How to grow your business online – the burning question on every entrepreneur’s mind. Student tour organizers face the challenge of standing out in the extremely competitive travel industry.
In the current state of the web, standing out and growing your web presence involves a degree of technical know-how and awareness of ranking factors. There are Google algorithms to meet and information-laden travelers to win over.
To help educational tour operators clear some webspace, we have put together a list of 8 tips they can action.
How To Grow Your Business Online
1. Start With A Well Designed Website
It’s a fact – there’s a correlation between your website’s look and performance, and whether people choose to do business with you.
Research shows that 75% of users admit to making a judgment about the credibility of a company based on its website design.
Furthermore, if you don’t succeed in winning clients over on that first visit, 88% of them are unlikely to return to your site again.
In these respects, your student tours site needs to appeal to people as soon as they land on it. It could be the first point of contact a potential client has with you.
Common friction points that cause people to abandon website browsing include:
- Not enough eye-catching imagery or content
- Slow page load times
- Website is difficult to navigate with poor UX design
- Not optimized for mobile
- Doesn’t appear to be secure – no SSL certificate
If you want that shot at growing a presence online, your website should be a reflection of the professional company that you’re building.
2. Use Technology To Simplify Bookings and Payments
Technology is a powerful ally when considering how to grow your business online. It automates and supports vital processing tasks, allowing the companies which use it to manage larger customer bases and operate more efficiently.
Tour organizers who deal with student group travel and bulk reservations can benefit from bookings and payment technology in particular. Done manually, you’d have to extract information from emails and deal with complex payment arrangements. However, a platform can take real-time reservations and payments, as well as automatically organize traveler and financial information onto a powerful dashboard.
Let’s look at WeTravel as an example.
We offer booking and payment solutions for group and multi-day travel companies worldwide. Our platform focuses on the customer booking journey and empowers our clients to lead the greatest trip possible.
After using WeTravel, our clients have reported results that range from improved customer experience to reduced payment fees, streamlined communication to less time spent managing bookings, faster conversion rates to more bookings. You can find out more from the case studies here.
3. Set Up Your Educational Tours Business On Social Media
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and YouTube connect you with the people you want to take on tour. Nearly everyone has a profile, you can communicate directly, and each post has a large potential reach.
To attract a following and see growth on these platforms, you need to share regularly without being promotional. Start conversations, create polls, publish beautiful images or videos, and answer questions to facilitate interaction online.
Another idea is to join relevant groups to network and share experiences with other professionals in the industry.
If you’re adding value with useful content, you will soon see increased website traffic as travelers look you up to see what you have on offer.
4. Build Relationships Through Blogging
Starting a blog on your student tours website will do several things.
Reading your content will help people to get to know your company better and give them a feel for your values.
It will also give you the space to be creative and tell stories that delight travelers and makes them think I want to try that!
Then, you’ll gain a library of content that you can use to market your business and generate leads. Not to mention, share on social.
And nearly as valuable as the connections you create is the SEO aspect you get from a blog. By targeting keywords in writing, you improve your chance at ranking pages on the search engines.
5. Optimize Your Website For SEO
SEO doesn’t only apply to your blog posts. It’s also responsible for improving your website’s online presence as a whole. Furthermore, there’s more to SEO than just keyword research.
When learning how to grow your business online, you also need to know about backlinks, meta information, UX, analytics data, mobile responsiveness, and page loading times to ensure that your website is sending the right signals to both Google and potential clients.
6. Collect Client Reviews
Travel is an investment that students or parents make into education and happiness. It’s also often quite a substantial investment, not to mention that it may be the first time students travel without their parents. Because of these factors, stakeholders put a lot of research into their decision.
One of the things people do to ease concerns or answer questions is to read reviews online. Stats show that 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a recommendation from their friends. It’s the reason why you need to encourage clients to leave reviews after completing your tour. It’s also necessary to monitor and respond to reviews, as well as take action and make any service improvements if needed.
Airbnb and TripAdvisor are famous examples of how much reviews matter when growing a travel company online. The platforms encourage travelers to leave real reviews that can help their peers to make a booking decision. As a result of their open-door policy, the platforms continue to be widely supported.
7. Set Up Your Google My Business Profile
Setting up your Google My Business profile gives you a presence across Google’s Suite of services. An up to date profile can boost your SEO, local SEO, as well as help people to find you on maps. You can also collect google reviews, use analytics, and get a highly visible knowledge panel box for your company on the search engine.
All of these tell Google that your business and website are relevant and valuable. If Google doesn’t know who you are and where to find you online, who will exactly?
8. Consider Paid Advertising
A final pointer on how to grow your business online is to experiment with paid advertising.
There might be occasions when your business sees little growth despite your best marketing efforts. In this case, targeted Facebook advertising or Google PPC or Adwords can deliver up the results which are lacking.
Approach paid advertising with intention. You’ll need a strategy to guide audience segmentation and the creation of meaningful ads.
At WeTravel, we’re all about helping our educational tour clients grow their business. If you’d like to find out how our solutions can simplify bookings and payments for your company, get in touch for a demo.