On the radio – me talking Inspired Marketing, Websites and business

I was recently invited by Andy Hayes of Travel Online Partners to be a guest on his TOP radio show. Being someone who loves talking (!), of course I said “yes”.

You can listen to the recording here…

We covered a wide range of topics on the show, and most are relevant to all types of business, not just travel and hospitality related. Here’s a summary of what we covered (all credit to Andy for being able to summarise me!):

  • How important it is to have a website that you can update – how can it be a vital marketing tool and so not good if you’re beholden to an agency to make updates or changes.
  • Andy discussed his recent reminder that tourism providers need to travel! They need to see the trends, see what others are doing, and experience the products and services they are selling.
  • Remember who your target market is: sometimes you’ll need to market in a way that you don’t like, but it’s not about what you like it’s about what your target market likes. That’s easy to forget if you aren’t in your target market, so keep reminding yourself. A good feedback programme helps with this.
  • Be sure that you understand the technology that you’re using – even if you’re paying someone else to do the work, you need to understand what they’re doing. Very few things are actually as mystical and complicated as they seem! While you don’t need to know the dirty details of the technology, you need to know what the technology is going to do for your business and you will be using it to provide what customers are interested in.
  • Analytics are a powerful tool for gauging what people are interesting in and what is useful: live marketing research.

How can businesses bring “no-nonsense” to their business marketing?

  • Inspired marketing agrees that the people with the best products and services have the easiest time to product inspired business marketing!
  • Business marketing is about your business and about bringing in customers, not about the brochures. The key question is who are your customers, where are they, and how are you going to get access to them?
  • Things change – you change, markets change. It’s easy to get caught up in the latest and greatest thing, but always be asking: why am I doing this?
  • Shiny object syndrome: don’t throw away things that work in exchange for new fancy things. It’s fine to experiment (and we’d encourage it), but if your target market likes your nice brochures, keep making them!
  • Careful to avoid the fact that if your business is fun and you enjoy it, remember it’s a business: it is far too easy to waste time and money in marketing.
  • Always step into the mind of the customer: are you marketing in the places where they actually will be looking for you? If you don’t know, you either need to a) ask them, or b) try more than one thing and measure.

How can businesses build “websites that work”?

  • Websites are SUCH an important marketing channel!! It must be organised so that people can understand who you are and what you offer…in seconds.
  • Websites are an unobtrusive way to learn about you and an easy way for people to compare you with your competitors. It is almost “business suicide” not to have a good one.
  • Everyone has a question when they come to your website: are you answering it? Any question you ever get asked should be answered on your website. Very few websites go into enough detail.
  • Do not think in terms of number of pages. Think in terms of everything that makes your business unique. This is not a brochure so there isn’t a space constraint.
  • Don’t have throw-away statements that everybody can use. Instead of saying “Great for Families,” show the customer what your amenities are: pictures of the playground, lists of DVDs and toys, qualifications of your babysitters, how you can heat up your babymeals, are there kids bikes? Not many people do that, so if you do, you’ll stand out.
  • Be sure a person can tell what you are within 3-5 seconds. People like to identify if they’re in the right place.
  • You can’t demonstrate what you do by just saying something, but build the full picture: photos, video, customer testimonials, etc.
  • Be clear who your target market is – be something for somebody. Generic doesn’t cut it!
  • Photos photos photos! Be sure to label them: it’s good for SEO (search engine optimisation), and customers don’t know what they are if you don’t tell them. People will read them.
  • We’re programmed to assume the worst if you leave something out, so tell us everything – be honest. The downsides aren’t always as negative as you might think.
  • Don’t make the two common mistakes in communications in your marketing and websites:
    • Assuming that you someone understood you properly
    • Assuming that everyone is like you
  • People like doing business with people, so be personable and be memorable – how are you unique? If it is a small business, a lot of it is about you: why are you unique? A lot of small business owners carry around their reasons “why” but don’t get them out there for their customers to see!

Lucy’s Hotel Success Handbook:

  • The book is designed for anyone with a hotel/boutique/B&B/campsite who need some fresh insights on revisiting all the important aspects of business. If you’re not getting the guests that you want, when you want them, this book is for you.
  • Covers both offline and online information and is a reminder that while you might have the most fantastic accommodation in the world, if people don’t know about it you’ll be enjoying it on your own!
  • Have a plan, do one thing at a time, measure, and react. The harsh reality is that on the business side of things some things aren’t that exciting but they must get done!

Entrepreneurship – It’s Hard:

  • You’ve done the hard part and launched your tourism business – now you just need to make it work better. And that’s the fun bit!
  • Don’t jump on the social media bandwagon unless you remember that it is social: no overwhelming sales push. But it’s a great way to get your personality out there.
  • Don’t compete on price! People want what you do and what you offer, so work hard because they’re out there. People don’t just turn up. (And by price, we don’t mean value. Value for money is different than cheap.)

Final Thoughts: How to Juggle All the Pieces:

  • Work out and prioritise what things are fun and what things pay the bills. Fun projects are fun, but you can’t spend all day on them.
  • It’s easy to get distracted on the things you don’t like. Either give them to someone else or buckle down and get them done.
  • Say no when it’s appropriate!

If you’d like to listen to the MP3 of my chat with Andy please do! Here’s the link again…

The show lasts for just under an hour and there’s lots more info on the call you should find useful. Enjoy!