Digital Marketing Buzzword Glossary

All these marketing buzzwords and acronyms can get a bit confusing!

To help you cut through the jargon, we have created a glossary. We will be constantly updating it to make sure you know what we’re talking about and keep you informed.

Digital Marketing Buzzwords

A/B Testing

Also known as split testing, is when two versions of something, such as a Web page, are run at the same time, to the same audience. The results of the A/B test will show which Web page, app or email campaign, achieves your goals better.

Adwords

Google’s advertising platform. It is used to power adverts on Google’s Search Engine Result Pages (SERP) as well as thousands of adverts across their display network and YouTube.

API (Application Program Interface)

An API allows software solutions to talk, or interface, with each other. This is incredibly useful when doing software integrations. An example would be automatically transferring booking information from an eCommerce platform into an accounts package or CRM system.

Avatar

Avatars are small images that online users choose to represent themselves on websites, forums, blogs and social networks.

Backlink

An incoming Web link from an external website or application to a specific Web page.

Black Hat (SEO)

Black Hat techniques are used to help improve your website’s presence in Search Engine Result Pages (SERP). They do not follow search engine guide lines, so can be very risky to use.

Bots

See Robot.

Bounce Rate

This is the percentage of visitors that come to your website, but only view one page, have zero interaction and then leave.

Bounces (Email)

Refers to undeliverable emails. If an email is sent, but can’t be delivered it, due to various reasons, such as closed or non-existent email accounts, it “Bounces”.

Buyer Persona

This is a semi-fictional description of your ideal customer based on market research and existing customer information. Buyer persona(s) provide structure and insight for your company.

Campaign

A set of specific marketing activities with one shared goal, the selling of a service or product, or to raise awareness of a business or brand.

Cloaking

A form of Black Hat (SEO). It is the practice of showing different content to search engine bots when they crawl your website, as opposed to what regular human visitors would see.

CMS (Content Management System)

CMS is a platform allows you to create, modify and manage your digital content. The most common CMS is a simple blog!

Content Marketing

The practice of attracting potential customers through the publication of informative and helpful content, such as infographics, images, video, reviews, blogs and menus. (See also Inbound Marketing)

CRM (Customer Relationship Management)

A CRM system provides a central database of your customer information, such as orders and enquiries and can streamline the processes of your Sales and Marketing teams.

CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation)

A system for increasing the percentage of visitors to a website that convert into customers or take a desired action.

CTA (Call-To-Action)

A clickable link or button to prompt an immediate action from the user.

CTR (Click-Through-Rate)

Refers to the number of clicks on a specific link compared to the number of impressions (views) it’s had. Often shown as a percentage CTR = Clicks / impressions (x100)

DMP (Data Management Platform)

DMP’s collect, analyse & segment a companies customer, audience and marketing data into one central location. This information is then output and used to inform & instruct advertising decision.

Drip Marketing

A communication strategy that sends, or “drips”, timely pre-written messages to customers or prospects over time. The process is often automated and uses email marketing platforms with predetermined rules that trigger emails to be sent to consumers, based on their actions.

Evergreen (content)

Content that is always relevant and stays “fresh” for its readers. Referred to as “Evergreen” as it reflects how evergreen trees retain their leaves all year round.

Forms

Forms collect information about your visitors. They are a critical part of the conversion process with the purpose to capture the information to generate a new business enquiry or lead.

Geo-Targeting

The method of identifying the geographical location of a website visitor and delivering different content to that visitor based on his or her location.

Google Analytics

A free service from Google that tracks and reports on visitors to your website.

Hashtag (#)

Is a method of grouping social posts by categories using keywords. It also enables users to search and follow discussions and trending topics – e.g. #HospitalityMarketing. Hashtags are used by most of the social media networks including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Hit

Often inaccurately used to describe unique visitors, visits, page views, or all of the above. A hit is a request for a file, such as an image. One Web page view could be tens of hits!

Hyperlink

Also referred to simply as a “Link”, is a clickable word, phrase or image that takes you directly to another document or to another section of the document you are currently on.

Inbound Marketing

A marketing strategy of attracting potential customers through digital content and interactions (social media) to your website. It expands upon Content Marketing using a combination of other marketing strategies and tools to convert these new potential customers into repeat customers and promoters of your brand.

Impression

Also known as a “View”, is a count of the number of times a Web page, or in some cases an advertisement, is either viewed by a user or displayed by a Web browser.

Influencer Marketing

A marketing strategy that uses a key individual with a following that can be influenced by their actions. Often, Celebrities with large social media followings are used to promote brands and products or services via their personal media channels. There are many influencers today without the celebrity status though, judged to have the capacity to affect the buying decisions of their followers.

Internal Link

A weblink from one Web page within your own website, to another Web page within your own website.

Keyword

A word or phrase that describes the content of a Web page. Keywords make up part of a Web page’s metadata and help search engines select relevant pages to particular search queries. Google Adwords also uses keywords to make its adverts target the correct audience.

Long Tail (Keyword)

A keyword phrase made up of three or more words. They are used to target niche demographics rather than large audiences associated with broader (shorter) keyword search terms. For example, Luxury Thames River Cruise as opposed to River Cruise.

Landing Page

A single Web page that is commonly used with a marketing campaign. Landing pages are designed with a very specific purpose, often gathering Leads.

Lead

The confirmation of consumer interest. A lead is generated when a stranger shows an interest in your company or service. In digital marketing this is often through a contact form on your website, with the user providing contact information and a purpose to follow up.

Martech

Martech is the combination of Marketing and Technology. The term represents the initiatives, efforts and tools that use technology to achieve marketing goals and objectives.

Meme

An Internet Meme is a form of content, often an annotated image, which spreads from person to person via the internet.

Open Rate

Refers to the number of “opens” or “views” an email campaign has received in comparison to the number of people it was delivered to. Often shown as a percentage, Open Rate = Opens / (Emails Sent – Bounces) x100.

Open Source

Software with a source code that anyone can inspect, modify and enhance – allowing programmers to manipulate a software ‘program’ or ‘application’ as they require.

