Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

Tim Peter Thinks

Tim Peter

By

October 8, 2014

What Mobile Strategy Looks Like – Thinks Out Loud Episode 93

October 8, 2014 | By | No Comments

Mobile shopping couple

What Mobile Strategy Looks Like Headlines and Show Notes

You might also enjoy the slides from my recent webinar, Digital Marketing Directions: Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year,:

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Technical details: Recorded using an Audio-Technica AT2035 studio condenser microphone through a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 14m 13s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], subscribe via our dedicated podcast RSS feed (or better yet, given that Google has now killed Reader, sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player below:

Tim Peter

By

October 7, 2014

7 Top Travel Marketing Posts for September (Travel Tuesday)

October 7, 2014 | By | No Comments

Woman traveler mobile phoneWell, another month’s gone, which means we’ve got another round-up of the top travel marketing posts for the month ahead. Or, more accurately, right here. Let’s get straight to the list:

  1. By far the most popular post this past month asked, “What Are Google’s Plans for Hotel Distribution?” Google’s making a ton of moves in the hospitality space, and has gone from being a significant component of your travel marketing approach to a major industry player in the last couple of years. Stay tuned for what’s coming next.
  2. The Hospitality Marketing Link Digest has proved really popular. This look at “Rising Mobile Bookings, Big Data, and More” cruises into the #3 spot on the list this month. I wasn’t sure if this series was going to fly. Silly me. Want more proof? Then check out…
  3. This round-up of “8 Awesome Hotel Marketing Posts,” which is followed immediately by…
  4. Yet another Hospitality Marketing Link Digest, this one collecting “5 Exceptional Hospitality Marketing Posts” from around the web. Technically, this one launched in late August, but given that it was a holiday weekend, we’re letting it sneak in.
  5. One of the key trends worth watching in 2015 is the rise of Millennials as a meaningful travel market. Some travel marketers argue that the trend is more hype and hope then actually helpful. I take a deep look at the subject in this post, “Are Millennials Buying Travel?” (Spoiler alert: Yes. But it’s a little complicated). Check out the whole post to see why.
  6. The final Hospitality Marketing Link Digest of the month sneaks into this month’s list, with a look at why “Hotel Distribution is Heating Up.” Good stuff.
  7. And, finally, you all know the importance of mobile in your hospitality marketing, right? Well, there’s more to come. One of my recent posts explains why “Mobile Marketing Matters for Hotels in 2015,” and will help you set up your marketing strategy the right way for next year.

Of course, there’s always more great content where this list came from. For instance, you might want to check out last month’s list, which featured “6 Crucial Hotel Marketing Posts for August.” And, In case you missed it, FitSmall Business interviewed a group of hospitality experts about how to market a hotel. I was thrilled to be asked to participate.

And if you want to learn even more about the future of hospitality e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” Developed specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons can help your business adapt to the changing guest environment. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You may also want to review the tips in my recent presentation Digital Marketing Directions: Three Trends Shaping 2014 Hospitality Internet Marketing. I’ve presented this talk to a number of hospitality and travel-related organizations and you might find it valuable for your business, too:

Finally, you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

Tim Peter

By

October 6, 2014

7 Key Tips for More Effective Email Marketing

October 6, 2014 | By | No Comments

7 key tips for more effective email marketingI got an email from Geoff in the UK the other day, who asked,

“You’ve written in the past about how to grow my business’s email list and that Millennials still use email. You’ve sold me. I want to grow my list and reach more customers. But, even with a large list, I don’t know that the results we’re seeing are as effective as they can be. How can I make my email marketing more effective?”

Good question, Geoff. And, happily, I’ve got an answer for you. Well, seven, actually. Here are 7 key tips for more effective email marketing:

  1. Address your email message to your key customer segments. It’s almost impossible to write an email that works for the entire world (or your entire list). It simply doesn’t work as well as targeting a key customer segment and speaking to that group’s needs. Think about who you’re addressing your email to, then build the message around the needs of that customer segment. Personas help, too (see slides 137-141 in my presentation “The Truth: How the Social, Local, Mobile Web Affects Sales Online and Offline” for more on personas). While you can craft a single email message that uses different sections to address different customer needs, work to segment your email list into its component groups over time. A more focused message will perform better, and improve your customers’ experience, too.
  2. Write a clear subject line. Once you know who you’re sending your email message to, draft several subject lines until you find one that resonates for your target customer segment. As these 6 simple subject line tips to boost email open rates suggest, sometimes less is more. A subject that says “Offers and updates from [INSERT YOUR COMPANY NAME HERE]” often works better than “Super Deals! Free Stuff! Amazing Opportunities!” For one thing, you’re setting a more realistic expectation of what’s inside. For another, you’re more likely to get past your customer’s spam filter.
  3. Present a simple, strong call-to-action. You’d be amazed how often I see email messages with multiple, competing calls-to-action, or, worse yet, no call-to-action at all. Make sure that each separate message in your email provides a single, clear call-to-action. Try terms like “Learn more,” “Read on,” or “Browse offers” to clearly indicate what you expect your customers to do. And, if you’re talking about a few different offers in a single email blast, vary the size and placement of those calls-to-action, to make it clear for customers what’s most important, what’s secondary, and what’s less important. You’ll reduce your customer’s confusion, while still providing everything she needs to make a decision.
  4. Images, images, images. Images sell. Period. Give your copywriters a rest, and increase the size, quality, and frequency of images within your email messages. Do you think your customers keep buying high-def screen mobile phones and tablets just to read more text? ‘Fraid not, folks. Customers love images. So put those high-res screens to use. And make your images clickable, too. There’s no reason a well-designed image can’t serve to reinforce your call-to-action — and make it easier for customers to click once they’re ready.
  5. Use responsive design for your emails. As this look at how to improve your email in just 5 minutes mentioned, emails with responsive design enjoyed a 21% higher click-to-open rate than emails using a non-responsive design. So, assuming you’ve got a 20%(-ish) open rate, responsive design will buy you 42 more opens for every 1,000 people on your list (or 420 for every 10,000, or 4,200 for every 100,000…). And, if you provide the right images and calls-to-action, those extra opens will drive increased clicks and increased conversions, too.
  6. Benchmark your results. Where’d I get that “20%(isn) open rate” number? From benchmark data. Most major email providers offer decent benchmarks you can use to measure your effectiveness against others in your segment. Think in terms of your key email marketing metrics — total opens/open rate, unique clicks/effective rate, conversion, unsubscribes — and use those numbers to see when you’ve got room to improve, and when you might be fighting a period of diminishing returns. Develop internal benchmarks, as well, to evaluate your progress over time.
  7. A/B test everything. Finally, making your email marketing more effective depends on conducting regular tests to see what’s working for your customers, then applying those learnings to your ongoing efforts. While I’ve covered A/B testing in detail over the years, email marketing introduces a few wrinkles of its own. For instance, to test subject lines, consider a holdback test. In this test, you test two competing subject lines by sending each to 10%-15% of your total list (split the two different subject lines evenly between the group), measuring which subject line drives the greatest open rate. Once you have a winner, you send the remaining 85%-90% of your list (the holdback group), the winning subject. You can conduct similar tests within your message body, splitting your list to see which headlines, images, copy, and calls-to-action drive greater results before sending the final version to the majority of your list. The more tests you conduct, the more you’ll learn what works for your audience, and what drives the greatest results for your business.

The great thing about these tips is they apply equally well in both B2C and B2B contexts (especially important given that email represents a key way to reach top decision-makers in B2B environments). While the specific messages, headlines, copy, and images, will certainly vary, the general approach works just as well to both types of customer.

Despite sometimes representing a forgotten social network, there’s no doubt that email marketing still works for reaching qualified customers, and driving meaningful business results. Follow the 7 key tips for more effective email marketing just outlined, and you can expect to see those results for your business too.

Want more? Then you might want to check out these slides called, “Email Marketing: Keys to List Growth,” from a recent talk I gave to a private industry group:


(And, yes… you can hire me to speak at your next event, too).

And if you’re interested in learning even more about how customers changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

Finally, you might also want to check out some of our past coverage of the mobile, local, social web and how to make it work for your business, including:

Tim Peter

By

October 6, 2014

Hotel Marketing Trends for the Year Ahead: Hospitality Marketing Link Digest

October 6, 2014 | By | No Comments

Incredible growth onlineTime for another Hospitality Marketing Link Digest, Big Thinkers, (part of my regular E-commerce Link Digest series), this time rounding-up notable hotel marketing trends for the year ahead. On with the links:

