6 simple tips to get more out of your digital marketing spend

6 simple tips to get more out of your digital marketing spend

Chances are you’re like the rest of us: You’re forced to stick to a digital marketing spend that’s not quite as large as you’d like. It’s just one of the realities of doing business. But there are a few tried and true things you can do to make sure you’re getting the most out of the spend you have. Check out the following six tips, and you’ll be well on your way to doing more with whatcha got.

Tip #1: Increase your presence on social media

Like most businesses, you’re probably pretty solid on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. But have you considered other platforms? YouTube (especially in the age of video) and Google Plus can be great platforms to help you get your company name out there. You might also consider gaining a presence on some of the younger platforms like Snapchat and Mix. However, there is one caveat: To avoid wasting time and money, be sure you have the bandwidth it takes to keep up with all of your accounts. And if you discover that you don’t have that bandwidth, consider working with an agency, like DAE & Company, that offers digital marketing services.

Tip #2: Create better content

If content is king, then high quality content is the emperor of the world. As a result, creating content that is useful and relevant is one of the simplest ways to get the most out of your digital spend. High quality content is fact-based, on topic, and easy to digest. Also, in addition to blog posts, consider interesting pieces of content like high quality video and infographics.

Tip #3: Track your results

It takes a bit of practice, but Google Analytics offers a free and simple way to keep track of your content performance. By doing so, you can better leverage content that is top performing and optimize poorer performing pieces. Though not free, tools like Hootsuite, Hubspot, and Sprout Social are awesome for keeping track of where the majority of your traffic is originating, so you can focus on those platforms that serve you best. These tools can also help you keep up with posting and engagement.

Tip #4: Increase your content dissemination

Any time you create a solid piece of content, you want to make sure it appears on your blog as well as on all your social media platforms. Doing so ensures it reaches the widest audience. Again, tools like Hootsuite, Hubspot, and Sprout Social are a great help when it comes to content dissemination and can actually automate the process for you. Automation saves you time and money by allowing you to focus more on creating high quality content and less on getting that content in front of your audience.

Tip #5: Drill down to reach your target market

Speaking of audiences, are you sure you’re reaching your best one? If you can’t answer that question with a resounding yes, it’s time to do some research. Google Trends research and tools like social media surveys can help you get a better handle on who, exactly, might appreciate your content most. Also, bring up the topics of your content in conversation. It might sound simple, but you can learn a lot about your audience through everyday conversation. Find out what types of content your target audience enjoys consuming, and adjust your output accordingly.

Tip #6: Don’t forget the pics and vids

When it comes to attracting an online audience, it’s all about eye candy. Study after study has shown that posts with images (still or moving) garner significantly more engagement than do posts without imagery and video. According to Buffer, “more than 500 million hours of videos are watched on YouTube every day.” Taking advantage of these preferred media is one of the easiest ways to get more bang for your digital marketing buck.

Eager to learn more about how you can make the most of your digital spend? Get in touch with us, and let’s talk optimization!

The Art of Setting One’s Arse on Fire

The Art of Setting One’s Arse on Fire

Once upon a time, the typical Mad Avenue, big-box, high-ticket ad agency would have a component of the firm that was affectionately referred to as the “creative department.” It’s where you’d have found the free thinkers with nerf basketball courts on their doors, Talking Heads blaring from boom boxes, and zany games thriving at all corners of their conclave. Birkenstocks were hip, wingtips were banished, ties were unheard of. All in the name of instilling a creative environment.

There were, however, a few glaring problems with this kind of thinking: one, it relegated the notion of “creativity” to being the sole domain of writers, designers, and artists; and two, it short shrifted the distinct possibility that “creativity” was something that was born from within, rather than imported via miscellaneous gadgets.

At DAE & Company, creativity isn’t the realm of a few but rather something we all apply toward our respective roles in the agency. Finding ways to stimulate creativity has become especially critical in these times when agencies are more commonly operating on a virtual basis. As Albert Einstein observed, “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” And his idea of creativity was often inspired by sitting down to the piano and freeing up his mind. But what about those at DAE & Company? What tricks do they turn to as kindling to stir thinking that goes above and beyond?

For Diana Evans, she often puts her feet to the ground or her skis to the slopes for inspiration. She’s a jogger, a skier, and someone who takes her tasks with her to whatever paths are before her. As she explains, “endorphins equal creativity for me.” It’s a personal rhythm that she applies often, a habit that has helped her visualize whole campaigns, ideas she relegates to the notepad on her cell phone. As she confesses, “not all of those ideas are brilliant, in fact some of them are pretty far-fetched.” Nonetheless, her wheels are in motion and the odds of having a creative day are greatly increased.