Organic Listing (Search Result)

Listings on Search Engine Result Pages (SERP) that appear based on their relevance to the search term entered, as opposed to Paid Listings (Search Results).

Paid Listing (Search Result)

Listings on Search Engine Result Pages (SERP) that appear in prominent (higher visibility) locations for a price.

Plug-in (or Plugin)

These are extensions or add-ons that add new features to an existing computer software program.

PPC (Pay-Per-Click)

PPC refers to an online advertising method where an advertiser pays for a listing and agrees a set cost for each time that listing is clicked. These advertisements are most commonly seen on Search Engine Result Pages (SERP).

PR (Page Rank)

Is an algorithm used by Google Search to “rank” Web pages in order of relevance and importance to search terms entered into their search engine.

Qualified Lead

A Lead that has been through a qualification process, either through contact from one of your sales team, or by checking information provided aligns with that of your Buyer Persona.

Retweet

The act of resharing a tweet on Twitter, via the account you are logged-in on.

Robots (Bots)

Also known as Spiders or Crawlers, are programs that navigate, or “crawl”, your Web pages gathering information for search engines, which tells them what your pages are about.

ROI (Return On Investment)

ROI is used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment. It is often shown as a percentage, calculated this way (Net Profit / Cost of Investment) x 100.

RSS (Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication)

Enables the user to receive content updates from blogs, podcasts and other information sources through one central location. This gives the user full control and doesn’t require contact information such as email addresses.

SEM (Search Engine Marketing)

Focuses on increasing the visibility of a Web page in Search Engine Result Pages (SERP), through paid advertising. SEM also uses the practices of SEO to achieve increased visibility and reduced advertising cost.

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

A process focused on increasing the visibility of a particular Web page in search engine organic results . This process involves keywords, page loading speeds and other factors defined by search engine algorithms.

SERP (Search Engine Result Pages)

The page that you see having performed a search via a search engine such as Google. The organic listings are provided in order of relevance based on the keywords or search phrase you entered.

Social Monitoring

Is the active monitoring of social media channels for mentions or information about a company or organisation. It also provides an opportunity for your Hospitality company to gain insight about your potential and existing customers and their views related to your industry.

Social Publishing

The use of Social Media channels to share and promote content with your target audience.

Spiders

See Robots.

Tag

A keyword or phrase that is “tagged” to a piece of content, such as a blog post or media file. These tags are used to organise content by topic. For social media see Hashtags.

Thread

Refers to a sequence of responses, or discussion, based on an original message post.

Trending

When a topic or discussion goes viral and gets rapid coverage amongst social media users. Most social media platforms use Hashtags to organise and group topics and it is through these hashtags that topics “trend”.

Tweet

Is a post made by a user on the social network, Twitter. “Tweets” are restricted to 140 characters long, but can include images, GIFs, videos and links to external content.

User Generated Content

This refers to content that is created by users of an online system or service, often made available by social media channels. Content types can be, but not limited to; blogs, forums, posts, wikis, images, video or audio files.

Viral

When things go “Viral” they are rapidly and widely circulated on the internet.

Vlog (Video-Blog)

A Blog or Web log that includes video clips. It may be entirely video-based or could be a written blog that features videos as commentary. Examples of Vlogs include product and service reviews, instructional videos and personal commentaries.

Web Design

While inclusive of visual design elements, by “Web Design” LeadDigital also refer to the behind the scenes processes that you can’t see. The usability and capability of your website to function as a sales funnel, working for your sales team. It is essential to include processes that achieve your hospitality business goals including booking and payment processing systems.

White Hat (SEO)

Uses optimisation strategies and techniques that focus on the human audience ahead of search engine Robots (Bots). The process follows search engine rules and policies to increase visibility of your Web page.

WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get)

A WYSIWYG editor or program allows a developer to see the end result of a project while still in creation, in contrast to traditional editors that are typically code based. Often seen in landing page software platforms.

 

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Is Email Marketing Dead?

Let’s start with the facts. Right now, according to a report by The Radicati Group, 269 billion emails are being sent daily. This figure is set to grow by 4% over the next four years, with the number of worldwide email users in 2017 now topping 3.7 billion.

So email itself is still flourishing, but what about email marketing?

Email-Late-Night-688329-edited

Here is LeadDigital’s top 5 for what your hospitality brand can achieve with effective email marketing.

1. Inform & Engage

There are few better ways to connect with people interested in your hotel, restaurant, bar or events venue than by email. Your list of email contacts will include people who’ve stayed in your hotel, attended an event or shown an interest in your hospitality business. These are people who want to hear from you and have given permission to be contacted.

Although our inboxes are inundated, people don’t dislike all email – just the messages they don’t want to receive!

Strategy-led email marketing provides a direct opportunity to engage with people interested in your brand. LeadDigital can work with you to define your strategy and tailor your approach for different types of customers. This could be new subscribers just starting to explore your services or long-term customers.

2. Increase Retention

Your venue has run a large event, sold thousands of tickets and collected email addresses from everyone who attended. How do you then make sure those event goers buy from you again? Email marketing.

An experienced email marketer can craft content that directly reaches out to your customers, and builds a desire to recreate or relive a moment in time. This could be a hotel re-engaging with a couple who’ve celebrated a special occasion with a return visit offer. Or, perhaps a restaurant, inviting someone who’s booked a table four times in the past year, a discount on their fifth visit.

This is known as drip marketing. LeadDigital are MailChimp Experts, and can use the MailChimp platform to automate a wide collection of email messages, which saves you time and money.

Read more about MailChimp automation.

3. Affordable Marketing

Many hospitality businesses get drawn towards social media, print, tv & radio marketing and whilst these do offer their own benefits, none are as cost effective as email marketing. For example, an article on McKinsey.com suggests, email is considered nearly 40 times more effective at acquiring customers than Facebook & Twitter combined! – with average order values 17 percent higher!

This is down to two things – reach and engagement.

Say your restaurant or venue has 10,000 email subscribers and a sent email reaches 7,900 of those subscribers (79% according to a report by returnpath.com). As per benchmarks set by email marketing software brand MailChimp, 1714 people (21.7%) of those subscribers who received this email would likely open it, and 23 people (1.33%) would click a link.

On the other hand, Facebook posts reach only 1-6% of fans; so out of 10,000 fans, only 300 (3%) see a posted message, and then only 2 (0.07%) would actually engage with it (like or comment). Email offers both greater opportunities to reach people, and is more likely to engage with relevant customers.

More people, more relevance, more return on investment.

 

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4. Future Proof

Email is proving itself to be one of the pillars of digital communication. While people are moving away from desktop computers and onto mobile devices, email remains a key communication tool. With 44.9 million mobile users in the UK alone in 2017, being able to engage with mobile users is more important than ever!

Using an email marketing online software platform like MailChimp, your hospitality brand can create emails that not only look good, but successfully work across all devices. This can be tested carefully before even a single email is sent, never damaging your relationship with subscribers.

MailChimp Experts like LeadDigital, can develop specific email marketing strategies for mobile, taking into account how people interact differently on mobile devices.

5. Easily Sharable

With just the simple click of the forward button, subscribers to your hospitality brand can quickly share your emails with friends and family. This makes email marketing one of the best ways to gain more exposure for restaurants, hotels, bars, venues; turning your subscribers into brand advocates. Not only is sharing easy, it’s also a great way for your hospitality brand to build credibility. You’re much more likely to book a hotel room recommended by your best friend.

Conclusion

Is email marketing dead? Not at all, but the way businesses approach email marketing does have to change. Hospitality brands need to value and carefully manage how subscribers are obtained; and then develop tailored email marketing strategies.

At LeadDigital, we work with hotels, bars, restaurants and venues to refine their customer sign-up processes and create long-term email marketing plans that are based on their goals, using our expert knowledge of MailChimp.

 

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Why Choose MailChimp for Your Hospitality Business?

When considering email marketing for your hospitality business, it’s vital that you start with the correct structure and systems around you. Without these tools and resources, keeping control of subscribers to your restaurant, hotel or events venue can be a nightmare – and that’s before you’ve even sent your first email marketing campaign! Here’s five reasons why you should choose MailChimp for your email marketing;

MailChimp-Freddie

Why MailChimp?

1. A Brief History of MailChimp

Founded in 2001, MailChimp has grown to over $400 Million in revenue, with 15 Million customers and more than 500 employees.

They account their success to a unique customer first approach, an understanding of what competitors lack, greater customization and a loveable brand people connect with. They’re pioneers in email marketing, always developing new features, such as the recently released ability to include Gifs in emails.

2. The Infrastructure

When it comes to infrastructure, MailChimp have constructed brand-new, fit for purpose colocation spaces from the ground up in recent years. This is to handle the 10,000+ new users added each day, as well as 15 million customers sending over a billion emails every single day!

MailChimp is a large application so focusing on simplicity and proven technology has been their main engineering philosophy. (For more on infrastructure, see MailChimp’s engineering blog)

For email marketing users, MailChimp’s Cloud-based platform means no software downloads, no complicated installs and easy access for anyone, across any device with a browser!

3. The Features

Part of what has made MailChimp the number 1 email marketing platform, is the company’s ability to really appreciate the pain points email marketers face; and answer these with highly customizable features that can scale for any business size. The most prominent of these features include:-

Automation

Let’s say you’ve just checked out Mr & Mrs Smith from your hotel’s honeymoon suite. Two days later, the couple receive an email from your hotel thanking them for their stay, and asking for review. Four months later, in lieu of Mrs Smith’s upcoming birthday, Mr Smith receives an email suggesting a special rate at the hotel to celebrate the occasion.

Every interaction was entirely automated and scheduled by MailChimp. Intelligent data collection at each customer interaction point, forward planning and pre-scheduling in the MailChimp platform, can help your hospitality brand reconnect with customers and develop a greater customer experience, with minimal input.

A/B Testing

What’s the best day to send your venues latest events newsletter? Which subject line about your restaurant’s latest menu is most effective? Do more venue bookings come from sending morning or afternoon emails? – MailChimp helps you answer all of these and more, with precise A/B testing tools. You can build up-to three variants to test in each campaign, and MailChimp will take care of all the testing, letting you know what’s worked best!

E-commerce

Shopify and other similar platforms, offer the option to sync with MailChimp’s e-commerce features; allowing you to track orders, set up automated messaging (such as abandoned shopping cart emails), make product recommendations based on previous purchases, and much much more. It’s one of our favourite features of MailChimp, and if used well, can help generate revenue for your hospitality brand.

 

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Segmentation & Groups

MailChimp helps you send the right content to the right subscribers. It’s one thing to collect data on subscribers, but knowing how to use this data wisely and how to gain real performance insights, can be more complicated. Luckily MailChimp offer highly customizable segmentation options, allowing you to target email messages to the best subscribers, in every campaign. LeadDigital are MailChimp experts, so can help you refine complicated subscriber lists into actionable segments that work alongside your hospitality brand’s needs.

MailChimp Designer

Graphic designers are not always available on hand to create custom HTML email designs every week, so for this need, you have MailChimp Designer. This feature provides the ability to quickly create fantastic looking emails, with incredible content and personalisation options. Using the builder, your hospitality company can create emails that reflect your brand – with preview and testing features available to ensure your email works correctly across all devices.

This is more important than ever, given 56% of emails are now opened on mobile devices. Being able to test and ensure your content appears as intended on mobile, tablets and desktop is vital, and could make the difference between an email’s success and failure.

Mobile App

MailChimp works on any device, however they also created a mobile application for IOS & Android. Many of the features available on desktop are also available on mobile; including the ability to view and send email campaigns, keep on track with performance analytics and monitor e-commerce revenue (if associated with an e-commerce provider like Shopify). There are also widgets available for quick performance updates.

4. The Integrations

MailChimp now integrates with hundreds of apps and services, including Salesforce, Eventbrite, Shopify, Facebook, Twitter and many others (the full directory can be seen HERE). Working with MailChimp experts including LeadDigital, your hospitality business can sync all these applications within MailChimp – simplifying your workflow and increasing efficiency. For example;

E-commerce

As discussed above, sync your Shopify data with MailChimp subscribers, track visitors, track orders, automate targeted email campaigns and gain greater insights.

CRM (customer relationship management)

Sync customer data between your CRM and MailChimp. Perfect for improving customer experiences of your brand and engaging with subscribers in new, more effective ways increasing sales opportunities.

Social Media

Sync with your social channels, grow your subscriber lists, share content and market to subscribers on their preferred social networks.

5. The Affordability

Cost for MailChimp is related to subscriber numbers; making it perfect for all hospitality businesses, from start-ups with small lists, to Enterprise’s with thousands of customers.

At time of writing MailChimp prices start from as little as £16 per month for over 1,000+ subscribers – going up to £28 per month for over 2,500 subscribers. There’s also the option of MailChimp Pro to access the more powerful MailChimp features.

Conclusion

When it comes to email marketing overall, there is a lot to be considered beyond just the MailChimp platform. This starts with creating a strategy for ongoing success, and then includes: management of subscriber lists, integrations with other services, campaign planning/design/scheduling/reporting, learning from performance data and adapting future campaigns, etc…

This is where LeadDigital excel. We are certified MailChimp Experts, meaning we have advanced knowledge of the platform, and have been proven to provide successful email marketing campaigns for our clients.

LeadDigital’s team work directly with our hospitality customers to develop long term marketing strategies tailored to your brand’s needs; whether that’s to gain more room bookings, sell tickets or simply improve customer engagement. We can design, schedule, send and report on every aspect of performance, with the experience to backup support provide.

 

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What Is Inbound Marketing?

Over the past 5 years the term “Inbound Marketing” has been rapidly growing in popularity.

The term Inbound Marketing is credited to being first coined by Hubspot’s co-founder and CEO Brian Halligan, during the company’s inception back in 2006. Hubspot are the developers of one of the leading content marketing platforms for business of all sizes – a platform we at LeadDigital are committed to using ourselves and one we know to be beneficial to hospitality businesses such as event venues, bars, restaurants and hotels.

Inbound marketing describes the marketing strategy of attracting customers through digital content and interactions to your website. However, you may be more familiar associating this description with the term content marketing. You aren’t wrong! Content marketing is the process of attracting prospects to your website through a variety of content formats, like video, case studies, infographics, etc. However, inbound goes beyond this.

Arguably, content marketing has been incorporated as a part, or subset, of inbound. Content marketing only covers the initial stage of attracting potential customers within the inbound methodology as you can see from the graphic below.

Inbound-Methodology

Inbound Methodology

The above graphic represents Hubspot’s Inbound Methodology. It is made up of four actions, along the top (Attract, Convert, Close, Delight), which companies must take in order to obtain visitors, leads, customers and promoters. Along the bottom are the tools companies use to accomplish these actions. It is important to note these tools are listed under the action where they first come into play. Tools, like email, can play a big role in several stages of the inbound methodology.

The overall practice focuses on turning strangers into customers and customers into evangelists of your brand. Here is a quick summary of each stage of the inbound methodology, with reference to the above graphic;

Attract

Potential customers discover your hospitality brand through content such as blogs, videos and reviews via social media publishing and search engines. This content needs to aim at providing helpful information and answer questions. These are questions you know your potential customers will have when researching and booking a hotel, event venue, or table at your restaurant, for example.

This stage of the practice relies on a strong understanding of search engine optimisation and content creation skills. It also requires a good understanding of your customer base and an ability to pick out characteristics of your ideal customers. See more on how inbound can help your hospitality business increase sales.

Convert

Having successfully attracted potential customers to your site, this is where you make your website work for you. Using a combination of Call To Action buttons, Landing Pages and Forms, you capture the details of your potential customers, turning them into enquiries (leads).

Close

This is where having a good CRM (customer relationship management) system, that keeps a record of all customer interactions, really supports you in turning an enquiry into a customer. Email also plays an important role at this stage as a form of drip marketing, which nurtures your prospective guests and encourages them into becoming customers. An email marketing platform, like Hubspot’s or MailChimp, can automate much of this process while providing a customised experience (see point 5 in Why Your Hospitality Email Marketing isn’t Working!).

Delight

Continually using your CRM system to manage communications with existing customers. You can utilise email and initiate social monitoring to connect with your customer, provide excellent service and keep your brand top-of-mind. It is during this stage where delighting your customer also turns them into an evangelist of your hospitality brand.

Conclusion

Inbound begins with the principles of content marketing and utilises other tools and disciplines, which you may already be familiar with, to generate qualified leads, increase sales and convert customers into promoters.

We at LeadDigital work with hospitality businesses to establish and manage inbound marketing strategies, which deliver high quality enquiries and increase bookings.

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Do You Need a Bigger Agency?

Large agencies have fancy offices, more resources, big name clients and shiny awards on their walls. Game over, right?

size

 

“Does size really matter?”

Not so surprisingly as a boutique agency we tend to take offence to suggestions we can’t play in the big sand pit. So we put together the top 5 reasons we believe size really does matter.

1. Communication

The number one reason marketing agencies lose clients, isn’t lack of talent or even poor execution, it’s ironically, as a result of poor communication. Lack of progress reporting, excessive technical jargon, erratic schedules, and unclear results all combine to create divisions in the client / agency relationship. Trust is gradually eroded until the end is all but inevitable.

Smaller agencies necessitate flat management structures. A system of management which allows for much greater transparency. Information is shared far more freely between team members working across a client account as well as between both businesses.

This is in stark contrast to larger firms where layers of management and departmental boundaries often create information silos.

“Departmental boundaries often create information silos.”

2. Specialists

Small agencies are able to become specialists in a chosen field. This can be a marketing discipline such as SEO or design, or within an industry vertical, like Hospitality or Retail. This specialisation allows them to often out-skill their much larger rivals.

