With the internet right at your fingertips, you don’t have to spend much, or even anything at all, just as long as you have the know-how and the time to commit to online marketing. Sure, the online market is very competitive, and with so much content, it is hard to stand out without resorting to paid advertisements. However, with the proper knowledge, strategy, and commitment, you can reach potential customers online without spending much, or anything, on PPC. Everything listed here are actions you can take already or teach yourself how to do through free online tutorials or a Google search.
Build a Website
Every business needs a website. Research has shown that more and more people look up a business on the internet before deciding to visit or purchase from that business. A website is essential for providing potential customers with necessary information about your business, such as its location, rates, amenities, and more. If your business does not have its website, potential customers may go to other online sources that may inaccurately portray or misrepresent your business. Running a website does not have to be costly. To build a website, you will need to purchase a domain name (around $10-$15 a year) and choose a hosting company. Once you have everything you need to set up your site, you can research tutorials on how to build your website, or depending on which host you choose, use a provided template to design an attractive and easy-to-navigate website.
Writing blogs and posting them on your website is a great way to reach potential customers who may not have necessarily searched for your business, but were interested in your blog topic. Blog posts increase search-ability and provide more of a chance that a potential customer will stumble upon your website. Blog posts should be regular once a week, if possible. Additionally, every blog post should be related to your business in some way. Not all the posts have to be about your business directly. It is suggested that you cover a variety of topics such as local attractions, events, and travel tips.
Focus on SEO
Search engine optimization is important for all of the above to benefit your business. Without SEO, your website and blog posts will get lost in the online abyss. You can learn more about SEO online through various articles, but basically, SEO is used to make your content easily searchable and come up as one of the first listings in a Google search. Ideally, by utilizing SEO, there will be no need for paid Google advertisements because your business will be the top listing!
Use Social Media
In addition to your website, maintaining a social media presence on all the popular platforms will increase the likelihood of potential customers to discover your business. Opening an account on any of the most used social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest) is fast and free. On your accounts, share photos and video of your hotel, nearby attractions, and events. Make sure posts are made regularly and that any comments or questions are answered on time. Running social media accounts can be a fun way to share your business with others, but it does take time. For many of the most popular forms of social media, to be successful on those platforms, daily posts and even multiple posts a day are required to stay relevant.
Respond to Comments/ Questions/ Reviews
As mentioned above, it is important to respond to any questions, comments, or reviews about your business. Because this activity helps share your business online, you want to keep the conversation going for as long as possible. Additionally, having positive interactions with users online will reflect well on your customer service reputation and help earn people’s trust. Now, there will be good and bad comments and reviews about your business, and it is important to respond to both types. Just know that there are right and wrong ways to respond to certain types of reviews.
Provide Excellent Customer Service
Building from the previous tip, conducting excellent customer service will aid your business through the power of word-of-mouth. You do not need to spend anything extra when it comes to providing excellent customer service. With proper management, your staff should be encouraged to do everything possible to satisfy each customer. Even if the issue is unable to be resolved, providing an interest in preventing the same issue from reoccurring or supplying compensation for the trouble will influence the customer’s thoughts on your business. It is known that even if a product does not live up to the standards a customer has set for it if the business is providing outstanding customer service, the customer is more likely to have a positive outlook on the business and return.
Listen to Your Customers
Online reviews and comments are a blessing. Without having to send out surveys, customers are providing businesses with free feedback on how to improve! Utilize online reviews to know what is working for your business, and what you can improve on. If there are any physical issues with your business, such as a broken faucet, fix it! There are many instances where a business has numerous negative reviews about the same issue, an issue that could have easily been fixed. Respond to these negative comments with a sincere apology and assurance that you are working on resolving the problem. Although some of these changes may cost you a pretty penny to fix, when customers know that you are grateful for and listening to their suggestions, they will be more likely to return and even suggest your business to friends. You do not have to spend much money upfront on marketing your small business or hotel. However, you will need to invest a great deal of time running and maintaining your online presence to maximize your marketing efforts. You can either do this yourself or hire a team that focuses on sustaining your online presence. Either way, as long as you put these tips into practice, you can effectively market your business online without breaking the bank.