Archive for the ‘Listings’ Category

Where should I host my sites?

Although the main customer base for my listings sites is essentially the English speaking population of Europe, there’s an even larger English speaking population just across the Atlantic that don’t see the sites as often as they should since they’re hosted in the UK.

I have tried the sites on an American host in the past and it was a complete disaster because the main interest at the time was from people in the UK and Ireland.

However, roll on three years and I’d quite like to create a foothold in America. Not with all of the sites, of course, but rather a small selection of the sites so that I could pull in some guests from America and, for that matter, add properties from Americans too.

As a taster for this, I’ve set the geographic target for a couple of the sites in google to America and they seem to have pulled in a different audience than they had when they were fully based in the UK. However, that’s just with google and I do pretty well on both yahoo and msn.

So, I’ve been looking for a cheap hosting service that would let me move over one or two sites and I think I’ve found it in the form of 3ix who charge $12 per year. Now, “all” I have to do is to work out how to have the site over in America but with the database that supports it still in the UK.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Developing a series blog

After you’ve been blogging for a while you tend to find that some of the articles you write could be collected in a series.

So, for example, this blog has a series on living in France, another about banking, and so on.

However, I’ve been thinking of doing a blog for the listings sites which is quite different. For one thing, it’s a blog with quite a narrow remit ie to write about the listings sites themselves. More significantly perhaps is that I’m planning to do it as a blog consisting of a collections of series right from the start. Today starts off the series on marketing your property which will be an ongoing thread but there’ll be several other threads intertwined through the blog as time goes on.

It’ll be a while before that becomes apparent though as it’s not going to be a daily blog by any means (there just aren’t enough hours in the day for that).

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Being too helpful with online services

Online everyone tends to assume that there are infinite resources behind every website and, of course, that’s just not the case in reality.

For example, we like to be as helpful as we can to those properties listed on our holiday accommodation listings sites and to that end we offer a range of free services notably including a free website review. In practice though few people actually take us up on them normally but when we mentioned a few of them in our recent newsletter we had rather more response than we were expecting.

Now, in itself the response wasn’t overwhelming but the reviews that we did highlighted a number of common problems and so we did a followup mini newsletter telling people how to perform one of the key checks that most sites were falling down on which in turn generated rather more response than expected although again at a level we could deal with.

What we’ve subsequently done is to enable a feature we call “marketing assistant” which basically generates a short e-mail advising people as to changes that they could make to their own website to improve how it performs in searches. In fact, that’s phase one of that particular feature as we’re hoping to develop it further.

The problem is that as we move into the peak booking season, the number of e-mails generated is starting to rise and so too are the number of enquiries that we’re getting from them. So much so that we’ve had to switch the facility off for a few days to catch up.

It’s something to be mindful of: once you move out of the field of total automation online, you can easily find that you’re swamped with the responses.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

E-mail marketing – a big hit then a long tailoff in response

One confusing aspect of an e-mail marketing campaign is that whilst there’s almost always a big hit in takeup just after you send out the e-mails, it can be months before you see the full effect.

You might think that you can assume that the majority of your sales will come in that initial hit or within a few days of your e-mail but that depends a lot on the business that you’re in.

For example, we’re primarily e-mailing private owners of holiday accommodation and, in most cases, this isn’t their primary occupation. Therefore, if we send our marketing e-mails out Monday to Thursday we normally expect to get a lower immediate response than if we send them out Friday evening through to Sunday. However, that’s not always the case as our highest response ever was from an e-mail sent out on a Tuesday evening.

The season is also a factor so in our case if we send out the signup e-mails from June to August, we get get lower responses than if we send them out September through to February simply because the owners are just too busy to do much in the way of marketing whilst they’re in the peak season for guests.

Even the time of day can make a difference. This one is harder to call but generally your best bet is probably around 10am or 7pm on the principle that a workd-based target audience will have cleared up their overnight e-mails by 10am therefore yours will be on the top of the pile and likewise for a homebased audience at 7pm.

Whenever you do it though, don’t forget that many people file their e-mail for action later. In our own case, we often get a response from e-mail sent months earlier and, usually, would expect to get around 50% of the total response after quite a significant delay.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Targetting the Spanish market

I’ve been trying to build up the representation of properties that I have in Spain by way of sending out an e-mail in Spainish to a number of properties. Now, the sites that I have are basically targetted at an English speaking audience so I need the entries to be in English of course.

What’s interesting is that a number of properties have responded and are all excusing their “bad English”. Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? After all, these are largely Spanish owned properties. The funny thing is that the English is often better than the English that I’ve been getting back from properties based in the UK!

Still, what I must do next time is highlight that I’ll translate the entries into English if needbe which I suspect will bump up the take-up somewhat next time I’m trying to get more Spaniards onto the listings.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.