Increase Your Bookings Today! (5 Simple Steps)
Whether you're a hunting guide, fishing guide or sportfishing charter business, chances are you've been wanting to increase your inquiries and bookings. Perhaps you've even wondered whether you should redesign your website, or hire a web company to research competitors and help you monitor your traffic; while all those things are fine and dandy, they are not enough by themselves.
In 2012, the competition is fierce, and you've got to do more to keep up! So, without further ado, here are the top 5 simple steps you can take beginning today, to increase your bookings and become more profitable as a business:
1) Command & Persuade Every VisitorAt Hunter Connect, we spend a great deal of time reviewing hunting websites, fishing websites and outdoor websites in general. In fact, we look at anywhere from 10 to 25 new sites each week, and communicate on a regular basis with countless hunting guides and fishing guides throughout the US and Canada. When consulting with us, potential clients are interested above all, in doing whatever it takes to increase their traffic conversion rate. That is to say, the number of bookings they end up with from the amount of traffic their website receives weekly, monthly, or annually. In other words, they're wanting to see what we can do to help their website sell more hunts or fishing trips for them.
And that is actually a great way of looking at it, because at the end of the day, that is exactly what a website should do, and how it should be thought of; as a fine-tuned (hopefully), well-oiled, sales machine. When it is properly designed, well optimized, neatly branded and presented to its audience, your website acts as a tireless and loyal salesman; working full-time (and even overtime) for your outdoor company.
But what does it take to fine-tune this machine? A rather insensitive amount of time and money is often spent trying to optimize a website to make it more appealing to Search Engines. While we agree that Search Engine Optimization is important, and can play a key role in helping you attract new clients, we think that more attention should be paid to the actual website content itself (the text and pictures found throughout the site) as well as evaluating the effectiveness of the overall "sales pitch" for those who are already on it.
Go to your site now and read every paragraph on your homepage, then answer the following questions: Are there words you would change, phrases you'd rather explain in more detail? Do you ask your visitors to call you at the end of your sales pitch? Is there any call-to-action at all?
Your website should ask potential clients to call you, email you, fill out a form to book a trip, or send a smoke signal if that's what it takes. Make it a point to ask your visitors to take action to call you, and do so often. Your phone number should appear on every page, as well as your email address and other important contact details you think are relevant. Don't make it hard for potential clients to find your phone number, or to figure out what they need to do to book a trip with you. Instead, explain what one should do to get more information, and ask them to do so repeatedly. Often times, potential clients will visit several websites before picking up the phone, but you can change all that by encouraging them to call you with questions or send you an email inquiry. It may sound simple, but you'd be surprised to know how many websites seem to go out of their way to hide email addresses and phone numbers, making it very difficult for serious potential clients to take that next step.
2) Answer The Phone!If you're going to ask potential clients to call you, make sure to answer the phone! Nothing bothers prospects more than to call a business and have their call go unanswered. When this happens, most will NOT call again, and will instead go on to call one of your competitors. How do you like them apples? Many hunting guides and fishing guides who are serious about their business, will provide both a landline phone number and a cell phone number, that way, potential clients will be able to reach them without delay.
Another thing you could do, is to provide an 800 toll-free phone number, and have it routed to your cell phone, home phone, and anywhere else to make sure you get the call. This is important, because as stated earlier, most prospects will not dial your number twice.
3) Follow-Up With Potential ClientsThis one's pretty self explanatory; don't be afraid to call potential clients if you haven't heard back from them in a while, chances are they forgot all about you and are still interested in booking with you! Remember that persistence is key in business, and those who succeed often do because they employ it readily.
4) Repair FailuresIf the fish aren't biting you might need to change the bait. Figure out what you can change on your website to attract more inquiries, perhaps its easier than you think. You might need to lower your pricing a little bit, provide a discount to those looking for a good deal, or put them at ease by answering more of their questions before they've had to call you. Put yourself in their position, and figure out what you'd like to see on your site that may be missing. Figure out what needs to be changed/improved and do so, repairing failures is key to getting more bookings in the long run.
Also very important; when you've earned a new client, ask them why they chose to do business with you. This can help you improve your website even more, by giving you invaluable insight you wouldn't otherwise have.
5) Choose The Right Web CompanyThe final, and perhaps most important tip we could give you, is to choose your web company wisely. When it comes to designing, maintaining, and hosting your site, you should feel confident that your webmaster will be reliable, provide quality work and advice, and get things done on time. Remember that "cheap", doesn't always save you money. Instead, look for a company with experience, one with a web team who will listen to your needs and be there when you need them. Above all, make sure the company is able to offer assistance when your website needs updating, or when you have a technical question from time to time.
At Hunter Connect, we understand that your website is an integral part of your business, and make it a point to provide the very best solutions for outdoor companies who are looking to succeed online. While our competitors are busy copying our business model and falling short, we're busy innovating; constantly looking to outdo ourselves, by providing an even better web experience to our clients, and offering cutting edge solutions to their challenges. Get in touch with us for a free quote on your design project, or call us at 888.707.5717 to talk about our exclusive Managed Hosting service. Make the switch today, you'll be glad you did.