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post #21 of 87 Old 01-21-2019
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Re: Using the internet to get customers

Cap are your charterers first time or have they chartered before?
Are you keeping any survey data about how they found you? What was the reason they chose you and not another charter? How was the charter different than expected? Do you post reviews written or video on the site?

It'a hard to know what is PR promo stuff and actual information these days. It's hard for a consumer to sort that out. Sometimes well written reviews are helpful... other times not.

One thing for sure these days... people use the www to find what they are looking for and trust the web to inform their decisions.
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post #22 of 87 Old 01-21-2019
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Re: Using the internet to get customers

Spreading the word, via social media, makes most sense for the small volume/niche operator. You need two people to each tell two people, who then tell two people, etc. It's been proven we are all under 2 degrees of separation now. 6 degrees is ancient history.

However, this needs to be managed every day, no downtime (not all day, just every day). Eventually, someone will also post a negative comment and dealing with it timely and professionally is a serious skill. You never argue, you only offer to make happy. Everyone else will watch one's response and draw conclusions.

Tough new way of marketing.
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Re: Using the internet to get customers

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Originally Posted by outbound View Post
Capta. You’re presence here suggests you are a very skilled sailor. There are people who have done the ASA and prior charters but are smart enough to know they know little about running a boat. They want to charter with the goal of having the skill set to allow ownership of a cruising boat. They want to know if the cruising lifestyle fits them before jumping in to such a major commitment.
So another angle maybe not offering a charter experience but rather a school /lifestyle experience. Perhaps a blog/internet presence that answers the questions this sector has would feed the “school”.
(Think MaineSail).
I’ve recruited my best crew when they know they will learn on passage. Unfortunately they then go on to buy their own boats and are no longer available to crew.
For three years we offered what we called The Cruising Experience, where folks joined us while we were cruising, as crew. They would go through everything from provisioning and clearance, to cooking (see how much fun cooking is when the kitchen is moving), washing dishes and perhaps a manufactured emergency at 3 AM or two.
Not one single interested party in all that time. So we shifted to the idea of a more pampered sailing vacation on which any level of involvement by our guests was welcome, keeping in mind that Skipping Stone has electric jib winches and main roller furling, which really cuts down on any human involvement. However, my button pushing finger does get tired from time to time, so it would have been good having help aboard at those times. We do have a big double handed winch handle for the 65's and should anyone wish to get that involved, especially in 25 knots of wind, I wouldn' stop them. lol
So far 95% of our passengers have not set foot on a sailing boat before and it is truly an experiment for them. Few will go on to become sailors, but some will go on to charter another sailboat (oe SS again) somewhere else. Most of the rest had a really good time but would most probably never sail again, unless it is a harbor tour.
I'm not sure going backward now when we have found such a successful niche, would be a good thing. I just need to get what we offer out there to a whole heck of a lot more people.
I'll be working with Google Ads today and see where that leads.

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post #24 of 87 Old 01-21-2019 Thread Starter
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Re: Using the internet to get customers

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Cap are your charterers first time or have they chartered before?
Are you keeping any survey data about how they found you? What was the reason they chose you and not another charter? How was the charter different than expected? Do you post reviews written or video on the site?

It'a hard to know what is PR promo stuff and actual information these days. It's hard for a consumer to sort that out. Sometimes well written reviews are helpful... other times not.

