10 Internet Marketing Tips for Estonian Tourism Companies
Internet Marketing for Tourism
An Estonian version of this article can be found on the Aktiva website : 10 internetiturunduse alast nippi Eesti turismifirmadele
There are too many elements to successfully making and promoting a website for tourists to describe in a single article. However if you follow these 10 tips then you will certainly have an advantage over your competitors.
1. Use a simple, professional, website design that is fast to load. Not all people have broadband internet access like in Estonia. Many Europeans, including your target customers, still use “slow” modems. Your website homepage should fully load in no more than 8 seconds with a 56k modem. So you must reduce the file sizes to a minimum, especially images.
2. Make sure you website looks good (and ‘right’) in all major browsers and not just the one you and your designer use! Check how your site looks in older versions of Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator and also in Firefox too.
3. If you are targeting foreign tourists then it is important that your website speaks their language. You cannot be expected to have 100 languages on your website but you should use the languages your customers can use. English is a safe option as it the world’s ‘number 2’ language. Whichever language you choose make sure you have the content written, or at least checked, by a native professional writer (preferably someone with experience of writing sales and marketing material too.) Poor spelling or grammar on a website badly damages your credibility (it says you do not care) and is one of the main reasons for people NOT DOING BUSINESS with you.
4. If you have won any awards, received positive comments or testimonials from happy clients or belong to a tourism, or other, association then display evidence on your website, even on the home page itself. Show logos too.
5. Use real people’s names and photos on your contact page. The more ‘human’ you seem, the more likely that people will contact you.
6. Collect email addresses from every customer (just ask them for them and do not forget to ask for permission to use them too!). Then create a simple newsletter with USEFUL information for your customers. If you are restaurant then maybe send cooking tips and recipes. If you are a hotel then maybe send information about your town or city and future events. Even if the guest never returns to you they might forward the information to a friend who becomes your customer later.
7. Ask some regular customers and other people outside your business to comment on your website. Ask them to be 100% honest and not ‘polite’. Ask for feedback on your website too. Accept all criticism gratefully and with a smile. As Bill Gates says, “ Dissatisfied customers are our greatest source of learning” (and he should know!)
8. Make sure your website is easy to use. If you sell something or want ‘bookings/reservations’ make it clear on your home page. Do the ‘mother test’! Ask your mother to ‘buy’ from you. If she has problems then so will some of your visitors. Look at what is wrong and fix it. A website can never be simple enough.
9. Use a search engine friendly content management system (e.g. Saurus) as the platform for your website. This will allow you to add and change material quickly and easily. Also if your pages are easy to find in the search engines then you will attract more visitors and especially ones who are looking for someone like you!
10. Ask anyone you now with a website (customers, suppliers, partners, friends) to link to your website. Links provide a source of new visitors and, if they are designed correctly, then can also improve your ranking in the search engines which will make your website even easier to find.
And remember many tourists have never been to Estonia before so include a section called About Estonia or About your town/city and ‘do your bit’ to sell “ Destination Estonia” for the good of everyone and not just your business. If everyone promotes the joys of a holiday in Estonia then the combined effort will persuade more and more to come which is good for all of us.