Why Travel Companies Should be using Pinterest

Pinterest for Travel Companies

Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social media websites with visitor numbers increasing at an incredible rate.

For users, Pinterest is simple to use and for travel companies, it can have a huge impact on their business as it works so well at driving traffic, leads and sales.

Convert casual browsers into buyers

While Pinterest is a form of social media, it is different to the other platforms because the process of browsing right through to the point of conversion is shorter. For travel companies, this means that visitors to Pinterest are converted into sales at a faster rate than other forms of social media.

Pinterest gives users the opportunity to see a destination or cruise ship for example and simply research more or actually book because they are only a couple of clicks away from the website of the travel company. Essentially, Pinterest helps to increase conversion rates while reducing sales cycles, which is something that travel companies should embrace.

Pinterest pushes traffic

Pinterest has over 110 million active users which is a figure that simply cannot be ignored. For travel companies, it is important to generate traffic so sales increase and Pinterest is the ideal tool for this. A simple pin can lead to a dramatic increase in leads and sales.

Images always appeal to people more than words so it’s quite obvious that Pinterest is going to drive some decent traffic numbers to your site providing of course your images are of great quality and offer some value or inspiration to your visitors.

More inbound links

Marketers are motivated by people sharing content and then linking back to their website – something that Pinterest encourages significantly. Every pin will have a link that will lead back to the location of the image and so, links that are built through this platform are very effective for search engine optimisation.

People love Pinterest

People are addicted to Pinterest in a way that is completely different to how they see and use Facebook. Users feel compelled to share more on Pinterest because it’s so visual and there is no need to write a status to go with the image. For travel companies, this is a great way of sharing the latest holiday destination or offer and is a behaviour that they should all be actively involved in.

Sharing information in this way provides a real opportunity for travel companies because their pins will be seen by a potentially huge audience and could even go viral. Pinterest makes it easy for users to digest information that matters to them because there is no reading.  Ultimately, it is easier for users to scan through lots of images than it is for them to scan through Facebook posts or tweets.

Pinterest links to your website

Pinterest is not just about sharing information and images on its site as it also connects with other social media sites extremely well. This means that more people get to see the images that you post. Every pin has an option to share on Facebook, Twitter and FB messenger plus there is a drop down menu to share with your Pinterest followers.

It is also possible for companies to add a ‘Pin It’ button to their website or blog and this makes it even easier for visitors to pin content that other people will be able to see and share.

Understand what your audience likes

Pinterest makes it possible for travel companies to identify the latest trends and the places that people want to travel to. Through following people, it makes it possible to gain an insight into what inspires them. This provides an ideal opportunity to identify trends which makes it easier to deliver the right offers and products.

Pinterest is continuing to grow and evolve and this gives travel companies even more of a reason to get on-board. They can use the platform to drive traffic which in turn will convert to leads and sales and it also provides them with the ability to reach a wider audience due to the fact that pins can be shared on other social media platforms.

It has always been said that a picture speaks a thousand words and Pinterest proves just how true that really is!

Don’t forget to follow my Pinterest account which includes boards related to cruise and travel marketing.

Are you using Pinterest for your business? Tell us below!

How to Improve your Email Campaigns?

Email Marketing Tips

Inboxes these days are full to the brim and that is no surprise with many billions of marketing emails being sent everyday. Many of these are actually opened proving that it is extremely tough to gain the attention that your business is looking for.

This does not mean that it is the end of the road for your email campaign because there are steps that can be taken to help improve your results. The following tips should help to really make a difference.

Segmentation

Through segmenting lists you can help to significantly increase open rates, however, only a small percentage of those who are sending the emails decide to use this method.

Turn things around by considering segmentation when you start your campaign.

Understanding digital behaviour or demographics can help you to deliver an email that is relevant and meaningful in every possible way.

First Impressions are Everything

You only get one chance to make a brilliant first impression, so you have to get it right. When sending an email, the subject line and pre-header will give the first impression to the recipient. The stats suggest that less than half of those people who receive emails will open them if the subject line is not relevant.

To grab the attention of your subscribers, keep your subject line short, sharp and punchy. Try to keep it within a maximum of 50 characters because this will ensure that it will look appealing on mobiles and tablets as well as normal systems and laptops.

The pre-header is just as important because this is your chance to entice readers to open your email, so try to keep this important element at a reasonable size without compromising your enticing hook.

Mobile Devices

We live in a mobile world and so many emails are opened while people are on the move or in a coffee shop for instance. Wherever it may be, you still have to make a good impression once the email has been opened.

Emails have to display correctly on mobile devices because if a recipient cannot read it then they will discard it and probably not open anything else you send.

To create a good mobile experience that will capture your reader ensure that emails are created using responsive or fluid hybrid templates. If these are not available through your email service provider then you can use templates that can be found online, many of which are free or relatively low in cost.

