Sorting out all of the elements that make up a successful digital marketing plan can seem pretty overwhelming. To shed some light on this complicated subject, it might help if we compare crafting a digital marketing plan to constructing a real-life structure of bricks and mortar. Understanding the basics: — the bedrock, the foundation, the building blocks, and the mortar — is the first step in creating a blueprint for success.  

Let’s start building! 

First, you’ll want to build your structure on stable ground — better yet, on bedrock. In our analogy, your direct booking website is the bedrock of your digital marketing plan. All of your digital marketing efforts are built for and focused on the single goal of driving traffic to your website, so that website needs to be rock solid.  

In an increasingly competitive industry, your website needs cutting edge, customer centric features to attract travelers. Features like blog and event pages allow you to highlight your local expertise and build trust in your brand. Search functionality that pinpoints the exact features wanted by your traveler provides an easy, enjoyable search process. Don’t forget that you’ll want landing pages for the most commonly requested amenities (pet friendly, beachfront, or slopeside), a way to showcase specials, and the ability to select add-ons and extras right from the check-out page.  

Next up, you need a strong foundation that can stand the test of time. This is the role of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Like the foundation of a structure, SEO is sometimes an unsung hero, doing its job without being flashy. Think of SEO as an investment – the dividends might not show up immediately, but you’ll profit in the long run. Be patient, and your SEO investment will yield returns! 

In a nutshell, SEO is all the steps you can take to improve your vacation rental website’s visibility in organic search results. While there are many different techniques for improving your SEO, a good place to start is by writing and updating relevant local content on your website. If you take the time to update your website content in advance of your busy booking season, you’ll be ready to capture travelers’ attention when they begin their vacation search.  

Now we can start constructing actual walls — think of stacking building blocks like brick or stone. Just like a real-life structure, our digital marketing building blocks would be useless without the foundation and bedrock below: having a customer-centric website and great SEO are your first tasks. When you’re ready to move on, here are the building blocks that will engage travelers at every step of their journey: digital advertising, social advertising, and email marketing. 

  1. Digital Advertising: SEO helps your website show up organically on Google, but there might be search terms and keywords that you just don’t rank for, and that’s where paid digital advertising comes in.  
  2. Social Advertising: Another component is advertising where people consistently put their attention, on their phone, often scrolling through social media sites.  
  3. Email Marketing: With a $44 ROI for every dollar spent, we can’t encourage you enough to send more emails. Well-crafted, targeted email marketing campaigns can achieve many goals: like enticing new guests to book with you or driving repeat bookings, turning one-time visitors into lifelong guests. 

Lastly, to bind your building blocks together in the perfect combination, you’ll need mortar. If digital advertising, social advertising, and email marketing are your building blocks, then your overarching digital marketing strategy is the mortar holding them together. A thoughtful strategy maximizes your investment and leverages all of your chosen digital marketing channels to make the whole stronger than the sum of its parts.  

Digital marketing is complicated, and the rules of the game are constantly changing. As a vacation rental manager, finding time in your busy day to craft and deploy a successful digital market strategy can seem daunting. Instead of going it alone, why not combine the best of two worlds: pairing your knowledge of your business, market, and goals with the expertise with Bluetent’s digital marketing specialists. Now that’s a blueprint for success. 

BlueTent’s booking engine integrates with NAVIS solutions for Vacation Rental Companies. To learn more about the benefits of unifying your data with NAVIS and BlueTent, contact NAVIS today.