  1. Tnooz details Google’s 2014 travel study, noting that mobile users’ app use is slowing down. I’ll have more on this in the next week or so, but it’s a trend worth paying serious attention to. It also complements this Tnooz article on how business travelers seek certainty via mobile, particularly now that mobile screen sizes keep getting bigger. And it certainly underscores why mobile marketing matters for hotels in 2015.
  2. Mobile payments represent an increasingly important component for mobile marketing and e-commerce in the hospitality and travel space. And new research detailed by Business Travel News show that half of travelers ‘definitely’ would use mobile payments. Seems like something you might want to pay attention to, no?
  3. Tnooz has 7 wishes from hotels for the coming year by EyeForTravel’s Pamela Whitby. I’ll detail my own predictions and wish list for 2015 next month, but Pamela’s list works as a start. Good reading.
  4. Yet another Tnooz article says that by 2020, guests will book ‘one-click travel via devices that aren’t even invented yet. My gut says we’re looking more like 7-10 years, but given the rapid changes in form factors we’ve seen (Google Glass wasn’t even invented 5 years ago, nor were the Apple Watch or Android Wear platforms), it may be possible.
  5. nSight Research reveals U.S. hotel “search to book” window for October. As you might imagine, it’s still shrinking a bit. Which leads to…
  6. This Yahoo News interview with Hotel Tonight’s Jared Simon about ending the ‘poisonous relationship’ between hotels and online travel sites. Simon believes that, at some point, they might be able to offer hotels a platform for their inventory even as far out as 12 months, without requiring the same commitments as OTA’s. That would be cool. I’d also keep an eye on Google’s plans for hotel distribution. In either case, 12-24 months down the road, I doubt we’re looking at the same distribution environment we see today.

In case you missed it the other day, FitSmall Business interviewed a great group of hospitality experts (I was honored to be among them), about how to market a hotel. And, of course, you might enjoy past Hospitality Marketing Link Digests such as these entries on how hotel distribution is heating up and rising mobile bookings, big data, and more.

You may also want to review the tips in my recent presentation Digital Marketing Directions: Three Trends Shaping 2014 Hospitality Internet Marketing. I’ve presented this talk to a number of hospitality and travel-related organizations and you might find it valuable for your business, too:

Finally, you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

Tim Peter

By

October 4, 2014

How To Market A Hotel: FitSmallBusiness Talks to Tim Peter

October 4, 2014 | By | No Comments

Tim Peter Digital Marketing DirectionsFitSmallBusiness has released a new article called, “How To Market A Hotel – The Ultimate Guide.” For insights, they talked with our own Tim Peter. Among the tips provided, Tim talked about how to use OTA’s effectively:

“You may consider entering into an agreement with OTAs for increased exposure. It also helps you put heads on beds, but be careful. Tim warns, “Too many hotels look to the OTA’s as a primary source of business, which increases the OTA’s leverage during contract negotiations and results in unfavorable contract terms.”

Tim continues, “Focus your efforts around your direct channels first, then look at which OTA’s help you reach guests you cannot easily reach on your own and do so while offering favorable contract terms. 20%-25% is simply too much to pay for reservations overall, particularly on top of any brand fees or other marketing you’re doing. You don’t need to be on every single shelf.”

Tim also reviewed the value of reputation management (something we’ve covered in-depth before):

“Managing your hotel’s reputation online represents the single most effective step you can take to improve your marketing… When you respond to an online review, particularly one where a guest had a challenge during their stay, you’re not just helping the individual who posted the review. You’re also helping the next guest who reads that review understand that you want to satisfy the needs of all your guests. And that’s incredibly valuable for your future guests to see.”

And he also talked about developing a relationship with your local CVB:

“Make it a point to meet with your local CVB/tourism office representatives and understand the programs they provide to hotels in your market. My experience shows that in most cases, you get out of these programs what you put into them,” Tim suggests. “By working with your CVB, you can often help influence how they position your market and your place within it.”

The article also includes insights from other industry experts and is well-worth your time. You can read the full article here.

