From content focused algorithms to social synergy to the impact of mobile search, digital marketing in 2015 will be a landscape of creative engagement, seamless integration, and the customer journey. With our eyes on every Google algorithm launch and search marketing trend, the team at Milestone has designed cutting edge strategies for enhancing online visibility, content relevancy, high engagement, conversion, ROI, and the user experience. Inspire your marketing strategy by reviewing our 2015 Top Digital Marketing Trends webinar recorded on January 15th for an innovative look at the driving forces in digital marketing.
Mobile search is the star trend of digital marketing. The universe of mobile users is massive – 3 in 5 people use mobile devices to search and 80% of local searches on mobile devices convert to a purchase. And with Google rolling out a special label and ranking factor for mobile-friendly sites, it is essential that your hotel website is optimized for mobile search, as well as render seamlessly on all mobile devices. The target is to enhance mobile traffic and ensure a robust and seamless experience with content that can be shared on social.
Your hotel or business website has to tap into the possibilities of enhanced local search by creating optimizing content and local profiles, managing quality citations and listings in directories like Yelp, and delivering a seamless mobile experience across devices. It is critical that marketers manage their hotel or business’s local presence across search engines, Internet Yellow Pages (IYPs), data aggregators, business directories, local citations, and maps. Ensuring your hotel’s marketing strategy includes optimizing your content with headers, title tags and metadata, footers with location-based schemas, and image alt-tags will help strengthen the property’s local presence.
In our ultra-connected online community, the synergy of social engagement with your web and mobile sites is a powerful tool in integrated digital marketing. More than half the world uses at least two social media sites, including Google+, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Social media is a driver of brand awareness, customer relationships, and retention. If you want to be in the social conversation, and derive traffic from social platforms, your web content must be interesting, develop personal connections, and drive conversion. Make sure your hotel’s website is optimized for mobile and sharing across all devices, as well as featuring social tags like OG tags and Twitter cards. Be a stand out with a robust hotel social media outreach, engaging content, and unique visual media.
The art of content marketing starts with understanding your audience and the customer journey. Your content should engage, inspire, and enhance the user experience. The goal is to empower your audience with the information they want in a compelling format – short and engaging content, visuals, supporting content – exploring local attractions and activities – and trending topics. Your content should always be optimized for local and conversational search, as well as saturate diversified channels – from your website to blogs to social channels. Look at your Key Performance Indicators (KPI) indicators – including time spent on page, bounce, click-through rates, and engagement patterns. Then, determine top converting pages and enhance the content so you encourage the path to purchase and ensure its mobile responsive.
The user experience is the human path to successful digital marketing, making sure your target audience is engaged, can easily navigate your site to buy something, and tap into social influences. Conversion optimization starts with usability factors such as speed and performance, information architecture, legibility, scanability, color and images. When your site has a robust architecture with clear design and navigation, and engaging and relevant content, your hotel or business will increase conversion. A great way to see how the user experience relates to the conversion funnel is to implement an AB test. Users will be taken to one of two pages created, and you can track which page performs better based on simple design and content evolutions, including floating buttons, pictoral dropdowns, editable marketing messages and banners.
The key to a highly successful hotel paid search campaign is to diversify your channels and consider display, social, and meta search on top of traditional PPC. This will help ensure your hotel maximizes its outreach and bang for your buck. It’s crazy to see that many hotels and businesses still don’t bid on their brand name. Either your brand (if you’re a franchisee) or you should be bidding on your hotel’s name; because OTAs surely are! Leverage social channels and allocate some budget to tap into mobile conversion as well, where we’re seeing much higher ROI for our clients. Make sure you customize your marketing messages to your target audience, and always focus on the customer journey.
The customer journey is continuously evolving; therefore, hotels and businesses need to alter their approach to measuring digital marketing ROI. With the dramatic increase in mobile use for search, and consumers having more choices and control of their messaging, we now recognize that the conversion funnel is not linear and the purchase journey can begin at any point along the decision path. It’s highly important for hotels and businesses to tap into this dynamic, target the audience journey, and personalize the content.
Previously, marketers assigned 100% of conversion ROI to the last marketing activity that generated the revenue – this is call “last-click attribution”. With new innovations in digital tracking software, we are able to attribute ROI credit to every marketing channel or customer touch points. By understanding the conversion path, attributing ROI, and integrating a dashboard to comprehend the data, we can understand the real value of each channel.
From travel inspiration and research, to booking and post-stay social, understanding the customer journey is paramount to your digital marketing strategy. In tourism, and just about any industry or business, customers use search, websites, social channels, and reviews to research and plan a trip or purchase. That’s why your site has to be optimized for organic and paid search, connected to social channels, and designed for ultimate conversion. Being present on every layer of the customer journey gives your business the edge.
Google has recently launched a useful tool that helps businesses (small and large) understand what channels they should be focusing on to maximize exposure and encouraging consumers to make a purchase. Check out the customer journey tool here.
For more insights into the 2015 Top Digital Marketing Trends and Strategies For The Hospitality Industry, flip through our webinar presentation below. Also make sure to tune in next week when we post the actual webinar recording.
Benu Aggarwal, Founder and President
Kchitiz Regmi, Sr. VP of Operations and Technology
Mike Supple, Director of Products and Social Media
Source: Paid Search