Back to basics
In this article, we'll give you an idea of how to boost your organic and paid growth. We’ll be using the example of holiday parks, but really these strategies can be used for all sorts of businesses.
Whether you’re just starting up, or are well established but feel like your marketing could do with a bit more direction, this article will give you an overview of the wide world of marketing.
Why you should be marketing
Having a great business is only the first step. You can be the best in the world but it doesn’t matter if nobody knows about it. That’s what marketing is at its simplest - getting your message in front of your desired audience.
A marketing strategy then is… ‘how do I do that?’. ‘Who is my audience, where are they and how do I talk to them?’. Figuring that out is the basis of any strategy.
Step 1 | Where to begin
If a marketing strategy is going to have any impact, it has to be customer-focused. So you begin there.
Identify your customers:
- Who are they?
- How old are they?
- Are they male or female?
- Why are they engaging with your business?
Understanding this - and understanding your audience - is absolutely essential to any marketing strategy. Without that understanding, nothing else you do will have any impact.
Holiday park example
For example, from Bliss's experience, many holiday and tourism-based clients are trying to appeal to two groups more than anyone else: young mums and grandmothers. More often than not, they are the key decision makers as to where to go on holiday. They do the legwork of research and ultimately book the accommodation.
Though this is a sweeping generalisation, by discovering your audience (rather than trying to appeal to the masses) it can really help to guide you in terms of what you should do next.
Step 2 | The basis of your strategy
If the first step is figuring out your audience, the second step is absolutely the message.
What do you want to say? Presumably, if you're a holiday park, something along the lines of ‘we’re great, come and have your holiday with us’.
So that drives all your messaging. What you need to do now is prove it. Why are you great? Is it where you’re based in the country? The view? Is there a beach or a forest, or mountains to climb?
Figure out what your key selling points are, because those are how you prove your key message - that you’re great and families should come and holiday with you.
Remember, your audience is crucial! So, in terms of mums and grandparents - how do those key selling points appeal to families? Is there fun stuff for the children to do? How about ways for the parents/grandparents to relax?
If you’re struggling here, you can always look at what your competitors’ messages are. They’re a great place to start, and also build from. What gets a lot of love on their social media? what questions are they asked on public forums? What do their reviews really celebrate? Why can you do what they do, but better? Answer these questions to find a truly unique selling point that instantly elevate you above competitors.
Step 3 | Executing your ideas
Step 3 is how. So we have an audience and we have a message. But how do you relay them? This is really where the effectiveness of your marketing rests.
From SEO, content marketing, social media, organic, Adwords and paid media, and of course email marketing, there are so many different branches of marketing. One of the most common questions is which one of those should businesses be focusing on. The answer = all of them.
They all have their pros and cons, but they really sing when you put them all together. It’s what we do at Bliss - we create integrated marketing strategies, which just means we know how each of these elements work together, and so we design strategies that uses them all.
To understand how we create an integrated strategy though, you need to have knowledge of the key components and how they fit together:
Your website will be key, but it takes time to build a website following. So we use organic (which really just means free) content. This expands the amount of keywords on your site, so search engines will recommend you to more people who are searching for related things - like ‘holidays in Yorkshire’ if you were a Yorkshire holiday park.
The more content you have, and the more it is updated, the more Google will trust you, and recommend your website in its results. That’s organic growth. It’s slow though and does take time.
It’s also worth noting that it’s not always a 'more is better' situation.
If you keep producing organic content on exactly the same subject but repackaged, though this may feel like it’s promoting your business, these pieces of content will actually be 'cannibalising' each other. Essentially, competing against each other in the search engines, so none of them win.
So when you start to populate your website, try and think of each piece of content serving a unique purpose and don’t be afraid to update and refresh older pieces of content (rather than adding new stuff on the same topic). Concentrate on quality writing and targeting chosen keywords, rather than just trying to churn out as much as you can.
Because this free growth may take time to build up, Bliss recommends running Google Ads/social media advertising alongside organic campaigns.
These are fast and you get results almost straight away. We can sell holidays using Google Ads, as well as driving new traffic to your website. Once that traffic is there, that’s when your content becomes relevant again for them. When they leave your site, we can do remarketing ads to get them to come back.
Social media is also really key to building your online profile - so we make sure we’re doing organic posting on there, but also run paid ads too, to expand the amount of people your messages can reach.
Social marketing can take up a surprising amount of time, given that we always recommend acknowledging and preferably responding to every comment. So don’t feel like you need an active presence on every platform.
Consider the social media accounts which are most suitable for your audience. Where does your average customer spend their time on the internet? For example, Facebook is the largest and therefore usually pretty important for businesses, but did you know that Instagram is more female dominated and Twitter more male dominated?
But most importantly - how is your product best displayed online? Do you want a witty brand personality to tweet about? Do pictures do you justice? Or videos perhaps?
We have more social media tips, tricks and free tools, focusing on Facebook and Instagram in particularly, in our recent blog post HERE.
SEO, which is Search Engine Optimisation, is like a routine dental appointment for your website.
Over time every single website accrues problems, just like our teeth. SEO is us cleaning your teeth so the dentist, in this case Google, gives you a clean bill of health. If you don’t do SEO, Google won’t trust you as much, so it starts recommending you less to people who are searching for related terms.
How often should you do SEO? How often do you clean your teeth? It should be routine.
In both cases, problems build up if you leave it too long between maintenance.
Email marketing is really effective at sharing direct sales messages and special offers. It can be a real driver of sales if you do it right.
After all, those on your mailing list are already interested enough in your offering to want to sign up, so their potential to buy from you is really high. Therefore, strategising and spending a little more time crafting an email to persuade them, is definitely worth it.
The best way to do that? Basically, you need to think about every aspect of your emails carefully. From creating an intriguing subject line to a bold call to action. Plus, always A/B testing it to see what worked best and building on that success in your next email.
But also, beyond perfecting individual emails, it is important to practice good 'email hygiene’ on your mailing list. Don't be afraid to unsubscribe the email recipients who never open your messages, as they just skew your statistics.
For the rest of your list, try to segment people into groups, maybe by their status as a previous customer, or which park they’re interested in, or which type of holiday they like. For there you can send personalised emails that are directly relevant to that group. This is the key to better engagement and conversion on email marketing.
If you'd like to learn more about how to practice excellent email hygiene. You should definitely check out our article - Email Marketing 101, which gives loads of amazing ways to boost open and click rates on your emails.
Three steps to success
That’s a really quick overview of a marketing strategy. You can see how each element feeds into the next, rather than standing on their own. That's why integrated marketing strategies beat any other type hands down every time.
It might sound overwhelming, so just remember, it’s really only 3 things: know your audience, decide your message, tell your audience.
All of this can be done by yourself, if you have the time to learn and time to plan. Alternatively, get a digital agency like us who knows this inside and out to do it for you. It doesn’t mean you won’t have to do anything - but it does mean you don’t have to worry about growing your customers through digital marketing.
Feast your ears
On our first podcast: Social-First, Customer-Focused Marketing, if you want more of JP and Rachel's marketing knowledge about how to come out of lockdown stronger than ever before.
2020 marketing guides
Want to learn more about the topics covered above? We've written a load of free, informative guides on best practice for a range of marketing topics: