HOW DO WE BUILD A GLOBAL ONLINE COMMUNITY FOR A TRAVEL APP?
Last year we worked with an incredible company who produced an app which connects travellers with local experts. The purpose was to help travellers to learn about a new area. This was achieved by hiring a local to take you on a private tour of the area you are visiting. They will show you hidden treasures and the best authentic restaurants, as well as creating a tour tailored to your interests.
The proof of concept was already well established. Trekk Blog states that over 70% of U.S. travellers agree that they “always” use their Smartphone’s when travelling, up from 41% in 2015. Travellers most frequently use their mobile devices to research activities or attractions, to locate shopping areas and restaurants, or to look up directions. (Google Consumer Insights, 2018).
We were really excited to work with this company as we could see the potential for growth with the app. We knew more people were using their phone to find local attractions whilst on holiday. we could see how this app would be appealing for many tourists. They want to feel immersed in the culture and experience the area as a local would.
The company had already established their USP. This put us in a good position to begin the marketing process.
Our objective was to build a content marketing strategy aimed at their target audience.
The company were already clear on their target audience. we focussed on researching where that audience spends their time online and what platforms and forums they were currently engaging in.
This leads us to Quora. An online forum where experts in all manner of niche’s offer advice. There is a particularly large section for travel advice so this seemed like a strong area to build up a following and an authority level which would feedback to the company’s website.
When building a content marketing strategy it’s important to follow the ‘Jab Jab Jab, Right Hook’ method. You need to provide free valuable content up front (this is known as the jab) before you try to sell them anything (this is known as the hook). This should all be built into a sales funnel.
Gary Vaynerchuk talks more about his philosophy and how this method can be successful. Check him out if you can. He’s one of the leading voices in Digital Marketing.
We took Gary Vaynerchuk’s approach and made each Quora post a link to the company website, where the audience can find more information. This way we were bringing in more users by providing value instead of content.
We like to do a lot of research on competitors. In this case, who the top travel bloggers were, what they were doing on Quora, as well as researching other travel blogs that were popular.
We noticed that their competitors weren’t doing as much on Quora to gain more traffic. They were instead using it as a way of introducing their company and responding to organic questions from the community. We saw this as a good opportunity to gain exposure, brand awareness and building status as a thought leader within the travel industry.
Based on this we used the brand to respond to popular questions. For example, “What’s the best way to find a private tour guide” or “What is the first thing you look for online when you decide to plan a holiday?”
We also did some in-depth research on where their competitor’s traffic was coming from. Where they get their referrals, as well as their top social media platforms. This helped us to work out which platforms the company should focus on, as well as the sorts of content they could create to outrank some of their competitors. We pinpointed a few specific travel company forums which would help build a sense of community including bootsnall.com & fodors.com.
It was important to gain referrals through blogs and other review sites. Referral traffic is important because it could potentially send valued visitors to their website from other known sites. It also helps with SEO because if Google sees people are clicking on a link to your website from a trusted site it will help you to rank higher.
From our research, we knew it would be effective to include other social channels for promotion. A detailed strategic proposal was the next step, which included writing travel blogs. We also utilised Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and creating content that speaks the customer’s language. We knew it would be important to engage with other influencers in the industry to build brand awareness.
The Utilisation of onsite SEO to target customers for specific keywords was key. This helps them appear higher in Google search. We looked at what content is out there that is already doing well and then creating a blog that would top this. (This is an effective form of content marketing known as the Skyscraper technique).
We used Buzzsumo to see what current articles and travel topics were getting a good amount of shares. They helped us to put together a list of blog topics that we could write and potentially post as guest blogs elsewhere. We discovered that our target audience is interested in discovering unique places when travelling.
We wrote a series of Blogs based on these topics to increase online visibility for the company.
“Every time you write a blog post, it’s one more indexed page on your website, which means it’s one more opportunity for you to show up in search engines and drive traffic to your website in organic search… Every time you write a blog post, you’re creating content that people can share on social networks — Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest — which helps expose your business to a new audience that may not know you yet.” Hubspot
When writing Blogs it was important to create something which users are already searching for. A great tool to use to discover this is Buzz Sumo. By searching for travel related articles we can see what people are already searching for:
Image source: Buzz Sumo
We can then pick a topic we know will likely get shares and combine this with longtail keywords to help it rank high within Google.
(Check out Neil Patel’s blog on longtail keywords if you aren’t sure what they are).
The style of Blog we choose to write is inspired by the conversational tone of Jon Morrow’s ‘Smart Blogger’ Blog writing course. This is so that it feels more like a dialogue with the audience, as opposed to a lecture.
All this helped vastly increase the company’s traffic over just a few months. They currently have over 210,000 monthly views.
Map of traffic increase: