So often, we hear, “ You need to get your business on social media,” but what exactly does this mean? What are the best ways to publicise your Gite or Chambre d’Hote in today’s competitive market? Here are our Top Ten Tips:
1. Be really clear about your target market
Before you start your campaign, try to visualise your ideal customer. Who are your regular customers? Think about whether they are couples, singles, or families and their approximate age bracket. Consider nationality, too, as this will also have a bearing on your advertising campaign. Once you have a clearer idea in mind, your marketing strategy becomes more straightforward.
2. Make a marketing plan
What is it you want to achieve? Do you need to fill a left-over booking slot, or are you trying to generate more business generally and raise your business profile? Social media can require a heavy time investment, so be judicious in your approach. Thinking about 3 or 4 different methods as to how to achieve your goal is an improvement on the status quo, so every little bit helps.
3. Select social media platforms that match your customer
For example, if you are specifically catering for retirees, then TikTok may not be your immediate first port of call in order to engage this audience! There are many YouTube guides to help you learn more about specific communications media.
4. Get some business cards made
Business cards are a relatively inexpensive, easy and professional way of advertising. Ask locally to find a printer (supporting local may pay dividends) or go online; then, you can send or give them to your friends, family and acquaintances, as well as new and potential customers.
5. Consider paid advertising – digital
Websites or online tourist accommodation providers often offer paid advertising opportunities. Some ask for an annual subscription, others a percentage commission per reservation. Reflect on how many bookings you need the company to generate for you per year for it to be a worthwhile investment. Also, consider how much you need to inflate your fee to cover that percentage of commission. A word of caution: it can soon mount up paying relatively smaller subscriptions to a number of website providers, so do keep a note as to how much you pay and how many bookings you receive in return.
6. Consider paid advertising – print
Consider where your target market is likely to frequent. Which magazines, blogs, and publications might they read? How can you showcase your business to this specific group? How can you reach out to them? Consider who and what you know. One well-placed quarterly advert may be all you need.
7. Don’t forget word of mouth
Your satisfied guests are the easiest way to grow your business, so think of ways to engage these people to rebook and incentivise their family or friend to book. You might encourage them to leave reviews, provide special offers for rebooking or recommending a friend, or simply stay in touch with a friendly email from time to time.
8. Offer competitions and giveaways
Supporting local charities and their events is a good way to become known in the local community and raise the profile of your business and its credibility. Running a free giveaway competition can do the same and may lead to a longer booking being taken. Be aware, though, that social media competitions and general competitions are governed by legislation, so do make sure you research and adhere to the rules.
9. Sort out your signs!
It may sound obvious, but a lovely clear sign makes it so much easier for customers to find you. It is also a visual reminder to all passing that you are there and open for business. This often pays for itself in advertising – especially if you are located on a main or reasonably busy road. Check with your local Mairie that the sign you are proposing will be welcomed, and only ever place it on your land or land where you have the owner’s written permission.
10. Use local business forums and networks
Use your networks and business groups to publicise your business where you can. Everyone needs a champion, and those that know you and know your service should happily support you, especially if you support them.
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