Category Archives: SEM

We Discuss Search Engine Marketing, Paid Search, SEM and Tricks to Improve Pay Per Click.

If You Missed It: Google Webinar on Monetizing the Customer Journey Now On Demand

Milestone and Google co-hosted a webinar titled Get the Most Bang for Your Buck out of the Customer Journey on Wednesday, May 17. The recorded webinar is now available on-demand for those that may not have had the opportunity to attend.

“Digital marketers are busy, we realize that, and the webinar was a huge success, filled with highly informative content and key takeaways,” said Milestone Vice President of Marketing, Walter Paliska. “We wanted to ensure anyone who was not able to attend has an opportunity to see the webinar at their own pace,” continued Mr. Paliska.

The Milestone/Google webinar focused on three key areas of the customer journey and how it relates to your business:

Micro-moments in the customer journey
The Google and Milestone teams discussed the customer journey and the micro-moments that are associated with hospitality consumers. They also shared critical data on consumer behavior as it related to travel, how consumers choose their hotel and their use of technology.

Strategic takeaways related to the moments
Milestone shared strategic insights at each of the micro-moments to help hoteliers put the micromoments
data within the context of marketing strategy and gave examples of some of the
techniques hoteliers could use to leverage the consumer customer journey.

Real-world examples
The webinar also provided the audience with an opportunity to learn how Milestone clients have benefited from strategies and technologies presented and how they were able to boost conversions, ROI and direct revenue by optimizing their spend in the customer journey.

Watch the webinar on-demand now
Milestone would like to invite those who could not attend to watch the complimentary webinar on demand here


Source: Paid Search

Milestone Launches Customer Communication Initiative

Milestone continues its tradition of excellence in education this week. Kicking off our customer communication initiative was global marketing expert Bill Hunt, his reputation in the SEO industry is unmatched and he has been a long-time partner to Milestone, working closely with our product teams and our customer success organization. He led the team in an extensive two-day discussion focused on effective communication for non-linear themes such as omnichannel strategies. At Milestone, we recognize that many of the strategies we recommend may seem confusing and we know that explaining what we mean well, concisely and effectively is key. Bill worked with our team this week on creating that compelling story that explains the benefits of omni-channel strategies, while removing the complexities.

Bill has also been working with our customer success teams in identifying key opportunities in digital marketing strategies that align with our clients’ corporate goals and objectives and how to continue to effectively utilize the confluence of organic and paid search strategies by identifying opportunities between organic and paid search strategies. Key parts of the sessions focused on the role of OTAs in the digital marketing mix, and on how to map strategies to our customer needs as the market continues to evolve.

Ongoing training from some of the best in the industry is one of the key reasons that Milestone continues to be the leader in digital marketing software and services for hospitality, retail and finance, our customer success teams continue to evolve and stay ahead of the technology and marketing curves, to put themselves in an ideal position to serve our customers in the best possible way, which of course, in the long-run, is why we are in business..

About Bill Hunt

Bill is the President of Back Azimuth Consulting, which focuses on helping companies understand the Voice of their Customer via their cloud-based keyword data mining and management platform, which aggregates keyword data into a single web-based application enabling marketers to quickly identify actionable insights into the interests and needs of their target market while helping to eliminate inefficiencies and missed opportunities. Clients include many global brands such as HP, Cisco and the entire portfolio of Pernod-Ricard.

Bill is considered the top thought leader on Global and Enterprise Search Engine Marketing and is an internationally recognized search marketing speaker having spoken at conferences in over 30 countries. Press, industry analysts and corporate leaders frequently seek Bill’s advice to effectively leverage Enterprise and Global Search Marketing and Social Media strategy.

Bill Hunt with Milestone – Chicago Customer Success Team

 

Milestone – Santa Clara Customer Success Team


Source: Paid Search

Google Launches Local Events Search, Milestone is Right There with Them

Yesterday Google announced a new feature as part of their mobile search results capabilities. Mobile users can now find local events happening near them by simply searching for them on Google. This capability is a continuing effort to make mobile devices more beneficial to users as mobile usage by consumers continues to soar.

The new local events feature relies on Google identifying sources of local events data from websites that have events calendars enabled, and that are properly tagged with the relevant schemas. Milestone customers are already benefitting from this new feature if they have Milestone’s Event Calendar feature enabled on their website and populated with local events.

“Staying ahead of the trends has always been a huge priority for Milestone,” said Walter Paliska, VP of Marketing for Milestone. “We were there when schemas became important, we were there when Google AMP was launched, and we are right there now with local events.”

Milestone customers who have purchased and deployed the Events Calendar don’t need to “do” anything to have their properties included in search results. In fact, in preliminary testing conducted at Milestone, our clients are often appearing on page one of local events searches being conducted on mobile phones, simply through the event data that is already posted on their websites. As consumers continue to expand their usage of mobile devices, having access to events and things to do in their area is critical to a successful experience. Location-based businesses like hospitality companies, banks, financial institutions and retailers can take advantage of these opportunities to not only solve real-world problems for their consumers, but also to create exceptional experiences for their customers.

Screenshot of search results for Milestone client The Abbey Resort in Fontana, WI.

Milestone customers who don’t have the Events Calendar feature on their website can add this capability easily by contacting Milestone at 1-408-492-9055 or by email at [email protected] Location-based businesses that are not Milestone customers are also welcome to inquire about moving their properties to Milestone to benefit from advanced technologies like Local Events Listings as well as the myriad of other technological advancements that have made Milestone a premier provider of digital presence solutions for location-based businesses.


Source: Paid Search

Milestone Wins Hermes Creative Awards for Exceptional Web Design

Milestone, a leading provider of digital marketing software and services for hospitality, retail and finance, won two platinum, two gold and one honorable mention for client websites at the recently announced Hermes Creative Awards.

The Hermes Creative Awards are an international competition for creative professionals and agencies. The Hermes Creative Awards are administered and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals and recognize the highest standards of excellence in traditional and emerging media and honors individuals and organizations for their outstanding achievement.

Milestone’s visually compelling custom website designs are created by an award-winning team with extensive website design and digital marketing experience. Built with Milestone CMS, a next generation cloud-based content management system architected for high performance, consumer-facing web sites. This platform has been built around three core principles: speed, mobile first capabilities and compatibility with modern search technologies like voice search and machine learning. Milestone websites are fully responsive, with user-friendly navigation and are designed to drive conversions and generate higher ROI.

The following website designs were chosen for recognition:

Platinum Award: The Chase Park Plaza (http://www.chaseparkplaza.com/) – an historic, luxury boutique hotel located in downtown St. Louis

Platinum Award: Grand Solmar Land’s End (http://www.grandsolmarresort.com/) – a luxury Cabo San Lucas resort at the ocean’s edge

Gold Award: Seaport Boston (http://www.seaportboston.com/) – a Boston waterfront hotel at the heart of the seaport district

Gold Award: Acme Hotel Company (http://www.acmehotelcompany.com/) – downtown Chicago’s trendiest lifestyle boutique hotel alternative

Honorable Mention: Randy Watkins Golf Group (http://www.randywatkinsgolf.com/) – owner and operator of three Mississippi golf courses

“It is wonderful to have the privilege of working with some of the most talented people in the country in my 20+ years of leading Milestone,” said Benu Aggarwal, Founder and President of Milestone. “We are blessed to have committed clients who trust us to utilize the latest technologies and strategies to produce amazing work and I am honored that industry leaders recognize our talent and capabilities.”