One thing for sure these days... people use the www to find what they are looking for and trust the web to inform their decisions.
All but one charter in the last 3 years has come from our broker. All but one charter was Europeans and only a few will ever take this sort of vacation again. The majority of them want us to be somewhere else in the future if they come back. As mentioned above, we have begun on Trip Advisor and with 3 years of happy guests we should start out with a nice number of pretty positive reviews. My only question regarding Trip Advisor is how easy it is to find our niche on there.
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post #25 of 87 Old 01-21-2019
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Re: Using the internet to get customers

Quote:
Originally Posted by capta View Post
All but one charter in the last 3 years has come from our broker. All but one charter was Europeans and only a few will ever take this sort of vacation again. The majority of them want us to be somewhere else in the future if they come back. As mentioned above, we have begun on Trip Advisor and with 3 years of happy guests we should start out with a nice number of pretty positive reviews. My only question regarding Trip Advisor is how easy it is to find our niche on there.
Capita makes good points. One additional item regarding SEO versus Google Adwords:

Are you running your charters all year round or seasonally? If you are running your charters all year round it makes sense to put resources into SEO. Good SEO takes time and if you hire someone it may cost anywhere from $250-$400/month ($3000-$5000/year) for a small business. However if you run a seasonal business it may make sense to spend most of that money on CPC (Adwords) for the few months you are operating.

You have to spend a lot of time and effort on marketing for the first 5 years in order to get things going.
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post #26 of 87 Old 01-22-2019
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Re: Using the internet to get customers

Capta

I remember watching a You Tube video a few years ago. The marketing guy was surprised to find that the most traffic that came to his website was not from Google searches but, from a You Tube video he produced. You might want to try it. Seems counter intuitive but, you are not fighting for position in Google search pages with the big guys when you have a You Tube video.
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post #27 of 87 Old 01-22-2019
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Re: Using the internet to get customers

Wifey has gotten into youtubing surfing... There's a lot of content out there on all manner of subjects and some excellent with great production values and lots shabby. We often set it on some sort of auto select and it goes from one to another... when one stinks we move to another. Many are very informative. I prefer this to slick TV shows or movies. We haven't done a sailing YT series, but when she was missing sailing as the boat as laid up she found some to watch... That was a surprise. The few sailing YTs I've seen the producers are selling their experience. But a sailing YT that invites viewers to get off their sofa and smell the salt air could work.
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post #28 of 87 Old 01-22-2019
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Re: Using the internet to get customers

Capta,

How far down the rabbit hole of SEO and internet marketing do you want to go? How much time are you willing to put into it?

As previously mentioned, for short seasonal impact, PPC(pay Per Click) is the best bang for the buck, as long as it is focused, and set max expenditures per day. I think you can also set target times for the adverts to run, which may cut out running out of money before your target audience gets online...for example running out of money before 7 AM EST here in the United States. Be careful in picking your keywords you wish to pay for, as diluted ones that are broad will not be what you want, as you will get tons of hits for a keyword that may not be exactly what your target audience might not be looking for, but will click on the link and run you out of daily funds. Google Adwords will have a very good keyword suggestion too that I highly suggest you use. It will give you the amount of traffic, and suggest alternative keywords that you may or may not want to use.

That said, if you do a bit of homework, you can then use those keywords in your text, be it TripAdvisor, blogs, facebook, and any other internet tools, and gadgets, such as Reddit.

There are a bunch, I mean a bunch of online tools that you can use. Find out what works for you, check out what keywords your competition is using. Check out using inbound link tools that you can run on other more higher profile sites for your area and business.



If you really want to go all in there is a bunch of things that you can do.

I ran a traffic report on your website, and it came back with only one visit to your website in the recent past, so I am not surprised that your business comes from your broker. That right there is not good, it means your website although it looks great, is not working for you. There is little SEO on your website, and I would highly suggest using the google keyword tool for meta-tags and keywords in the coding of your website, it is not something that is seen, it is just in the coding of your page.

First off....BEFORE you do any of the following, do your homework using the aforementioned keyword tools, if you don't you are going to waste all of your time!!!!

Here are a few links that I found for SEO of your page and what you can look into for getting a higher visibility of your website on Google.

https://www.webceo.com/blog/seo-tren...9-infographic/ Read this, and take it to heart, there are many good suggestions that you can implement from this article. Read this link on the article as well....it is very good and features some cutting edge new to marketing suggestions.

https://backlinko.com/seo-techniques Some very good ideas on here as well. This tool in the article is a very good read: https://backlinko.com/google-rankbrain-seo

www.spyfu.com/ This tool is great to use, you can use it to test out and look into what other higher visibility websites for your business are doing and using to get their returns.

