Digital marketing is imperative in this day and age for businesses to succeed, and this is even more prominent for hotels who will predominantly communicate with consumers via online platforms. So, you need to plan a marketing campaign and you’re wondering where to start.
Well first of all, you need to have a reason for the campaign. Some of the most common reasons are to fill an off peak season, reward loyal customers, or build brand awareness – sometimes all three.
1. Set a measurable goal
You need to develop a measurable goal for your campaign. Ask yourself what your motivation is for the campaign. Perhaps you want to fill 200 rooms for quarter one, or you may want to sell a certain amount of gift vouchers one month. To effectively measure your goal, you should make sure it’s SMART. SMART is an acronym which is essential when setting any campaign objectives:
- Specific – your goals should be clearly defined.
- Measurable – your goals should be measurable so you know when you’ve reached them. And you should define the metrics you will use to measure them.
- Achievable – you should be able to actually achieve your goals, don’t set unattainable targets.
- Relevant – your marketing goals should be relevant to your overall business goals and to your hotel’s sales and marketing plan.
- Time-sensitive – you should have a time period in mind for achieving these goals.
2. Decide on the campaign concept
Once you’ve set your goals, the concept should be relatively easy. You know what you want to achieve, now how are you going to do it? You need to decide on the offer that you’re going to promote and how you’re going to price it. If you’re offering a discount then try to offer an add-on instead of a percentage discount. Research shows that people prefer getting something extra to getting something cheaper. Don’t forget to check what your competitors are doing. You want to offer something unique, so that you can really stand out.
3. Segment your audience
As long as you’ve planned your concept properly then you should already know roughly who your target audience will be. Data found within the ‘user demographics’ segment in your Google Analytics account can help to define the demographics of customers who already engage with your website. If you’re looking to reach a new audience then you should do some research to establish how you could engage with them. It’s often useful to create a guest persona to do this. How old are they? Where do they come from? Why are they staying with you? By answering these questions you should find it much easier to get started. Don’t try and target too many people though. A smaller targeted segment will make your message more focused and will result in a better-performing digital marketing campaign. You’re not trying to talk to everyone – you’re trying to talk to the right people.
4. Choose your message
So you know what you’re offering to customers, but how are you going to convince them to buy-in? You need a unique selling point (USP) for the campaign. Unfortunately, people can be pretty lazy when it comes to reading information, so you need to quickly and clearly sell your offer. Your headline and USP should grab the customer’s attention within five seconds. You can add details further down. Make sure you don’t have reams of text though, because they’re still lazy even when you’ve caught their attention. Put key information into bulleted lists and have a clear call to action.
5. What’s your budget?
There’s no point in designing a winning marketing campaign if you don’t have the budget for it. You need to know how much money can be invested in order to decide on the scale of the campaign and the platforms you’ll use to promote it. However, you need to be sure that enough is invested that you can deliver a strong return on investment and achieve the goals of your campaign.
6. Which platforms will you use?
This is where you can really get creative. Keep in mind your budget and your target audience to be sure that you’re choosing the right platforms to ensure the success of your campaign. Some options could be:
Paid social media
In addition, you might want to create a specific landing page that you can direct people to from these platforms. Make sure that the message and brand is the same. Don’t confuse people – use the same imagery and text to keep everything consistent.
7. Test your campaign
There’s no point in spending all of that time and money creating a marketing campaign to then send it out without testing it. I can almost guarantee that there will be something that needs tweaking. Make sure that everything works as it should. Proofread it over and over, then send it to other people to do this too. Check all of the links. You don’t want anything to slip through the net. Most importantly, make sure that you’ve got tracking set up.
8. Measure your success
You should be checking the success of your campaign every day. It’s possible that small changes will need to be made to improve it, which will only become clear once its up and running. Also, you’ll want to take note of what works and what doesn’t for future campaigns. Once you’ve done all of this, you should be ready to get going and create that winning digital marketing campaign.