Larger firms have to support a much larger overhead, which forces them to become what’s referred to as “full service” agencies. They rarely focus on individual sectors or channels, needing to aim instead at larger national or multi national clients. Perhaps the expression “jack of all trades” exists for a reason after all.

“Small agencies can specialise!”

3. Accountability

When you work with a small agency, it’s extremely likely the person who presented you with the proposal, will be working on your account. This level of personalisation brings with it a different level of honesty and ultimate accountability.

A larger firm is likely to employ dedicated sales teams and account managers. Their jobs are selling and not necessarily linked to delivery. Depending on the compensation schemes utilised, it’s not surprising over promising is common place.

“Over promising is common place.”

4. Agility

Smaller agencies are able to anticipate and adapt quickly to changes in an incredibly fast paced industry. Larger agencies need to deal with the management and bureaucracy before hiring or training in a new discipline can even begin.

Small firms share ideas much more easily. This isn’t something limited to the world of agencies. Large hospitality brands are rarely labelled as agile or innovative. A 10-20 person team can all fit in a single room share new ideas and have a decision made in a matter of minutes. A multi-tiered organisation with departments competing for glory, reporting to a board of directors is a whole different story.

“Large firms are rarely labelled agile”

The days of doggedly following 5 year plans are over. Hospitality business, perhaps more than any other industry needs to embrace change as a way of life. Choosing a partner with similar capabilities is critical to success over the long term.

5. Customer Service

Last, but certainly not least. Small agencies care more! There are two main reasons why. Firstly, the owner is most likely engaged directly with your account. When was the last time you had a poor customer experience and blamed it on too much owner involvement? The second and perhaps most obvious reason, you mean more to them. The value of your account will represent a far larger percentage of their overall business than it would at a larger firm.

“When was the last time you had a poor customer experience and blamed it on too much owner involvement?”

Now thats not to say there aren’t trade offs. Larger firms can provide 24/7 call centres and layers of management through which issues can be escalated. And they’re far more likely to offer SLAs and detailed contracts with terms of service delivery. It’s a case of deciding which you value most.


Obviously we accept there’s a place for large agencies. Primarily working alongside businesses that share their working philosophy. If you’ve read this far, then we’re guessing that doesn’t fit your way of thinking!

We’re proud to say that LeadDigital is an agile boutique marketing agency that specialises in the hospitality industry. Our most amazing work has come from relationships with brands where owners are deeply engaged in the projects we’re working on. If that sounds like you then click below!

 

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Should Instagram be part of your Hospitality Marketing Strategy?

Instagram is one of the fastest growing social networks today. But, should this social platform be part of your hotel, restaurant, bar or event venue’s marketing strategy?

Instagram was released in 2010 and bought by Facebook in April 2012 for $1bn, with just over 30 million users. The platform now has over 600 million users – 100 million of which came in the second half of 2016 alone! This is largely linked to the fact that the platform has put a huge emphasis on product development in the last six months.

As with the other social platforms, Instagram is growing and evolving constantly. In the last six months alone we have seen the introduction of Stories, Live Video Broadcasting and Shopping Tools integrated within sponsored posts.

Instagram Filter Coffee-958333-edited

What Instagram offers and how it benefits you

Promote your brand with an active, young audience

We’re talking Millennials. The Millennial generation is larger than its predecessors (Generation X and even the Baby Boomers) and is starting to move into its prime spending years. They are the tech generation that has grown up with the internet and the technologies it has conceived.

Being the first native digital generation, they are the most active demographic on Instagram and as such, make up the majority of the audience. Social media is the way Millennials are choosing to interact with the brands that they use and hashtags are the method of connecting through Instagram.

Hashtags and what they can do for you

Hashtags are terms that you link to your posts in Instagram, much like Twitter. These terms can then be searched for by anyone, who will be looking to see posts related to those terms.

We know that people are increasingly doing their research online before spending their hard earned cash. You need to recognise that the generation that has developed the hashtag is going to use it to help make their buying choices. They will search for terms like #LondonBar and #NewquayHotel on Instagram to get visual inspiration for places they may like to visit.

If they already know of your brand, they may search your company name directly and they will be looking for images and videos that will influence their buying decision. This is where previous posts will appear (if hashtagged correctly). With enticing visual content you can influence your potential customers that are considering booking a stay at your hotel or a table at your restaurant.

Hashtagging your images about the latest services your hotel, spa and resort offers can reach a new audience on Instagram too and create brand awareness. But, be aware that you need to post regularly as results are shown chronologically. Depending on the popularity of the term and competition, a post can shoot down the results pages beyond the point where the attention span of the user may find it.

FREE promotion from guests

If you provide a great service, your guests will want to share their experience at your hospitality venue with their followers. Social media platforms have become tools of vanity for many users, wanting to show they are making the most of their lives. They will share their highlights with all their friends and followers, adding hashtags and location information to their posts as appropriate.

In the world of the consumer, when better to do that than during your experience at a luxurious event, restaurant or hotel? This will generate free publicity for your hospitality business and give an authentic representation of your services that you can’t create operating as the brand yourselves.

Social Monitoring

As with all social networks, you will need to monitor Instagram for mentions of your brand, to ensure that posts are positive and to act on any negative feedback. Even if you receive negative posts, your quick response and the manner in which you deal with the complaint can turn it into a positive experience for your business.

Social monitoring is also another opportunity to interact with your potential customer base. Following the posts of existing customers and qualified leads can give you an insight into what matters to them.

Sponsored Posts (advertising in Instagram)

Instagram have been developing their advertising options since sponsored posts were launched at the tail end of 2013. The original launch was with retail brands, but it is a great platform for driving awareness of your hospitality services. With the recent development of Instagram’s shopping tools, it is now also capable of driving sales through your website.

Instagram provides a range of sponsored post options that appear in your target audience’s feed. From these sponsored posts they can then click through to “learn more” revealing the comments and a link to your website landing page, where you can convert them into a customer. Here are the options with some simple case examples for the hospitality industry;

  • Photo – A clean and simple professional still image showing your restaurant’s signature dish.
  • Video – Share a video up to 60 seconds promoting the experience of attending one of your luxury events.
  • Carousel – Create a group of images each representing the variety of rooms available at your hotel.
  • Stories – Similar to the video option that appears on the main feed, these videos appear within the Stories feed on instagram, showing seamlessly between the videos of the people and brands that the user already follows.

You can target the audience that your sponsored posts appear to based on;

  • Location
  • Demographics
  • Interests
  • Behaviours
  • Custom Audiences (Existing customers based on your linked database of emails)
  • Lookalike Audience (Potential Customers with identifiers similar to your database of existing customers)

With these targeting options you can be sure you are displaying your visual content to the right audience to achieve your hospitality marketing goals.

Conclusion

To answer the question should Instagram form part of your hospitality marketing strategy moving forward? Simply put, yes it should.

The platform is based on visual content, which play a huge part in the selling of hospitality services and venues online. Instagram is a social platform that is growing in terms of users and uses as a tool for promoting and selling your hospitality products and services.

If for no other reason, your potential customers are already using it to share their experiences with their friends and followers. These are some of the most qualified potential customers you can find for your business, so it is essential you have an active presence that also monitors and connects with these people in order to develop your overall marketing strategy and ultimately develop more sales. However, as with other social platforms, you need to approach it strategically and have the resources and tools dedicated to it in order to successfully use it.

 

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Is Salesforce Right For You?

Introducing a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution into your hospitality business is a massive decision. If implemented correctly, it can create huge efficiencies within your hotel, restaurant, bar or event venue business. Not only from an employee perspective, but for the entire business. So, why choose Salesforce as your CRM provider?

Salesforce-Hospitality-CRM

Why Salesforce?

A Brief History of Salesforce

Salesforce were founded in 1999 and went public in 2004. They currently have over 4 million users and revenue last year was over $8billion. Salesforce is the most used CRM, worldwide.

Salesforce have been around for 18 years and in that time have built a reputation as the leading CRM system worldwide, catering for many restaurants, bars, event venues and hotels in that time. They have invested billions into the Salesforce brand, which allows them to push the boundaries of what a CRM can do. Their annual R&D budget is currently in excess of $150M.

Salesforce currently have over 10,000 employees worldwide. The Salesforce Success Community has 2.5 million members, who are part of an online portal where you can collaborate with partners, developers, product specialists and other customers.

The Salesforce family is growing on a daily basis.

The Infrastructure

Salesforce owns the servers that are used to power the CRM software. This means that they have control over a huge number of aspects involved with running a multi-billion dollar software package and why it is always Lightning fast.

Whether you are in New York, Japan or London, your Salesforce installation will be powered by servers closest to your location, delivering a truly global solution.

Utilising cloud infrastructure removes the need for onsite servers and administration, along with complex security implications associated with the running of virtual private networks (VPN).

The Ecosystem

The third party Salesforce ecosystem is powered by the AppExchange. It’s true that Salesforce can’t accommodate every single niche market perfectly, but you can bet that there is a Salesforce Partner who can.

Salesforce AppExchange makes it possible to find extensions to many aspects of Salesforce, from modifying the calendar to integrating with Mailchimp. Many major software companies have built integrations for Salesforce, which really shows off the power and flexibility of the ecosystem.

The open architecture of the Salesforce platform has allowed Salesforce Partners to create software that acts as a “connector”. This allows Salesforce to communicate with hundreds of other software platforms, from accounts packages and booking systems to email. A recommended solution is Workato (https://www.workato.com/). This allows for hundreds of software solutions to effectively talk to each other, not just Salesforce.

It’s perhaps this ecosystem of partners that provides salesforce with its main competitive advantage. Similar to what Apple has been able to do with the App Store, Salesforce has been able to capture the largest share of the CRM market by enabling it’s software to talk to the widest number of external systems. This not only increases the capability of the software, it future proofs your overall business systems by allowing for replacement or upgrade of various elements over time. E.g changing or upgrading your booking systems, accounting software, email marketing, ecommerce systems, etc etc.

The Mobility

Salesforce realised the growth in the mobile market, so developed their own mobile application, called Salesforce1, available on iOS and Android. It allows you to have the benefit of Salesforce, but on the go.

Salesforce1 is built using the Lightning platform, which was developed inhouse by Salesforce, using their own proprietary code. It has over 11,000 reviews on the Google Play App Store, with an average rating of 4/5. The Apple App Store has over 3,000 reviews, with an average 4.3/5.

This shows how Salesforce innovates and can use its dominant position in the market to be able to develop the core platform as well as the mobile variant simultaneously!

The Innovation

Salesforce is a premium CRM system. That premium enables extensive development of the software at no additional cost to your business. As a Salesforce client, you will receive three major updates a year, which includes a host of upgrades and improvements, new features and integration possibilities.

Salesforce were the first company to offer an iPhone CRM app, called Salesforce Touch, back in 2013. They also pioneered App marketplaces, with the AppExchange in 2005, in comparison, Apple’s App Store didn’t surface until 2008.

The speed of change within the digital landscape coupled with the central role your CRM system plays in all business operations means that stability and investment from your chosen vendor is secure. No other CRM system has invested or continues to invest at the scale in which Salesforce continues to do.

The Scalability

One of the great aspects of Salesforce for hospitality is that it’s suitable for businesses of all sizes. Not only will it support small hotels, bars, restaurants and venues, its already supporting complex hospitality businesses, such as Caesars Palace, Quintessentially and Opentable.

This provides great comfort, in the fact that, it is possible to grow Salesforce with your hospitality company and provide Lightning speed, no matter how many users or customer accounts you control.

With the Salesforce API (Application Programming Interface), there are hundreds of possible integrations, so no matter if you move to another accounting system or change your ecommerce systems, there will be a solution to integrate Salesforce within that ecosystem.

