Digital Marketing Playbook
April 1, 2020- DerbySoft understands that the digital marketing industry is at a very challenging point, but that doesn’t mean there is not a need for strategy during this time. To help customers focus on their strategy, DerbySoft put together a list of top tips and things to watch over the next few months. These suggestions are not meant to happen simultaneously, but rather at different strategic intervals in the coming months.
With digital marketing, if you can’t track it, it doesn’t exist. What are your current attribution models? How do you track conversions? This is a great time to review and evaluate these settings and the programs relating to them.
Leverage Your Data
Throughout this time, you will want to use existing data to stay in touch with past guests, as well as those who had to cancel. Remain relevant and top of mind but not always from a selling capacity. Your customers will appreciate you checking in just to see how they are doing. Build audience lists so you can cater the right message to the right people at the right time.
CPC vs. CPM
At this moment, it is recommended that you greatly reduce or even eliminate all impression-based (CPM) display campaigns for the time being. However, have a packaged plan on deck and ready to launch when the time is right. At some point, everyone having to shelter-in-place is going to start thinking (dreaming) about where they would rather be. These will be very high-funnel and low converting searches. Don’t expect bookings, but this is a good opportunity to get in front of those dreamers. Just make sure you control this with the right audience, at low costs and make sure it involves a lot of images. This is where your prospecting or display programs come into play. Watch search traffic patterns to help identify the best timing.
Evaluate Your Tech Stack
This can be done without direct human contact, so now is the perfect time. Have you been thinking about a new CRM? Or do you need to rebuild your website? Maybe you don’t have the tools in place to achieve certain goals? Now is the time to get everything in place.
The most valuable resource you have right now is time. Take advantage of it and train your staff,especially on any new tech you have added to your stack. This is also a great opportunity to cross-train your staff. Can the front desk manager run the gift shop? Can the bartender check somebody in? This not only increases their value but also helps you leverage more people in better ways.
The competitive landscape of CPC has tumbleweeds blowing across it right now. This leaves an opportunity for you to dabble in some long-tail, non-branded keyword strings. Go for hyper-focused search strings, such as pet friendly hotels with meeting rooms near Times Square. These are normally too pricey and too low converting to mess with, but now you have an opportunity to scope things out with very low costs. The traffic will be VERY low but will also be VERY relevant.
Own Your Story
Once the industry starts to see legitimate change in social behaviors, make sure you have a plan ready to be relevant and control the narrative. Mine your data (for example, user generated content) to talk about how clean you are. Talk about the great things you did for your staff and the community while we were away. Have a Grand Reopening that starts by recognizing all the first responders who never got the choice of working from home. If you are a roadside hotel, remember your trucker friends! Start local and expand. Social marketing will be key. People are and will be consuming more social media than ever before so utilize Facebook DAT, and if budgets allow, local TV ads would be perfect at this stage.
If you don’t already have a metasearch campaign running, you should create one now. Metasearch campaigns can utilize bid levers to target longer lead times and specific booking windows to target consumers who are ready to plan their return to the open roads. Such an approach enables a quick restart later on and provides some historical data and traffic trend information that serve as indicators for many of the other points in this list. Adjust your callout messages. Yes, free breakfast and Wi-Fi are important but play to the traveler’s need for comfort. Book direct for best rate and flexibility.
By the end of this quiet time, the industry will finally start looking normal again. Now the world will need a reason to travel.
Remind people how much we missed meetings with real people
Create events or promote events around you to start customer thinking about traveling again
Remember local businesses, restaurants and attractions will be in the same situation during these times as you and most will be hungry for partnerships.