People visit your website and often leave immediately for a few key reasons: because they don’t like what they see (not visually appealing); they can’t find what they are looking for quickly (poor layout and usability); or they aren’t given the information they are looking for (poor planning and no focus).
Search engines like Google prefer to serve up websites to people searching online when those websites are being updated on a regular basis. Also, if people are visiting your site then leaving immediately without clicking on anything,that’s call a bounce: a high bounce rate will ensure a lower ranking within Google searches.
Determine your key market segments and create content on your website based on them. We suggest creating one or two landing pages each month based on key specials that are related to the market segments you’ve identified. From there, place images and text on your homepage that link to these landing pages. Landing pages can be promoted via ads in your blog, via social media, and through email as well as paid online ads such as Google and Facebook.
2. Optimize your On-Page SEO using keywords important to your potential clients.
Most website content management systems (like Webtree Pro) have an SEO section within the Admin area where you can add and edit page titles, page descriptions, and keywords. The title section should be the name of the page, which should contain the most important keywords related to that page. The Description should contain a clear description of the page content and include as many main keywords as possible (256 Characters is often the limit). Within the Keywords section you include all relevant words and combination of 2, 3, 4 word phrases that people would search for in order to come across your page, (again 256 Characters is often the limit). Keywords need to reflect the content on that page and the type of clients you want to attract.
You also need to properly name images, again, using keywords important to your market segments.
3. Claim local Directories listings and be found locally by people searching for products and services you sell.
Most travel agents and agencies service the surrounding geographic area and therefore NEED to have local Search Engine Optimization. A good way to start the process is by searching for your business within online directories such as Google local (Google plus for business page), Yahoo local, Yellow Pages, Yelp, Merchant Circle, Finduslocal etc., as well as social networks that also have your website, phone, address and email listed (Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter, Google plus and others).
You should then do a Google search for your business name, and/or phone number, follow the links and make sure any other listings that show up on the first couple pages of a Google search are correct, complete, and consistent. When possible they need to have the business name and description, physical and web address, email, business categories, and phone number (local and toll free if you have one). If you can claim the listing for free, do it; you can often add photos and more detailed information. The more information the better, and be sure to use keywords that refer to the markets and segments you want to attract visitors from. Avoid paying for any upgrades or listings, this is often overkill and not needed.
4. Social Media is huge and here to stay. Engage your fans and foster new ones.
We all know this, but often times we don’t put the effort required into these marketing channels to make them a viable part of our strategy. Everyone wants traffic on their website, but the fact of the matter is social media can be a large driving force. On top of that, search engines, like Google, rank content that is shared through social media higher than if say, you wrote a blog article or had a landing page for a promotion on your website but didn’t share and promote it over social media. If you’re not sure what to post, have a look at what other travel agents are doing
5. Have a blog on your website, write articles for it on a regular basis and share them via Social Media.
Writing blogs can be a daunting task, but as a travel expert and travel agent, you need to be seen as the go-to person for travel advice and consulting. Start with what you know best: your past experiences. You can also write about the things you want to be known for, such as destinations, resorts, cities, attractions, cruise lines, awesome deals, favorite ships, and the list goes on.
Pick a topic you know and start writing, you’d be surprised at how quickly you can jot down great information about things you know and have experienced. Try to have a plan, come up with 10 topics based on what your key markets would be interested in and write one a month, at minimum. Having these article on your websites blog provides for excellent SEO and also provides content for you to include in your email marketing campaigns
6. Send email on a regular basis, use articles you’ve written and include related ads for your key promotions.
Email marketing is huge, it’s one of the top ways of getting traffic to your website. Use Mailchimp, there are others, but here at Compass Media we use Mailchimp, and it works. Send at least two campaigns a month, they can consist of your blog articles and a few key promotions. You want to use images and you don’t need to make the emails too long. Make sure the subject line of your email describes the content of the email accurately.
Ensure you have a good signature, which includes your name, business name, email, phone, address, social media links as well as social media and email share buttons.
You should also follow up with your clients after their vacation, don’t hesitate to ask if they’d mind writing a review for you. Provide links to places where they can review you online such as your Google plus, yelp or yellowpage listing. Obtaining reviews in these places is extremely beneficial to your Search Engine Optimization and to your bottom line, as people trust online reviews; they are considered equal in value to word of mouth.
TIP: You need to follow up with your email leads, we recommend sorting the email addresses number of opens and number of clicks after you send an email campaign. We use Mailchimp for our clients, they offer free accounts for to 2,000 email contacts.
Sounds like a lot to tackle on top of servicing your clients? Done correctly, you need to budget at least 20 hours a month (an hour per day minimum) to accomplish all this. That’s what Compass Media is here for – we can do all the above, or just some portions of it, while helping you manage the remainder.
Alastair Grant, Compass Media
888-621-7245 ext 103