The Affordability

Salesforce can start as low as £20/month per user, which is perfect for small hospitality businesses and start-ups. You get access to many of the features mentioned here including the huge community and resources that Salesforce provide and three free upgrades a year.

If more users are required or you have a more complicated booking and sales process, Lighting Professional and Lighting Enterprise allow for more bespoke customisation and open up more features of the Salesforce platform. Prices for the upgrades range from £65 to £120 per user, per month.

The Support

Ongoing support with a system as critical as CRM is an important consideration. As more and more systems become integrated together, so the overall solution increases in complexity.

Although other CRM systems exist with similar core Salesforce integrations, no other solution offers the range of vendors to provide ongoing support and development.

Salesforce as a system is constantly growing and evolving, with new features added every year. Because of this, the solution will need ongoing support and development, so Salesforce have many Salesforce Partners, who can support and maintain any implementation at an additional cost.

To put the scale of their partner network into perspective, Salesforce host a yearly event, called Dreamforce. Dreamforce ’16 was attended by over 171,000 people, from 83 countries. Over 15 million people participated online, and for the first time, 125 viewing parties were hosted, globally.

Conclusion

The Salesforce platform will allow you to grow every part of your hospitality company within an integrated suite of business applications. Monitor and manage everything from bookings and sales leads to customer support, and from digital marketing to website analytics — all from any desktop or device.

 

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How to Increase Sales with Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing has become one of the most effective marketing methods for generating business online. It is becoming the go to hospitality marketing strategy – helping luxury hotels, restaurants and event companies to generate new bookings and sales, across the UK.

This article looks at the initial stage of the inbound hospitality marketing methodology of attracting potential customers to your website.

So, how can inbound marketing help your hospitality business increase sales?

Firstly, let’s establish what inbound marketing is.

Inbound1-Keyboard-Coffee-685431-edited

What Is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound is all about producing content that your prospective customers find interesting and helpful. It is a method of attracting your potential customers to your website and raising awareness of your brand and service offerings. This is what is known as a “non-intrusive” marketing method, achieved through content channels such as;

  • Blogs
  • Social Media
  • Landing Pages
  • Videos
  • E-Newsletters and more…

These all contribute towards your inbound marketing strategy for attracting customers to your service or product. This content, created with SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) fundamentals at it’s foundation, focuses on answering questions you know your potential customers may be searching the internet for, before making a buying decision.

Aiming your content towards answering specific customer queries with relevant and optimised information will generate a high ranking on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). This in turn, will drive interaction from your target audience with your website. Which, if set up correctly, will work for you – converting your visitors into customers.

Not only is this a highly effective method for generating new bookings and sales, but it is also extremely cost-effective in comparison to other marketing methods such as paid advertising. With both inbound and paid advertising, you pay for the time and resources to create your content. But with paid advertising, you also pay to appear above the natural, search engine optimised, results. Once you stop paying, you stop appearing.

With inbound marketing, the content you create keeps working for you long after the initial cost of the resources it took to create it. If your potential customers keep searching for the relevant terms covered by your content and your website proves to be the destination for their search queries, you’ll keep appearing atop the results pages.

How does it work for Hospitality Businesses?

More and more hospitality companies are buying into the inbound marketing methodology, creating content to attract more qualified visitors and drive more direct bookings and sales from their websites. Here are the first steps in attracting the right visitors (potential customers) to your website and making them aware of your brand and service offering:

1. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Optimise your website so that Google and other Search Engines can easily understand what your website is about (known as indexing). You can achieve this by ensuring relevant keywords (industry terminology) for your service, page titles and user-friendly URLs are used throughout your site. The result will be a higher ranking on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), making you more visible to your potential customers when they are looking for the answers you’re providing.

2. Blogging

While you may be limited to a number of pages, based on the number of services or products you provide, blogs allow for infinite content creation on anything and everything. Create content on subjects you know are of interest to potential customers, based on experience with existing and past customers. Giving them insight and helpful information will influence the buying decision when the time is right.

Example:

If you run a restaurant or hotel – creating content covering the best things to do in the area your business is situated in, may attract an audience researching what to do when visiting that area. This transforms what was a stranger, to your business, into a visitor and will raise the awareness of your brand and services.

Regular and frequent blog posts also show that the site is active and “fresh”, which has a positive impact on Google rankings, according to Moz.

3. Social Media Publishing

While creating optimised, keyword rich content is a great start, it isn’t enough on it’s own. You need to be actively promoting content and reaching your customers in the world they inhabit on a daily basis, the land of Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Having a consistent social media presence, and including the right hashtags, can keep you in the forefront of your potential customer’s mind. Plus, on social platforms the users have the opportunity to share articles of interest with their network, extending your reach even further.

No matter what life cycle stage your Luxury Events, Transportation, Bar, Hotel or Restaurant company is currently in, you will have looked at multiple marketing strategies for your business. Inbound is one of the most effective hospitality marketing methods for attracting more highly qualified visitors to your website, which leads to better conversion rates and ultimately more direct bookings and sales.

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How to Hire an SEO Consultant

Google-SEO-Consultant

If you’re looking into bringing an SEO Consultancy Firm onboard, Google has released a video on what your checklist should look like. This 11.5 minute video with Google’s Maile Ohye (Developer Programs Tech Lead) explores the process of hiring an SEO consultancy firm.

Ohye covers what questions to ask, what to look for and some examples of red flag responses.

The process is outlined in the following steps:

  • Conduct a two-way interview with your potential SEO (Search Engine Optimiser).
  • Check that they seem genuinely interested in you and your business.
  • Check their references.
  • Ask for a technical and search audit.

 

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Here’s the video:

5 Ways to Improve your Customer Experience

Customer experience is everything. The way your customers feel, the interactions they have and their entire end-to-end journey with your brand define this experience.

This can refer to physical interactions (such as the cleanliness of your venue) and the non-physical (digital) interactions with your brand. We will be focussing on the latter of the two, looking at the Martech (Marketing Technology), which can support you in improving your customer’s experience.

