Step by step guide to digital success

Let’s face it. For travel, the internet is the key medium to use. Whether you are a travel agency, an airline company, a hotel or a congress center, the internet represents the main source of data for your customers. It’s also the most influential marketing channel throughout the consumer decision journey.

I’m not asking you to believe me. Look at the facts (and stats).

Fact 1: 86 % of consumers learn about travel products online.

If you think about it, you know it’s true! How do you think your potential clients find you? Sure, there are fairs and trade shows, but if we are truly honest with ourselves, we know that’s just one of many touch points of the decision journey. Nobody, I really mean nobody, uses the yellow pages any more.

So what’s left? TV? Radio? Magazines? Sure, they are still influential and widely used mediums and one cannot just forget about them. But these are at the top of the funnel media which drive intention and awareness. The internet is the primary decision making media, where consumers research the product and, based on their research, make decisions.

Since we are being honest, we must admit that the internet is not always the last channel consumers will use. In leisure travel, the majority of consumer will research and book travel over the internet, but in some other areas of the travel industry, the process looks a little bit different.

On average, in the B2B sector (business travel and MICE fall into this category) the majority of purchase confirmations happen offline (meetings, phone, video conferences etc) and not online. This leads us to the question – how can we then measure online success? To find out the answer you will just have to read the article ;)

Fact 2: Media consumption is shifting from TV and magazines to online

In the last few years users have started to shift from TV to digital. Desktop and mobile usage are reaching new heights, while TV and especially print is attracting smaller and smaller audiences.

While years ago offline media was the way to reach consumers and drive intent, now, with the drop in usage of offline media, companies need to look elsewhere. With digital shooting for first place among the most used media, the choice is quite clear. Users are already there.

Facebook, Google and the rest of the gang have been preparing for this moment for years. And trust me, they are fully prepared! They have spent the last few years researching online users and developing tools, apps and solutions for the new mobile-centric user. Advertisers now have so many options to reach users, one has to think twice before deciding which channel to use.

Fact 3: Users are not stupid

The internet has drastically changed the way we learn about the product. 15 years ago we went to a shop and asked a salesman about the products they sell, we are now more self-educated. We, as a society, strive to know more, to learn. And introducing online services was like entering paradise.

“How to” queries on Google have tripled since 2017. The problem is that companies and their digital presence are not following this tren

And here starts our journey to better digital marketing

Create compelling content

The vast majority of websites focus on developing only purchase related content, that is, content which enables a consumer to make a purchase. Companies invest time and money to write better product descriptions, optimize their online forms and advertise their new offers.

But, on the other hand, only 1% of website visitors will convert on the website! What about the rest? Should we forget about them? Why are they even there!?

90% of visitors will visit your website while they are in the research phase, that’s why they are not converting/making a purchase. Their intentions are clear – they want to learn more about the product. They are not there to buy. So how are you satisfying their needs?

To truly leverage the full potential of the internet, you need to create compelling content that will satisfy users in each phase of the decision journey. Write articles, create info-graphics, prepare detailed whitepapers and eBooks, develop online wizards, create comparison tables, write “how to” guides etc. Don’t forget also about the post purchase experience. Prepare beginner’s guides, describe best practices and develop a designated resources section on your website.

This will not only satisfy users but also build trust and a relationship between the user and your brand. And if you are more money driven, the fact is that it will also increase your revenue (users with more than five views of your website have, on average, a 56% higher conversion rate).

Great content is a must, but it won’t matter much if users can’t find it. This brings us to our second point – marketing.

Be there

To satisfy user needs, you first need to be where the users are. An overwhelming selection of digital channels doesn’t make this simple. Not all channels are appropriate to use in all phases of the decision journey. Some are more useful and effective in TOFU (top of the funnel), other are more effective as a closing channel and are better used in BOFU (bottom of the funnel). Select your channels based on your goals (and the content you are promoting).

If you want to increase awareness or drive intent, some of the most effective channels include Facebook, YouTube and the Google Display Network. If you are more focused on closing the sale, Google Search Ads, search engine optimization and email marketing can help.

A lot of the time people complain that a specific channel is not working. The reason is usually really simple – they are using it incorrectly! Align your digital marketing channels with the consumer decision journey. Use each channel where it works best.

By now we have made a huge step forward. We have created unique and fascinating content and we are reaching out to users and bringing them to our website. We are actually satisfying their needs! Or are we? How do we know?

No matter how smart we are, there’s no way we can know everything. Yes, there is a ton of research which could help, but in the end, to really know what’s working and what’s not, it has to be measured and tested.

Discover beautiful insights

As I said, digital marketing is getting more and more important in today’s world. The investments are getting bigger and with lots at stake you don’t really want to gamble with your future. Luckily, you don’t need to…

In recent years there have been huge advancements in the field of digital analytics. With the use of advanced tools and features, you can now measure and monitor basically the complete consumer decision journey. You can connect your marketing data with your business data and your CRM. You can even enrich your data with custom dimensions and metrics like weather, customer affinity and content consumption. And, of course, don’t forget about attribution modelling which enables you to properly attribute the value of conversion to different marketing channels.

We are not talking just about big data, we are talking about predictive analytics. It enables you to discover beautiful insights that can change your business. Imagine spending 50% less for marketing and achieving 10-times more. It’s all there, available to you. You just need to dive into the data. Marketing is no longer about gut-feel, it’s about data with makeup to make it sexy. Fight it as much as you want; you won’t get far without data.

The not-so-big-secret is revealed. To succeed in digital you need to focus on all three areas: content, marketing and analytics. Now it’s your turn to try it!

Andraž Štalec, CEO and Co-founder of Red Orbit, Slovenia

Andraž Štalec is CEO and co-founder of Red Orbit. Red Orbit is the leading digital performance agency in Adriatic region, focused on search engine marketing, search engine optimization and digital analytics. Andraž had been working in the area of digital marketing since 2001. Through a mixture of different projects he gained invaluable experience in marketing and management. He is Google Certified Trainer who helps and coaches companies and individuals to set up and run Google AdWords campaigns and other Google products. He is considered one of the top specialists for digital marketing in the region.

Andraž was a speaker at various events, including Slovenian Marketing Conference, SOF, SEMPL, SKIM (Slovenian Conference of search engine marketing), Business Academy, Academy of Finance and Chamber of Commerce of Slovenia and other. He writes columns and articles for different marketing newspapers and lectures at several business centers and business academies.