Stop thinking about yourself

When marketing a tourism product you need to stop thinking like you and start thinking like your customers.  Thinking that your customers are like you is a common mistake which often results in tourism business owners thinking that website optimisation doesn’t work or marketing in general is total fluff and doesn’t get results.

Classic Case

We were working with a gorgeous “B&B” just north of Auckland that was owned by a lovely German couple. They desperately wanted to tap into the Auckland weekend getaway market and felt that they had done everything possible to get it. They optimised their website, offered a weekend package on their site and did Google AdWords but to no avail.  They were convinced that online marketing didn’t work and came to us for other options.

This is when we say to people – “show us yours and we will show you ours.” So we ask, what is the title on your website, keywords and what words and phrases do you use in the content on each page. Then what terms did you choose for Google AdWords? You show me what you chose and we will show you what your customers would choose.

Everything they did revolved around the phrase “luxury B&B”. Now put your hands up – how many Kiwis do you know that would search for a B&B for a weekend getaway? B&B is not a Kiwi weekend choice. It is relevant for some international markets but totally wrong for their desired market.

A couple of amendments to the product (change communal breakfasts to providing breakfast hampers), re-write of the title, keyword and content of the site and they have been happily rewarded with their ‘country lodge’ ticking over nicely on the weekends now.

So – don’t think like yourself, research and consider the words and phrases based on the nationality, age, spelling and interests of your customers.

Getting out of your own head pays off!

7 Comments

  1. Gen March 31, 2011 at 11:04 am #

    Great post – very true.

  2. Dawn March 31, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

    It takes a shift in mind set to view your product as others do. It’s easy to spend so long developing something that you end up with a very one sided view of what it is.

    You know what it is for you but it might be something quite different to your client. And their choice of keywords will reflect that difference.

  3. Craig Garner March 31, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

    Good advice, often the smallest shift in direction can radically improve the ultimate destination.

  4. John Owens March 31, 2011 at 6:13 pm #

    Even when you have a mind shift you need to check that it is not a shift in the wrong direction. When you have a new idea it needs to be validated.

    I have fallen foul of this in the past and have seen it many times with my clients. You may decide by chatting to people that they would not use the search phrase “luxury B&B” and that “country lodge” would be a more appropriate.

    However, before you start optimsing your site for this new phrase, pop onto the the Google Keywords Tool at http://www.googlekeywordtool.com/ and check to see how many people are actually using it.

    If you check for “luxury b&b auckland” you will find that only 58 people used it in the last month – so not a very popular search term. However, when you type in “country lodge auckland”, you will that zero people used this!

    This simple test would save you the time and money needed to change your website and would also give you the chance of being found by at least 58 people.

    Regards
    John

    • Michelle Ackers April 1, 2011 at 6:04 pm #

      I bet those 58 that searched “luxury b&b auckland” were luxury b&b owners in Auckland…. 🙂

  5. Gina April 4, 2011 at 7:29 am #

    Thanks John, I appreciate your contribution to the conversation and thanks for re-enforcing how important it is to consider your target and the words you use on a website.

    You bring up two good points:

    A good point that I failed to clarify is the property’s website was NOT optimised for “country lodge”. As you point out, it is not a popular search term at all. The site was optimised for romantic weekend getaway. We believe that the campaign would not have been as successful if we had left the type of accommodation as a B&B since this term is not their targets’ first or second or probably even third choice.

    A second good point is the use of Google’s Keyword Tool. Google’s free Keyword Tool is easy to use and offers great insight into popular search terms BUT we need to remember to use it as a guideline not as the bible. There is much discussion over Google’s recent changes to the tool which many claim make the tool misleading and only creates the need to do PPC (pay per click or Google Ad Word) campaigns to get true readings on what people are searching for.

    I guess if marketing and optimising a website was straight forward and predictable there wouldn’t be so many blogs about it!

    Again, thanks for the valuable input.

  6. Campbell Harris April 14, 2011 at 7:39 pm #

    Just a quickie, I never use Google’s Keyword Tool. Much prefer Google Insights. Not sure how accurate it is, but it kills several stones at the same time.

    http://www.google.com/insights/search/

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