Tag Archives: create

Everybody Writes: Email & More

everybody writes

 

 

Ann Handley, author of Everybody Writes: Your Go-to Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content, offers tips for writing email and much more.  This can be applied to bed and breakfast marketing as well.

 

 

Writing For Email:

  • Use short subject lines (Vacation in “Your Location”)
  • Let your free flag fly (“your third night is free”)
  • Use the recipient’s first name (to personalize it)
  • Keep the email copy short (remember WHY you are writing it)
  • Be a real person and communicate with a real voice (write like a friend)
  • Show enormous empathy (“we understand your need to get away”)
  • Use real images (show inviting pictures of your B&B)
  • Have a specific call to action (ex: click here to subscribe to our blog posts)
  • Make sure you are aware of CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (spam = legal trouble)

Writing For Landing Pages:

  • Match the message to the promise
  • Avoid sharing too much information (keep it to the point)
  • Keep your headline benefit-driven (what is in it for them?)
  • Be brief in subheads (most of the time)
  • Use second person with action verbs (a lot of “you” and “your”)
  • Be blindingly obvious as to what the person should do next (“book now”)
  • Use buttons that are big, bright, and bold
  • Show, don’t tell
  • Keep things simple
  • Use trust indicators and social proof to reduce anxiety (ex: TRUST-e, BBB)

Writing Headlines:

  • Create a curiosity gap, but with moderation
  • Promise what you are going to deliver
  • Place your reader directly into the headline
  • Use numbers (helps people know what to expect before they read it)
  • Use lively words: ultimate, brilliant, awesome, intense, hilarious, smart, critical, surprising, etc.

Ann Handley, author of Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide To Creating Ridiculously Good Content, gives practical tips for writing your “Home” page and your “About Us” page.

Writing A Home Page:

  • Speak to your audience
  • Tell people what is in it for them
  • Know what motivates your audience
  • Keep it simple
  • Use words your audience uses
  • Communicate clear value
  • Convey trust
  • Social proof

Ann Handley recommends that your home page leave the reader feeling like, “We get you.  And what’s more, you belong here.  We understand your challenges, your fears, your pain, your hopes, your needs…”

Writing The About Us Page:

  • The best “About Us” pages are not really about the company
  • Those pages focus on relaying who they are in relation to the reader
  • Talk about what you do for customers (your B&B guests)
  • Show a human, accessible side
  • Show your people as real people
  • Bring your customers into your story (real stories from your guests)
  • Why do customers care about what you do?
  • How have you helped them?
  • Put customer testimonials on video (with guests permission, do video testimonials)

Getting To Know The Staff:

  • Favorite quotes
  • What they eat for breakfast (may be a signature dish from your inn)
  • Music preferences
  • Travel experiences
  • What they do in their spare time (may be leisure activities near your inn)

With any kind of writing these valuable suggestions from Ann Handley (from her Everybody Writes… book) can be implemented. Then bed and breakfasts will likely attract more business. If you are too busy as an innkeeper (or have no desire to do marketing), contact Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging for a free consultation.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

The Power of Visual Storytelling: Responses

visual storytelling responses

Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio, authors of the book The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand remind us that anything can happen at a moment’s notice online. Companies need to identify common occurrences, both positive and negative.  It means looking for opportunities to create visual storytelling responses all around us.  Some strategies include:

 

  • Understand the most important factors that can influence sales and customer leads
  • Weather may be an important theme to craft content around
  • At key times of the year, companies can announce awards, rankings, events, speeches, partnerships, and make other announcements
  • Understand the most frequently asked service inquiries and comments, both positive and negative
  • Develop a robust content library to allow time for real-time opportunities
  • The best storytellers play off their audience responses to hit the message home
  • Extend the life of conversations and engagement as long as it is relevant
  • Look at the content fans are sharing each day

While on the topic of user generated content, there is a higher barrier to engagement if it is not natural for fans to share visual content.  Reward sharing behavior with a campaign, contest, and/or rewards.  Look for themes in the most common types of photos, videos, hashtags, and sentiment.

Choose a clear call to action such as a unique hashtag available across all social media channels.  Make full disclosure to customers how and where their photos and videos will be shared.  Highlight examples to show a range of creativity.  Give rewards and recognition by having an “image of the week” or randomly sending a thank you.

Customers can share their own content through videos shared on social networks like YouTube, Instagram, and the Vine.  Look at your content calendar to determine which video(s) will help tell your visual story in a way that other media cannot.  Think about your target audience, desired end goals, and what resources are available.  Evaluate the needs of your audience and show off your personality.  Mix up the content to a variety of different types and lengths of videos. Common videos include:

  • Announcements
  • Behind-the-scenes
  • Case studies
  • Celebrity partnerships
  • Community involvement
  • Company overview
  • Demos
  • Event highlights
  • FAQs
  • Goals
  • How-to
  • Live streams
  • Office tours
  • Parodies
  • Testimonials
  • Video blogs
  • Visual portfolios

Fan shared content as well as company made videos can show another side to a business. The key is to make the most of what customers are saying about you.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Pinterest Strategy

Pinterest strategy

 

 

While Pinterest is fun, it is important that businesses form a Pinterest strategy centered around the feedback they have received from other pinners.

 

 

Strategy:

  • Develop a strategy based on your analytics
  • Tailor your boards to the needs and interests of your followers (based on your Pinterest analytics)
  • Showcase your pins in an organized way that makes sense
  • Find out who is pinning what and why
  • Measure your impact and focus on boards performing the best
  • Create a variety of different boards that each target certain words
  • Cross-promote on other social media platforms (ex: Twitter, Facebook)
  • Include hash tags (#) in your board descriptions
  • Invite specific types of travelers into your bed and breakfast (ex: couples, business people, girlfriends, etc.)
  • Determine if you want to be pet-friendly, kid-friendly, or offer special events such as weddings or retreats
  • Look at how other B&B’s (with a large number of followers) use Pinterest

Pinterest can help virtually any business establish brand and get the word out.  What you get out of Pinterest depends on what you put in it. With the proper Pinterest strategy, guests will be able to peek into your personality, style, loves, and aspirations.  Guests will feel like they know you before they arrive!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Pinning Means Winning!

pinning means winning

 

With more than 25 billion pins to explore, you are sure to come up with exciting boards to showcase your bed and breakfast. Pinning means winning! You just click on the plus sign (+) to the left of your user name to create a new board. They will give you the following three options:

 

 

  • Upload a pin (you are adding your own image)
  • Add from a website (add pins from another website)
  • Create a board (each board represents a new category of pictures)

When you create a board, they ask you to:

  • Name the board (use keywords or a memorable name that makes sense)
  • Description (description of the kind of pictures on your board so visitors know what to expect)
  • Category of your board (such as Travel or Food and Drink)
  • Gives you the option to add a map (don’t have to do this with each board)
  • Keep it secret? (it you are not ready to unveil your masterpiece)

Each pin goes on a pinboard.  Viewers can like, repin, or comment on your pin.  This is where you can market your bed and breakfast. Even if you don’t have a lot your own pins, you can creatively pin other people’s pins onto memorable boards.  It does not take long to get attention.

I will share with you some of my Pinterest boards in the next series of blog posts.  Till then, just get started–you will be so glad you did!  Getting noticed is exciting. Pinning means winning more business!!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Contests Create Customers

contests create customers

Did you realize that your holding a contest could actually bring you more business? Contests create customers. People love winning things and it will bring more visitors to your website.  If they do win, they tell all their friends about your bed and breakfast.  Even if they do not win, they may decide to become your guests anyway after reading all about your B&B on your website and blog.

 

First, I will mention two actual contests. Then I will share my ideas for other types of contests to promote your bed and breakfast.

Go to the contests page at BBOnline.com.  In January of 2014, the Parish Patch Farm and Inn in Normandy, Tennessee is offering a contest where the winner will receive 2 free nights after answering seven questions about the inn and an additional tie-breaker question asking you to guess on how many light bulbs are in the Inn Library.

Lifetime movies has a contest to win a stay at the Borden Bed and Breakfast because Lifetime has a television movie about the life of Lizzie Borden that is premiering on January 25.  The contest runs from January 6 to January 15, 2014.

http://www.mylifetime.com/movies/lizzie-borden-took-an-ax/bed-and-breakfast-sweepstakes

15 entries per person/email address per day
Prize: (1 winner) 3-day/2-night trip for winner and one (1) guest to Fall River, Massachusetts to visit and stay at the Borden Bed and Breakfast, the childhood home of Lizzie Borden. The guest traveler should be at least eighteen (18) years of age and if the winner is under twenty-one (21), the guest must be his/her parent or legal guardian. Trip includes round trip coach airfare to and from a major gateway airport nearest winner’s home city (as determined in Sponsor’s sole discretion), double occupancy standard hotel accommodations for 2-nights at the Borden Bed and Breakfast and a cash gift card of $1,500 or the same amount in cash to cover meals and ground transportation.

You could decide to do any number of type of merit-based contests such as:

  • the best essay on why someone wants to visit your bed and breakfast
  • the best pet photo
  • the best drawing/painting of the outside of your bed and breakfast
  • the best video commercial of your inn or a video about why someone should prefer to stay at a bed and breakfast over a hotel.

If you decide to do a merit-based contest, it is a good idea to require that the winner must be willing to share their entry on your website.  That way you can post their essay, photo, drawing, painting, or commercial on your website.  Be sure to state if you will not be able to return their entries if that is the case. Good luck and have fun with it.  Contests create customers so they are a great way to promote your bed and breakfast.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography