Archive for the ‘Listings’ Category

Have you a “buy this” message in your marketing e-mails?

Although it might sound obvious, you need to ask people to do what you’d like them to do when you send out a marketing e-mail.

It might be obvious but many marketing e-mails are sent out without a clear “buy this” message and even more go out without giving the reader a clear means of actually buying the product. Many newsletters are sent out without containing links to specific products sold by the company sending it out yet it’s one of the easiest ways to pick up easy sales as you’re sending it out to people who’ve asked to be on your mailing list so they’re already interested in your products.

Don’t forget to vary your message too. For example, if you’re sending out a travel related newsletter, pick out upcoming vacations such as Easter and special interest periods like Valentine’s Day. Hallmark spend a LOT of money to produce cards that address every possible situation that you could imagine and you should approach your newsletter with the same originality (or just copy Hallmark!).

However, the most important thing is to ensure that there’s a very clear “buy this” message and a very easy way of a reader doing exactly that.

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

If you’re buying a new business, do you ask about the advertising that was in place?

We get a relatively low rate of turnover of the properties listed on our sites but one thing that always amazes me is that the seller never passes on the information about the advertising they’d done to the new owner.

In pretty much all cases that sale is a straight sale of the business so you’d think that the new owner would want to retain the existing customer base yet never once have we been contacted by a new owner wanting to revive the site through changing the contact details to their own, perhaps a new description, or whatever. In fact, in most cases that we follow up the very first thing that the new owners do is to change the name of the business and change all the contact details so they are pretty much guaranteed to lose all the existing customer base.

For the first time today we by chance caught one of the new owners via a general mailshot. Their first thought was to delete the advert rather than simply change the contact details even though the subscription has already been covered by the previous owner.

So, even if you are planning on changing how the business that you’ve just bought operates, do ask about the advertising and try to get a list of places that it’s advertised in. You may find that ongoing advertising has been paid for in advance so you may as well just change the contact details even if you don’t plan to renew it next time around.

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

Something of a run in self-catering entries whilst I was away

Usually when I go off on a short break there are a few new entries on the B&B and self-catering listings sites but this time I returned to something of a bumper crop which took me most of the morning to catch up.

In theory, the process is quite automated but in reality there’s almost always a little work to be done to get the new entries online. Most of the time, it’s a matter of a few minutes but now and again you get someone that just puts “see website” and, of course, their website is rarely in a form that allows a straight copy and paste to get it online. In fact, this time it was worse as they’d their whole website typed in uppercase letters so I’d to retype it all and correct the grammar too for that matter.

That grammar problem is quite strange really. You’d think that people would put the effort into their site to get both the spelling and grammar reasonably correct but now and again you come across a site that you’d think had been written by a small child which surely can’t be an attractive proposition for a potential guest, can it?

Strangely, it’s usually the foreigners who are writing in their second or third language who get both the spelling and grammar correct and this morning was no different: the entry from Italy was perfect apart from one word which only needed to be changed to put a truly English-English spin on the phrase they’d used.

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

When should you end a free trial and upgrade a holiday accommodation listing?

From about October through to March each year anyone who rents out holiday accommodation is usually innundated with offers for free trial listings from a range of listings sites around the world.

One thing that almost all of the free trial periods have in common is that they limit the facilities available on your entry as compared to the paid subscription version. Usually, that’s done by a very simple restriction: they don’t publish your website address.

The reason behind that is simple as without that website address most people will use the contact facilities on the listings site to get in touch with you and you’ll know that they’ve done that ie that the site is working for you. The downside of that is that many more people won’t bother contacting you and will instead go to other properties who do have their website listed so overall you get fewer bookings. Fair enough really as you’re not paying the site to list you at that point.

Some would say that if you get one booking enquiry that way then you should take up the paid subscription (which is usually at a discount during the trial period) but I feel that it’s better to wait for the second e-mail from a site in that the first one could just be spurious. If people find you twice on a site then that’s a good indication that the site is going to bring you business and it’s probably best to sign up on receipt of the second booking enquiry.

The only problem is that once you’ve signed up then you will no longer get the direct feedback that the site is working for you and it’s only by looking at your website stats that you’ll know if they’ve sent you any traffic at all.

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

Why bother advertising if you can’t be bothered to write a decent advert?

One thing that constantly surprises me with the adverts that we get for the listings sites is how poor some of them are.

Whilst most people will write two or three paragraphs to describe their place and some even run to quite extensive descriptions of both their property and the local attractions, others put as little as one sentence on and don’t bother with a photo either.

Now, it’s possible to get some hits with a one sentence description but realistically the number of hits you’ll get with one sentence is tiny as it just isn’t enough for the search engines to work with. And the search engines do matter because even with listings sites, the majority of hits are generally on the pages generated for individual properties rather than the home page of the listings site. Therefore if your entry is very short then you’re going to get a good deal less business than if your entry is above average in length.

Photos are a different matter. They’re usually not important in bringing people to your place although there’s been a recent trend towards people using image search to find properties so they are more important than they were. However, many people book directly from the advert so it’s a good idea to load as many good photos as you can with any adverts that you place. Make sure that the photo used on your summary page is eye-catching too or your place will get skipped.

In fact, rather than spending time to get the “perfect wording” for your ad, it’s much better to spend the time in making it longer.

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