For vacation rental companies, digital marketing can be confusing. Vacation rental managers (VRMs) have dozens of marketing channels to choose from, and they often don’t have the in-depth knowledge necessary to assess which channels are right for them.
Let’s clear up some of that confusion right now before getting into complementary marketing: SEO is still king.
Anyone who says otherwise is not aware that 53% of all web traffic comes from organic search — compared to 15% from paid search and 5% from social media.
Driving organic traffic and leads through your SEO efforts is a sustainable, long-term strategy for marketing your vacation rental business.
But that’s not to say that other marketing channels have no value. In fact, they add lots of value to the strong baseline that great vacation rental SEO provides to businesses like yours.
In particular, non-SEO marketing channels can provide access points to potential customers who are difficult to reach with SEO alone, especially when you are first starting out.
Below, we dive into a few complementary marketing strategies that can enhance your SEO efforts. For a digital marketing strategy that is tailored to your unique vacation rental company, contact Magnetic Strategy.
How Paid Ads Complement VRM SEO
If you’re willing to create content and learn all the ins and outs of on-page and technical SEO, you can do SEO for free. But most other marketing channels are going to cost you some cash.
That sounds like a downside, but the reality is that SEO can take some time to get off of the ground.
Paid advertising, on the other hand, tends to be immediate. Your ad goes live, and people start seeing it and responding to it.
That’s why paid ads can be such a great complement to your SEO efforts. As you’re giving your content and website time to build authority and rank well, you can devote some of your marketing dollars to paid ads to keep the leads you need rolling in.
Let’s take a look at a few common kinds of paid ads.
Banner ads are the classic ads you see at the tops of websites, in sidebars and in footers.
If you’re picturing your vacation rental listings bringing in tons of traffic and leads as banner ads, you’re probably a little bit off the mark — the average click-through rate (CTR) for banner ads is around 0.25%.
So, you probably won’t set the world on fire with your banner ads. But banner ads can work well as complementary marketing to your SEO efforts. Here’s how:
- Building brand awareness: In a competitive search engine results page (SERP) for a vacation rental keyword, you have to stand out. If the searcher recognizes your brand from seeing it in banner ads in the past, they are more likely to click on your organic search listing than that of a competitor whose brand they have never seen before.
- Keeping your brand top of mind: Through ad retargeting, you can keep your listings in front of people who visit your website. A user reaches your site thanks to your SEO efforts, and then your banner ads follow them around the web after they leave through ad retargeting. That gives you many more chances to win their business.
The point of SEO is to drive traffic to your vacation rental website.
There, you want users to see your listings and be convinced to book. But what if you could get your listings in front of users before they actually reach your site?
That’s exactly what you can do with display advertising.
You can run ads for your business on other websites that showcase your unique listings. These ads can be videos or even interactive slideshow-style ads — this is something your meta title and description in the organic SERPs simply cannot do.
You can’t pay to get your vacation rental business listed in the organic search results. SEO is all about getting your website listed there.
But you can pay to get displayed in the SERPs. How? Through pay-per-click (PPC) advertising which is another form of complementary marketing.
With PPC, you can get your vacation rental website listed above the organic search results when people search for relevant keywords. This high visibility comes at a price every time someone clicks your listing, but you can always scale down your PPC spend as your SEO ROI begins to pick up.
Alternatively, you can continue PPC in full as you begin to dominate the organic rankings in order to own more SERP real estate, build credibility and increase your CTR.
As an added bonus, PPC gives you a way to quickly test the effectiveness of certain offers, meta titles and meta descriptions.
You can use this information, as well as information about which PPC keywords were effective for you, to inform your SEO efforts.
Content Marketing vs. SEO for Vacation Rentals
SEO and content marketing are like bread and butter, and getting vacation rental bookings is like toast. You need bread and butter to make toast.
Content marketing is all about creating great vacation rental content and getting it in front of people who will sign up for your email newsletter, share your content on social media or book a vacation rental.
One of the key ways to market content on your website is to optimize it for highly searched keywords so that it ranks well in search engines.
But you can also make your content work for you by sharing it on social media or even using it in your paid ads as a form of complementary marketing.
Building your email list and running email campaigns is a key marketing channel that works perfectly with SEO. Why?
Because your SEO efforts can lead to more email newsletter signups, and email campaigns can lead to more bookings.
The people on your email list have interacted with your brand before. That’s not usually the case with people who land on your site through a search engine.
To capture leads from people who come to your website through search, you have to create content that matches their search intent.
With email marketing, getting leads is much easier. These are people who have opted into getting emails from you — that means they’re already at least passively interested in booking.
With email, you can also cut through the clutter of the SERPs and reach your target audience directly. You don’t have to stand out in a whirlwind of PPC ads, map listings and other organic listings. You simply send your email and rise to the top of each recipient’s inbox.
Other Marketing Channels
The number of marketing channels for property managers is endless, but they aren’t all useful. And few truly complement SEO. Below, we detail some of the more notable marketing methods that complement SEO.
Getting high-authority backlinks is a key part of any SEO campaign, but there’s a hidden benefit of this type of PR:
you can get referral traffic to your vacation rental website through these links.
If you’re doing vacation rental link building and getting links to your site placed on popular travel blogs and other authoritative sites in the travel niche, you can bring in relevant traffic that’s likely to convert while also boosting your organic rankings.
Programmatic Ad Tech
Automated advertising technology does more than just speed up the process of buying ad inventory. It also allows you to target highly specific demographics.
For a VRM, that means you can use header bidding, programmatic advertising and similar ad tech innovations to place your ads in front of people in certain locations, who are interested in traveling to your location and who are interested in the listings you have to offer.
This gives you an edge that SEO can’t always provide. Your SEO efforts should target people who are likely to be interested in your offerings, but you are always taking a chance on the user’s search intent. Targeted advertising gives you a higher degree of certainty that the people you are reaching will be interested in your listings.
A drip campaign can help you stay on the minds of the people who reach your site through search engines.
Here’s how it works: you set up an email drip campaign to trigger when a user enters their email address in a form on your site. Then, your pre-written marketing emails go to that user at specific intervals for weeks or months after they visit your site.
SMS campaigns are similar to email drip campaigns, but they use text messages.
The idea is the same: get people to your site through your SEO efforts, but stay in touch by having them enter their phone number and sending automated text messages to them at appropriate intervals.
Multi-Channel Vacation Rental Marketing with Magnetic Strategy
For VRMs, multi-channel marketing success begins with strong SEO.
With SEO, you build an audience and a steady stream of relevant traffic and leads. But the marketing channels described above can all complement your SEO efforts and give you an edge over the competition.
Magnetic Strategy helps vacation rental management companies get more bookings through digital marketing.
To get a custom marketing strategy for your business, call (623) 226-8518 or contact us online.