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4 Tools to Monitor Your Tourism Business Reviews and News

I had a lot of fun this week hosting a Tourism Edge webinar for a group of businesses in the Kananaskis region of Alberta, Canada. In the session we addressed how feedback from your past guests is a wealth of information for tourism businesses. We also discussed how being vigilant about responding to reviews is important to attracting more guests. “Raised in reviews” and well versed in their nuances, many potential visitors evaluate businesses on how well operators respond to (negative) reviews, as much as the review itself.

While important, constantly scanning for comments and reviews related to your business is untenable. You have a business to run. Fortunately there are some affordable tools you may choose to invest in that can make the task much easier.

Rated from cheapest (free) to most expensive here are 4 tools that can help you keep you head above water while keeping your eyes on your online reputation.

Google Email Alert System (FREE)
You can sign up for Google Alerts quickly and relatively easily. Identify your brand/business name, common mis-spellings and other topics related to your business. Google will continually scan for instances when these terms appear together and you will be sent an alert straight to your inbox when they do.

As I have learned from experience, if you have a common business name or are interested in a common keyword make sure that you focus the search or you risk being overwhelmed with irrelevant alerts.

Google lets you use boolean logic rules to focus your search. It’s as fun to use as it is to say! 🙂

For example if you are a whale watching business in California consider including the state or nearby city as a keywords in combination with your brand, product or service. I.e. “Whale Watching + California + San + Francisco”

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Reputology ($29 US/Month – Free trial)
Reputology helps you monitor and manage online reviews with alerts, dashboards, and analytics. A nice feature is the summary reports that help you make decisions based on consumer feedback.

ReviewPush ($39 US/Month – Free trial)
ReviewPush offers multi-site monitoring, keeping an eye on new reviews on Yelp, Google, YellowPages, and more. They send you an email when new reviews are posted and you can respond to that review directly via email.

Review Trackers ($49 US/Month – Free trial)
Review Trackers allows for multi-site monitoring in one spot, and attractively for tourism and hospitality businesses covers industry-specific review sites like TripAdvisor and OpenTable.

Give one of the tools a whirl and see if the time savings justifies the cost. I’d love to hear which system you preferred and how things went.Did you uncover reviews you did not know existed? Did you address a problem and gain a fan?

Want to get more guests with less work? Get realistic help for the tourism bootstrapper. Read more and drop me a line.

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Affiliate Marketing – Logitech Web Cams

As I continue the journey of bringing my tourism business marketing expertise online, I am preparing to host my first free tourism marketing webinars Feb 1, 2017 (Procrastinator’s New Year).

Gear wise, in the tradition of the 4 Hour Work Week I am focused on being mobile so I am getting small transportable equipment as I build up my mini-webinar studio. First on the list was a webcam.

Logitech C920 or C930e

Looking at the options it was tough choice between the Logitech C920 and the C930e. Both are considered better than most other webcams on the market. To get the 90 degree field of view so I can show my students on screen examples over my shoulder (and not be smooshed into the frame) I went for the C930e. I will post an update with my impressions.

I’m an affiliate now

After working extensively in Affiliate Marketing in 2005 this is the first time I am an affiliate myself. I decided to see how the Amazon Associate system works. Monetizing online content is another experiment I am running for myself, my friends and students. If you are in the market for a webcam or anything on Amazon please use the links below.

Consider sharing your expertise and passion with the world in 2017!

Discovering my love of coaching was my biggest breakthrough in 2016 and I am going after it in 2017. I am ready to solve problems and inspire students across the globe as an online content provider. If you are on a similar path lets connect and share secrets! For any of you that have already taken the plunge I’d love to hear about your hurdles and successes!

And, for those of you who have not taken the plunge drop me a line for some tips. Subscribe to Socialgenics as I will be sharing regular insights. And, consider getting a Logitech c920 or Logitech c930 for yourself!

