5 Steps to Drive Revenue with a Cost-effective Content Strategy

    By now, most of us in the vacation rental space are convinced that quality content is an essential part of your marketing outlay, and a solid content strategy is cheaper than you think (even if writing, design and social media aren’t your strong suits). Here are five steps to get your content strategy started, whether you’re a small, family-owned business or a large national firm.
    Step 1: Figure out who your guests are.
    Before you can create content that speaks to your target market, you need to understand who your market is. Who stays in your homes and who makes the bookings? There are a few ways to track down this information. You can use Google Analytics or a similar software. When it comes to understanding your guests, anecdotal evidence can be some of the best information available. Think about your own experiences with guests or ask your guest services team for their thoughts.
    Step 2: Visualize your buyer’s journey.
    In simple terms, how do your guests find you and stick with you long enough to make a purchase? You can use any medium to visualize this process, whether that’s a whiteboard, a pen and paper, or PowerPoint. Google Analytics is a great tool for discovering how many times people visit your site and how much time they spend there before they buy anything. You can also create a customer survey to ask your guests where they encountered your brand. Gaining insight into your buyer’s journey allows you to tweak your content strategy to make sure you’re putting your marketing dollars where they’ll do the best.
    Step 3: Put it together.
    Determine what kind of content you need to create based on what you know about your guests and your buyer’s journey. Do you need social media friendly content to reach the millennial who throws together a romantic weekend at the last minute? Or would a direct-mail campaign work better, as your typical guest is a busy, active retiree who doesn’t spend much time engaging with technology?
    In addition to thinking about the platform (i.e., social media or direct mail), consider what information each demographic would be most interested in knowing. Do your properties have fast Wi-Fi? How many stairs are there down to the beach? Are there kid friendly dishes and games in the house?
    Step 4: Create your cost-conscious content.
    As you craft your content, think about how you might repurpose the same general idea across multiple channels. With some adjustments, you can use the same piece of content as a blog post, an email newsletter and even a tweet or an Instagram post. Recycling content across different platforms is not only time- and cost-effective, but it also keeps your messaging consistent. It’s easy to adapt one piece for different markets based on what you know about each demographic.
    What if you aren’t very savvy with writing or design? Here are a few budget-conscious resources to check out:
    • Fiverr: An online marketplace for digital services starting at just $5.
    • Textbroker: High-quality copywriting and proofreading services.
    • Canva: A great resource for graphic design, especially for social media channels.
    Step 5: Measure and repeat.
    The best content strategy in the world won’t reach its potential if you can’t measure your results. Go back to Google Analytics (or your tool of choice), send out guest surveys, ask guests if they’ll opt in for newsletters and solicit feedback in person when you can. Find out what works and do more of it.

    Here’s the key takeaway: A solid content strategy doesn’t require a lot of money; what it does require is consistency, commitment and critical thinking. If you follow these steps, you’ll walk away not only with a content strategy that drives revenue, but also with a keen understanding of who your customers are and what they want. And that awareness will enhance every business decision you make.

    By Debi Steigerwald, Director of Marketing Operations at Vacasa
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