The Internet Can Help You Offline Too!
The internet is a modern day essential for hospitality businesses of all niches and sizes. Without a website, or even social presence, you risk losing out on a large amount of business, as well as excellent marketing opportunities.
Businesses within the hospitality industry benefit from the fact that travel websites are aplenty, so there’s a chance your small business may have been reviewed on a travel site. If you don’t have your own website however, your competitors have a better chance of succeeding by attracting new visitors and exposing their business to a wider audience.
If you’re unsure how the internet could help your business to excel, then read on for some tips on how to utilise the internet to your advantage.
Track your Competitors
The internet is an excellent way to track exactly what marketing campaigns your competitors are running and even how successful they are. If you find that your sales for one month drop, investigate if any of your main competitors were advertising deals or hosting an event. This could help you to account for anomalous months and see how your competition succeeded. Although copying them isn’t the best idea, use their idea as a creative starting point and do it better!
Analysing your competitors’ websites can help you to identify areas for improvement. Where do they appear in Google for “your business field + local area”? If they rank higher than you in Google they’re likely to receive more new visitors. If you have any problems with the structure of your site make sure you resolve them as they can prevent you from ranking highly.
Get Involved with a Community
Online communities are a great way to add credibility to your small business and help it to grow. Blogging can be an excellent way to gather a readership with a large interest in what your business provides. Blogs are usually (although not exclusively) part of your main website, so the more readers you establish the more traffic your website will receive.
Before beginning a blog, establish exactly who your audience is; if you’re unsure, then this can be done by creating a customer survey. For example, if you’re the owner of a small guesthouse in the countryside, you may find the majority of your customers are hikers – so your blog should aim to capture their imagination.
Although some businesses use blogs to post solely about the business they own, that’s probably not the most interesting read for their target audience. Posts like “The 5 Best Hidden Walking Routes in XXX” are far more likely to appeal to your intended audience. This can help to reel in new visitors for your site and if you gain a loyal readership, start a new community.
Once your blog has gained popularity, you can post the occasional sales post that will be of interest for your readers. This could inform them of special events you’re hosting or discounts on your offering. You could also gather more readers by offering anyone who subscribes to your blog a one-time 10% discount off your services; this could help to boost sales and the popularity of your website.
Don’t forget to share every blog post through your social channels; if the content’s interesting, people will share it too! A great blog post could gain hundreds of shares, which would be great exposure for your website.
Also, interact with your followers and fans on their level. If you’re a restaurant owner, status updates similar to “what’s your favourite night cap?” will usually spark a flow of conversation. Engaging with your customers in an informal manner can make your small business seem a whole lot more interesting and can even create a community with your business being the common interest.
Using the internet isn’t just about making money online, it can also significantly help your business offline. Deals and discounts which are well marketed can see your customer numbers rocket. Although “making it” online won’t happen overnight, investing the time and effort to develop a credible online presence can significantly help you to grow in the long run.
About the author:
Written by Stephanie Staszko on behalf of Branded Bathrooms who retail vanity units and bathroom suites, perfect for businesses within the hospitality industry.