If you are not skilled enough to code your own emails, then there are many email responsive design tutorials available online.

Test your email template once you have completed it across a number of different platforms, email clients and devices to ensure everything looks as it should.

Content that is Simple

For those people who like to read your emails while they are on the move, it is crucial that the content is simple. If your email contains long blocks of text and many calls to action it will massively reduce the number of conversions or click throughs.

Research has found that it takes less than five seconds to capture the attention of an individual web visitor while on average, emails were opened for around 15-20 seconds.

So, use a timer and open a draft version of your email on a mobile device to help you determine whether the message you want to get across in the email can be read and understood in the required time frame.

Landing Pages

Your landing pages are related to your email campaign and this is why they are extremely important. You can spend as much time as you want sharpening your email campaign to the point where readers will be unable to ignore it but if your landing page is of poor quality and doesn’t match the subject line then the hard work could all be undone.

For each marketing campaign, less than half of marketers who send out a campaign email will create a new landing page. Make sure that your campaign tops the list by spending valuable time optimising your landing page with a responsive design.

To ensure that your readers have a full experience that draws them in, ensure that the design and content on the landing page corresponds with the design and content of the email as this will create a continuous experience for the customer.

Have any email marketing questions? Get in touch!

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Why you Should Hire a VA

Hire a Virtual Assistant

When you run a small business you are going to find that at times you don’t have enough time for everything you need to do. Whether it is the administrative tasks, website updates or simply sending out emails; hiring a virtual assistant might just be the ideal solution.

What can a VA do for you?

There are a wide range of tasks that you can hire a virtual assistant for.

These can be daily, weekly or as and when you need them and vary from social media marketing, SEO, WordPress maintenance and blog management to the more traditional personal assistant services including office support and appointment setting. It really is down to what you need and the specialist areas of business of the VA you choose.

If you are considering hiring a virtual assistant but not sure if it is going to be the right move for your business then take a look at these benefits.

Every business owner wants to make money right? So why spend time sending out invoices, replying to enquiries or researching and posting on social media? By doing these tasks yourself you are not making any money for your business.

When you employ somebody then you will need to hold them to a contract, setting out hours that they will work. This may not suit every business, especially those that have seasonal peaks and troughs. Instead of hiring someone directly, why not contract a freelance VA instead? You can ask them to work for you as and when you need them.

Whilst you may think that paying out for a VA seems like an extravagance, when you compare it to the costs associated to hiring an employee it really is a more affordable option.

Why is this? Well, for a start you are not providing any office space or equipment for them to work from. They won’t require you to pay benefits such as a pension or taxes and you won’t need to pay for any training or development as this is something that they will already have.

Best of all, as we have already seen above, you only pay when you need them, meaning that you can hire someone based on your own budget at that time.

” Most small business owners have limited time and expertise. Hiring a virtual assistant allows the business to grow by allowing the business owner to hire for skill and/or to assign the VA tasks that are not income generating Michelle Mangen from thevirtualasst.com

Now you have decided that a VA is going to be right for your business, you will need to set out to find the perfect one.

There are a variety of options to consider when looking to hire a virtual assistant:

Finding a reliable, trustworthy VA is going to be pretty high on your list of considerations, so this may mean that you turn to an agency who has a database of different VA’s for you to choose from.

However, in doing this you will often have to pay a finding fee or even a monthly fee to the agency. Independent, freelance VA’s can be just as good quality and you can often find them on freelance websites where you can see feedback and ratings from previous clients.

Just like when you hire a new employee, a VA that you instruct to work for you should be the right fit for your business. It is important to interview them face to face if they are local to you (or by Skype if distance is an issue). There is a good chance that you will want to entrust them to make some important decisions, so you will want to ensure that they won’t jeopardise your good name.

Another important consideration is your own budget. It is likely that more qualified, established VA’s will cost you more to hire; so if budget is no issue then these are the best bet for you.

For those companies that have a tighter budget, you may want to consider looking for a start-up or new VA who still possesses all the skills you need, but may accept a lower rate in order to gain experience and referrals. That way, you not only pay less for the service, but you will also grow and develop with the VA, making sure that you work well together.

No matter what VA you choose, there really is no argument that they will become a truly useful and important addition to the everyday running of your business.

Looking to hire a virtual assistant? Take a look here at how I can help you.

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How to write the Perfect Blog Post

The Perfect Blog Post

The perfect blog post is the one that attracts readers with its headline, draws them in with its quality written content, and allows everyone to walk away with a new piece of information. While a blog post can be about any subject or personal thought, there are some particular points you should know about when preparing your new piece.

The Main Blog Post Components

Headline

The headline should grab the reader’s attention. There are a number of ways to do this, but it really does depend on your niche.