How to improve hospitality customer experience

Customers demand a high level of personalisation, in every interaction with your brand. Employing a personal touch is what will place you above the competition. With the tools available today, there’s no reason you cannot also provide this level of personalisation on the digital front. Some platforms will even help your on-site staff, by personalising your customer’s experience even at your venues!

1. Website

Your website is likely to be the first real impression a customer has of your brand. It is therefore, essential to make a good first impression. Here are a few points to stick to with your website, to ensure an incredible customer experience;

Usability

Often referred to as UX or User Experience, it is critical that your website is well designed and easy to follow, for anyone visiting for the first time. It is essential to have clear and concise navigation that guides visitors through your site, to anything your potential customer could find valuable. This varies from information about your product/services, to pricing, or simply the booking process. It is also critical that your website is quick loading! In this world of immediacy, nobody stays on a website that slows them down.

Conversion Tool

A great website guides a visitor through a refined, thought-out conversion path. This may include making a booking, requesting more information, posting a recommendation or just finding out your location/opening times. While this sounds like the top requirement for you and your business goals, it’s also a requirement of your customer. Your website needs to make it easy for the visitor to do all of these things. Any friction, and they’ll leave your site and go to a competitor.

Aesthetics

Your website needs to make an impact visually, but also deliver an authentic representation of your venue and services. Hero images have become a great way to present beautiful imagery throughout your website and are likely to be the very first impression you make on your visitors. Make sure they are high-quality (not pixelated) and alluring. Photography is an art, be sure to use a professional.

Cross-platform friendliness

Today, people are visiting your website from a variety of platforms. According to StatCounter in a report towards the tail end of 2016, global mobile web browsing actually overtook desktop for the first time. Given this fact, It’s never been more important than now, to make sure your website is optimised for mobile devices. In-fact, you may even wish to consider a separate design that specifically caters to mobile visitors – rather than trying to make desktop content work on mobile.

Alluring visuals, backed up by a smooth user experience – quick, easy to use, with clear and concise navigation, are all critical elements for your website and the experience of your visitors, alongside the information you provide. Additional content based around visiting your venue will also solidify your expertise within the customer’s mind – for example; Hotels might offer local sightseeing information, or restaurants may provide information on local entertainment venues. It all shows that you care about your customer having the greatest experience possible.

2. CRM

CRM platforms are all about leveraging data made available to you, given by customers as they progress along their customer journey; from strangers to brand authorities & promoters of your services.

A Customer Relationship Management system can benefit your Hospitality company, both in terms of the physical and digital experiences of your customers. On the digital side of things, CRM’s can log every visitor interaction with your company, adding their details to a centralised database. This makes it easy for your team to then personalise communications with potential customers!

However, a great CRM can also take it one step further, providing all this information to staff at your hotel or restaurant, for example, ahead of your customer’s visit. This enables a unique & personalised service that takes into account any requests and requirements, well ahead of time. Think about it this way, if you were to return to a hotel you had previously stayed at, wouldn’t you prefer to to be greeted with “welcome back” rather than the question “have you stayed with us before?”. It is this level of detail that can make a huge difference in your customer’s experience, by making them feel special in this way you also promote a sense of luxury.

Find out if Salesforce CRM is right for you here!

3. Email Marketing Automation

Email Marketing is an effective tool for reconnecting with your existing customers and extending their lifetime value. It is also a great tool for creating a personalised customer experience using automation. So how can something automated be personalised?

Automation is all about utilising the data that is available to you. Data such as name, date of birth, bookings and details such as reason for booking are all accessible if you have a centralised database CRM system. You can use this information as follows;

Name

You can use name tags to address your customer personally in your automated emails.

Date Of Birth

If acquired during booking process can be used to send Happy Birthday emails with special offers

Booking Details

If your guest booked a room or a table as part of an anniversary celebration, you can have an automated email scheduled to ping them the month before this date in the following years to prompt booking the same again or making a special offer.

If your guest booked a standard room in your hotel, you could have an automated email offer the opportunity to upgrade to a superior room or to book additional services that you may offer.

The opportunities to provide a personalised service to your customers via automated emails are pretty much limitless. You just need a strategy for acquiring these details and a system set up to make the most of the data.

For more information on Email Marketing, see our top 5 recommendations to enhance your email marketing campaigns.

4. Social Media Monitoring

Social channels like Twitter and Facebook are great for proactively promoting your brand and the services you offer, meeting your customers where they are. But, they have also become a great tool for customer service.

You can use tools such as Buffer or ‘Social Inbox’ within Hubspot, to monitor social media channels for mentions of your brand, or keywords relevant to your service. With social monitoring, you can get the inside track on what your potential customers are talking about and identify opportunities for engagement through social media channels. It can also be used to flag any mentions of your brand or products, allowing you to respond directly and with speed. With social monitoring you can turn negative experiences into positive ones.

Answering your customers, on the platforms they reside in, gives a personalised feel based on the direct response via their personal profile. It is important for the respondee to be sympathetic with the customers concerns (if negative) and try to resolve any issue quickly and to a satisfactory level.

5. Customer Survey

If you’re really struggling to find ways you can improve your service, you probably aren’t utilising social monitoring or a CRM system as described above. The best thing you can do is ask your customers directly via a customer survey.

Customer surveys work in two ways for improving the customer experience. Firstly, you will get actionable responses from your customers. They will tell you what you need to do to improve their experience! But, secondly and quite subtly, you will also show that you CARE about their satisfaction and are looking to improve based on their recommendations. Again, this feeds back to providing a personalised experience of your brand.

Conclusion

Today’s economy is starting to be driven by millennials who want experiences more than anything, as suggested by the Harris Research study commissioned by Eventbrite back in 2014. Advances in technology and the leveraging of data can support you in creating these experiences in both the digital and physical interactions you make as a brand.

Customers want to feel special and unique and this is what they are willing to pay for. A CEI survey revealed that:

“86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience” – Forbes.com

The points raised in this article are the foundations of creating first-rate customer experience. If you get these right you will be well on your way to improving your customer experience, retaining your customers and extending their lifetime value.

 

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