As with any campaign - you must structure it first. As the meme says, “One does not simply do Inbound Marketing. One must structure it first.”
There are various ways you can construct an inbound marketing campaign, but of course you need to start with software. Do you have to have a central platform to have a successful campaign, the answer is no. Does having one central platform help, ABSOLUTELY. Take it from someone that has been conducting inbound marketing for a long time, before it was called Inbound and without a central platform.
I would highly suggest using a centralized platform for the vacation rental industry simply because you have more than an inbound marketing campaign to worry about.
Now let’s discuss your structure. First thing is you need to set your goals. Yes, I know we need to put heads in beds. But every owner and general manager knows that realistically you will not be full all of the time, but it is something we all strive for everyday. So you might wonder, is it that you are trying to get more of the OTA guests into your CRM so you can continue to nurture them? Do you want to build Brand Awareness? For fun and excitement let’s go for the OTA suggestion.
Of course I would choose that one, because that should hold your interest and it’s what everyone talks about at VRMA and FRMA. They play a big part in our marketing strategy, so let’s leverage it to our direct booking advantage.
Now that we have decided on our tools that we will use for our inbound marketing for vacation rentals, what do we do next?
Every great inbound marketing campaign starts with a sexy offer. Yes, I said sexy. My job is to keep you interested so you follow the directions and learn inbound marketing for vacation rentals. So I hear you saying, “What is an offer?” The simplest way to put it is this: It is something of worth or interest that a guest can download for the exchange of their information.
Example of your sexy offer- A two page PDF of Why Millennials Choose To Vacation In St. Augustine, FL. I decided to choose my own backyard so none of our clients are thinking we are being biased by choosing their city or state.
- Let’s begin - you sit down with your cup of Joe and start writing about why the millennials are choosing to vacation where you are. Then you add some cool graphics, proof it, PDF it and presto, you have an offer!
- Now what? Well you have to have some place to house your offer, right, because our goal is to have our prospective guest download it. This is a key part of inbound marketing for vacation rentals; it’s all about getting those heads in beds, right? So you have your webmaster build you a landing page. This landing page will need a form that asks questions, like: Name, Email Address and then something that is interesting maybe a drop down that says, I am a parent of a millennial, I am a millennial that needs an adventure. Get creative with it, or more than important, what do you want to know. Be sure to have your webmaster create a compelling CTA graphic as you will need to use these in your blogs and other marketing outlets.
- Now that you have an offer ready and your landing page and CTA are being created, let’s discuss how we are going to get the message out. Ever heard of a content marketing plan? You want to ensure that your content marketing plan is also focused around your offers that you have for the year. You don’t have one of these, well that’s ok, just build a small plan for this campaign. Come up with 8 blog titles that support your offer. Yes, they should have keywords that are structured to support your offer as well as various pages on your website. Why wouldn’t you want to do a little SEO work while you’re at it? Your CTAs will be listed with your blog, this is why your blog has to match your offer.
- Once you have structured your blog titles for your campaign, another key element to inbound marketing for vacation rentals is social media. What will you say to your fans to get them to download your offer or read your blogs? Schedule them out and use useful hashtags to attract new guests.
- Now, let’s recap just a bit, you wrote and designed a sexy offer, your webmaster built a fantastic landing page for your offer and threw in an eye-catching CTA, you are ready to start writing your eight blogs, and know what to say to your social media fans to get them to download your sexy offer. But what about those that aren’t on social media? No worries - Almost everyone has email these days! Have you ever heard someone not give an email address while standing in line at your local Ralph Lauren store? I haven’t, and I am there more than I would like to admit.
- Now let’s build an email campaign that will that will help support our sexy offer, but it is not the email campaign you are thinking about. After all we bring all these tactics together to formulate inbound marketing for vacation rentals, right? Right. I am sure everyone on here has built a list of emails from previous guests, I say that because I can’t think of a single PMS (property management system) that doesn’t send out an email verification confirming a guests reservation. This email will be announcing that you have a guide that will either appeal to the millennial or those trying to connect with them. Remember the oldest millennial is now 30!This email serves as an introduction and encourages them to download it. Be conversational, NOT SALESY! You’re done right? WRONG! People have either found you via internet search, social media, or email connection. But wait! There’s MORE!
- Here comes the fun part or as some of us might say, mind twisting of inbound marketing. Yes, I have had a client say that. To follow this next part can be a bit mind twisting. You have to create what us inbound marketers call a workflow. This is a series of automated emails that will be delivered based off a set timeline once the guest downloads your sexy offer. These emails are informative, conversational, shows the personality of your properties and can possible lead to A.) another offer or B.) a reservation!
So what are you waiting for, start thinking about your inbound marketing campaign and get those reservations!!