Hanna Bernard is another one of the employees at DAE & Company who has a couple of means for kicking her creative brain in gear. An adrenaline junkie who was once deemed “Sweden’s fastest female on two wheels”, her two most frequent habits both involve horsepower – literally and figuratively. She’ll go horseback riding into the nearby hills as well as hopping onto a snowmobile and shredding mountains of freshie. If that either fails or isn’t available at the time, she can always count on digging into a home improvement project to stir the creative juices.

Searching for buried treasure in the jazz section of a local record shop or turning vintage newspapers into type-themed collages is what gets Dennis Millette’s motor going, an exercise that runs the course of the day and is often translated into award winning work. For Scott Mortimore, it’s tossing in a camera and “Field Notes” scratchpad into his backpack and pointing his chin toward those eastern Sierra mountains that scratch the sky. When confronting a monitor rather than a mountain, he makes a habit of challenging himself at the New Yorker Caption Contest on a weekly basis, a foolproof procedure for jump-starting the noodle.

If you’re looking for a team of thinkers who put a premium on creativity, we’d love to talk to you. Give us a call (530.545.9079), an email or whatever. Better yet, let us treat you to that time-tested brain lubricant – a nice cup of coffee!

Use These Key Metrics To Make Data-Driven Business Decisions For Your Hotel

Use These Key Metrics To Make Data-Driven Business Decisions For Your Hotel

We love data here at DAE. We especially love using it to craft really targeted and optimized marketing strategies. Thanks to Google and a plethora of other online tools, there’s so much data out there that can help travel and hospitality businesses up their game. If you’re looking for some targeted ways to pivot your marketing strategy and boost reservations this year, there’s tons of data to help. We wanted to dive in a little bit today and show you just a few of the key metrics we look at for our hotel and resort clients and why they should matter to you! 

1. Total Revenue from Reservations

Obviously, one of the key metrics to track is revenue from reservations. Revenue impacts a lot of your decisions, including your overall marketing budget, staffing, and more. Tools like Google Analytics offer e-commerce tracking that makes it incredibly easy to see and understand your online reservations. Once you understand the numbers and  trends, you can make better marketing decisions and more actionable goals.

For example, if you know winter is your slow season, use your marketing resources to focus on some holiday promotions and the magic of a winter getaway. Showcase winter-specific upsells like spa packages or extended stay rates to boost your reservation values. Understanding seasonality trends also allows you to better allocate your marketing budgets so that you’re reaching the right travelers at the right time of the year.

2. Average Transaction Value

Along the same lines, you’ll also want to track the average value of each reservation you’re getting. Again, Google Analytics makes this very easy to do within their ecommerce dashboard! Comparing that value against total reservations and revenue lets you see if people are booking longer stays, upgrading to higher priced rooms, and taking advantage of your upsell opportunities. 

Understanding this number can help you make smarter marketing decisions in the long term. You can use that number to decide when it’s best to invest more advertising dollars to promote upsell opportunities, higher-priced rooms, and amenities. You can also use the data to adjust your messaging and content strategy to help encourage people to book longer stays and take advantage of higher-priced offerings at your hotel. 

3. Traffic sources

A strong marketing strategy means not putting all your eggs in one basket, offline or online! Online, combining paid efforts, like digital advertising, and organic efforts, like content marketing, social media, email, and search engine optimization, gives you a much more well-rounded approach. Tying your offline efforts to your online strategy is also important, and measurable! Adding UTM codes when sharing a link online or when using shortened links and QR codes in your print materials allows you to easily track where traffic is coming from — both online and offline — in Google Analytics. 

Diversifying your traffic sources means you won’t be overly reliant on any particular channel or strategy — which is bound to have changes and fluctuations.  By tracking where exactly your traffic is coming from, you can get a good idea of how the efforts are working together, what’s working and what’s not, and decide where to invest more time or resources. Tracking traffic trends across channels can also help you troubleshoot problems quickly (such as sharp declines in organic traffic indicating a website issue). 

4. Pages per visit

If visitors aren’t engaging with your site and moving on to other pages to learn more, that could indicate a problem. There’s a lot of competition in the travel and hospitality industry, so you want to do everything you can to provide relevant information that guides people to book their stay, rather than getting distracted or jumping ship to a competitor’s site. In general, the longer you can keep them engaged, the more likely it is they’ll make a reservation or keep your hotel top of mind when they actually are ready to book.

Google Analytics allows you to see not only how many pages per visit a user is looking at, but also the flow of that visit through Behavior Flow reports! You’ll be able to see bottlenecks in traffic, which pages you’re losing people on throughout their journey, and more!