Interested in learning even more about the future of hospitality e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web? Register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” Developed specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons can help your business adapt to the changing guest environment. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You may also want to review the tips in my recent presentation Digital Marketing Directions: Three Trends Shaping 2014 Hospitality Internet Marketing. I’ve presented this talk to a number of hospitality and travel-related organizations and you might find it valuable for your business, too:

Finally, you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

Tim Peter

By

October 3, 2014

6-Plus Incredible E-Commerce, Mobile, and Marketing Posts: E-commerce Link Digest

October 3, 2014 | By | No Comments

Mobile enoughAm I the only one amazed that we’re in October already? I still feel like the year’s just warming up. Regardless, consider this list of 6-plus incredible e-commerce, mobile, and marketing posts a strong step towards getting you ready for whatever’s ahead, this year or next. Enjoy:

  1. Marketing Charts lists US e-commerce benchmarks, by device, from Q2. Very cool data. While smartphones trail tablets and desktops/laptops, as you might imagine, they’re very much on the rise. In fact, some data suggests mobile e-commerce now plays a bigger role than desktop in customers’ purchase decisions. And this data from eMarketer that shows mobile affects purchases way before the store. So, there’s that.
  2. While we’re on the topic of mobile and e-commerce, take note that the increasingly large role mobile plays in your customers’ shopping experience helps explain why the top search ad position more important on mobiles than desktops, according to this Marketing Charts data. Don’t expect that to change any time soon.
  3. Continuing with mobile and e-commerce, we’re really going to see the war among various mobile payment options heat up. For instance, as Quartz says, PayPal is finally free and it’s time to let the real mobile-payments battle begin. Indeed. Curious what this means for your business? Well, you’re going to see plenty of businesses — including your competitors — expanding customers’ payment options, just as Airbnb is doing by adding China’s Alipay to its options. I’d plan on a lot more to come.
  4. New data from Marketing Charts this week that looks at why consumers open emails from brands. Given that lots of customers, including Millennials, value email on their mobile devices, you’ve got to continue growing your email list.
  5. Now, shifting to the social side of the street, Mobile Commerce Daily says that Facebook fans spend almost 50% more at grocery stores. Expect that number to climb, especially now that Facebook will tie web, mobile, apps data together in its new ad platform. They’ll be able to provide marketers incredible insights into customer behavior, and offer increasingly targeted ads before, during, and after the point of purchase. Plus, they’ll pressure Google (and Apple, and others), to improve their ad platforms, too.
  6. Another Mobile Commerce Daily report says visuals are indispensable for converting Millennial shoppers on mobile. I’m amazed that this remains news. We’ve known for years that bigger, better, richer imagery plays a key role in driving purchase decisions. Why would mobile be any different? Of course, this focus on enhancing images — and user experience overall — probably explains why Capital One (yes, the bank), just acquired design firm Adaptive Path. Nothing highlights how important design and user experience have become in differentiating your product than when a friction’ bank decides it needs to run its own world-class design studio. This is a trend you ought to keep a real close eye on, particularly as you set next year’s digital strategy for your company.

Like what you see? Want more? Check out last week’s “7 Marketing Tips You Won’t Want to Miss” and my round up of these “8 Crucial Marketing and E-commerce Posts: The Top Posts from September” along with the rest of the E-commerce Link Digest series when you get a moment.

Plus, don’t miss these slides and video from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year”:

And, if you’re interested in learning even more about how customers changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

Finally, you might also want to check out some of our past coverage of the mobile, local, social web and how to make it work for your business, including:

Tim Peter

By

October 2, 2014

8 Crucial Marketing and E-commerce Posts: The Top Posts from September

October 2, 2014 | By | No Comments

Crucial marketing and e-commerce posts from SeptemberWell, it’s time to check out your favorite posts from the last month. No need for tons of build-up. Let’s just get to the list of these 8 crucial marketing and e-commerce posts, the top posts from September, eh? Enjoy:

  1. The biggest post of the month was this look at “The Truth About Data-Driven Marketing.” Not too surprising when you consider the importance of data and analytics to marketing going forward.
  2. Speaking of data, new research suggests “Mobile E-commerce Now Bigger Than Desktop.” While this isn’t shocking news, the speed at which we’ve gotten here continues to amaze.
  3. Recently, I asked “Is Google+ Dead, Dying, or Something Else Altogether?” The surprising answer sure seems to have been pretty popular.
  4. My recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year,” entered the list at #4. I’ve included the slides below, but the original post also contains the video from the webinar. Worth checking out when you get a chance.
  5. The E-commerce Link Digest series has really taken off since its relaunch a couple of months back. Entries such as “This Week’s 10 Must-Read E-commerce/Digital Marketing Posts,” “6+ Digital Marketing Posts You Must Read This Week,” and “8 Digital Marketing Posts Worth Reading This Week” all ranking well in this month’s list.
  6. Many of you also enjoyed this advice to “Dream Big.” Here’s hoping you continue to do just that.
  7. My weekly e-commerce and digital marketing podcast, called Thinks Out Loud posted two entries into this month’s list. First up is Episode 89, “The Game Changer for Mobile Commerce.” And Episode 91, “Disintermediation and Disruption” also ranked well among your favorite posts from last month.
  8. Finally, given where we started, it seems only fitting to end this list with a data-focused post. This look at “What Mobile E-commerce Data Isn’t Telling You” offers insights into why you might not be seeing everything you should from your mobile e-commerce and marketing efforts. Well worth the read.