If you find yourself writing list articles most of the time, a simple trick is to use an odd or uncommon number and to use power words; for example, 9 Ways to Get Toned Before Summer sounds a lot more appealing than 10 Workout Routines to Get Ready for Summer. Throw the boring headlines out and spice up your article with a headline that jumps out!

Opening and Hook

The first few sentences of your post are going to be the first thing, other than the headline, that the reader is going to read when they reach your blog. If you don’t catch their attention with those first few sentences, they will quickly be off to another site.

If you offer them quality content right at the beginning instead of unnecessary or obvious information they already know, you have a potential loyal subscriber on your hands.

Image

Recommended to be placed as a half width image on either side of your hook and opening paragraph, this is usually the featured image that appears beside your blog post when it comes up in the search results.

A well timed, relevant photo here will solidify the foundation of your blog post, cement the trust you’re working on building with the reader, and entice them to read further.

Blog Post Story

Subheading

After your opening paragraph, you’re not about to just start the next paragraph without giving the reader a reason why. That’s where a subheading comes in. The engaging opening paragraph has got them this far, but you need a benefit, step, promise, or a summary of the next paragraph that they’re about to read, rolled up conveniently into a subheading, to give them a reason to continue reading.

Connect Emotionally

Readers are more likely to take action, engage in more of your content and subscribe to your list when they’re presented with content that they can connect to on an emotional level.

The key is to get personal, demonstrate emotion or convey sympathy, and emphasise the content that you know will connect with the majority of people who visit your blog.

Call to Action

What’s the point of your blog post? You’ve got the reader’s attention, hooked them to read further, connected with them emotionally, but what was it all leading up to? After you’ve written beautiful paragraphs which connect with the reader, it’s time to add a call to action.

You can prompt readers to action with a statement, a request, a quote, or a bold fact that will have them ready to do what you ask.

Blog Post - Call to Action

Another Subheading

You’ve connected with the reader emotionally and called them to action, giving them information, benefits, and maybe some great tips along the way.

Now that you’ve fully engaged them, it’s time to deliver another big promise, offer another benefit, dish out the step-by-step process you’ve been leading up to, and, no matter where you’re taking the blog post, the goal of this subheading is to inform the reader of what they’re about to learn.

How To Steps or Insight

This is where you give your readers advice, a guide, or the core concept that your blog post is all about.This is the meat and backbone of your blog post. You give them the information they’re looking for in this section, transitioning smoothly to your final call to action at the end.

Call to Action Take Two!

This is your call to action, Take Two. This is where you’re going to reiterate the central focus of your post. You’re going to wrap up the post in these last few sentences. You can also add a subscribe or buy now call to action here, enticing the reader to either subscribe so that they can get alerts when you post going forward or buy whatever product you’re selling.

The Elements

Now that you’ve got a general guideline to follow, you also need to be equipped with the elements and tools needed to make a perfect blog post.

Real Facts

Don’t fill an entire blog post with just your opinion – as harsh as this sounds, no one wants to read a one-person rant. You need to pepper the entire blog post with hard, real facts. Facts can be used to grab a reader’s attention, call to action a certain need, and much more.

The important thing to remember is to provide reliable sources that you get your facts from, straying away from any biased sources and sticking with educational and informative websites like wikipedia for instance.

Images/Screenshots

If readers just wanted to read big blocks of text, they would just pick up a book. They’re going to your website to read your blog post so that they can be entertained, engaged, and educated, but they won’t stay long if there is a big wall of text in front of them.

Place relevant images, screenshots, and infographics throughout the post to give your readers a visual representation to go with what they’re reading about. Remember to save the images with your keywords in the file name and to use descriptive alt tags.

Videos

You’ve given them a visual representation of the core concept of your post, but a video really drives home what you’re trying to convey. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth millions. It stands to reason that adding a video that’s relevant to your blog post is a recommended element to utilise.

Examples

An example could be a testimonial from an outside author, a chart or other diagram of raw data, or just a picture showing a demonstration as a visual example. Examples add value to your blog post, giving your readers something they can compare to the information in the post.

Heading Tags

Utilising heading tags in your post is very important for the look of the post and of course for search engine optimisation. If every line of text, subheading, and the main headline are all the same size and length, then we run into the problem of your blog post just looking like a menacing wall of text with some visual aids added in.

Giving your headline and subheadings the proper h1, h2, or whatever other tags you choose for your format is a great way to keep all of your blog posts consistent and more engaging.

Bullet Points/Numbered Lists

Adding numbered lists, bullet points, and other content formatted to be more bite-sized and readable is one of the easiest tricks to keeping your readers engaged. It breaks up the text and offers a format that’s easier on the eye.

Blog Post - Bullet Points

Oh and don’t forget SEO!