To learn more about Milestone’s award-winning website designs and digital marketing strategies, attend the annual digital marketing conference – Engage – in Chicago, July 17-18. For more information about this conference, please visit: http://www.milestoneinternet.com/2017-digital-marketing-conference.aspx.

For more information about Milestone’s digital marketing software and services, please visit: http://www.milestoneinternet.com/.


Source: Paid Search

CH&LA Southern California Speaking Event – Top Ten Trends for Digital Marketing in 2017 and Beyond

Event: Southern California Hotel & Lodging Conference

Where: Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center, 601 W McKinley Ave | Pomona California, 91768

When: Thursday, May 25, 2017 at 12:00am – 12:00pm

CH&LA and AAHOA have partnered to bring the largest one-day conference and trade show in Northern California to the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center this year. Each year over 450 hoteliers attend this special event to get educated on a variety of industry topics and to attend the trade show to see and buy the latest new products and services.

Click Here for More Info

About the Speakers:

Tammie Carlisle is a 16 year hospitality industry veteran who brings an extensive background in hospitality sales and marketing to Milestone where she is responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with hospitality clients and industry associations in the Western United States. Tammie has also spoken at several CH&LA and CABBI events and conferences in previous years. Tammie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the University of California Santa Cruz.

Craig Carbonniere, Senior Business Development Manager for Milestone, is a 12 year hospitality industry veteran. He brings an extensive hospitality management background to Milestone and is responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with hospitality clients and industry associations in Southern California. Prior to becoming a supplier, Craig managed various hospitality disciplines for Grand Pacific Resorts, Interstate Hotels & Resorts, and The Walt Disney Company. Craig also serves as Vice President of Communications for his local HSMAI chapter and is known as a trusted advisor for developing hotel ecommerce strategy.


Source: Paid Search

CH&LA Northern California Speaking Event – Top Ten Trends for Digital Marketing in 2017 and Beyond

Event: Northern California Hotel & Lodging Conference

Where: South San Francisco Conference Center, 255 Airport Blvd | South San Francisco CA, 94080

When: Tuesday, May 23, 2017 at 12:00am – 12:00pm

CH&LA and AAHOA have partnered to bring the largest one-day conference and trade show in Northern California to the South San Francisco Conference Center this year. Each year over 450 hoteliers attend this special event to get educated on a variety of industry topics and to attend the trade show to see and buy the latest new products and services.

Click Here for More Info

About the Speaker: Tammie Carlisle

Tammie is a 16 year hospitality industry veteran who brings an extensive background in hospitality sales and marketing to Milestone where she is responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with hospitality clients and industry associations in the Western United States. Tammie has also spoken at several CH&LA and CABBI events and conferences in previous years. Tammie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the University of California Santa Cruz.


Source: Paid Search

ADA Conformity: It’s More Than Just Lawsuits

You may have heard about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but do you know how it applies to your digital presence?

What is the ADA?

The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. As part of the ADA, the law mandated that websites should abide by a minimum set of best practices to ensure that users with impairments would have equal access to the world-wide web. The challenge with the ADA conformity clause is that Congress did not establish any guidelines regarding what qualified as an ADA conforming website. Over the years, as the legal system has dealt with lawsuits related to ADA conformity and website access, courts have leveraged guidelines established by the world-wide web consortium (W3C), as guidelines by which to interpret the ADA conformity of specific sites. The W3C guidelines, known as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are organized in three different levels, level A, AA and AAA. The court system has largely held that websites must meet level A and AA guidelines to be considered “conforming.”

Why care about ADA?

The default answer, of course, is legal protection. Over the past few years a series of well publicized law suits have been brought against website owners, particularly small to mid-sized businesses, resulting in awards that range from as little as a few thousand dollars to many tens of thousands of dollars. While protecting your business from ADA lawsuits is a very viable reason to ensure your website is ADA conforming, there is a much larger issue at play. In fact, by not providing ADA access to your website, you are simply alienating the nearly 20%* of US

consumers who have some form of disability. Having ADA conformity on a business website is more than good legal advice, it’s smart business advice.

How ADA Impacts your site

Having established that ADA conformity is a good business proposition, what exactly do you need to consider before making your site ADA conforming? ADA conformity for websites is largely based on four core areas:

Visual How does the website work when visually impaired visitors arrive? Is it screen-reader friendly? Are there elements of the site that are only accessible with a mouse and do not have keyboard access?

Auditory Auditory conformity is largely focused on the interaction of audio and the user. Specifically, do any videos included on the website contain closed captioning?

Tactile Can users access your website without relying on a mouse? Is keyboard navigation of all items on your site, including carousels, possible?

Cognitive Cognitive conformity deals with issues around font size, color, contrast and accessibility for users who may have learning or interpretive impairments.

The ADA Opportunity

The fact that nearly 20% of Americans have some form of a disability should be of significance for any business. The challenge of ADA conformity for your website starts with protecting yourself from lawsuits. In fact, since 2015, in the hospitality industry alone, more than 240 lawsuits have been filed, many receiving awards between $10,000 to $75,000 per lawsuit.** When you consider the cost of updating your site, the benefits of becoming ADA conforming are obvious. There is, however, a second, more important consideration. ADA conformity is more than just about protecting yourself from suits. In fact, a website that is not ADA conforming creates a barrier to the 20% of Americans who have disabilities; becoming ADA conforming is not just safe, it’s good business.

Keys to conformity

There are three key considerations to ensuring that your website is ADA conforming: Technology, process, and design.

On the technology front, the most important question is about your Content Management System (CMS). Is your CMS capable of creating ADA conforming websites? Do you have alert-systems in place in the CMS that will flag when ADA conformity issues are introduced in your site? For example, when installing 3rd party applications website owners should make sure to understand the impact of these additions. ADA conformity is not a “do it and forget it” approach; modern websites are constantly evolving, changing, and being updated. It’s critical to have a CMS that is able to not only create ADA conforming content, but is also able to identify ADA problems in your website.

With the constant evolution of websites, having an ADA-friendly development process is also critical. If your website development is done in-house, you need to ensure that planning and testing for ADA conformity is a core part of your website design and development process. If you work with an agency or a third-party vendor it’s important that your vendor have a well thought out and documented process for creating ADA conforming content and checking for problems.

Finally, ADA conforming design must consider a whole set of subtleties and nuances that might escape the untrained eye. Once again, it’s essential to ensure that your in-house or agency designers understand ADA conformity issues and have had experience dealing with ADA conforming design.

Examples of Issues with ADA

To understand the complexities of ADA conformity, consider a couple of quick examples of some of the subtle changes that must be made to a traditional website to achieve ADA conformity:

  • Skip to content ADA conforming websites must provide a means for a user to quickly skip non-screen-reader friendly content like hero images and jump to the text part of your website.
  • Manual carousel control Website carousels may be popular and fashionable, but they can create problems for users who have disabilities. ADA conforming carousels must be manually controlled and avoid excessive use of animations.
  • Full keyboard control How much of your website can be controlled and used with just a keyboard? Having full access to all content without having to rely on a mouse is a critical part of ADA conformity
  • Screen reader friendliness Is your website friendly to people with visual disabilities? Is your content screen-reader friendly?
  • Field label problems Finally, consider something as simple and, seemingly, straight-forward as a form on your website. While placing field labels within the field may provide a “unique” look, it often makes the form unreadable for screen readers.

Getting certified

You can self-certify for ADA conformity. In addition, there are several third-party organizations that will provide ADA conformity audits to provide you with a full report, either confirming that your website conforms to ADA guidelines as of a specific date, or providing you with an audit of the changes necessary to become ADA conforming. There is no such thing as a “guarantee” that having an ADA-conforming website will provide 100% protection from lawsuits. It does, however, significantly lower your risk.

Summary

The issue of ADA conformity for websites is not new, and is not likely to go away any time soon. Any consumer-facing business, but especially location-based businesses like hospitality, retail, or financial-services businesses, should make ADA conformity a core part of their business strategy and of their website development process. Not having ADA conformity as a central goal of your website strategy, is simply asking for trouble, and sends the wrong signal to your client-base.

* https://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/miscellaneous/cb12-134.html

** https://www.wsj.com/articles/companies-face-lawsuits-over-website-accessibility-for-blind-users-1478005201


Source: Paid Search

Get the Most Bang for Your Buck Out of the Customer Journey [Webinar]

Register for the complimentary Google and Milestone joint webinar on optimizing marketing spend in the customer journey.
This webinar will focus on three key areas of how the customer journey affects businesses today:

  • Understanding the customer journey
  • Consumer behavior in each stage of the journey
  • Measuring the customer journey to optimize spend

See how you can measure the direct impact of your marketing programs across the various stages of the customer journey and how to optimize your marketing spend to yield the best results.

Webinar Registration


Source: Paid Search

Drive Higher ROI from Your Website while Competing with OTA’s.

New Milestone CMS feature returns $21 FOR EVERY $1 YOU INVEST IN the Revenue Recovery Module

A hotel operates in an environment that is getting increasingly competitive. At the same time, OTA fees keep rising year-over-year. In such an environment, website conversion rate is always a key indicator to any hospitality business. On average, one third of visitors will begin a reservation but only 5% will complete the booking. In a study done by Sales Cycle*, 81% of people abandoned their travel bookings online. With the average hotel’s conversation rate around 2-3%, increasing conversion rates means directly driving the top line.


While these statistics may seem troublesome, the good news is that there is a compelling strategy that is available to help the situation. Over 30% of customers are willing to book the same day and over 50% within the same week. That’s an opportunity ripe for the taking. Milestone now offers a new feature as part of its award-winning content management system (CMS) designed to directly help business professionals like you take charge and drive higher returns from your existing website.

THE REVENUE RECOVERY MODULE

Our Revenue Recovery Module is one of the most effective ways of directly enhancing your bottom line and driving online bookings for your hotel. It is the only type of marketing communication that remains private while delivering a personal connection to your potential hotel guest. Most importantly, it has an opt-in process that turns it into absolute permission marketing.

1. Reservation Retargeting Email Campaign: Encourages the visitor to complete their original booking.

  • Emails are auto scheduled the moment a user abandons a reservation without converting.
  • Milestone will set up your email account, design your emails and develop your automated email campaigns.
  • Email campaigns are integrated with your booking engine.

Email captured during the booking process which will be used to send retargeting email campaigns to drive back conversions.

 

2. Reservation Reminder: The user can request an email reminder to book later

  • Milestone will develop for you an automated email campaign that are auto scheduled at the request of the user.

Email Auto reminder request

 

3. Reservation Abandonment Promotions: Marketing Promotion messaging displayed when users on your website display “exit intent.”

  • Milestone will develop for you automated site abandonment promotional messaging that will be programmed into your existing Milestone Marketing website.
  • Marketing promotion messages are triggered based on agreed upon settings and visitor interactions determined by client.

Marketing promotion banner

 

STILL WONDERING IF IT DRIVES CONVERSIONS?

We tested these new features on our live customer websites over a period of 2 months to gauge the effectiveness of the campaigns and their ability to drive revenue and bookings and found that hotels could drive a relatively high conversion rate of ~6-8% and a ROI as high as $21: $1.

*Your results may vary **70% would NOT have returned on their own & is completely new business.

Your website is your key branding and eCommerce asset and it’s never too late to take ownership of your eCommerce strategy. At Milestone, we help over 2000 customers drive higher conversions and revenue. To learn more about the Revenue Recovery Module features and pricing, please contact us at [email protected], 408-492-9055 or www.milestoneinternet.com.

*https://blog.salecycle.com/stats/booking-abandonment-why-people-abandon-their-booking/

 

About Milestone CMS:
Milestone CMS is a next generation cloud-based content management system architected for high performance, consumer-facing web sites. This platform allows hotels, retailers and financial services organizations to rapidly deploy and manage websites, location pages and micro-sites with great ease and at a fraction of the cost of existing systems. Milestone CMS has been built around three core principles: speed, mobile first capabilities and compatibility with modern search technologies like voice search and machine learning. Milestone CMS allows companies to build websites that consistently score over 80 on Google’s speed tests for both desktop and mobile, and that are powered by innovative technologies like Google AMP.

Contributed by Gaurav Varma, Product Marketing Manager


Source: Paid Search

HSMAI Oregon Speaking Event: Top 10 Digital Marketing Trends in 2017

Title: Informing Members of HSMAI Oregon Chapter about the top 10 digital marketing trends in 2017.

Event: HSMAI Oregon Chapter Sales and Marketing Meeting

Where: Sheraton Portland Airport Hotel, 8235 NE Airport Way, Portland, OR 97220

When: April 20, 2017, 2:30 PM – 5:30 PM

Search marketing continues to change and evolve. Learn how to grow revenues using different digital marketing strategies – search, local, mobile, social media and more. In this fast-paced session, Tammie Carlisle, AVP of Sales and Customer Service at Milestone, Inc. will cover ten of the top travel trends in 2017. Voice search and artificial intelligence are just two of the topics that will be covered in this session. You will walk away with practical tips and ideas you can apply at your hotel to stay ahead of the curve.

LINK: http://hsmaioregon.com/meetinginfo.php?id=19&ts=1490989628

About the Speaker: Tammie Carlisle

Tammie is a 16 year hospitality industry veteran who brings an extensive background in hospitality sales and marketing to “Milestone Internet Marketing” where she is responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with hospitality clients and industry associations in the Western United States. Tammie has also spoken at several CH&LA and CABBI events and conferences in previous years. Tammie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the University of California Santa Cruz.

