The critical decision of whether or not to save or abandon my business came just a few years ago. I had just opened a travel agency in Colombia, with the hopes of exploring its ever expanding tourism market.
What I hadn’t expected, however, was the number of other agencies already established in the country, and the brand authority they had built for themselves over the years. This, coupled with the fact that 50% of small businesses fail within the first four years, had me on edge.
The overwhelming competition in the tourism industry was so difficult to penetrate that I came to the brink of closing up shop. I needed my small business to grow for better profits and to stay afloat, but most importantly, it was a necessity in order to compete with the other brand authorities in the region.
In the end, I researched and experimented with different marketing strategies such as using corporate gifts, creating a blog, working with influencers and search engine optimization.
1. Use Corporate Gifts
Corporate gifts are an important part of branding. In some cultures, like that of Japan, it is an essential part of doing business. There are even entire companies dedicated to the concept of corporate gifts, complete with their packaging and delivery. They help maintain relationships with your current customers, they show a certain level of loyalty, motivate employees and even help to gain new clients.
For the latter, my solution was simple. I had some custom corporate gifts made in the form of keychains which displayed our company logo. Whenever a walk-in asked for a quote or paid for a tour, they were given a keychain. The feedback was positive as it also helped with referrals, as some clients stated “a keychain” as their referral.
2. Create a Blog
Blog marketing may sound like a nuisance at first, but in reality it drew in a significant portion of my new customers. For my specific purposes, I narrowed down the specific market, which was English speakers looking for information about traveling in Colombia (which, even to this day can be hard to find).
The blog was used to write about the different regions and their benefits or drawbacks, areas to watch out for, and other general tips and tricks. Once I appealed to my niche, all I had to do was include the contact info of our office. It led to more clients and also collaborations between my company and other tourism agencies.
Nowadays, B2B marketers get 67% more leads by using a blog in comparison to those who don’t. Find your target market, and write for them.
3. Learn Search Engine Optimization (Or Get an SEO)
If you’re going to create a blog, then you absolutely must learn the how to’s of search engine optimization, or at least find an SEO who can do it for you. Seeing as 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine, it should be a logical decision to want to have your company on the very first page. Many companies have stated that it is a crucial part of a successful marketing campaign, and the industry in its own is increasing exponentially.
4. Get Some Influencers
In our modern day and age, there are 2.56 billion global mobile social media users. Of those users, 95% of the ones aged 18-35 are likely to follow a brand on social media. If you consider those numbers, that’s a huge hint to the importance of social media influence.
Essentially, influencers are regular everyday people who have thousands, hundreds of thousands, and millions of followers on different platforms. You pay those people to post about your company or brand, and as such, you market through their loyal fanbase.
For me, my influencers were all travel pages, especially on Instagram. Do your research and find which influencers are right for you.
So there you have it. That’s how corporate gifts, creating a blog, learning SEO and using influencers helped me grow my business in a saturated market. There are many marketing strategies out there to experiment with, and in reality they may vary based on the product or service you are offering. They worked for me, maybe they will provide some return for you, also.
Which of these strategies have provided positive results for your business? Share your experiences below!