TripAdvisor.com I see your page up there, with one review..good start...beg if you have to, but get more reviews. I also noticed that in searching for things to do on tripadvisor, that you did not show up under the box for "things for couples" when doing a tripadvisor search...fix that. there are probably a few other boxes that I did not spend time on trying, but add those that may apply on your tripadvisor page. Also add more text, and use those keywords

Blogging: Spend a bunch of time doing this: Nice pictures of course, but also links to your website home page from the blog that can be clicked from each individual keyword as a link. Use your keywords a few times in each blog post. If you have a video, even better. Post on youtube and your blog, and also fill the description and text with your keywords that link to your website. Many people surf youtube, and this is a great way to get traffic to your website.

Speaking of blogging, have your webmaster install a widget that will automatically post your blog posts to your website. You might also wish to create a pinterest account, snapchat, and Instagram. I believe that you can have them linked to automatically update when you post to one, they update all of them. You can also have that on your webpage on auto-update.

Inbound links: Basically a link to your website from outside sources. They can certainly help, but they can also do damage. The links that you might wish to go after have to be Inbound links from authoritative and relevant sites that are considered of higher quality than sites with information that's not relevant to your topic. You can use google search tools on your competition to see where they are getting their incoming links from.


If you're still up for work after all that, what I have done in the past was to go after travel writers. For example near me, the Chicago Tribune has a great travel section. If you can get highlighted in a story, and let's face it, where you are at right now has a huge market, and a readership on Sundays over 850,000 people in print or digital media, who would be appealed by your charter. I hear people talking all the time at the Chicago Boat Show about the charter they are doing this winter. You can write press releases, and locate outlets for them, if they are well written travel writers and bloggers will love that and post away. Writers will sometimes need interesting and relevant things to write about, and you would be right up their alley.


A list of articles and their authirs from the Chicago Tribune website: https://www.chicagotribune.com/lifes...rygallery.html


If you are still reading this, well done.

Here is a blog from one of the best marketers in the US. I know a few properties and resorts that use this company, and they have seen DRASTIC results in revenue....Read it. I know it is for a different industry, but still lodging and vacation getaways, much like your own.

https://www.whitestonemarketing.com/...-industry-news
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post #29 of 87 Old 01-22-2019
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Re: Using the internet to get customers

Quote:
Originally Posted by SV Siren View Post
Capta,

How far down the rabbit hole of SEO and internet marketing do you want to go? How much time are you willing to put into it?

As previously mentioned, for short seasonal impact, PPC(pay Per Click) is the best bang for the buck, as long as it is focused, and set max expenditures per day. I think you can also set target times for the adverts to run, which may cut out running out of money before your target audience gets online...for example running out of money before 7 AM EST here in the United States. Be careful in picking your keywords you wish to pay for, as diluted ones that are broad will not be what you want, as you will get tons of hits for a keyword that may not be exactly what your target audience might not be looking for, but will click on the link and run you out of daily funds. Google Adwords will have a very good keyword suggestion too that I highly suggest you use. It will give you the amount of traffic, and suggest alternative keywords that you may or may not want to use.

That said, if you do a bit of homework, you can then use those keywords in your text, be it TripAdvisor, blogs, facebook, and any other internet tools, and gadgets, such as Reddit.

There are a bunch, I mean a bunch of online tools that you can use. Find out what works for you, check out what keywords your competition is using. Check out using inbound link tools that you can run on other more higher profile sites for your area and business.



If you really want to go all in there is a bunch of things that you can do.