Obviously you want your post to be found when people are searching for an answer to their query.  To give yourself the best chance make sure that you are using your preferred keywords in the meta title and description tag with a call to action in the latter.

Also try and fit the words into your heading tags and content but be sure to make everything read naturally and don’t overdo it otherwise your readers will be off somewhere else and of course any efforts to try and fool the search engines will catch up with you sooner or later.

Your Reader’s Feedback

Even if you opt not to throw in a “buy now” or “subscribe now” additional call to action towards the end of your post, you should still be looking for feedback with every post.

Your readers are very important to the success of your blog, so asking for their feedback, critique, what could be improved, and opinion on the concept of the post as a whole is a great way to show this. Wrapping up by asking for your readers feedback or experience is also a great way to start solidifying the trust you’re trying to build with them.

We can use the example of the list article again, 9 Ways to Get Toned Before Summer. It’s as simple as writing, “What are some of your favorite ways or specific workout routines that you do to prepare for the summer?” as the last sentence of your blog post.

This is the best way to potentially trigger a discussion in the comment section.

Fortunately, when you’ve got a simple guide to look back on, you have everything you need to create the perfect piece of content. This post was designed to help you learn how to incorporate important elements in your content and engage your readers.

By connecting with your readers, you’re more inclined to potentially gain a new subscriber or have another item purchased, depending on what the overall goal of your blog is.

Which Social Media Accounts Are You Using?

Social Media Marketing

There are many different networks that you could be using for your social media marketing. Each network allows certain industries to thrive; however, this also means that some are simply not fit for specific industries.

You could waste your time creating social media accounts for your business on every social networking platform – or, you can take the time to understand which channel is best for you, and go from there.

1. Facebook

The largest social media network in the entire world, with over 1.3 billion users, Facebook is recommended for when you want to start off your marketing efforts the right way. Since there are so many people on Facebook (over half of all Facebook users are online every single day), it doesn’t matter what industry or niche your website is in.

For Facebook, virtually all businesses should have at least one regularly updated Facebook page. It doesn’t matter who your audience is, what your strategy is, or what your business model is – Facebook should be added to your list of social media accounts to use no matter what.

2. Twitter

Another must-have in your social media account arsenal is, of course, Twitter. With the average user spending almost three hours a month on Twitter, this social network is a great way to let your audience feel more connected to your business.

This particular platform is where countless businesses have gone viral simply because of the hashtags they use, which causes more people to favorite and retweet, which in turn increases your Tweets visibility.

3. Google My Business

Anyone who runs their own business is sure to be aware of the importance of reaching a prominent place in the search results of Google. While there are lots of different ways of doing this, most require a lot of testing as well as a little patience.

Google My Business is a specially created dashboard for managing local listings that will help you improve your local visibility.

4. Linkedin

While LinkedIn is namely a platform designed for business to business marketing, it still has a business to client marketing aspect that makes it desirable for a lot of business owners to use. There are over 270 million users on LinkedIn, and statistically, two new people join LinkedIn every second.

With those kind of staggering numbers, using LinkedIn for some B2B marketing will not only benefit the businesses that you help market, but it will also market your own business – this goes especially if other businesses see that you’re helping market them and return the favour. With this particular social media platform, you have the ability to open your network more than you ever thought possible with businesses similar to yours.

5. Instagram

An optional social media network to take advantage of is the visual platform that is Instagram. You can promote your personal brand, as well as your business, with this particular networking platform.

Unlike other social media accounts, you don’t have to keep Instagram too regularly updated to maintain a hefty number of followers. With Instagram, you will instead be spending most of your time liking and commenting on other user’s pictures. Following all of the hashtags that you use, you can find a pool of other users easily.

6. Pinterest

Email platforms used to be considered the most popular sharing platforms available. Now, Pinterest is actually considered the most popular sharing platform. As a bonus, this social media network provides the highest revenue per click than any other social networking site.

Utilising Pinterest correctly and having it directly lead back to your website through multiple folders and pictures will allow you to build your audience to your website in the most affordable way, since using Pinterest is free. This goes for all of the other social networking sites on this list.

7. YouTube

For industries where videos are relevant, YouTube is an excellent social media platform that has a variety of benefits. Standing as the second largest search engine in the world, YouTube has surpassed Yahoo and Bing, two search engines vying for the second-place spot for well over a decade now.

When you have a video social media website that reaches more adults in the US than any cable television network, taking action and incorporating YouTube into your digital marketing plan is highly recommended.

It’s easy to see that when you take advantage of multiple social media platforms at once, you have the opportunity to truly engage with every fan or follower which could in turn lead to more business.

By utilising social media marketing, you also increase the chance of the majority of the marketing being done for you, with how almost incredibly easy it is to make a video, post, or picture go viral.

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