While this number is important, be sure to compare it against other data, like reservations and recurring visits. You likely will have people that visit your site multiple times to learn more about your hotel, amenities, and services. You’re also getting site visits from those that are familiar with your business already and ready to book. In those cases, customers probably won’t need to engage with multiple pages, especially if your site is well optimized for your audience’s path to purchase! 

If your organic search results for “book a hotel room near me” point directly to your reservation page, those visitors should have very few pages per visit and great conversion rates! If those searches are instead landing on your home page, they’ll have to click through the site, and you risk losing them along the way. Once you get the reservation, how can you provide even more value to that audience and keep them engaged before their stay? They may find hotel updates and local itineraries helpful as they plan their trip, so those could be possible content opportunities that keep them engaged.   

5. Search engine real estate

Overall, if you’re not ranking in top Google results for relevant phrases, it’s almost like you don’t exist. You want to keep an eye on how much real estate you take up on the search engines for relevant searches. This goes beyond organic search rankings to include Google My Business listings, ads, how well your social media profiles rank, etc. If you don’t have great search visibility, it’s probably time to invest in aggressive digital marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) tactics to improve your real estate on those coveted search results pages. This will have a huge impact on revenue and bookings as well as brand awareness and authority. You’ll also want to keep an eye on trends and what competitors are ranking for to make sure you’re keeping up and meeting the needs of your customers with great content. 

You can spot-check your current search visibility or use tools like Google Search Console or Moz to get regular reports. Understanding what search terms you should be ranking for is really important, and tools like Google Trends and the Google Keyword Tools help marketers discover the most highly searched, relevant keywords to target and optimize for!

6. Locations where your revenue & traffic are coming from

This is another key metric we’ve been looking at especially closely during the pandemic. Through tools like Google Analytics, you can see the geographic areas of people who’ve actually converted on your site and booked a reservation, as well as where the majority of your traffic is coming from. While this may not seem all that important, it’s actually really valuable information. For example, if the majority of people are converting from the nearby drive market, you may focus your ads and content on weekend getaways and road trip opportunities that a local audience might be interested in for some quick wins and revenue boosts. On the flip side, if you’re getting a lot of traffic from further away but they’re not actually booking, that audience could just be more in the daydreaming phase or require more information about things to do in the area and why it’s a great place to visit. You can also overlay the Transactional Value with the geographic location to determine where your higher spend visitors are coming from, allowing you to target that market with upscale offers to increase your bottom line. 

How do I know what I should be tracking for my hotel?

With so many digital marketing metrics available to you, understanding how and what to pay attention to is no small feat! Don’t get overwhelmed by the numbers, think holistically about what you’re doing, what your marketing goals are, and then use the right data to guide your decisions. Just because you can track all the data, doesn’t mean you’ll be using it all at the same time.

For example, your revenue numbers are not going to guide your decisions on whether or not a brand awareness campaign is working well. Increases in social media reach, brand mentions, or branded searches are going to be the numbers that illustrate your wins. If you’ve got a marketing campaign focused on a seasonal promo, on the other hand, your revenue numbers and transaction values are going to be much more important than your specific search positions on Google. As you’re setting goals for each of your campaigns, think through the entire strategy so it’s clear to you and your team what success actually looks like, then select the most meaningful data points to track along the way.

If you’re struggling to understand how to tie your campaigns or marketing initiatives into your bigger picture goals and mapping them to the right data points, we can help! To figure out what metrics to pay attention to, we talk to our clients about their overall goals — whether that be more reservations, increased brand awareness, or even a specific event promotion — and craft and implement a marketing strategy that’s in line with those goals. As noted, there’s a wide variety of data available to help us make decisions and track our progress toward specific benchmarks. .

Like we said, we love talking data, so if you ever want to chat about what data you can use to craft a killer marketing strategy for your hotel, we’re the team for you! 

Latest Data on the Rise of Solo Travel

Latest Data on the Rise of Solo Travel

Any way you look at it, going it alone is getting bigger in the travel industry. And as more and more people are packing up and heading out on their own solo travel adventures, smart marketers in the travel industry would be wise to keep up with the latest stats. Following are a few of the most recent updates on this growing market pulled from a variety of industry studies.

  • A global solo travel survey conducted last October showed that of almost 21,000 people surveyed around the world, 76% claimed to have traveled alone or said they were considering it. And that was regardless of demographics such as age, nationality, and gender. Source
  • Between 2017 and 2019, Google searches for “solo women travel” increased an astonishing 230%. Source
  • Tour company VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations reported that in 2016, 68% of its female clients traveled alone. A similar company, Country Walkers, said that 87% of its female travelers were single that same year. Source
  • Among travelers, those going solo take longer trips—an average of 19 days. Source
  • One study showed that a third of Gen Z prefer to travel alone, expressing particular interest in solo backpacking trips and taking a “gap year.” Source
  • In 2018, the Adventure Travel Trade Association listed solo travel as one of the top 20 trends to watch. Source
  • A 2017 study by Princeton Survey Research Associates showed that among Millennials, 58% are willing to travel alone and that 26% of millennial women have already traveled alone. Source
  • When asked to name the greatest motivators for solo travel in one 2018 study, respondents ranked “relaxation and time to unwind” at the top. This factor ranked much lower in regard to non-solo travel. Source
  • A May 2018 study of 20,500 travelers by Booking.com showed that two fifths of Baby Boomers around the globe had traveled solo in the past year and that another 21% were planning to do so in the future. Source
  • The same Booking.com study reported that 34% of respondents named solo travel among the “top five trips that they have already been on and would like to go on again.” Source
  • A 2018 study of 2,300 people by marketing firm MMGY Global found that about 25% of respondents claimed they would travel alone in the coming year. Source

Looking for more insights on marketing and advertising? Check out our blog post on the tribe marketing movement.

The differences between traditional and digital marketing and why both are important

The differences between traditional and digital marketing and why both are important

From when the first television commercial aired in the 1940s until just a couple of decades ago, the marketing world was dominated by messages through TV, radio, print and film—what we now refer to as traditional marketing. Today, though, the age of the internet has ushered in a whole new (and highly effective) approach to reaching the global marketplace: digital marketing

Anyone who’s watched the Super Bowl, opened their mailbox, or thumbed through the pages of a magazine knows that traditional marketing remains a big force in the ad world despite the dawn of digital. So what, exactly, is the difference between the two, and can they work together?

The Basics of Traditional Marketing

In short, traditional marketing is any marketing that is not online. Traditional marketing reaches audiences by way of print, direct mail, broadcast, radio, telephone, exhibitions and outdoor advertising like billboards and automobile wraps.

Because this type of marketing has been around for hundreds of years it’s been thoroughly researched. Therefore, many marketers appreciate the tried-and-true nature of traditional advertising and so continue to rely on it. And they should. Traditional marketing channels can serve as excellent ways to reach local and many generational audiences. For example, consider how many billboards you encounter and are affected by when driving on the freeway. Or imagine your own great-grandmother: Would she be more likely to respond to a digital display ad or a mailer in her mailbox?

The Basics of Digital Marketing

Digital marketing, on the other hand, is any marketing that is conducted online. For example, paid ads on social media, email marketing blasts, and pay-per-click (PPC) display ads are all considered digital marketing. As a result of the technological and cultural shifts in society, digital marketing encompasses an extremely popular and necessary host of advertising channels. This approach to marketing also tends to be much more affordable than traditional marketing and allows for highly targeted connections with global audiences.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Digital and Traditional Marketing

One of the greatest disadvantages of traditional marketing is that it affords companies very little interaction with consumers. For example, unlike with digital marketing, customers can’t hop online to check a store’s inventory for a specific sale item if all product promotions are traditionally based. Instead, they have to visit or call the store, which places a barrier in the sales funnel.

Another significant disadvantage to traditional marketing is the lack of measurable results. Though there are some ways, such as printed coupons, to tally effectiveness, these methods tend to be cumbersome and less cost effective. Overall, traditional advertising is also more expensive than digital. Despite its disadvantages, though, traditional marketing has a solid place in the marketing world, particularly for local advertising.

Nonetheless, digital marketing is becoming an increasingly significant driver, with businesses reporting that social selling influences half of revenue overall. Benefits of this approach, such as real-time interaction and campaign results, continue to drive the popularity of digital marketing channels. With inbound marketing specifically, consumers are able to find businesses on their own, which eases the advertiser’s burden of tracking down consumers.

However, there are disadvantages to digital marketing. And the greatest of these is dependence on technology. If a website goes down or a social media platform is on the fritz, there’s no other option than to wait it out. Privacy issues pose another problem because they add a level of complex accountability and sets of rules that are constantly changing. Both can leave an unsuspecting company reeling from accidental violations. That, as well as the constantly changing landscape of the social media world, are among the many good reasons to work with a professional digital marketing agency.

Do Digital and Traditional Marketing Work Together?

The answer is a resounding YES! Consider all the ways we see traditional marketing being used to magnify digital efforts: billboards advertising websites, social icons on print ads, QR codes on mailers, Indeed.com listings advertised in newspaper classified sections. The list is virtually endless. The question at hand isn’t whether to use digital or traditional marketing but, rather, how can we use both approaches to reach the most consumers effectively and efficiently.

Would you like to learn more about how digital and traditional marketing might benefit your business? Get in touch with us here at DAE & Company!