Concentrating on specific holidays and segments is the wrong approach — all your tools are set up for broad terms
Reaching the widest possible audience should be one of the main goals of a content marketing operation. It flies in the face of traditional marketing wisdom, where you segment and segment to hit the exact people you want, but almost all the tools at your disposal are set up to reach large markets. Particularly in travel, broader audiences work much better.
We’ll focus mainly on promoted content, but most of this applies to pieces you want to spread organically. At the end, we’ll also take a look at how to use this to prepare for the easing of the coronavirus restrictions.
There is a caveat to this — specific content will work much better for SEO.
Facebook and Instagram — a travel marketer’s dream
As we all know, Facebook has the most powerful advertising engine about. The amount of information it holds on almost everyone means it can not only get ads in front of people who are likely to spend their money on a product, it can predict behaviour.
Trip Consideration, Facebook’s tool for travel advertisers, works much better with the widest audience possible. The tool knows that people are planning a trip abroad and are searching for deals, for tours, for activities, for places to stay and so on.
With a broad audience, you will have a constantly replenishing supply of people who are interested in taking a holiday. With a narrow audience, you run the risk of that pool drying up.
That means your content needs to be written in a way that could attract the attention of hundreds of thousands of people at a time. There’s little point and a lot of wasted effort in targeting tiny segments here — trust Facebook’s algorithm to do the hard work for you.
Make sure that all your tracking is set up to cover the full customer journey correctly. Otherwise, your results are going to lead you down the wrong path and you’ll spend money you don’t need to.
Google Ads — concentrate on search volumes
Ads, formerly known as AdWords, is a different beast altogether in terms of how it operates. However, your strategy should be similar.
You’re relying on search volumes here. This means you still have an ability to tap into travel intent, although it is harder.
Hop over to whatever tool you use to estimate search volumes and have a look at what you get for: “Adelaide”, “things to do in Adelaide”, and “things to do in Adelaide Valentines”. Searches for Adelaide should be about 100 times more than things to do in Adelaide, and things to do in Adelaide Valentines receives almost no traffic.
We can assume that well more than half of the people who are searching for just Adelaide are trying to find out the population or its Wiki page. They’re on a fact finding mission, not a travel hunt. So things to do in Adelaide is the one that is going to bring you the most results.
Twitter Ads — going nowhere fast
I’m of the opinion that ads on Twitter are universally awful. I think this is because their backend used to be terrible, and for a long time they relied on purchased data sets that didn’t really work. The backend has improved, and if they still work with the data sets, they appear to have hidden them. But Twitter still gives you nowhere near the detail of the other main platforms. I think this is because of two things: Twitter is for news and sh*tposting.
If you’re going to carry out marketing here, the content of the timeline posts needs to be different. It needs to be ballsy. You need to get into fights with competitors and dunk on potential customers. And it’s a hellscape for customer service.
The content strategy is the same though — keep it broad to attract as many potential customers as possible.
Email blasts — you should already know these people
This should be the channel where you have the most information about the people you’re targeting and their interests. It’s likely that they’re people who’ve abandoned their cart after registration, previous customers, or someone who’s signed up for a newsletter. You already know they’re interested in your trips.
They’re still a fairly diverse bunch though. The one thing they’ll be united by is a love of travel. However, they’ll be different nationalities and have different interests. If you want to bring as many of them back as possible, you need to produce content that interests as many of them as you can.
As an aside, don’t worry too much about unsubscribes unless your CRM begins to think you’re getting spammy. If a potential customer isn’t interested, then they’re not interested. You’re not going to sell to them, so why worry about having them in your database? They’ll just ruin your results.
How to prepare for the end of the pandemic
It’s unlikely that anyone is spending large amounts on promoted content at the minute because of coronavirus. But Facebook are giving away grants and ad credits to small businesses.
If you can get your hands on that, it gives you some free money to test what content and targeting performs and what doesn’t.
You should also be testing all your content organically. Post it and see what brings the best results. Repeat the content that does well and immediately spike the ideas that fail. Add UTMs to all of your links so you can see exactly where your results are coming from in your Analytics.
You can gather this information over a number of months so that you can get ads up knowing that your content will convert as soon as restrictions begin to ease.
When carrying out travel content marketing you should avoiding focusing on specific things that are happening in your location, unless you’re writing purely for SEO. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t write about such-and-such a festival or event — it just becomes part of your copy, rather than the the main bit of your piece.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll dig into other areas of content marketing
Ventrata are offering to help tours, activities or attractions operators get through the Covid-19 pandemic however we can