A colleague told me today that although she is doing everything she can to optimise her website, and is getting lots of site visitors, very few of them are interacting with her via her website.
This set me thinking about what takes people that extra step from reading your stories to responding to your stories by commenting or making contact with you.
My colleague felt that trust might be an issue. As soon as someone clicks, responds, signs up, asks a question, they reckon you’re going to zoom in on them with the hard sell.
Another colleague recently mentioned the issue of confidentiality – many in his profession don’t want to lay themselves open to others and are reluctant to ‘trust’ the web medium, such as blog comments and forum posts.
We already know that building trust is an essential objective for all small businesses, and that this can be done by blogging your story to the world, by being authentically you and conveying your experience, expertise, track record and authority.
Then I came across this Smart Company blog post: Sell Like a Woman. If you’re male, don’t let the post title put you off! There’s an interesting point made here.
You can tell your story in two essentially different ways, and getting your head around this is important if you are going to market your tourism business effectively.
When you tell me a story, it can be all about you … or all about me. Yes, of course all your posts are going to be about you in some way – but the point is to look at what you are essentially conveying.
Are you saying to your readers “We do this” or “We offer that” or “We are great because”, or are you looking at your business from their point of view and enabling them to engage with you from their starting point? Are you essentially saying “You can do this” or “You can have this experience” or even “Look at these guys – they did it and so can you”?
For example, have a look at this blog post: Planning Your Great Ocean Road Drive Holiday.
Yvonne Hunter is a great blogger who understands how to give people what they want in order to build trust. The effect is to get you thinking, this looks interesting, I’d like to do that, I CAN do that. The post is about the reader, not about Yvonne, although it is based on her experience and she includes a link to the most relevant page on the website.
You will rarely, if ever, find a blog post by Yvonne that talks about her accommodation and how great it is. And yet, as her partner, Tim Kottek, told me recently:
“The site is now getting about 1000 visitors per month. The blog as well as the authority pages have helped the home page to a Google Ranking of 4 out of 10, with internal pages ranking at 2 and 3 out of 10. Three of the 10 most viewed pages are from the blog. And it is those popular blog pages that have lead to e-mail requests.”
So it is possible to build trust through your site content, which leads to enquiries, especially by blogging.
For some businesses, this takes longer than for others – and I suspect this is the case with my colleague – but persistence invariably pays off. In tourism, our experience is that it doesn’t take long at all to see a significant improvement in traffic and enquiries – but only if you are blogging effectively, keeping site content up to date, and giving people plenty of opportunities to click and contact you.