If you like this list, you might want to check out “A Dozen Really Useful E-commerce and Marketing Posts: The Best of Thinks (So Far)” and these “7 Useful Marketing and E-commerce Blog Posts: The Top Posts from August”, too. Also, look forward to my list of Travel Tuesday posts next week.

As promised, here are the slides from my latest webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year” for your reference:

If you’re interested in learning even more about how customers changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

Finally, you might also want to check out some of our past coverage of the mobile, local, social web and how to make it work for your business, including:

Tim Peter

By

October 1, 2014

Setting Next Year’s Digital Strategy – Thinks Out Loud Episode 92

October 1, 2014 | By | No Comments

Setting next year's digital strategy

Setting Next Year’s Digital Strategy Headlines and Show Notes

As promised, here are the slides from my recent webinar, Digital Marketing Directions: Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year,:

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Technical details: Recorded using an Audio-Technica AT2035 studio condenser microphone through a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 14m 34s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], subscribe via our dedicated podcast RSS feed (or better yet, given that Google has now killed Reader, sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player below:

Tim Peter

By

September 30, 2014

Mobile Marketing Matters for Hotels in 2015 (Travel Tuesday)

September 30, 2014 | By | No Comments

Guest in room mobileI noticed something interesting while putting together my look at the ways hotel distribution is heating up the other day. All anyone is talking about is how big mobile is in the travel space now. Just take a look at some of these recent travel industry headlines:

Crazy, right?

Of course, none of this is news around here.

But, if you’re planning for 2015 and still aren’t thinking about how to make mobile work for you, it’s time. Really.

And, happily, it’s not that hard — or, at least, doesn’t need to be — to make mobile work for your property. Focus on helping guests use your web presence on mobile. Update your website using responsive design. Make sure your phone number and directions to your hotel appear prominently when using a mobile device. Work with your booking engine (IBE) provider to handle reservations made on mobile. And start looking at ways to use mobile on-property to improve your guests’ stay.

Mobile’s really, really here. Really. And it’s time you put it to work for your hotels.

Interested in learning even more about the future of hospitality e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web? Register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” Developed specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons can help your business adapt to the changing guest environment. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You may also want to review the tips in my recent presentation Digital Marketing Directions: Three Trends Shaping 2014 Hospitality Internet Marketing. I’ve presented this talk to a number of hospitality and travel-related organizations and you might find it valuable for your business, too:

Finally, you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

Tim Peter

By

September 29, 2014

Facebook Ties Web, Mobile, Apps Data Together in New Ad Platform

September 29, 2014 | By | No Comments

Facebook logoRe/code says that “Facebook Will Use Facebook Data to Sell Ads on Sites That Aren’t Facebook.” Two key quotes on this one that explain its importance. First:

“Caveat — this isn’t an ad network in a formal sense. But it’s going to be viewed as one, because in the big picture, it does the thing people outside Facebook wanted an ad network to do: It lets advertisers buy ads, via Facebook, on properties Facebook doesn’t own.”

And second:

“…some smart people I talk to suggest that what’s really at play here is data, not dollars: If Facebook can convince more publishers to let it into their ad business, it’s ultimately going to glean information that will makes its own ads, on its own properties, much more powerful. Google will watch closely.”

This bears watching as time goes on. And not just by Google. Because it’s Facebook’s ability to tie together data from mobile, web, and apps that will help make it an even larger powerhouse than it is today in controlling access to your customers. Stay tuned.

FYI, I mentioned the AGFAM group (Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft) and how they’re likely to disrupt and disintermediate loads of businesses in a recent podcast and in my recent my latest webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year”:

If you’re interested in learning even more about how customers changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

Finally, you might also want to check out some of our past coverage of the mobile, local, social web and how to make it work for your business, including: