We can think of no better explanation for why a business needs a great website today than this:
“A business man without a face has no mouth to tell you who he is, how to reach him, what times he is available, what services or products he has to offer. His lack of any features and inability to communicate mean that it will be hard to get know him or decide whether you can trust him. A business in the 21st century without an Internet presence is like that man.” [from inboundmarketinghelp.com]
But it’s not enough just to have a website. That website needs to be great. So, what makes a website great?
When a potential customer comes to your website, they have a goal in mind. It may be to get your phone number, research your product, or inquire about a service. Whatever it is, the visitor has that goal and wants to achieve that goal as fast as they can. But when websites are confusing and a visitor doesn’t know where to find the information they want, they’ll leave.
To improve your website, you need to improve your website’s navigation. You need to make it very simple for someone to find what they are looking for. If you are a car dealership, make it very easy to find your inventory by including a link in your navigation bar. If you’re a restaurant, provide link to your contact us page where a visitor can find all your contact information. It’s simple, but makes all the difference between a mediocre website and an excellent website.
2. Call to Action
You are a business and your website must bring you customers. If it doesn’t, your website isn’t effective. For instance, if you’re a hotel, you want your website visitors to make reservations. In web design there’s a common theory that holds, if you don’t make it completely obvious what you want your customer to do and actually ask them to do it, they won’t do it. For the hotel example, if you don’t ask your website visitor to make a reservation, they won’t.
This is where call to action comes in. A call to action is basically some element of your website that asks your customer to take an action. For instance, if you were selling a product, it would be a “Buy Now” button. If your goal is lead generation, your call to action would be asking your visitor to fill out a form. And if you’re a hotel, it is a button that says “Click Here to Make Reservations”.
3. Search Engine Optimization
A website that gets no visitors is useless. You could have the best website in the world, with the flashiest graphics, the easiest to use navigation, the best calls to action, but without visitors, you won’t gain customers.
One of the best ways to gain new customers is through search engines. Let’s assume you’re a Ford dealership. If someone goes to Google and types in “buy new Ford F-150,” you want to be one of the first search results. Search engine optimization helps you achieve that. Your potential customers are out there looking for your product or service. You need to determine what “keywords” they are using when they are searching for you. Next, you need to include these keywords in your website. Finally, you need content. Google only ranks websites that provide users with information. If you have a one page website for a car dealership, Google won’t rank you very high in it’s search results. But if you provide visitors with a full list of inventory, and information on all models, and guides on buying cars, Google will start ranking you much higher and funnel more visitors to your website.
Now, how does it all come together? Search engine optimization brings you visitors. Navigation helps them find what they are looking for. And a call to action encourages them to take that final step towards becoming a customer. Follow these three simple steps and you’ll see a huge improvement in your website’s ability to bring you business.
Want more information? Need some help? Contact us and we can do this and more to improve your website.
“Mobile” is the new marketing buzzword. As smartphones become a more essential part of American’s lives, it’s becoming ever more important to integrate mobile into your restaurant’s marketing strategy.
Here are 5 mobile apps you should start using to attract more diners to your restaurant.
OpenTable is a restaurant reservation system, allowing diners to make reservations directly form their phones. Not only will this make your restaurant’s reservation process easier, but it can also improve your marketing. Over the last few years, OpenTable has been gaining in popularity and usage. Many of it’s user base use OpenTable as a way to find restaurants. By making your restaurant available for reservations through OpenTable, you open yourself to a whole new, highly profitable market.
SCVNGR is a relatively new mobile app, but it’s making headlines. It combines both the power of location based “check ins” with gaming. SCVNGR users can search for restaurants in their area that support SCVNGR and are then invited into the business to complete tasks, such as taking a picture in the business, checking in, and sharing the business with their friends on Twitter and Facebook. For doing so, they win prizes from your business, such as coupons or free items. It’s great because it not only invites SCVNGR’s large user base to your restaurant, but also incentivizes diners to share your restaurant with their friends.
You already know what Facebook is, but did you know that Facebook also has a mobile app that allows users to check in to businesses? And just like SCVNGR, you can reward these checkins with prizes. But unlike SCVNGR, Facebook has one of the largest user bases on the Internet: it’s coming close to 1 billion users. And when a user checks in with Facebook, all 500+ of her Facebook friends see that check in and are exposed to your restaurant.
Just like Facebook, Yelp.com also has a mobile app. Most users use it as a way to find new restaurants in their area, or for restaurants when they are visiting a new location. What makes Yelp different than most other mobile apps is that Yelp is based upon user reviews. When a user does a search for a restaurant, the results are listed by reviews; the best-reviewed restaurants are listed first. This gives you a great advantage over those restaurants with horrible service…encourage your customers to give you great reviews, and you’ll stand out from all the horrible restaurants.
Instagram is also a relative newcomer to the mobile app industry, but is making waves as its user base grows exponentially. In a nutshell, Instagram is a social network that allows people to share pictures with friends. The users can also share these pictures on Facebook, Twitter, and a number of other social networks. They can even check in to your restaurant with Foursquare. You may not know it, but people love taking pictures of great food and sharing it with friends. When they visit your restaurant, it’s great to encourage your diners to share pictures of their favorite dishes on Instagram, exposing your restaurant to their friends on ALL of their social networks.
The top restaurants are now using these mobile apps to increase their customer base and excel in their markets. Obviously, using these apps to your advantage requires some finesse. That’s where Brandtailers comes in. With our extensive marketing knowledge and 22 years of advertising experience, Brandtailers can leverage these mobile apps into your overall marketing strategy to make your restaurant the dominant player in your market.
Get in touch with us so we can further discuss how leveraging these mobile apps will improve your business.
The Internet and social media have changed marketing in the hospitality industry. For some marketers, it is a nightmare. But with the right strategies and tactics, social media can drastically improve your brand and marketing.
Here are 3 points we cover with all of our clients in the hospitality industry:
1. Don’t Fear Social
The world is changing. More and more Americans are spending their time online, on various social networks: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google Plus, and more. Along with this change, consumers are controlling and driving your brand’s marketing.
Some hospitality marketers are scared by this. It used to be that marketers could control the entire marketing message by broadcasting through TV, radio, and print.
But some hospitality marketers are embracing social media and seeing amazing results. As Felicia Yukich, the Social Media Marketing Manager of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, recently stated in an interview with the Pursuitist:
“At Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, we believe the winners in this new digital age will be the brands that let their fans define it and syndicate it…Digital media is now 50% of our brand’s marketing efforts, with a strong social media presence that facilitates engagement and encourages loyalty.”
2. Social Media as Customer Service
Social Media has a good side and a bad side.
On one hand, you’re happy customers will use social media to tell their peers how great their stay was. This is great because now other consumers can read these positive reviews.
On the other hand, unhappy customers will use social media to complain and leave negative reviews…and the world can also see this.
Now this is definitely not a bad thing. It used to be that if a customer was unhappy, they’d complain to all of their friends. And their friends will tell their friends, and onwards. As the marketer, you would not know about this until it was too late.
But with social media, you can now SEE your unhappy customers THOUGHTS when they leave posts on social media. This allows you to remedy problems before the negative word of mouth spreads. Andy Kauffman, vice president of commerce at Marriott Hotels, said it best:
“It’s enabling us to accelerate that conversation and make those connection points in ways that weren’t before possible. But the principles behind it are all rooted in good service and, if something happens, great service recovery.”
In fact, using social media, Marriott has been able to recover previously dissatisfied customers. To see this first hand, read this article from one such previously dissatisfied customer (found via mashable.com).
3. Interacting with Customers
Now, social media should not only be used when things go wrong. In fact, you SHOULD use it when things go right.
Do a quick search for your brand online. Also do a search on Twitter. You’ll see that people are talking about your brand. They may have said they enjoyed their stay, or maybe they’re asking a question. Whatever it is, you should respond.
Here’s an interaction between Hyatt concierge and their customer we found on Mashable:
When you interact with your customers, you make them feel special. It’s the same feeling you want your guests to have when they leave your hotel: doing so makes it more likely they will tell their friends about your hotel. But when you do it online through social media, thousands of other potential customers will also see the interaction.
Do you see how social media can greatly improve your business? We are here to help you improve your online social media marketing.
If you’re interested in seeing how we can help you, just as we do with all our clients, be sure to contact us.
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