Looking for the best tourism business specific marketing advice?
Join the private Tourism School Facebook Group here.

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Two Tourism Marketing Tactics – Social Ad Targeting

Happy new year to everyone and especially those of you marketing tourism businesses!

Having worked with over 100 tourism businesses I know two things to be true, you all work incredibly hard, and since time and money is limited, you need the Social Media marketing tactics that deliver big bang for little buck. For that reason I focus my advice into actionable and high potency hacks. Feeling revved up to hit your marketing goals this year? Start here!

Two Tasty Tips for Online/Social Ad Targeting

I had a lot of delicious treats over the holidays and hope you did too. I did not however have any Oreo cookies and it shows. They are on my mind so this post packs a two part punch on social ad targeting tips for travel businesses. Thanks to Claude Faerden from kananaskisoutfitters.com for the inspiration! Check him out when you are in Canmore, Alberta, Canada!

  1. Promote your experience to only the people travelling near your location.Targeted Facebook ads are the most flexible and accessible advertising opportunities for tourism businesses. Best of all for tourism businesses, with advanced (but still simple) targeting you can promote your experience to the people that match your exact desired demographic AND are currently visiting your destination. If your product or service can be bought with limited lead time, there is a clear benefit to targeting your ads to people that are logging-in near your place of businesses. Facebook’s”Travelling-In” location targeting effectively lets you remove all local Facebook users from your ad audience. Leaving you with only visitors/recent arrivals! This technique is extremely effective for hotels, restaurants, rental and tour businesses.

    Read how to create the perfect Facebook audience for your travel business.

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  2. Put your  posts in front of past customers AND people JUST LIKE THEM on Facebook!
    Who better to put your paid ads and promoted content in front of than people that have done business with your before? No one… except maybe new people that are the same age, live in the same place and have the same interests as your past customers. If you have a mailing list of at least 1,000 people (even if you don’t use it) can can easily create a custom audience for you paid social content and extend it to thousands of new potential visitors just like theme. This is the number one tactic I recommend to anyone looking to experiment with targeted Facebook advertising. The cleaner and more current your email list the better. Consider excluding emails you know don’t represent your target customer.

    Read how to create a Facebook audience based off your past customers.


There is more free help where this came from.

Salivating at the thought of these tasty tactical treats? Take advantage of free practical tourism marketing advice. Drop me a line for a 15 minute coaching call. The more people I help the better I get, so reach out we’ll both learn something!

Shy? Don’t like free help? Follow me on Twitter.

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Starbucks #RedCupArt = Seasonally Socialgenic

Famous for inspiring a cult following and even an anti-Christmas controversy the #RedCupArt Campaign is an annual bellwether moment for Starbucks and social media marketers. While you likely don’t have their global reach, you can find a few gifts of wisdom in Starbucks’ campaign that will show returns for your marketing in 2017.

Be choosy with your hashtag

As you can see from the Instagram gallery above, #RedCups has a different meaning in binge drinking circles (and I don’t mean COFFEE) that could likely  bring up some #NSFW posts in a random search. Starbucks has been deliberate in circulating #RedCupArt to maximize their ownership of the term, and minimize the potential for embarrassing content confusion.

Be Socialgenic and be welcome in the conversation

As with the word photogenic, things that are “genic” – cause or produce, or are well-suited to something. Therefore things that are Socialgenic produce or are well-suited to social sharing. You heard it here first, Socialgenic strategies are THE hack for businesses looking to turn their customers into their best marketers in a world where every guest is a broadcaster. Employ this tactic to create value through your social efforts and be relevant in fan’s social feeds rather than imposing your own content on them like an unwanted guest at the holidays.

Give the gift of an audience

By providing a canvas for creativity (red cups) and sharing the stage (their global social media accounts) Starbucks turns talented and ambitious fans into content creators. Importantly, since the iconic green circle logo is inextricably “baked in” to every user-generated red cup creation, each post is in fact a “user-generated ad” not just user generated content. Because the creator is the star and the brand is the stage, red cup art is shared to a fan’s peers with pride as an expression of their personality and will be welcomed with a much warmer heart than a brand initiated message.

