Blue Magnet often refers to good SEO and digital marketing as taking care of a garden. You can not just plant a tomato plant, walk away, and expect to see red tomatoes growing on its limbs the next day. You need to plant it in an area of the yard with plenty of sunlight, build a fence to protect it from hungry critters, and water it daily. Only after time and care will you have the red ripe tomatoes you crave.
Similarly, you can’t just update a webpage once, clap your hands, and expect thousands of visitors to flood your new page forever and ever. You must update the content carefully several times and make sure the strategies you put in place still are producing the results you want over time. As Google and the digital landscape evolves, you must evolve your content strategies along with it.
One fact every good gardener (and digital marketer) knows is that a garden (and a website) must be pruned and cleaned up over time. Outdated content can hang dead and brown from the limbs of a local area page and rot the whole garden over time if you do not prune it from the website.
But do not worry. Just as Marie Kondo has her five steps of the KonMari Method to organize a home, Blue Magnet provides four steps to organize your digital marketing.
Step 1: Refresh Outdated Website Content
When applying the Blue Magnet method of tidying up your digital marketing, your website always comes first. It is the hub of your digital presence, where all other channels flow. It is where most customers make their final conversion actions.
Dates and Events
The quickest way to make someone doubt your website is to forget to remove an outdated date. If the year is 2019 and a website shows an event from 2018 or even 2017 on a page, that sends a signal to the visitor that no one has touched this page for a long time. You really cannot blame a visitor for not trusting the site with the wrong year on it. Booking on a website with an outdated date is the digital equivalent of walking into an abandoned house.
Whether you set up modules to auto-remove events once they have completed or set reminders for yourself to remove the content manually, make sure your content stays current! Do not let your website become the abandoned house.
Review the special offers on your Deals Page. Are there any expired deals you should remove? Are there any specials offered at the hotel not listed on the page yet? Do all the special offer links work?
A quick sweep of your specials page may only take 1-5 minutes, but taking that ounce of care can help you improve user experience and conversions on from that page in the upcoming months.
Want an easy way to make visitors not trust your site? Leave a picture of a Christmas tree on your homepage until March. When tidying up the pages of your website, make sure all seasonal imagery remains up-to-date. If it is the middle of winter and 15 degrees out, you may not want a picture of your pool saying, “Cool off in our pool!” Instead, feature the fireplace in your lobby with a caption like, “Stay warm and cozy”.
Internal linking is important for SEO and general user experience. Take time now to identify internal liking opportunities you are not currently using. In the past year, you may have built a new transportation page showcasing your shuttle times. When you did that, did you go through your site and link from pre-existing pages like the meetings page to the new transportation page?
Now is the time to examine the new pages you built throughout the year and utilize every opportunity throughout the site to link there as well.
Test RFP Forms and Booking Widgets
Finally, test your website’s RFP forms and booking widgets to make sure they work properly and send to the right location. For RFP forms, make sure all the right email addresses are receiving these forms.
For booking widgets, run a quality assurance check that all widgets send people to the right webpage and smooth out any unforeseen snags in the booking process.
Step 2: Check on Pay Per Click Ad Content and Budget
Pay attention to two main factors when cleaning up your pay per click ads: content and budget.
Take Advantage of Google Adwords’ Newest Content Features
Google Adwords is constantly evolving and changing what you can do with your ads. Take a day to read about the newest Google Adwords features to make sure your current hotel ads take advantage of every opportunity available.
For example, in 2017 Google allowed only two headings in an ad. In 2018, it allowed up to three and also expanded the amount of content featured in ad descriptions. These changes offered businesses more content space to share what their page is all about. This means more opportunities to sell your hotel.
If a competitor hotel shows a more robust ad with more content about what the hotel offers and your ad shows less, a user may click on their ad over yours.
Review Ad Content for Errors
Additionally, while most ad campaigns remain fairly evergreen, changes may occur throughout the year that should be reflected in the ads too.
In the past year, your hotel may have removed your free shuttle but instituted free parking. Make sure your ad content showcases the free parking as a selling point but not free shuttle anymore.
Think about how misleading it would feel to see an ad boasting a free shuttle to and from the airport. You click on the ad, book the hotel, and then find out, upon your arrival, that the hotel does not offer a free shuttle anymore. This type of experience can lead to unhappy guests, bad reviews, and a bad reputation.
Keep your ads accurate and your guests happy!
Make Sure You Are Still Spending the Right Amount
You may have set the perfect budget for your hotel’s ad spend two years ago and that spend is still the correct amount now. It is also possible the Google Ad landscape changed over that time period and you now need to increase your spend to improve search impression share and keep up with competitors.
The goal of every ad is to have the highest search impression share as possible. Search impression share is the number of impressions an ad has received divided by the number of impressions it was eligible to receive. A high impression share percentage means your ad is getting in front of customers as much as it possibly can. Several factors affect your ads’ eligibility for impressions: ad targeting settings, quality scores, and bids.
Sometimes more competitors will launch ads or pre-existing competitors will improve their website content, ad targeting settings, and bids over time. Those changes outside of your control can change your hotel ads’ search impression share and make your ads show up less than they normally could.
If this is the case, go into Google Adwords and get the “Search Budget Lost Impression Share”. This shows you the percentage of time your ads were not shown to potential customers due to insufficient budget. If that percentage is high, you know you need to increase your monthly budget to get in front of people searching related keywords. If you do not increase this budget, you are losing valuable clicks to competitors who are showing up for searches instead of your hotel.
If you do not know how to determine the right budget for your ads, reach out to Blue Magnet Interactive. We have a team of PPC experts who can evaluate your unique property and competition set to determine the right spend for you.
Step 3: Scrub your Email Marketing List
Did you know scrubbing your email subscriber list will help improve your return on investment? We get it, letting go of a potential customer sounds counter-intuitive, but if someone has not opened one of your eblasts in the past year, it is unlikely they will engage with future emails. Remove unengaged users and your hotel benefits from a higher ROI, and sometimes lower subscriber list management monthly rates. For example, Mailchimp charges a monthly fee for accounts with over 2,000 subscribers. That fee increases with the number of subscribers you add, so keeping your list up to date with active users can improve return on investment.
But wait! Before you push the unsubscribe button on those unengaged users, try to win them back with a re-engagement campaign. In a re-engagement campaign, you identify unengaged visitors then send this group an eBlast with an incentive to open your email and interact with the hotel. For example, you could send an eBlast with “We miss you” in the title and offer 15% off their next purchase with the hotel. If these previously inactive people engage with the email at all: open it, click on it, etc. you have re-engaged with them and you keep them on your list. If they do not interact with that email, scrub them from your list and put your email marketing efforts towards the subscribers who do want to engage with your hotel.
Example of Email Scrubbing
Last year, a Disney hotel scrubbed their email subscriber list and saw stunning results.
As a result of scrubbing their list, this Disney hotel immediately saw an increase in the percentage of email opens and click engagement. This increase remained steady throughout the remainder of the year. The hotel was able to more accurately measure performance and also did not have to pay MailChimp to host email lists of people who do not engage with the hotel.
If you want more details about how scrubbing email lists works and other tips to improve your hotel’s email marketing efforts, check out Blue Magnet’s blog post, “Optimizing Your Email Marketing Lists for Higher Returns.”
Step 4: Clean Up Your Social Media Content
Clean Ups on an Active Social Media Account
If your hotel has an active social media account with 3-6 posts going out every week, you have very little to refresh because your page constantly shows new material. Even so, you still want to check on your admin list and hotel profile.
Clean up your admin list. Employees and job descriptions may change throughout the year, and you want the correct people listed as admins and all others removed.
Conduct a quick check on your hotel profile and make sure email addresses and basic information are correct. In the past year, the email you want people to send inquiries to may have changed, and if that is the case you want to update it.
Clean Ups on an Inactive Social Media Account
If your hotel does not post on your social media channels at least once a week, now is the perfect time to improve your social media game.
Social media is where past, present, and future guests turn to for current news about your hotel. It is your digital concierge. Having an inactive social media account could signal to a guest that the hotel is old fashioned and not in tune with the modern world. They may doubt WiFi speed and other tech amenities and choose another hotel instead. Having an inactive account is also a missed opportunity to engage with guests after they left the hotel and encourage them to come back next time they visit the area.
Facebook is a standard must-have for any hotel, but beyond that, you may also want to have an active Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest page as well to engage with users in different ways. If social media is not your area of expertise and need help determining what channels you need, reach out to Blue Magnet Interactive who will give you expert social media guidance on what you need and help you manage the accounts.
Quick Spring Cleaning Checklist
As you can see, tidying up your digital marketing efforts can be relatively quick and easy. Here is a quick checklist to help you:
Check Your Website Content
- Dates and Events
- Special Offers
- Seasonal Imagery
- Internal Linking
- RFP Forms and Booking Widgets
Check Your Pay Per Click Ads
- New Features on Google Adwords
- Content Inaccuracies
- Search Budget Lost Impression Share
Check Your Email Marketing Lists
- Identify inactive subscribers
- Run reengagement campaign
- Scrub list of unengaged subscribers
Check Your Social Media Accounts
- Admin list
- Hotel profile
- Evaluate need for more social media channels
Now you have pruned your digital marketing garden! All that old rotting content is de-cluttered from your pages. You no longer have an unruly labyrinth of weeds your guests get lost in. When you remove the weeds and rot from a garden, what you have left is more room for those shiny red tomatoes and space to plant different types of crops than you did last year. What you have left from cleaning up your digital marketing is a clear concise representation of your hotel and room for more growth.
If your digital marketing efforts are growing unruly and you need help organizing them, reach out to Blue Magnet Interactive for assistance. We are the hotel digital marketing version of Marie Kondo and we are happy to help you get your marketing efforts to where you want them to be. We will help you shed off old habits and content, and help highlight the areas that bring you, and your customers, joy!