Tourism Marketing: Location strategy for your business
In business, you realise and learn how important your business's location is to its success. Not only is your physical location important, but also your digital location. More and more consumers are turning to the digital landscape first to find the businesses that they are looking for, and you need to be in their field of vision straight away.
The more visible you are online, the more likely you are to be found by potential customers. A lot of businesses, especially smaller ones, fall into the trap of thinking they merely have to be online just to cover all their bases, but in reality the world has gone digital in such a substantial way that it could be said that it's the most important base for a company to focus on.
The 4 Ps (product, place, price and promotion) of marketing still apply online as much as they do offline for a business; a company needs to be selling the right product or service at an attractive price, at the best place, and with the right promotion. The digital sphere can be seen the same as the physical business world, your location strategy will ensure that you are placed prominently, with the correct promotional strategy, so that your target market will find your product.
Location - get discovered
The key to being found online no longer lies in just effective Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Due to geo-location, a company must now develop an effective location strategy alongside its SEO strategy in order to effectively dominate in the online arena.
In fact, managing your location strategy may even outweigh SEO. In order to improve your Google ranking and optimising your "searchability" according to your location will allow your business to show up effectively in searches, without adding any unnecessary content.
There are a few ways to make your location known so that the search engines will find you. Make sure you appear on the right directories such as Google Places for Business and Yellow Pages, as well as reviewing sites such as Tripadvisor, and taking the business social networks into account as well.
Review sites are very important to any business, but especially to those in the travel and tourism industry, as customers will trust firsthand peer accounts over any company-generated advertising.
There are four top location-based social networks that companies should definitely think about utilising.
There is Foursquare, which is a popular location-based network that can be utilised by a company as a very effective, free, advertising platform. The next one is Loopt, which is a social network which revolves around the concept of "Connect, Share and Explore", allowing users to view a map of their favourite places, as well as giving them the ability to leave reviews for each place. Businesses can use an application like this to their advantage by being active and rewarding good feedback from customers, as well as addressing bad feedback quickly.
Another popular one is We&Co. An interesting aspect of this start-up application, is the fact that it doesn't just allow users to review a place, but rather to provide feedback on the people behind the business, creating a more personal experience. Businesses are encouraged to interact with users, as well as have the capabilities to upload all their employees to their profile, so that individuals can be found and thanked for their service.
Lastly, there is MobiLuck, which is a network which attracts a slightly younger demographic. It a useful platform to be on if your target market is young. Users are able to update connections on where they are, as well as what they are up to at a particular time.
It's important for businesses to keep up with the ever-changing digital sphere. Just because you seem to have it right one day, doesn't mean you can rest the next day. At the moment, improving the location strategy of your business is pertinent in order to make sure that your customers will find you with as little effort as possible.
About Mike Saunders
Mike Saunders is the CEO of DigitLab, an international speaker, and has had the privilege of working with some of the worlds most prestigious organisations including Vodafone, IBM, Microsoft, KPMG, Norton Rose, Mr Price, Toyota and Exxaro. Along with his experience in business, Mike has also contributed to leadership programmes for Gordon's Institute of Business (GIBS).