It is also important because a meaningless result for instance would be to get 1000 people knocking on your door with none bothering to pop in to chat or sign up for your weekly deals. Not all visitors are created equal, you see.

GOOGLEThe holy grail of SEO [Search Engine Optimisation] is also not going to rear its beautiful head immediately. When you first launch, it’s going to take time for Google and other search engines to realise you even exist. These search engines reward trusted websites that people have already recommended. Not the new kid on the block.

Don’t worry…it’s not all doom and gloom. There are ways in which you can start working on your street cred and hobnobbing with your neighbours to ensure web success.

Here are just a few suggestions:

  • Traditional PR and Content Marketing: When a major site links to your business, your website will enjoy a large amount of relevant traffic. Write press releases, blogposts and articles about your industry to increase your credibility as a thought leader, and go-to person for comment on industry news, trends and issues.
  • Remarketing: Identify actions within your site that users should fulfill, e.g. If you would like to build a database, ensure that you have a landing page on your site to acquire sign-ups and generate a remarketing tag for this page. Advertise it through Google Adwords.
  • PPC or Display Advertising: Advertise in text or banner advertising on Google or associated sites bidding on relevant keywords that users would input to find a business that delivers the product or service you do.
  • Social Media: Ensure that you’re active on the social media platforms your customers are monitoring and engaging with them. Run competitions and adverts directing your desired target market to your website to fulfill a specific action, e.g. sign up for your newsletter or view your summer specials.
  • Database: Tell your existing customers that you’ve launched a new website and encourage them through competitions or referral rewards to tell their friends. Include a note on your eShots, in your email signatures, on any collateral that you use to interact with your customers.

Don’t waste your extraordinary online investment by letting it stagnate without visitors. Building a website is easy. It’s just the beginning. Its true potential will only be realised if you can get your target market to visit it, and interact with it the way you want them to.

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