I ran a traffic report on your website, and it came back with only one visit to your website in the recent past, so I am not surprised that your business comes from your broker. That right there is not good, it means your website although it looks great, is not working for you. There is little SEO on your website, and I would highly suggest using the google keyword tool for meta-tags and keywords in the coding of your website, it is not something that is seen, it is just in the coding of your page.

First off....BEFORE you do any of the following, do your homework using the aforementioned keyword tools, if you don't you are going to waste all of your time!!!!

Here are a few links that I found for SEO of your page and what you can look into for getting a higher visibility of your website on Google.

https://www.webceo.com/blog/seo-tren...9-infographic/ Read this, and take it to heart, there are many good suggestions that you can implement from this article. Read this link on the article as well....it is very good and features some cutting edge new to marketing suggestions.

https://backlinko.com/seo-techniques Some very good ideas on here as well. This tool in the article is a very good read: https://backlinko.com/google-rankbrain-seo

www.spyfu.com/ This tool is great to use, you can use it to test out and look into what other higher visibility websites for your business are doing and using to get their returns.

TripAdvisor.com I see your page up there, with one review..good start...beg if you have to, but get more reviews. I also noticed that in searching for things to do on tripadvisor, that you did not show up under the box for "things for couples" when doing a tripadvisor search...fix that. there are probably a few other boxes that I did not spend time on trying, but add those that may apply on your tripadvisor page. Also add more text, and use those keywords

Blogging: Spend a bunch of time doing this: Nice pictures of course, but also links to your website home page from the blog that can be clicked from each individual keyword as a link. Use your keywords a few times in each blog post. If you have a video, even better. Post on youtube and your blog, and also fill the description and text with your keywords that link to your website. Many people surf youtube, and this is a great way to get traffic to your website.

Speaking of blogging, have your webmaster install a widget that will automatically post your blog posts to your website. You might also wish to create a pinterest account, snapchat, and Instagram. I believe that you can have them linked to automatically update when you post to one, they update all of them. You can also have that on your webpage on auto-update.

Inbound links: Basically a link to your website from outside sources. They can certainly help, but they can also do damage. The links that you might wish to go after have to be Inbound links from authoritative and relevant sites that are considered of higher quality than sites with information that's not relevant to your topic. You can use google search tools on your competition to see where they are getting their incoming links from.


If you are still reading this, well done.

Here is a blog from one of the best marketers in the US. I know a few properties and resorts that use this company, and they have seen DRASTIC results in revenue....Read it. I know it is for a different industry, but still lodging and vacation getaways, much like your own.

https://www.whitestonemarketing.com/...-industry-news
WOW! Great post! When I blog, I place the blog on my website and I have it set to automatically push to Shardana's facebook page. I also boosted my latest blog post for $20 and am running it for 7 days. 3 people have signed up on my mailing list so far just from the blog post being boosted.
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Re: Using the internet to get customers

capta-
Incidentally, as a Colonial I find "Half Board Charter" and "Full Board Charter" to be confusingly meaningless. What does chartering half or all of what, a surf board? mean to me? And confused viewers often simply leave, rather than enquire. To the US customer...that's jibberish.
Also, requiring folks to have javascript--which is discouraged as a security risk--in order to send you email, is going to make many folks just walk away. Better to use a rotating disposable email address, or some other means of validation or scanning for humans. There are better ways to screen email, like telling people their email MUST contain some word, or the date, etc. in the subject line, and then setting up a whitelist/gatekeeper to pass on only that mail.
Similarly, being offshore for several days is no longer an excuse for not having email. You can have an email account set up to just forward subject lines (not whole messages) to you, and then just to send text, and pass that on through something not totally exhorbitant like InReach, so you get a heads-up and you can at least sent back a short "Got your message, at sea until Thursday, will reply then". Something, so it is quick and easy to acknowledge the customer--and still not very expensive from your end.

These days, it is very easy for a potential customer to say "this is a turn off" and simply click on the next site. You want to seduce the customer, give them no excuse to click on the next site.
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