Now, don't get me wrong - the InterWeb is potentially a powerful marketing tool for small business.
years ago it would not be possible for me to run a one-man wine tour
operation. I have the added advantage of an 0800 number that
connects direct to my mobile phone. I can take online bookings direct
from my fabulous website, I process international credit card payments
online. Thus I pick up my customers, all paid-up, and then hopefully
exceed their expectations with a fab tour, so everyone is happy.
Win-win. Yadda yadda.
Problem for me is - the Internet has become a confusing predator-driven market for sales reps and web hawkers who prey on the unsavvy
average punter who is just trying to sell something and make an honest
buck. Every day, I have unsolicited emails and phone calls from people
who claim to be experts at 'getting me on page one of Google,'
by optimising my search critera and generally doing Harry Potter-esque
dark Web Magic to make me hot to trot.
Then there is the received wisdom that 'you have to be all over
social media' - i.e. FaceBook, Twitter, Blogger, TwitBook, Facer, ArseBook,
TwitFace or whatever - all in the desperate hope that someone will feel wildly excited by your online profile to sign up for what you're selling.
I have been doing this for ten years now - and it has
been a random roller coaster ride of expectation and disappointment with
web marketing. I have tried pay per click with Yahoo and
Google, plus paid listings on TripAdvisor, FaceBook, Rankers (NZ), and
Cruise Critic. I have free listings on Tourism Auckland, Tourism NZ -
and many others I can't remember. And I write a Blog - and you're reading it. Whoo hoo.
My over all impressions:
1. There is a a swag of competitiors out there - all doing all marketing stuff that you are doing.
2. It's a money game (i.e. if you have tens of thousands of dollars to
throw at online marketing - you will likely achieve a high level of response). That's fine if you're a 5-Star hotel chain in Auckland or a
Casino or million dollar sailing adventure operation.
3. There's no easy answer to selling online.
4. Disclaimer: I run a one-off wine tour experience with no expectation of repeat custom.. I am in a niche market. God help me.
Phil runs just the diddly darned best goddamm winery tours in Auckland New Zealand