Many tourism businesses have an expectation that a website will naturally help them build an audience. They spend thousands of pounds designing the perfect website and are left frustrated when six months later, only a trickle of people find their business.
You have to go out and find where your audience hangs out online and leave ‘breadcrumbs’ for them to find your website, it does not happen naturally.
Here are five ways you can build an audience online:
Build a content plan
To attract your target audience to the website, you need to publish content which is going to attract their attention and help them. It might be content that helps them solve a problem, saves them money or improves their life somehow.
Thinking about peak times of the year, where your audience will be searching for specific topics is a good inclusion in your content plan. Think about the common questions that your audience are asking and answer them.
What type of content will you create? It could be a combination of written, video or audio – it depends on how your audience is used to consuming content.
Whatever format you opt for, make sure that the content is interesting so that you keep their interest and it answers the problem that they have searched for.
Network where your audience hangs out
One of the biggest mistakes that tourism businesses make is spending all of their time and effort marketing in a community where their audience are not active or are difficult to find. Think about where your audience hangs out when they are online and spend your time in those places; answering questions, adding value and help the audience out.
Use communities that allow you to link back to your website or a social network where the audience can find out more about you.
Collaborate with other tourism companies
Collaboration can help you drive your target audience to your website, or, improve email sign up’s by offering them a special offer. Look at companies that you could collaborate with – if you are a B&B, chat with local museums and attractions and find out if they would be interested in you creating them some unique content, in return for a link to your website.
Offer their audience a unique special offer to hook them into your email list, and this way you can continue to build a relationship with them. So many tourism businesses undervalue collaboration and it can be a great tool to help build your audience.
Host a competition
Hosting a competition can be a great way to build your email list, especially if you offer special offers. The tricky part is to keep people hooked into your content by making them realise that you are adding value, either by saving them time, money, or being helpful.
You don’t want to become a place where people are only signing up for competitions so use this technique sparingly. If you don’t have a competition prize think about collaborating with another company. If you are a B&B, chat with a local restaurant and ask them for a meal voucher as a competition prize, in return for promoting their restaurant in your email and on social media. Sometimes you have to think outside of the box.
Why YouTube, and not Facebook? The fact is, million of minutes of video are watched every day and the size of the audience is huge. Of course, you could say the say with Facebook, but with their continuous algorithm changes, it has become difficult to build an audience there, unless you have a marketing budget to purchase advertisements.
YouTube on the other hand – if you optimise your videos properly, and promote them, you can drive a lot of people to your website where they will be looking for more content. It’s easier to link to your website and social networks within videos, and this gives you a huge platform to work with.
Tourism businesses are not using YouTube to their advantage and are missing out on a huge audience – over the coming weeks, I will be writing more about how to optimise videos on this platform and make them search friendly.
Bonus: Words of Advice
The biggest mistake that tourism business make is having a website but not creating a content plan because it’s this content (be it written, video or audio) that is going to attract people to your website from the search engines, social media and online communities. Building an audience online is not easy, and in reality, it takes time, patience or money, it does not happen overnight.
These are just a small number of ideas that you can implement to build your audience. Tourism Hive provides a consultancy service to businesses who are looking for help building their online audience. Contact us for an informal chat about your requirements.