Based upon the fact that we’re all stuck at home with this quarantine and there’s really no tour business out there. So why not use this time to sharpen out internet marketing skills? That’s what these series of videos are designed to do. Help my fellow Tour Professionals and other “self-hustlers” out there get ready for getting busy.
When I started my career as an International Tour Director, I developed a set of marketing skills that helped me excel in getting a lot more business than some of my fellow tour professionals. These skills were built off of some sage marketing advice I received once from an elder Tour Director I had befriended. Then as I adopted them to the Internet and came up with some interesting points of reference that I call “The Google Triangle”
The Google Triangle is my wording for three important points to getting Google Search to better rank you and your online marketing efforts higher than the efforts of your competitors.
Below is the edited text from my latest in a series of videos based on Getting Busy with Better Internet Marketing Skills for Tour Professionals.
In The Begining
I first got into being a tour director in 2006. At that point, I realized that there’s a whole lot of competition out there for not a whole lot of business overall. Thankfully I ran into an older wiser tour director and he imparted some good wisdom on me and that was how to get to the top of “the pile”. Because back then, marketing yourself was all about mailing out resumes, mailing out the letters.
The conventional tour guide wisdom at the time was that when a Tour Operator went looking for a Tour Director, they would often grab whatever envelope was on top of their “in” box and see if that guide could do the tour. So you wanted to be on top of their In-Box.
My new friend gave me some sound advice about getting my resume read first and that led to a lot of new business. Then as I moved my marketing online, I took what they had taught me and made it work in the new digital marketing place. That is where I built my foundation for “the Google Triangle”. And that foundation has worked well for the tour guides and tour professionals that I have worked with. Now its time to show you.
Online, Google is God
First of all, you have to understand that Google is the world’s largest search engine. There’s a lot of other ones in second place, even third place. As well, many other search services sue Google Search as part of their back-office and operations. So it’s important to be good friends with Google.
The three points of this foundation work to keep you in good terms with Google. In turn, Google will give you better results. Google can be your best marketing friend and Google can be your worst marketing nightmare. Keep Google Happy!
You do that by first, having a website with your own domain name. Not wix.com/yourtour or wordpress.com/yourtour. You need a “Top Level” Domain: www.yourtour..com. This becomes your own private online office.
And here is why that’s important: Ever go online and find a “Facebook Guru” or a YouTube influencer? And they have thousands of fans. Then one day they are gone. Zip, nothing. They did something to piss off the Gods of Facebook or the Gods of YouTube. They resurface a few weeks later with a new account and they want you to come back and join them. But they were gone too long and you have moved on.
Their problem was that they built this fanbase and this income stream off of one platform they did not own or control. They had no website to get you to go to for updates. They could not tell you they moved or they were doing something else. The smart ones, that last the longest, have a website. So if this does happen, they still have a place to do business from and a place their fans can find them at as they regroup.
The Second Connection
Having a website is key to surviving and growing. But so is connecting that domain name and website to all your social media accounts. Let me rephrase that. Connect to your Business Social Media accounts. Mainly Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. There are others you could be on depending on your specialty of tours or branding. But these are the main three you NEED to be on. They Need To Be Professional. Not your personal accounts. Keep business and personal separate. The names also have to be similar if not exact. Exact would be best, but if not, get the next best thing.
This shows Google Search that you are trying to be business-like and trying to be long term. The accounts connect back and forth and comments and updates seem to be similar. Google likes to see people go from your Facebook to your website. To see people are going from one account to another
The Third Leg
The final connection is what really made it all come together and rocked my touring world. I had and Google liked, was my email/newsletter. My better clients got one added bonus and that was access to my tour calendar. ( I love Google Calendar!)
This email was not meant to sell my services, although it did a very good job of doing that. It was meant to show my clients that I am a busy tour guide. In the world of logical thinking, you always want to hire a busy person because if they are busy, it must mean they are good and in demand. And it certainly helped me book a few extra tours. But it also let me push other, similar people and services I thought others needed to know about. So I used it to help others get more business and that reflected positively back on me!
Just for the record. Referral business is always good business! If I can get hired and not have to compete with other tour guides, I get better work, better tours and that means better pay and better tips.
Why The Connections
So why is it so important to your future success to have these three connections? Simple. It makes you look professional to the search engine spiders. The Gods of Google don’t see you as a fly by night scammer if you have built up this infrastructure. The more traffic being sent back and forth between these links, the better Google and the other search engines like you and will rank you higher in their results.
Having built out the website focusing on your tour skills and postings, and have the social media connections showing relation to your tours, tour news and tour related content, its easier for the search engine spiders to determine what exactly you do and who they need to send your way. The better informed they are, the better the search engine results will be and the better clients will find you.
If you have two tour guides with the exact same skills and background. If one has all three of these connections and the other one doesn’t,. The one with the right Google connections will rank higher in the search results. The higher in search you are, the more chances you have of being clicked on and getting the business.
I just cannot explain to you how much better my Tour Guide business was when I connected these three dots. Let me try to and put it to you this way. I am at the point now where I don’t have to go out looking for tour gigs. In fact, I have backed off a lot from doing tours to help others in the tour business market their businesses online. However, when I want to do tours, I don’t have to look very far for the business. It has already found me. I get to pick and choose who I work with and that’s a nice place to be!
I hope this has helped.