 


Source: Paid Search

Social Media Strategy: How Much to Spend and Where

While social media has become a mainstream marketing channel, there are many variables that hoteliers are not taking advantage of to increase their revenue. Unlike other mainstream marketing avenues, social media is not static, as platforms continuously find ways to increase engagement with both users and advertisers. As social platforms have realized their massive marketing opportunities within their user base, they have increasingly capitalized on their clearly defined users by providing advertisers access to them. Today, the popularity of social channels has created a “pay-to-play” model that leaves many business owners and managers perplexed as to which channels to focus on, and the right budget to allocate in order to maximize return on investment (ROI).

Organic Social Reach is Dead

Social platforms bring the promise of an enormous engaged base, with 78% of all Americans having a social profile. This extreme density of users leads to an oversaturation of content. Social media platforms use algorithms to provide consumers with a better experience by de-cluttering the massive amount of content, highlighting topics and information that is deemed most “relevant” to each user. Facebook began prioritizing popular posts in 2009, and has continued to tweak what users see based on preferences and engagement. In 2015, marketers were faced with a daunting challenge. Facebook announced that business posts would be displayed less often in user news feeds compared to friends’ posts. Today, only 2-3% of posts created by businesses are shown to their fans, a trend that is guaranteed to remain as Facebook has warned the organic reach of posts will eventually decline to 0%. Marketers can no longer rely on creating engaging, relevant posts that will be automatically fed into followers’ timelines, but must rely instead on paid campaigns. As Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media channels expand on these practices, the need for well planned, well executed and well targeted paid social campaigns will become increasingly necessary.

Reach Your (Social) Customers

Consumers thrive on social media platforms, and tools are available to allow marketers to not only reach, but also to engage with these users in highly targeted ways. The biggest marketing mistake is to think your customers are not using social channels. Facebook alone has over 1.7 billion users. Marketers need to understand which channels are used by their target audience and how their audience interacts with each channel. For instance, a consumer could get dinner inspiration from Facebook on a daily basis, while using Instagram more sporadically to plan future travel. Pew Research Center has insightful research that allows marketers to better understand social platforms and their users. Once you have a solid sense of channels that are right for your business, it is time to identify advertising options to meet your goal. Is your goal to increase traffic to your website? To increase your page followers? Gain video views? Or perhaps you wish to increase engagement within your current followers? Having clear goals will allow you to carefully select advertising options to include in your strategy and assist in budgeting. The following advertising options are traditional for social media marketing and can fit into most social strategies:

  • Facebook Boosted Post – Allows you to get additional reach and engagement on a post. This ad type also includes a page like button, so if people like the content, they have the option to like your page. If you have a special or offer to share, this is a great option for it. Be sure to include a link for more information in your post.
  • Facebook Carousel Ad -This allows up to 10 images to be rotated in the advertised post and drives users to specific sites, pages, or apps. This can be done with a single image as well.
  • Twitter Promoted Post – This is like Facebook’s Boosted Post and it also has a follow button for anyone who wants to follow the business handle moving forward. One key thing to remember is to avoid using a hashtag on any promoted posts. If users click the hashtag, they may not be engaging with your tweet but you will be paying for that click. Instead, focus on the content that matters for you and include links to drive traffic to your site.

The options above are in no way a comprehensive list of social media advertising vehicles. We recommend reviewing social advertising options quarterly, as they are continuously changing, and budget to test the latest methods for reach and engagement. Since there are always new ways to reach your users, flexibility is crucial.

Target Practice

Targeting your preferred consumer has a direct impact on your budget. Advertisers are drawn to social channels due to their targeting capabilities. Businesses can target social users based on location, age, gender, interests, connections and more. Businesses new to social advertising should start broad, relying on the platform’s advertising system to see who responds well to published advertisements- the results may be surprising. The broad targeting can give a deep understanding of the type of users that engage with specific messaging, giving you an opportunity to later target those demographics uniquely. Travel, for example, tends to be a universal interest, so targeting only people that expressly state interests associated with travel will not lead to better results, just more marketing spend. The reason for this, obviously, is that the narrower your target, the larger the cost per action charged by the social channel. Rather than testing for narrow interest ranges, we recommend testing different ad options with varied audiences to achieve the best mix of advertisement and audience demographics. When measuring results, it is also critical to ensure your audience size and your result samples are large enough to make proper decisions. High click-through rates are pointless if the volume is insignificant.

Budgeting for Social

Your social campaigns should target current followers, they should aim to acquire new followers, and should also be used to test out new audiences and advertising methods. A huge benefit of social media advertising is that it is relatively low cost in comparison to traditional channels, making it an ideal platform for testing and measuring engagement. When developing a social media advertising budget, a good rule of thumb is to use 10% of your paid media budget (PPC) on social media. Drilling down further, divide your social advertising budget based on the channels that contain your target customers. Milestone recommends spending 80% of your budget on Facebook, which includes Instagram, a Facebook owned subsidiary. Instagram ads are developed through Facebook’s ad platform, ensuring maximum visibility. The remaining 20% of your budget should be spent on Twitter advertising. Focus your social budget on paid options that will bring reach and engagement. Most of these options still offer a “like/follower” option on the post. A little spend can go a long way. Milestone tested almost 100 of their clients with a $10 Facebook promoted post with excellent results:

  • 1,278% average increase in engagement
  • 456% average increase in reach

Average social media budgets vary by industry and audience size, however, it is common to allocate $1 per new Facebook fan. Salesforce released research regarding social media advertising costs, and the research shows the average cost per click is $0.65 in the United States. Some industries see an average cost per click as low as $0.16.

Targeting impacts your budget greatly; businesses pay more to target a smaller market versus a larger market. For instance, a locally advertised “weekend getaway” that targets audiences within 2 hours of a destination would have a much higher cost than a national campaign for a week-long stay. The reason for this is simply one of demand. Narrower campaigns like the first example require the advertising platform to discard a significant portion of their “inventory” to satisfy your demand. A broad national campaign, on the other hand can be more fully automated and can leverage a broad audience to display the advertisement. Tracking your ROI for individual campaigns becomes very important once you start testing out targeting and new social strategies.

If the social advertising options seem a bit overwhelming, businesses can opt to choose a daily maximum budget or a lifetime budget for social advertising. Choosing maximum budgets will ensure budgets remain constrained and do not grow out of control. Budgets can be set as low as $1 a day, but, of course, lower budgets must also be accompanied by adjusted expectations on results. Businesses fluent in social advertising often put a minimum spend behind each social post, knowing that without a spend the effort to create the post would be fruitless to a small organic reach. When businesses have more valuable content, such as videos, specials, or events, more spend would be suggested to reach more users.

Final Thoughts

There are many paid social advertising options available within the various platforms to begin or elevate your paid social strategy. Brands have seen such success with social media advertising that they have moved their paid marketing budget completely to social channels. Our recommendation is not to transfer your entire marketing budget to social advertising, but to consistently use paid social to increase your reach and engagement, and allow the flexibility to test out the latest targeting methods. The granular targeting capabilities of social platforms ensures paid social will remain a strong advertising channel and necessary for businesses. With the decrease of organic reach of social posts, businesses need to focus as much time on creating their content strategy as they do to promote their content.

Contributed by Nisha Thakkar, Director of Client Services at Milestone Internet Marketing

Nisha Thakkar is a Director of Client Services at Milestone Internet Marketing. She manages a team of seven SEO/Social Media Strategists that focus on the hospitality industry. She also leads the social media practice for the organization. She also manages social media training, paid social, the content marketing team, research, development of new ideas and all strategic social media activities for the client base. Ms. Thakkar works with her team to support SEO strategies and activities for Milestone Internet Marketing clients – including website updates, email blasts, listings management, analysis, reporting, etc. Ms. Thakkar has led a social media webinar for Milestone in 2016 (which is available on the Milestone blog). Ms. Thakkar can be contacted at 408-492-9055 or [email protected]


Source: Paid Search

5 Ways to Be Found – Online & In Real Life – Part 3

To quickly recap, your business has one or more physical locations that depend on people being able to find you both online and offline. The challenges you face are that customers don’t know you exist, they are unable to engage with you and they can’t physically find you. There are five steps you can take to begin the process of ensuring your business is found. Steps 1, 2 and 3 were discussed last week. This week we finish up with steps 4 & 5.

  1. Encourage reviews and gain trust

Having a presence in local directories and maps is a good start, but you want to go a step further to stand out from your competitors and gain the trust of your customers. Begin by putting images on your profiles. Nothing is more compelling than visual elements that showcase your business’s physical location. Letting your customers see who they are doing business with builds a level of comfort.

Interacting with consumers on social networks takes this even further by giving a voice to your brand. Show customers that you care and stand behind your products and services. Similarly, paying attention to what people say about you on review sites is also important. While positive reviews are always preferable, use negative reviews as an opportunity to build more trust. Reply thoughtfully and accurately to any concerns, showing consumers you care about their experiences.

While the benefit of trust is obvious from a human standpoint, there is also a benefit for search ranking. While the exact impact is debatable (and likely changes every year), as Local SEO Guide points out in its 2016 Local SEO Ranking Factors, “things like reviews and photos and having an Owner Verified (OV) profile correlated with positive GMB performance”.

Pro Tip: Utilizing commonly occurring words in reviews about your business (or your competitors) is a great way to come up with fresh content for your website. Common themes among paying customers are likely to be important to new customers too.

  1. Website structure

Tips one through four have focused on enhancing your presence everywhere but your website. However, to close the loop and really present your business in the best way possible to people and search engines, take some time to check on a few key elements of your website.

Start with the same critical NAP information you use for directories and maps. Make sure your business contact information is easy to find on the site. Put it in your footer as well as your contact page. Formatting this information with structured data (schema.org) helps to ensure that search engines also understand exactly who and where you are, and makes you more likely to rank well in voice search.

Verify that the content on your site supports the enhanced information you share in your listings. Do you talk about your business category anywhere? Are there sections of the site that discuss your unique selling points and value propositions?

And finally, make sure that your website provides a strong mobile user experience. Nothing derails a potential customer like clicking to your website on their phone only to discover they can’t actually see anything on the site or navigate without squinting and stabbing at tiny links that don’t go to the right places. Since Google announced they are moving to a mobile-first index, having the right structural elements like title tags, heading tags, and schema on your mobile site is potentially even more important than having them on your desktop site.

Pro Tip: Google offers a great free tool that analyzes your site and gives you tips on how to improve both mobile and desktop friendliness.

Measuring success

So you’ve done all the legwork and addressed the challenges. How do you know that it is positively impacting your business? Are you truly meeting both search engine and customer needs to drive more traffic to you?

Having a strong local presence will result in your business getting more online visibility for a variety of searches, as well as more phone calls, more clicks on Google for directions, and more people in the door. One of the simplest ways to measure the increase in impressions and phone calls is through Google Search Console and Google My Business Insights.

The Search Console shows over time not just how many clicks your website is getting, but how many impressions you receive in search. A person doesn’t necessarily have to click to become a customer: if the search result shows the information they need to be able to call or find you that is a win even without the click. Google My Business Insights take that one level deeper and actually track the number of times people click for directions or to call your business directly from your GMB listing.

Screenshot of an upscale boutique hotel in San Francisco’s Union Square district.

The GMB and Search Console typically only show data for up to 90 days, so you’ll either want to export data regularly, or use a tool like Milestone’s NAPtune that allows you to store your data so you can see bigger trends over time.

Once you have made the effort of creating a strong and accurate presence and are tracking your success, continue to drive those customer interactions by monitoring your presence and making sure your information remains updated wherever it can be found. The Internet is not a static document, so make sure you have a plan to monitor and maintain your business data across the web. Ensuring consistency through ongoing monitoring and updating of your profiles builds trust and awareness with search engines and people. Accurate information when customers want it, wherever they try to find it is the key to getting them in the door and winning their business.

If you have additional questions please leave a comment below, visit our website, or email us at [email protected].

For an easy to read PDF of this blog series, download the white paper5 Ways to Ensure Customers Find Your Business.


Source: Paid Search

5 Ways to Be Found – Online & In Real Life – Part 2

Last week we discussed the challenges for businesses that need to be found both online and offline. To quickly recap, your business has one or more physical locations that depend on people being able to find you both online and offline. The challenges you face are that customers don’t know you exist, they are unable to engage with you and they can’t physically find you. So how do you ensure your business can be found in all the right places by search engines and people?

Have no fear! As daunting as those challenges can seem, when planned carefully in advance, there are clear paths to success. Here are five simple steps to ensure your business can be found:

  1. Create a database of accurate and consistent business information

The traditional vital pieces of information about your business are name, address and phone (NAP). However, as searchers and search engines become more savvy, additional pieces of data like your website URL, business category and hours of operation are equally important.

The first step in your process to being found is to make sure that inside your organization you have 100% accurate and consistent information about your business. This way no matter where that information goes, you can be sure that consumers are seeing the most accurate information available.

Pro Tip: Validate your street address against a national standard, like the United States Postal Service. Formatting it correctly in the first place can prevent errors down the line with directories that may use different standards from your internal organization.

  1. Clean your presence

Once you have your master set of accurate information, the next step is to find out where your business is already listed online. Gain access to those listings, fix any errors, and enhance the listings with quality images and content. Taking over existing listings is better than just creating new listings for a few reasons:

1) Creating a new listing without addressing older ones can lead to duplicate pages that confuse potential customers and the search engines

2) If anyone is already using the older listings, you want to enable them to keep doing so, but with more accurate information

3) While it may be a small factor, older URLs do tend to have a bigger impact on search rankings than new URLs.

You can find existing listings in a variety of ways. The simplest is to Google your business name and see what comes up. For more detailed analysis and deeper search into quality listings that can impact user behavior, you can use a listings management search tool like Milestone’s NAPtune.

Pro Tip: If your business changed its name or phone number, remember to search for that previous information as well. You don’t want old listings coming back to haunt you or your customers.

  1. Publish new listings in critical data amplifiers

Not all business listings are created equal! Since every customer is unique, you need to make sure your business is represented well in any place users can find you – from search engines, to maps, to mobile apps, to in-car navigation systems. While that could mean having to find and manage thousands of listings, a more efficient way to go about it is to identify the key data amplifiers – the handful of sources that collect business location data and power the rest of the internet.

By focusing on having correct information in these core data amplifiers – like Google My Business (GMB), Facebook, Infogroup, Acxiom, Localeze, Factual, etc – you can be sure that your accurate data is being pushed through a complex set of websites, hitting all of your key customer journey endpoints.

Screenshot of listings being managed by NAPtune

Pro Tip: While data amplifiers are a great way to spread your information exponentially, make sure to also build direct relationships with the directories/apps that your customer base uses most to ensure timely, accurate updates.

 

Stay tuned for next week’s post which will cover more solutions to the problem of being found online and offline.

If you have additional questions please leave a comment below, visit our website, or email us at [email protected].


Source: Paid Search

5 ways to be found – online & in real life.

Does your business have one or more physical locations that depend on people being able to find you both online and offline? Perhaps you are a hotel, or a bank with many branches, or even a retailer with only two locations. Regardless of size, all businesses that depend on foot traffic to complete a transaction need to enable customers to make the leap from the digital space to the real world. So how do you ensure your business can be found in all the right places by search engines and people?

The Challenges

To do business these days, customers need to find you online first, and then they need to find your physical location. To ensure the customer experience is pleasant, the process must be seamless for the user from end to end. There are three main challenges that can break this process and result in lost customers.

1. Customers don’t know you exist

If they don’t know about you, they can’t buy from you. Consumers often start a purchase process with an “informational search query” – a broad topic to help get an idea of what information exists to solve a need. For local business, these searches frequently involve location words combined with a general purchase category, like “nearby hotels” or “ATMs near me.” When these broad searches happen, you want your business to appear so potential customers know you exist.

Remember, if customers don’t find you directly, they will either find your competitors, or be sent to third-party aggregators (like online travel agencies for hotels, airlines, rental and cars). Thus, at best you miss a chance at revenue and still don’t build a direct customer interaction; at worst, you lose a customer to a competitor.

2. Customers are unable to engage with you

Once potential customers know you exist, they likely want to learn more before giving you their business. There are a variety of sources for information, but being present and active in the ones you can control has a big positive impact both on your presence in local search and in helping people form opinions about your business. You earn trust for your business in a variety of ways, from ensuring your public profiles have rich descriptions and photos, to interacting on social networks and responding to online reviews.

3. Customers can’t physically find you

If you make it through the first two hurdles, congratulations! Customers know who you are and feel reasonably confident that your goods or services will fill their needs. Now they need to call, drive and purchase. Having the wrong phone number, address or business hours on your website or any major directory will quickly turn the customer from ready-to-buy into frustrated-and-going-elsewhere.

Next week. Some solutions.


Source: Paid Search

Milestone CMS Delivers Record 30% Average Revenue Growth And 300% Average Group Booking Increases For Its Customers.

Santa Clara, CA – February 14, 2017 – Milestone announced another banner year for its customers as they achieved record results by leveraging Milestone’s unique value as both a software developer and a design and digital marketing agency. New web sites on Milestone’s Content Management System consistently experience a 25% to 40% growth in revenue. Hotels and resorts like the Tan-Tar-A Resort in Osage Beach, Missouri, for example, achieved year-over-year revenue growth in high double digits, over 57% with an increase in group bookings of 300%.

Milestone achieved these exceptional results by leveraging our unique combination of in-house developed technology, award-winning design, and omni-channel digital marketing strategies. In 2016, Milestone customers enjoyed a series of technological “world’s firsts”:

  1. The world’s first CMS system for hospitality designed to build and deploy native AMP pages, leading to exceptional mobile performance and visibility.
  2. The worlds’ most robust CMS system designed to benefit from voice search technology, Milestone’s CMS system supports over 70 hospitality-specific schema-tags.
  3. Access to the world’s first Content Management System for the hospitality industry fully capable of developing ADA conforming pages and of automatically flagging ADA conformity issues on pages.
  4. Exclusive access to Milestone Analytics, the first analytics system for hospitality that allows hotels to measure engagement across all channels through the customer journey, providing a complete investment picture that allows hotels to maximize ROI.

 

“2016 was another record year for Milestone,” said Anil Aggarwal, Milestone CEO, “as we head into 2017 we are very cognizant of the looming threat from AirBnB and OTAs to our customer base. We continue to provide the best mix of technology, strategy and exceptional design to our customers,” continued Mr. Aggarwal. By the year 2020 comScore is predicting that over 50% of search will be powered by voice. To stay ahead of the huge leaps in artificial intelligence, voice search, and machine learning, Milestone’s in-house developed technology will keep hotels ahead of these rapidly changing conditions that threaten to put the market out of reach for all but the largest players.

Hoteliers interested in getting more out of their marketing investment can meet with Milestone at the upcoming HSMAI Digital Marketing Strategy Conference in New York, as well as download the Tan-Tar-A case study at: http://info.milestoneinternet.com/acton/media/22640/tan-tar-a-resorts.

About Milestone

Milestone is a leading provider of digital marketing software and services for hospitality, retail and finance. We provide a full range of solutions including website and mobile design, content creation, SEO, analytics and competitive intelligence. Our state-of-the-art technology and solutions drive revenue and ROI for clients across the globe. Over 2,000 companies world-wide do business with Milestone, including leading hotel chains, major retailers and financial services companies. Milestone has garnered over 300 awards and a reputation for blending outstanding design with advanced technological capabilities. Milestone is one of Silicon Valley Business Journal’s fastest growing companies and is an Inc. 5000 company.


Source: Paid Search

Fake/Incorrect Listings Threaten Local Businesses

There has been much buzz in recent days about the spread of fake news and its impact. But fake news stories aren’t the only type of false information being spread around the internet; the truth is that the spread of malicious, false information is becoming increasingly common and it comes in many forms. A recent article on searchengineland.com lists out a few of the top fake information threats, one of which is the very real issue of fake local listings for brick and mortar businesses. Local listings is a subject very near and dear to us here at Milestone, so we decided to go into detail about the issue because these fake listings can have a very real impact on your bottom line.

Creating a business listing on Google is quick and easy, and unfortunately there’s not much in the way to prevent the creation of false business listings. This ability has become the crux of scams run by call centers, typically located abroad. These call centers create fake locations for bogus businesses on Google Maps, and they offer services such as locksmithing, carpet cleaning, etc. The call centers then employ unskilled workers to perform these tasks that would otherwise be done by more appropriately trained professionals representing actual business locations in the area, all while charging premium prices. People in need of a services close to their location will reach out to these deceptive listings without thinking twice, which is why the home repair/service market is heavily affected by this scam. The end result is that customers are overcharged for third-rate work, and legitimate local businesses suffer from the lost patronage. While crackdowns on these scams can be swift, unfortunately it’s equally quick to create new fake listings and revive the operation

But this type of scam isn’t the only problem plaguing business listings. Duplicate and incorrect listings can be just as harmful. Your business’ UNAP (URL, name, address, and phone number) is recorded and stored in many places across the web, and there are many ways that incorrect UNAP information can be attributed to your business. With so many different listings, It’s nearly impossible to pin down the exact source of false information. Erroneous changes could be coming from changes made by someone from within your organization, an agency you’re working with, and even customers have the ability to contribute information that may be incorrect. All of this will be detrimental to your overall performance, as customers and search engines alike tend to trust businesses with more consistent information. This is why it’s essential that your business listings are constantly monitored.

If you have any questions about managing your local listings please reach out to us, we offer software and services that can help you avoid these issues.


Source: Paid Search

What Matters In Search This Year [Webinar Recap]

The Milestone team presented an educational webinar, What Matters In Search this Year, to highlight the latest digital trends as we kick off 2017. Your strategy this year is all about understanding your customer’s world, what motivates them, and what gets them to want to interact with you. Focusing on omnichannel; removing internal barriers to make sure that people inside your organization or across the organizations that work for you are working towards a common goal. And don’t forget that 2017 is the year that mobile is no longer the future… mobile is the present, and it should be the very first thing you think of, when you think of interacting with your clients. This Webinar highlights these topics and more, as illustrated by some of Milestone’s top experts in digital marketing. You can’t afford to miss it.

Thank you to Benu Aggarwal and Walter Paliska who hosted the webinar and everyone who joined!


Source: Paid Search

Things to do before Google rolls out Mobile First Index

Back in November 2016, Google posted on its webmaster blog that it will be rolling out a mobile first search engine index. Google’s search engine index is a listing of websites, links, and documents that it has discovered by crawling the web from a desktop browsers perspective, however with the mobile first index, google will change the view and now they will crawl the web from the mobile web browser perspective. Going forward Google will show results based on the mobile version of content even for desktop searches.

For website owners following responsive website designs, there is no need to worry because users are served the same content be it for mobile or desktop.

However, if you are using a separate mobile site (m.examplewebsite.com) to present custom content for your mobile users by dynamic serving technique you must be a bit careful. Google’s algorithm is not tracking the actual page which is seen by users so when a mobile page has lesser content than a desktop page, that can lead to a poorer user experience. Mobile first index has not been rolled out yet but we hear it is coming out soon. Google also announced that they would continue to maintain a single index and only use the mobile version of content to rank pages.

Recommendations for website owners:

If you have a responsive website with the same content and structured data across mobile and desktop site, you don’t have to worry. However, if your site has different configuration and content for desktop and mobile site, Google recommends making the following changes:

  • Make sure to have structured markup/ data for both mobile and desktop sites, If you don’t make these changes than you fear the risk of showing the mobile page with inadequate and suboptimal content in the mobile first ranking index
  • Compare the structured markup across mobile (m.examplewebsite.com ) and desktop (www.examplewebsite.com) versions of the site by using googles structured data testing tool.
  • Go to https://search.google.com/structured-data/testing-tool/u/0/, add your url, run the test.structured-data-testing-tool
  • Add structured data to your mobile site but remember to be selective and add only those markup’s that may be relevant to the content on the page. Avoid adding additional mark data.
  • Use the txt testing tool to determine if your site is accessible to google web crawlers.
  • Tip: If you are building a mobile site, a working and fully functioning desktop website would be a better option than a partially done mobile site. So, don’t hurry and push out a partly complete mobile site.

 

2017 will be an exciting year for digital marketing, especially with Googles push to roll out the mobile first index, they are responding to the changing habits and needs of today’s online consumer who are always connected and engaging. While change brings with it challenges, it can be truly rewarding if you kept up with the changes. Should you like more information to build and or revamp your website be it mobile or desktop, Milestones team of experts with over 18 years of experience are here to help you, please feel free to reach out to us, [email protected] or +1-408-200-9055.


Contributed by: Gaurav Varma
January 23, 2017


Source: Paid Search

Rank higher every day with a smart SEO strategy

SEO strategy can be easily divided into long-term actions and short-term engagements. In the long-term, it’s important to have a strong website platform optimized for search, a clear link building strategy, writing keyword-rich meta tags and enhanced content for your website to name a few. What is often missed is that brands need to constantly work on their SEO strategy throughout the year to promote their business or drive engagement or to stay on top of the updates released by search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo). Often these strategies are considered reactive approaches but they are as critical as the proactive ones.

Key opportunities to capitalize upon year-round:

  1. Serve your customers with answers and NOT just links: With the increasing proliferation of mobile devices and rise in voice search quires Google direct answers have increased from showing up in 9% queries in January 2016 to 15% in July 2016, a 67% increase in just 6 months*. Customers desire direct answer to questions rather than looking up links to websites with the answers. Doing research on social media channels, review sites, asking your team and customers will help you know more about your brand and those insights can be turned into questions and answers that be posted on your website to assist your customers.
  1. Promote your own milestones: Released a new product, hired a top talent to lead a vertical, acquired a business, all these are significant moments for your business as well for your key stakeholders, make sure you broadcast these news and milestones via your corporate blog or press releases. These opportunities create a buzz and top of the mind recall for your business additionally it creates more valuable content and links for search engines to index.
  1. Consider partnerships with industry bodies: Every industry is represented by an education and trade association, forming partnerships with these bodies opens new doors to publish content, package existing content for a different audience, host a webinar, a fire side chat or a panel discussion. All these are great opportunities to promote your business and generate incoming links pointing to your site.
  1. Use your competitor’s actions to your advantage: Just like you, your competitor is also promoting their business, tracking your competitor, be it their blogs, social interactions, emails, webinars allow you to understand where they are focusing on and with that you might be able to get clues to build your next promotion, or a branding campaign.
  1. Keyword research for your brand: Call it old fashioned but identifying the new keywords that customers use to find you and your competitors will always be useful. Creating content around the new-found keyword themes would help you to stay on top of your customer’s actual needs.
  1. Repackage your content assets: Content is created under a context and savvy marketers use the same content idea in many different forms to showcase the key points. A white paper can be easily turned into an info graphic, a blog post, a social media update. All these assets assist in building your SEO authority, moreover it allows you to increase the life of the content and decreases the need to create new content all the time.
  1. Audit your SEO presence: Finally, from where we started, Google is always releasing a new update to improve the user experience, stay on top of the channels and websites that your business is listed on, or “linked to”. Don’t buy links in bulk or from irrelevant directories as that may end up getting you a penalty in the future. An easy way would be scan your business every quarter to know your listings status from important channels. You can get your health score today by visiting naptunelistings.com. 

STAT Search Analytics Study:

SEO is constantly evolving, trends fall off almost as quickly as they emerge. Staying on top of trends means to constantly working on the long-term and short-term strategy. If you have additional questions please leave a comment below, visit our website, or email us at [email protected]


Source: Paid Search

5 Must Haves in Your Digital Marketing Golf Bag

“The most important shot in golf is the next one.” – Ben Hogan

As golf has evolved from the sport of kings to the game of every one, golf courses and clubs are trying figuring out how to market their businesses in the modern landscape. We live and play in a high-tech world driven by mobile phones, social media, snap chats, and posts. While golf is a sport rooted in tradition, today’s courses are looking for turnkey golf marketing solutions that connect golfers with their digital business at every touch point.

Golfers want to see and experience the course online, book a tee time, and download an app that gives them a lay of the land – from yardage on the fairway to ordering a hot dog at the turn. To our generation of golfers, tweets are the new birdies and digital presence is the driver.

5 Shot Making Strategies For Your Digital Golf Marketing

  1. A responsive website design driven by UX and search

It takes more than a beautiful site to inspire user experience and conversion. Definitely have vibrant images and videos – because golfers love them – and build your site with intuitive navigation, conversion elements with clear CTAs, and easy booking for tee times and tournaments.

Optimize your site for local and voice search with keywords and questions people are asking search engines and capitalize on Google’s SERP features – from snippets to videos. Make your site mobile responsive and AMP pages based on user behavior analytics and what is most relevant to your audience and ROI goals.

  1. Social media outreach from one place

Most golf pros wear many hats, from running the shop to giving lessons to marketing. Trust me, they would rather be teaching and playing with members than posting on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. Most courses without large marketing teams need their PGA pros to engage in social media outreach every day to fill their tee sheets and promote daily specials.

To connect with your social community, your team will need a powerful social dashboard where they can blog, tweet, post and schedule from one place from their laptops, iPads and phones. Once you have a software platform for social outreach, engage your audience and reinforce your message – promoting twilight rates, open lessons, membership specials, and the speed of the greens. Post pics on Instagram and videos, and get your golfers engaged in your experience. Golf is a social game.

MediaConnect

Milestone’s MediaConnect™ 360 gives Turf Valley Resort the power to post and schedule Blogs, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter from a single, easy to use social outreach dashboard.

3. Golf APP For playing, GPS, marketing and sales

The new cool factor in golf marketing is the GPS integrated APP. GPS enabled golf carts and watches are expensive and getting outdated. Add a downloadable APP on your mobile site and golfers will use it for scorecards, yardage, shot making, weather and messaging from you. If you utilize all the latest features, you can promote daily specials, use it as an online store, give tips, and even sell food and beverage during the round. Cart girls not included.

4. Analytics tracking for performance and competitive intelligence

While golf is the game of life and you play against yourself, digital marketing is not. You always want to track and analyze your digital channels, revenue and competitive performance in the space. You can juggle between Google Analytics and other resources, which can be time consuming. Or you can use intuitive distribution and competitive intelligence software that lets you track and analyze your data, site health and performance in one dashboard.

Use a platform that gives you panoramic insights and targeted strategies so you can connect with your golf customers across every touch point – mobile, tablet and desktop. Find a user friendly dashboard that lets you track the customer journey across social, local and paid channels so you can adjust your strategy from one place.

Analytics Reporting Tool

Unalytix

Milestone’s Unalytix Digital Marketing and Distribution Channel Analytics Platform empowers managers with organized data about their websites, SEO, local listings, social media, reviews, and paid search. Users get insights through intuitive dashboards and formatted reports. The Turf Valley and Turnberry Isle sites golf websites are high performing.

5. The Freedom of A Single Source Golf Solution

We know you’re passionate about golf. You’ve conditioned the greens, your pros hope to inspire young golfers, and you want to promote your courses and tournaments. While Gary Player said “golf is a puzzle without an answer,” we know better. Create a holistic digital presence with a user friendly, mobile responsive site, that integrates social outreach, tee time booking, and an APP, and your golf business will drive presence, engagement and ROI.

“Today’s golf professionals need a universal digital presence – mobile, desktop, social – social media and consolidated data and performance analytics,” says Chris Rockett, SVP of Sales for Milestone. “We’ve created a turnkey product for golf managers to drive online visibility, booking, leads and ROI. Our user friendly approach really connects to the golf industry and golfers. It gives the pros the freedom to do what they love. Play more golf.”


Case Study – Randy Watkins Golf Group – Live December 2016

Milestone created a complete internet marketing strategy for Randy Watkins Golf Group, which owns and manages 3 semi-private golf courses in the Jackson Metro of Mississippi – Patrick Farms Golf Course, Whisper Lake Country Club and Lake Caroline Golf Club. They are driven by a passion for the game and PGA professionals who inspire young golfers. RWGG offers full-service clubhouses and amenities, lessons, tournaments, junior golf, specials, dining, and memberships. Their audience is families, individual golfers, couples, students and juniors who want the membership benefits of three clubs, as well as daily fee players.

RWGG’s previous site was outdated in design, performance, and analytics. The site lacked branding and visual story, user journey, and was confusing to navigate. Milestone created a holistic marketing solution with a mobile responsive website, search optimized content with schema, an online store, and an event booking module all reinforced by social media.

Milestone designed a highly visual, streamlined site with great imagery, intuitive navigation, and a persona-based branding message – “more than a club, we’re family.” A warm, modern design focuses on user experience and conversion, with clear CTAs for Memberships and Tee Times. The site highlights the three courses and amenities, and has optimized pages for memberships and events. The site also showcases landing pages, like member activities, junior and kid’s golf, and lessons.

Randy Watkins Blog

The Randy Watkins Golf Group site launched December 2, 2016 on the Milestone Galexi™ CMS.

Marketing Objective

Launched December 2, 2012, the mobile responsive site gives golfers a robust digital experience, including downloadable scorecards, an integrated golf app, weather widget, changing specials and 4 photo galleries. Our goal was to create a site that was visual and golfer friendly, focused on user experience, and promoted memberships, tee times and tournaments.

Built on Milestone’s Galexi™ CMS platform, the site is responsive for mobile and gives managers the ability to update specials and events.

Launched December 2, 2012, the new site was designed to give golfers a robust digital experience, including downloadable scorecards, an integrated golf app, weather widget, changing specials and 4 photo galleries. Our goal was to create a site that was visual and golfer friendly, focused on user experience, and promoted memberships, tee times and tournaments.

What We Did

  • Responsive website design built on Galexi™ CMS
  • Integrated mobile APP with GPS
  • Optimized content for local and voice search
  • Modules – Courses, Memberships, Events – with RFPs
  • Online Retail Store
  • Booking Engine Partners
  • Event Calendar
  • Weather Widget
  • 4 photo galleries
  • eSpecial – seasonal coupons
  • eReach – email marketing
  • Custom Facebook Page
  • Module Promotion
  • Analytics tracking and performance

 

The Digital Scorecard

“Golf is supposed to be fun, but I don’t think anything is fun if you’re not doing it reasonably well.” – Fred Couples

  • In the first month, the site has over 10,000 impressions and 600 clicks attributed to their new online visibility and organic presence.
  • 54.8% of the sessions came from organic search, including non-branded search queries which capture new customers.
  • New landing pages for individual courses, lessons, packages, and membership are all drawing in traffic.

 

Google Randy Watkins results

Randy Watkins Digital Performance

Source: Google Analytics Dec. 2, 2016 – January 9, 2017


Contributed by: Robin Leigh Kessler
January 12, 2017


Source: Paid Search