How nice would it be to have a $4 million advertising budget? Pretty sweet, huh? But, even if you had that kind of marketing money, it would have only got you 30 seconds during this year’s Super Bowl.
But, the good news is that you don’t need a big ad budget to find marketing success. Here are 10 free and low cost ways to promote your business that can have a big impact on your bottom line.
1. Local Partnerships – As a vacation rental manager, you know that your guests are going to be doing more than just staying at one of your properties during their vacation. They will be out in the community, enjoying all your destination has to offer. And, they’ll be patronizing local businesses in the process. This presents a huge opportunity for you to partner with these local businesses. You can refer them business. They can refer you business. You may even be able to earn a commission on your referrals. And in the end, these partnership will only add to your guests’ experience and make them like you that much more.
2. Create a Google+ Business Page – Google+ is one of the fastest growing social networks on the planet. And, it’s tied in with the largest search engine in the world. There’s no excuse to not have a Google+ Business Page. It’s a two-for-one opportunity, really. You’ll position yourself on an up-and-coming social media platform and at the same time improve your chances for appearing higher in local search results. Your page will help you get more business and only costs your time in setting it up and maintaining it.
3. Volunteer Your Expertise to Reporters – Advertising in a newspaper or on a radio or television stations costs money. But, when a reporter uses you as a source in one of their stories, it’s 100% free publicity. As a professional vacation rental manager, you’re likely already an expert in two fields: hospitality and your destination. Offering to share this expertise with reporters only makes their jobs easier. In fact, reporters are actively seeking sources. If you haven’t already, you should sign up for a service called HARO (Help a Reporter Out). Every day, reporters post new requests for sources there. And, the best part is that it’s absolutely free to sign up for and use.
4. Be Active on Social Media – Social Media channels are a great way to stay in touch with your best customers. While social media channels can (and will) drive traffic to your website and help you generate more bookings, they also help keep your customer base engaged (and add fuel to all of your other marketing efforts). As a manager, the top social media channels you should be considering are Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube and Pinterest.
5. Network – Networking is a great way to learn, but it’s also a great way to grow your business (especially grow your inventory). One group of people you should develop relationships with is local realtors in your area that specialize in selling second homes. They deal with a targeted group of buyers that are a perfect fit for your rental program. Especially if the realtor is not already associated with a brokerage that has a short-term property management wing, they can be a huge source of new leads for your rental program.
6. Use Email Marketing – You spend a lot of effort getting new guests, collecting rental inquiries and finding leads for your rental program. One of the best ways to cultivate these lists is to keep in touch with them through email marketing. Depending on your list size and how many emails you send a month, you can utilize the free version of Mail Chimp. Even if you don’t qualify for a free account, email marketing programs come in at a relatively low cost per month. And, email marketing is often heralded as one of the top marketing channel for return on investment (meaning, even if you pay for it, email marketing will pay you back multiple times over).
7. Promotions – Everyone likes a good deal right? Offering discounts or bonus items is a great way to catch people’s attention. And you don’t have to give away a lot to get a lot. Maybe it’s an attractive bonus item that you can get free or for a low cost from a partner. Maybe it’s a discount on a home that’s harder to book. Maybe it’s a last-minute deal on a home that runs the risk of going empty. Promotions simply get people looking, and often pay back much more than what they cost you.
8. Google Adwords – Every day, people are searching Google for vacation rentals in your area. Why not tap into this already qualified and interested field of guests. Adwords is a quick way to move to the top page of the search results, and you’ll only pay when a guest clicks on your ad and comes to your website. To save money, focus on long-tail terms, which often have a lower cost per click and a higher conversion rate when going to a highly relevant landing page.
9. Google Adsense Remarketing – You spend a lot of effort getting guests to your website. Why not capitalize on that investment by having your ads follow them around the Internet. Google Remarketing taps into Google’s Adsense advertising network, allowing you to advertise to anyone who has visited your site when they hit a site that is running Google Adsense. Tons of websites across the Internet use Google Adsense to display ads and make money, so you may be surprised at just how many websites will feature your ads. Re-marketing offers a huge return on investment because it targets only people that have been to your website, gives you tons of impressions on multiple sites and features a relatively low cost per click in comparison to Adwords. Even if you don’t get many clicks, it’s a huge tactic for staying in front of potential guests and re-enforcing your brand.
10. Foster Repeat Business and Word of Mouth – One of the best marketing tools you have is your products and services. Making sure your guests have an amazing vacation will help word about your business spread organically. Remember, even a $4 million Super Bowl ad won’t mean anything if you don’t offer guests an amazing experience.
And just for fun…
Let’s take a look at how this year’s Super Bowl sponsors spent their $4 million.
Learn More About LiveRez
LiveRez is the fastest growing vacation rental software provider for professional vacation rental managers. The company’s cloud-based, end-to-end platform offers fully integrated solutions for reservation management, trust accounting and online marketing, with high-ranking, high-conversion dynamic websites and an extensive affiliate marketing program. The company is a proud Gold Sponsor of the Vacation Rental Manager’s Association (VRMA).
Visit LiveRez.com to learn more:
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