As a small business in the highly competitive UK tourism market, you are all looking to
- Drive visitors through the door
- Drive traffic to your website and social media channels
- Drive leads and sales
Running a business in the tourism market is hard with some organisations throwing £1,000’s at marketing and the small often single establishment business can’t compete at this level as often profit margins are similar to the marketing spend of the big players.
I had this when I owned a Self Catering Cottage in West Sussex, where my problem was how to drive bookings out of season when the prices meant the margins were low. Every week I had 10’s of companies saying “advertise with us”, “we can re-do your website”, “we can create backlinks to your website”, “SEO is what you need”, but none would say how they could book out of season weeks. It was all just too generic.
I remember one discussion with an online holiday cottage company where they said they could take on my cottage and would take a % of every booking. I asked could they commit to filling the 12 out of season problem weeks and they said no. Thus, the proposition was they would take a percentage of the 40 weeks I could already book and this would more than negate any extra booking they could drive in the out of season problem weeks.
What I realised is that the more I could get my business in front of people actively looking for a place to stay in West Sussex the odds went up. Also that there were enough people looking specifically for West Sussex that meant I didn’t need to market wider, for example, try and convince people looking at the south coast that West Sussex was the place to visit.
I quickly realised that I was trying to solve the wrong problem, in that my own website was actually the place to tell people about my accommodation and convert them to a booking. The problem to solve was how to get people to my website.
I often think creating a website is like opening a shop on a high street where all the other shops do exactly the same thing. Thus, how do you get the person walking down the street to enter your shop? With the internet, how do I get a person to visit my website?
A Website is EASY. A Business is HARD!
Your website is very important but is just a step in creating a business that succeeds and grows! The fact is, you may have the best website ever created, but unless people are able to find the website and learn how your products and services are something they need and were looking for, then it’s nothing more than an expensive collection of text and images.
There is only one person that truly understands your business, and that is YOU. What you need is help in driving your vision forwards with expert coaching in specific prioritised areas. What you don’t want is someone trying to put your business into their template for the purpose of selling you something. This latter point was what the online holiday cottage company was offering me above and not actually solving what I needed help with.
A Multi-Pronged Approach
Independent of the type of business you are, we all want people to visit our establishment, whether it is a place to stay, getting something to eat or an activity like a surf school.
Let’s say that the place to convert targeted traffic into sales is your “Virtual Front Door”, and this can be either your website, email or telephone.
This means you need to take a multi-pronged approach to bring warm leads right to your virtual front door! And once there, you’ll have an opportunity to establish your credibility and convince them of your offer.
But they have to find you first, right?
You have a variety of things to do, online and offline, to get the word out about your products and services. This marketing requires a commitment of time, energy and unfortunately money. This marketing is where the small business differs from the large organisations and not just because of any restrictions on the commitment to time, energy and money, but, the fact that small cheap steps can make significant gains. That’s where we come in!
How can we help?
I created Coast Radar specifically to help two audiences:
- Visitors to the coast to find information on places to stay, eat and things to see and do.
- Small business to get in front of people actively looking for what they do
Let’s look at (1) above in a little more detail, visitors use Coast Radar in two very different ways. The first is a person browsing looking for inspiration and then narrowing down options. This may mean they are very interested in understanding the availability of certain services to enable them to make a decision as to the suitability of visiting that area. They then are only really concerned with booking somewhere to stay.
The second visitor to Coast Radar is the person that is already in the area and wants something very specific, this could be understanding where the nearest beach with a surf or SUP school is located or they want to grab something to eat and need somewhere that allows dogs.
Our aim is to inspire people to visit the UK and Ireland coast. Then when visiting we would like to drive as many of them towards your businesses and to do this we would need to add you as a listing on our maps and in our search tools. We have two grades of listings:
- A FREE listing puts you on our maps with unlimited descriptive text, a single image, full address and your telephone number.
- A FEATURED listing then also includes all your Virtual Front Doors (website, social media channels, telephone, email) and then also add additional images and a video. The key to this is to think this as a second website rather than just duplicate text and images from your current website.
The reason we charge a fee for the featured listing is that we will actively promote your business to our own social media channels where at the time of writing our facebook page had over 10,000 likes and our twitter account just short of 1,000 followers.
We also provide an option to sponsor a beach page. Our beach pages are the heart of our website with most visitors landing from the search engines at a beach page and then browsing nearby listings. The sponsor option enables you to create a Featured listing but then also put direct text on the beach page itself, and we see this as an ideal option for a business tied to a beach like a surf school or beach shop and cafe.
Why not come and join us, we can help drive traffic to your front door.