Tip to go

Consider how you can make your product and promotion more Socialgenic. People are looking to express their personalities and take part of something bigger than themselves. How can you create a canvas for them and share your stage? If you can, you will be a welcome guest in their social conversations rather than unwanted visitor.

Looking for inspiration on how to make your brand or experience more Socialgenic? Drop me a line or ask for help in the comments below.

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CBC’s This is That anchor leaves program after hearing teenagers are making “$1000’s of dollars a week.”

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Pat Kelly, the award winning co-anchor of the CBC’s popular satirical news program This Is That has abruptly tendered his resignation.

Immediately following the taping of the network’s flagship culture program “Q” Pat Kelly” notified CBC brass that he would be pursuing “other opportunities”. Pat was a guest on “Q” discussing the changing nature of satirical news in the age of social media and search algorithms. He seemed stunned to hear that teenagers were earning “thousands of dollars a week” distributing fake news on Facebook.

Recently social media algorithms have been a hot topic for their role in  spreading “fake news” and polarizing the information people have access to. Events as significant as the recent election of Donald Trump are being sited as outcomes of the new media landscape.

It is unclear what the future holds for the program. Neither Pat Kelly, Peter Oldring or the CBC could be reached for comment.

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The #1 Secret to Success in Any Industry

screen-shot-2016-10-18-at-11-19-42-pm(This article was originally posts on FLIPP.ca in 2015. I am posting a series of my past work  to archive and share it.)

OK, well that headline is a bold statement but we have it on good authority there is a counter-intuitive secret that leads to success. And that secret is failure.

We heard it from the aptly named Dr. Astro Teller, head of Google’s bleeding edge development wing, Google X. Google X is responsible for Google Glass ( a famous “failure”), Google self-driving cars, Project Wing – which is pursuing self-flying delivery drones and Project Loon, defined as “a balloon powered internet for everyone” and best described here. The gist of his talk at SXSW 2015 has value for anyone, and especially marketers. “If you want to make a ton of progress you have to be willing to make a ton of mistakes.” This does not mean taking on risk without purpose. The key is to fail with intent, analyze the results and avoid making the same mistake over and over again.

As advertisers that are aspiring to be more innovative and successful everyday, the team at FLIPP can embrace the “Fail to Succeed” philosophy. The beautiful thing is that for most marketers you don’t have to send a satellite into orbit to test a theory (and if you do we’d like to hear about it). There are lower risk avenues in which to test new ideas and judge their effectiveness before going “all in”. Why not test new creative via Facebook ads? AB test on landing pages? Deliberately analysis the failures you’ve already had and see what you can learn from them?

So there you have it – the not so secret, secret that will help you reach a new level of success. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Consider them essential to succeeding. When you and your team sit down to de-brief a project or begin thinking about a new one, try to focus on the 5 things you could improve on rather than the 5 things you do right.  We know we will.

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Summer of Hacks – Bike Tube Surf Bin Strap/Handle

Must be the hot weather, short skirts or exhaustion from chasing short skirts in hot weather but I have been feeling creative and a few life/food hacks have come into my head this summer that have solved some reoccurring problems and made my life simpler/tastier. While they are nothing that will change the world, they may make your day. I am going to pace them out over the next few days and know that others will hit me that I’ll be sure to share.

Bike Inner Tube Surf Bin Strap Hack

Surf Bin Hack

Trips to the Canada’s cold water surf require a lot of gear and while the affordable and handy catchall that is the RubberMaid bin sure keeps the wet stuff in and the sand out, they can be real rascals to wrestle. the two handed grip makes it extra tough when you are hauling a board, cooler and backpack.

