Of course, there are hundreds of different ideas about the best ways to do this, but the principle behind it all is usually the same: you have potential customers and you need to engage with them and encourage them to choose your product — perhaps instead of choosing your competitors’ product. Rather than having the briefest interactions with customers, it’s more efficient to keep this customer for future transactions.
Keeping a customers’ attention is one of the key challenges of any online tourism marketer and the secret is to do this without repeating yourself too much… This blog will look at the differences between sales and marketing content, and it will explain some of the ways marketing content can encourage and keep customer attention.
It’s useful to outline the difference between sales content and marketing content. While most good websites should have both kinds of content, it’s important to recognise that both forms of content serve different purposes.
Sales contentis the information about the products or services you are actively trying to sell to the reader. It’s the prices, the specifications, and anything a potential customer might want to know before making a purchase on your site. Any content that explicitly asks customers to buy from you is sales content. Brochures, product pages, price lists, etc., are all examples of sales content.
Marketing content, on the other hand, is not necessarily asking customers to buy a product or service. It discusses a topic that might be of interest or of use to a reader and, in doing so, it initiates a conversation with them. Marketing content aids the sales process by being helpful and engaging for the reader. Good marketing content adds value to the reader and either encourages them to click through the site to make a purchase or it familiarises them with your brand so that they are more likely to return another day, when they are looking to make a purchase.
This is relevant to all marketing, but it’s especially pertinent to the tourism marketing sphere, as customers often spend a long period of time planning (and shopping around) before they book their next trip. This means that most people booking a holiday are likely to visit several sites, gathering all of the information they need, before they start booking tours, accommodation, flights, etc.
Other than having the best product/service, good prices, and great sales content, the best way to engage with potential customers is to help them plan their next trip. You can do this by offering useful information. Write detailed guides to the cities and countries you operate in, providing potential customers with as much information as possible. If you put all of this information into several guides, you’re saving readers a lot of time, as they won’t have to scour the internet in search of everything they want to know. Not only will this grab potential customer’s attention, it will likely encourage them to return. In fact, if your travel guides are especially good, the potential customer will probably bookmark them and perhaps even share them with a friend.
The key to this kind of content marketing isn’t just to publish as much as possible as often as possible and hope something sticks. Instead, it’s a good idea to do a little research and figure out the exact questions people are asking about your particular travel niche and about any tourism products or services that are directly related to you.
As it sounds a little vague to talk generally about this, it’s better to give a specific example of this. If you sell tours in Rome, you should write several guides about the best tours to take in Rome, but you should also write more generally about Rome, offering advice and tips for anyone planning to visit the city. Perhaps you could write a guide to Rome’s public transport, or a guide to the best places to stay in Rome. Perhaps you could just offer a top 10 list of the best places to visit in Rome. Even though a lot of this content will require you to talk about things are that aren’t strictly relevant to your service, they are relevant to your customer and they will be grateful and impressed that you have helped them plan their next trip.
If you’re convinced by the previous section of this guide, you will probably want an easy way to figure out exactly what potential customers would like to know about your niche and adjacent topics. There are so many ways of researching this: you can do surveys with previous customers, you can read your competitors’ sites, you can scour tourism magazines to see what kinds of guides and helpful content they’re writing… However, there is a much easier way: find out what questions people are searching on Google.
If you begin to type a question into Google, it will fill in the rest of your query with a suggestion based on previous users’ searches. If your search query begins with an interrogative word (who, what, when, why, where, etc.) then Google will suggest a question many other users have entered in the past.
For example, as I type ‘when is paris…’ Google suggests ‘When is paris fashion week 2018’ and ‘when is paris marathon 2018’.
As another example, when I type in ‘where in paris…’ Google suggests the following:
If you write content that answers these questions then you know you’re answering the questions people want the answers to. No only does this mean you’re tapping into relevant search volume, it also means you are establishing a relationship with warm leads, as most people typing these kinds of questions into Google are at least considering visiting the city or country you operate in.
Rather than struggling with Google suggests, however, I’d recommend using Answer the Public. This site draws everything from Google Suggests and makes it much easier to digest and plan which blogs and guides you should write. The best part about Answer the Public is that its free service is very comprehensive as all you have to do is type in a keyword and it will carry out several different searches, all with different interrogative words. It will then list all the questions Google users have asked about your particular niche or area. The paid service offers ever more data and search volumes for each query, but the free service will probably be enough for most marketers.
In this blog, we’ve talked about how marketing content should offer something useful to the reader, but it’s also important to mention that you should avoid repeating yourself to anyone visiting your site. If you’re writing a series of guides across a wide range of topics, a little bit of repetition is inevitable — and few customers are likely to be bothered by this. However, if you write and rewrite the same content in various different ways each month, any loyal readers and potential customers are likely to get bored and even frustrated. If you do return to the same topic, make sure you have something new to say and even acknowledge (and link back to) your previous blog.
If you put a lot of care and work into your content marketing strategy, you will be able to grab and keep your customer’s attention. Writing useful or engaging content adds value for any potential customer or returning customer visiting your site. Using Google Suggests and/or Answer the Public can help you easily identify which topics people want to know more about and you can base your content marketing strategy around answering these questions.
If you maintain this strategy, whilst avoiding repetition, you will keep your customer’s attention as long as possible.