Marketing guide

Welcome to the IO Marketing Guide

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Marketing your website is one of the most important tasks you will undertake in making your website successful, leading to more enquiries and more bookings! We have designed this marketing guide for you to make a seemingly daunting task easy and straightforward!

Why is marketing my website important?

Good question! Marketing is all about promoting your website so that potential renters find it, read it, like it and book from it! It is important that you remember your IndependentOwners.com website is a tool, and like any other tool, it must be used effectively to yield the best results.

How can this guide help?

  • 1. Setting the Stage Have you thought about what you need to do to prepare your marketing strategy? Don’t worry because we have!
  • 2. Beginner’s Guide Making a fantastic first impression is crucial! We can help you to build a solid foundation.
  • 3. Offline Marketing Don’t let the word offline lead you to think this is any less important than the other topics covered within this guide. Let us show you some tricks of the trade.
  • 4. Online Marketing Here we will show you popular listing websites, classifieds and directories for you to feature your property on.
  • 5. Social Networking & Bookmarking We suggest some top sites to get involved with to gain more exposure and links back to your website.
  • 6. Optimization Would you like to see your website displayed prominently on major Search Engines? Yes, please! Let us show you how to make Optimization easy and make it work for you.
  • 7. Checklist Here is a printable checklist to make sure you've covered all the points we've explored throughout the Marketing Guide..

1. Setting the Stage

Any good marketer will tell you that first you need to prepare. For the case of preparing your website we have a few key things for you to consider before moving on with the actual marketing of your website.

Your website

If you have not done so yet, make sure your sign up with IndependentOwners.com first. We will create a free website for you so you can apply all the tips and tricks we reveal in this guide.

Your domain name

A website is most often referred to and remembered by its domain name (www.myvilla.iowners.net) so it is important that you are happy with yours and with what it conveys before you begin marketing your website. Here are a few hints and tips to get you on the right track.

Size matters! Having a shorter domain name is easier to remember, easier to brand and harder to misspell.

www.apartmentinbarcelona.iowners.net Good

www.beautifulapartmentinbarcelonanearthepark.iowners.net Too Long

Using good keywords in your domain name is also a great way to convey important information at a glance, such as, the location of your property and what type of property it is.

www.apartmentinbarcelona.iowners.net Good use of keywords

www.bellacasa.iowners.net Very vague

People who are looking through Search Engines are more likely to click on a domain name that contains the information the user is looking for. Using the example above, a person looking for accommodation in Barcelona is more likely to click on the first link because the information in the domain name itself is relevant to what that person is searching for.

Already have your domain name?

If you have already chosen your iowners.net domain name and wish to change it, don’t worry! Simply click “Edit Website Domain” in your Central Management Area (CMA) and enter your new choice.

Get a dotcom!

Having a dotcom domain name is a fantastic tool in your marketing toolbox. A dotcom domain is favoured by major Search Engines, conveys credibility and is easier to remember, all of which combine to generate more traffic to your website. Buy purcashing "My Optimization" package, we will provide you with the dotcom. Alternatively, you can purchase one through an online domain provider such as EuroDNS.

Know your market!

To successfully and efficiently market your property you will need to determine who your target market is; who is most likely to rent your property.

  • Where are your holidaymakers primarily from?
  • Do you cater mainly to families, couples, groups, and/or singles?
  • Are you targeting the luxury end of the market?
  • Does your region attract golfers, skiers, divers, surfers, etc?

Once you know your market you can tailor the content of your advertisements, and even your website, to attract your target market and you can choose more relevant websites and media (magazines, papers, etc) from which you market your property.

For those of you keen to have your website in more than one language to reach a truly global audience, we have designed the My Languages solution that enables you to change your website to up to five different languages. Head to your Central Management Area (CMA) for more details about this terrific option.

Setting a budget

First, if you don’t have a budget, don’t worry. We have great ways for you to spread the word without thinning your purse. If you are planning a budget, stick to it! Keep a reasonable percentage for ad hoc promotions and to re-enforce proven successful marketing campaigns. What we are saying is “don’t spend it all at once!”

It is also important that you keep accurate records of where, when and how much you spend and of where holidaymakers first heard of your property. In the future your marketing can be more targeted by using those mediums that gave you the best results.

2. Beginner’s Guide, Building a solid foundation

It is imperative that your website is the best it can be before you begin your marketing campaign. You wouldn’t present your property to a potential renter if it was unfinished or untidy and the same holds for your property rental website.

Our Beginner’s was made with you in mind to make the build process of your website easy, straightforward, and yes, even a little bit fun! Please note that clicking the links below will take you into the Beginner’s Guide.

  • Ready, Steady! Everything you need to know about what to prepare before you start. From making sure your photographs are ready to upload to organising your text so it’s ready to be added to the right page of your website.
  • Page By Page Taking in one page at a time we’ll show you what you can cover on each page of your website. We give you an idea of how much text to add, the optimum number of photographs for each page, how to put your Guestbook page together and what not to include in your Gallery!
  • Widget School Taking you back to basics, this section of the Beginner’s Guide helps you to understand what widgets are, how they can make your website look better and most importantly where they can be included in your website.
  • Checklist Checklist make these titles clickable to go straight to the sections Take a look at the Website Building Checklist to get an idea of just what is covered in the guide.

Now, is your website ready for its debut?

3. Offline Marketing, Back to Basics

Of course the Internet offers many ways to market your property, but you have some other great options to explore too.

Keep in touch with past guests

Keep in touch with past renters because most visitors return to the same region year-on-year, as well as, people who have enquired but not booked due to unavailability. Let them know you are still an option and keep them abreast of any improvements to the property. Sending an email to past guests with a link to your availability calendar at the start of the year can be quite effective! Why not start your own ‘newsletter’ that you send out that includes the best photo of your property and any recent news. It can be once annually or more if you like.

Friends & Family

Circulate your domain name amongst your friends and family and ask them if they will in turn spread the word even further.

Promote at Work

Send an email out to your colleagues offering your holiday home, perhaps even at a discount for work-mates as an incentive. Is there an office notice board or and intranet system you can use?

Email Signatures

Create a personalised email signature that includes a link to your holiday villa.

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Local Advertising

Produce a card and/or flyer (you`ll be surprised how easy and cheap this can be - try www.theflyerexpert.com) to use in shop windows, office blocks, local churches, social clubs or any other place where advertisements are placed on notice boards. Make a flyer that has individual pull tabs with your domain name at the bottom that interested people can tear away.

Advertising and Promotions

Do you have a local paper, church bulletin or like? If you have the budget, look into advertising in larger papers, newsletters and magazines. What about sponsoring a charity, social club or sports team’s newsletter?

Special Event Marketing

Contact organisations who are running special events like tournaments, festivals, conventions and the like in your property rental’s region to see if their participants need accommodation.

4. Online Marketing, Shout from the Rooftops!

Online marketing will be the driving force of your marketing campaign. Listing sites, online classifieds and directories are fantastic ways to promote your website and drive targeted traffic to your website.

Getting started

  • Before diving head-first into the pool of online marketing websites we have a few suggestions that will save you heaps of time down the line! Most websites that we explore in this section require similar information so prepare it ahead of time and all you’ll need to do on each site is copy and paste.

  • Choose six of your best photos, 300kb or less. Any bigger than that and you might experience problems uploading them.

  • Have a punchy title ready for your ad. One that is concise, but gives pertinent info about the holiday home. Example: Luxurious 2 bed villa with pool in Costa Brava. It gives great at-a-glance info that reaches out to your target market and it reads well.

  • Get a few paragraphs of content ready that convey all of the important aspects of your property and make sure it sounds appealing to draw in potential renters. Use adjectives to highlight the best features of your property and do not forget to proofread your work.

  • Get your prices ready by season and decide if you are willing to accept long-term as well as holiday rentals.

  • Finally have the URL/domain name of your IndependentOwners.com website handy as many of these sites will let you link directly back to your website, again something we will talk more about in the Optimization section of the Marketing Guide.

  • Now that you are all set, let’s begin exploring some popular Listing Websites, Online Classified Websites and Online Directories.

Listing Websites

A listing site for holiday rentals is an online directory specifically dedicated to holiday rentals. It is designed and marketed to offer holiday options to holidaymakers and to generate holiday rental enquiries for owners. Make sure you include a link back to your IndependentOwners.com website drawing potential renters away from your competition found on the listing website so they can focus solely on your rental property. This is again another reason to make sure that your website is the best it can be before you proceed to list it.

There are free listing sites and paid-for listing sites so you’ll want to refer back to your budget. Also refer back to who you want to target. Some listing sites are location specific, for example, España Breaks lists only properties in Spain and VRBO strongly targets North America. Check out the tourist sites dedicated to your region/location as many will offer complimentary listings of rental properties available.

To get you started www.villaspeople.com offer a free listing service to all IndependentOwners.com Members. It is one of the fastest growing listing sites on the Internet and provides a great jumping off point to your listing campaign. List on VillasPeople.com right from your Central Management Area (CMA) today!

Five Popular Free Listing Sites

These will not cost you a penny. A big advantage, when you just start and don't want to open the wallet right away.

Six Popular Paid-For Listing Sites

Fees differ a lot between providers. Some charge based on the number of enquiries you get through them, and some charge a fixed fee.

Online Marketing, Classifieds

Classified Ad websites have taken the idea of those classified ads you see in newspapers and created a site online that can host adverts for all to see.

Online Marketing, Directories

Online directories have taken the idea of the yellow pages and created an online database, sorted by category, that allows people to list their domain name followed by a short description of what their website entails.

5. Social Networking and Bookmarking Websites

Social networking and bookmarking websites are wonderful tools for marketing your website. They allow you to reach a vast audience where you can spread the word about your holiday rental and they also allow valuable links back to your website.

Social Networking Sites

These types of sites are a popular way for people to keep in touch by sharing links, photos, stories, messages and much more with their chosen network of friends.

Popular Websites

Social Bookmarking Sites

Social Bookmarking sites are online libraries of people’s favourite websites, blogs, videos and photos that can be shared with anyone. This is a great way to share your website with a large online community and you’ll gain valuable links back to your website when you store your holiday website on social bookmarking sites.

Popular Websites

6. Optimization, Climbing to the Top of the Search Engines

Search Engine Optimization, (SEO or Optimization) is one of the core elements of a solid marketing plan. In the simplest of terms, SEO is what you do to increase the chances of your website being found prominently on the Search Engine result pages.

There are few things you can focus on to help your website appear more prominently on the Search Engines so potential renters can find you more easily.

Get familiar with keywords. Keywords are the words that a person might type into a search engine to find you, like apartment in Nice, villa in Mallorca or holiday rental in Tenerife. Use good keywords in your domain name, your headers, sub-titles and in your content, but do not overuse keywords otherwise your content will not read well.

Write good, original content. Do not copy text from other websites. Write your own content and aim to populate all eleven of your pages using good keywords.

Website structure. Make sure the format of your content is easy to follow and understand. The best way to do this is to have paragraphs and utilise sub-titles to break up your content to help the reader navigate your website more easily.

Register your site with Search Engines. Submitting your domain name to the Search Engines is a necessary step to speed up the process of having the Search Engines catalogue your website so it can be found when people search the Internet. It’s like someone introducing you at a business meeting or convention and finding that you have something in common as opposed to you meeting and greeting a room of 1000’s before you find the right person and can exchange information. Please be aware that submitting a website to a Search Engine does not necessarily mean it will be picked up immediately. To submit to Google and Yahoo! follow these links;

Build Links

It has been mentioned throughout this guide that having links back to your website is very important. Not only are listing sites, directories, classifieds and social media important for marketing your website, but they are also important because they provide links back to your site and those links are the cornerstone of great SEO. Having links within your website is also good for optimizing your website. Have a link from the Home page direct to your Details page and perhaps from your Details page to your Pricing page and so on. Lead renters right to you Contact page.

My Optimization

If you feel a little daunted about Optimization, don’t worry, we are here to help. We have developed a bespoke SEO solution exclusively for our Members to help guide you step by step, even if you are a complete Internet novice. The My Optimization package includes a dotcom domain name, meta information, submission to the major Search Engines, a sitemap, reports and more.

You can join hundreds of our other Members who have found great success with My Optimization. Read more about My Optimization in your Central Management Area (CMA).

My Optimization Member Success Stories

Michael’s website, www.deniaholidayvilla.com, has been appearing on page 1 of Google since he optimized his website for two keywords phrases in 2008.

Jane, almerimar.iowners.net, is one of our first Members and one of the first Members to opt into the My Optimization solution. She has had many great successes over the years including appearing Page 1, Position 1 of Google for well over a year.

Brett had his website optimized, www.cocobaycondo.com and within weeks her site was Google Page 1, Position 3 for his keyword phrase: Playacar Vacation Rental.

7. Marketing Guide Checklist

No help guide would be complete without a conclusion and ours forms a checklist to make sure you've covered all the points we've explored throughout the Marketing Guide.

My Marketing Guide Checklist...

 

 I am happy with my domain name

 I know my target market(s)

 I have set a budget

 I have followed the steps in the Beginner’s Guide to make sure that my website is the best it can be

 I have prepared photos for my online marketing campaign

 I have prepared a punchy title for my online marketing campaign

 I have prepared good content for my online marketing campaign

 I have determined pricing for my online marketing campaign

 I have advertised my website in offline marketing media      

 I have listed my holiday property on free listing sites      

 I have listed my holiday property on paid-for listing sites      

 I have advertised my holiday property on online classified websites      

 I have added my website’s URL (domain name address) to online directories      

 I have signed up to and posted my website on Social Networking websites      

 I have begun optimizing my website using the My Optimization solution. More information can be found in your CMA.

 I am using the My Website Stats solution to track who is visiting my website, how they found my website, which pages are receiving the most page views and more. Additional information can be found in your CMA.

 I am advertising my website in more languages to reach a broader audience using the My Languages solution. More information can be found in your CMA.

 I have completed this Marketing Guide and am patting myself on the back!