Since I’ve had (moderate) success with my own websites (Gift Certificate Factory, Calculer IMC, Partage De Fichier…), a few of my friends have asked me how to market their own websites. I’ll try with this blog post to give a few pointers on how to do it for a specific case study.
Thomas runs Flybilletterbillig.com, which is a website to get discount air tickets in Norway.
First thing is, which people are you trying to get to this website? I can see three possible targets:
- People who are looking to vacation in Norway. It’s quite a large market. 2900 people look each month for “flights to norway”. But there’s also quite some competition, as all big websites target these people directly (cheapflights.com, skyscanner, etc).
- Norwegian people who are in Norway looking to go abroad. In that case, you need to write in Norwegian! Good luck with that. So I don’t know what the market is in that case.
- Expats in Norway looking to go abroad. This one is very specific. Only 73 people look for “flights from Norway” for example. Is it going to be enough to build a website on?
- They want to be notified of new deals (obviously).
- They want background information about norwegian travel.
- They want information about cheap travel.
A simple marketing tactic to use in this case is to look at the international market and apply what succesful players do on a national market (in our case, Norway). After some googling, it seems Smarter Travel is a good candidate. Which things are they doing well that we could replicate on a national level?
- A newsletter to remind people of new deals.
- Today in travel: a column about recent trends or newsworthy events in travel
Let’s assume Thomas does not have infinite resources to write extensive travel guides or trip idea topics. How to get the ball rolling?
- Get social media accounts, and engage with people interested by travel in Norway. Travel deals are very share-able, so it’s probably worth it to spend time on social networks (Twitter, Facebook for now). Lots of expats are interested in that kind of information. Find out who they are, follow them, ask questions and answer questions about travel. Yes, it takes time. (there’s already a Twitter account - by the way, when I look at your account I see only updates about your website – you’re missing the “connecting with other people” part so far)
- Create a newsletter, and plug your RSS feed to it.
- Set up google alerts. That way you’ll know when people ask a question about travel in Norway (“travel in norway” might be a good first try). When people ask something, answer. But don’t over-promote your site. If you answer enough questions and are part of travel communities, people will want to know more about you. Yes, it also takes time.
- Write new content, regularly.
- Comment on other travel blogs (if possibly about Norway, to find them google “travel norway intitle:blog” for example), build relationships with other bloggers.
- Look for guest blogging opportunities. This will help for SEO as well.
How to improve SEO
SEO is part onsite SEO (improvements you could make on your site) and offsite SEO (having links on the web that point to your website).
You should structure your website about what people are looking for. For example, for title “the best plane tickets are here” doesn’t convey the mission of the site. I would make it “discount air tickets in Norway” for example. Use Google Adwords tool to find out what the people are looking for (start with “discount air tickets in Norway”, select “exact results” and look at the local number of searches). There are quite some searches about “norwegian airlines” and “norway airports” for example. So it might make sense to create a section about “Norwegian airlines” and “Norwegian airports”.
That’s the tough part of SEO. How do you get people to link to you? The most sure way is to get to know people with the same interest in travel and who have websites about travel. But it will take time (and you need a kickass website too). In the meantime, you can start building links yourself, for example by leaving comments on other blogs or forums with your website URL, and creating articles and guest posts on other websites.
It’s of course a very rough outline of a marketing strategy. A lot of small points have been overlooked, but hopefully it’s enough to get started.
I forgot. Don’t expect immediate results. It will take time.