Enter the inner tube. Salvaged from a 26 inch mountain bike rim the tube makes the perfect bungee and is recycled, stretchy and free! When stretched around the bin in a looping “X” it keeps the lid on tight and makes one handed transport not only possible but easy, even providing an energy giving “boing” with each step. IMG_1348

Bonus Benefit

As an added bonus the tube also connects the bin perfectly to my pull luggage totally taking the weight of a wet wetsuit off my shoulders. If traveling this way for extended periods with wet contents I would say put the bin in a garbage bag first as some water will drain and could get your luggage and contents wet.

Do you have any surf related life hacks? Following me on Twitter and give me a hollah! @trevorjurgens

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Advertising and Marketing Social Media Uncategorized

5 Scientific Tips To More Persuasive Marketing

Contrary to what some might think, the human brain does not like making logical decisions. Over time we have developed cognitive shortcuts to save mental energy. People use these shortcuts for decision making more than they think and are usually unaware they are even using them. Decision science is the practice of understanding these shortcuts and structuring offers and processes to take advantage of them. The key take-away for me from Nancy Harhunt’s impressive session at SXSW 2015 was that consumers are not always rational and that decision science provides valuable insight into the choices people make.

5 Science based tactics for more persuasive marketing:

1. Offer “social proof”

The actions of others inform what decisions you are comfortable making. You’re more likely to buy something you see someone else buying as you take this as evidence that the value, quality or utility are good. Shopping malls create a social environment that surrounds you with social proof scores of other people buying in general, and more specifically buying the same brands or products you are considering. Replicating this phenomenon with your online sign-up or e-commerce purchase processes can positively effect conversion rates. Provide plenty of social evidence by including customer testimonials or emphasizing the number of people that have already signed up or bought from you.

In a past post at FLIPP.ca I explained the opportunity of providing “social proof” through using curated crowd sourced product images on your e-commerce pages.

2. Loss aversion

Psychologists have proven that people are more motivated by the desire to avoid loss/pain than by the desire to achieve gain. Pain is twice as psychologically powerful as pleasure. The most effective marketing messages often emphasize the downside of life without a product or service, rather than emphasizing the benefits of life with them. Consider showing the other side of the coin in your campaigns. The miserable, empty, new jean free side of the coin 🙂

3. Emphasize the new and novel

For survival, humans have evolved to detect novelty and change. What is different about the immediate situation that could be a threat? Even though all the saber-toothed tigers are gone decision science shows we are still primed to dedicate attention to the novel.

Eye-tracking tests confirm that we’re automatically drawn to words that suggest a change like: “new,” “now,” “announcing,” “introducing,” “discover,” “finally,” and “soon.” You can significantly improve your click-through and open rates by using these words whenever reasonable.

4. Keep it simple

“Cognitive fluency” is the notion that people prefer things that are easy to understand and judge them to be more accurate. When you want people to feel comfortable making decisions, remove the cognitive clutter. Keep marketing messages and creative concepts single focused. Communicate one thing then give a clear and complimentary call to action.

5. Commitment consistency

A common mental short cut is to keep doing what you are/have been doing. Once you’ve said yes to something once, even a small request, you are more likely to continue to act in a way that is consistent with that commitment. This phenomenon is the basis for the foot in the door sales technique where an initial simple ask like signing up for a newsletter or accepting a free trial can get a prospect moving down the path to becoming a customer. Try it.

This is one of five posts which were also published at FLIPP.ca on the some of the top insights I gleaned from SXSW 2015. More to come tomorrow. Read the rest at here.

Follow me on Twitter @trevorjurgens to be notified when new posts come out.

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Your Website is Better With Social Content

Once upon a time before Instagram feeds and Pinterest boards your website was likely the beginning and end of your online marketing. But these days you may focus more on your Facebook timeline than your landing page. What if you could put all the social activity you’ve worked so hard to stimulate to good use, improving the effectiveness and profitability of your website?

As social media publishing matures, and the tools evolve along with it, smart marketers are integrating social content into their web experience to engage visitors and drive sales. Way more (and better) than a feed of the latest tweets, social content is being included in-line as part of the overall content mix. User generated images, tweets and videos are being automatically pulled from Instagram, Twitter and other networks to be displayed on home, community and product pages. Traditional assets like product shots are being replaced by their user generated cousins.

What’s in it for you?

Social/User generated content ticks many of the boxes for what makes web content effective in general, with the added benefit of being created by your most passionate brand evangelists. User generated content can be a great addition to your website because it’s:

Sticky and Novel: We’ve all had our inner voyeur pull us down a social media rabbit hole. Social content keeps people looking longer. And the promise of something new with each visit gets people coming back more frequently.

Timely and Adaptive: Social content captures your products in the season, style or meme of the minute. Rainy days bring pictures of rubber boots and sandals fill the feed when it’s sunny.

Compelling for Selling: What is more convincing, a stock product shot or an authentic pic of your product in action? Social content means social proof. According to HubSpot, more than 8 in 10 Gen Yers say social content from people they don’t know influences the way they buy and indicates brand quality.

Social content can even be “productized” for “social selling”, linking directly to e-commerce pages. Leading retailers like Urban Outfitters are using Curalate to create and manage shoppable community driven catalogues around #UOONYOU. Imagine making your most passionate customers your best sales people.

Abundant and Economical: Producing quality content takes time and resources. A steady stream of new free content is out there to compliment your in-house efforts, you just have to funnel and manage it. Promote a hashtag as part of your overall brand strategy, set up your filters and watch the content flow in.

Cooperative and Inclusive: Your marketing team can’t be everywhere at once but your customers, ambassadors and staff can. Empower them with a hashtag and let the people living with your product every day have a starring role in your brand story, wherever they are. You’d be surprised, Steve in accounting makes great Vine videos.

Things to Consider

When done properly integrating social content on your site can deliver big benefits. Consider the following to make sure it clicks and gets people clicking.

Presentation: First thing, is your overall site experience set to impress? Next, is your social content integration on point? Simply “plugging in” your social content can distract rather than delight. A widget with tiny Instagram thumbnails can do more harm than good. Invest in web development that accentuates the social content in a way that feels like it belongs.

 Rockefeller Center has used #topoftherock content in a way that leaves an impression that’s more about their brand than Instagrams’.

Moderation: Don’t let the unfettered firehouse of social content loose on your webpage. The results can range from embarrassing to disastrous. Use a system that lets you quickly and reliably handpick the best bits and filter the rest.

Speed: Make sure the task of curating and sharing content does not become another “to do” that never becomes a “done”. Help yourself succeed. Don’t try to publish manually, use tools that let you moderate and publish fast. I’ve personally found TradableBits’ “Stream” to be a great tool for the job. Publishing can’t be instantaneous, find the pace that’s reasonable for you and your community.

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Location: Can you use social content beyond online? Live events and retail locations are the perfect place to showcase your brand and fans via curated social content. Why not make your community part of the atmosphere and animate your spaces with their photos? TEDx Portland used Postano and guest generated content to colour the auditorium for their 2014 conference.

How are you using social content on your website? Well, poorly, not at all? Is it distracting or compelling? Are you capitalizing on all the social activity around your brand? Why not? We’d love to hear your comments. Tweet me @trevorjurgens.

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#lovelives in Calgary! #yycflood

#lovelives in Calgary! #yycflood

While this was a serious event effecting thousands including my parents whose yard and basement are underwater we all know life will go back to normal eventually if we take care of each other.

Native Calgarian Stewart Cummings http://malevoiceover.ca/about/ and his (relatively) recently transplanted girlfriend Rachel Zylka http://calgaryaba.com lent their love to the project.

Love Lives! Be strong Calgary and stay safe.