InterCoastal Net Designs Offers Part II for VRMA [Webinar]

 

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Last April, InterCoastal Net Designs was offered a speaking engagement at VRMA Eastern Regional Seminars in Atlanta, GA. Our very own, April Burns, delightfully informed attendees, the tricks of the Facebook trade when it comes to increasing engagement. The reception was overwhelming.  Many learned important caveats about the role social media plays in their business. And here’s the best part: They asked us to do it again.

Tune-in on Thursday, August 25 to the VRMA webinar “Get More Engagement Through Social Media With Your Team – Part II”. Starring April Burns and ICND social media specialist, Dan Sever, for an informative and fun outline of what your business can do to increase web traffic through social outlets. Starting at 1PM EST, this one hour session will cover:

  • Social Analytics
  • Attracting more potential guests
  • Reputation management
  • Facebook Ads

Back with brand new “April’s Action Items”, attendees can expect more key takeaways to help boost their online conversions. To register for this webinar, Visit Here

Facebook Live : Successful Business Tactics

 

 

Facebook Live

 

Are you looking to improve your social media engagement? Live streaming may be your key. Last year, apps like snapchat and periscope grew in rapid popularity. Other brands started to jump on the live streaming bandwagon. Facebook has now integrated this feature. You can integrate this into your vacation rental marketing plan and stay ahead of your competition.

Facebook lets you broadcast in real time. You don’t need fancy equipment, no hours of editing the material, and the live video option is built right into Facebook. The need for extra apps is gone. Just open the Facebook home page of your Profile or Page, click on the “status” button at the top, and choose the Live video icon.

Live streaming is all about connecting and interacting with your audience. It creates a personal presence that traditional videos don’t convey. It gives your customers a behind the scenes look on how beautiful your properties are and the amenities that make your properties special. You can tease your customers with how beautiful the weather is, or new properties that will be available to rent soon.

Customer service is an integral part of any business. Chances are, you get emailed and asked the same questions over and over. It is very important to answer every single question, even if it has been repeated several times.
For example, you can live stream a FAQ session. When you are finished it creates an archive that you can share with your customers and customer service team alike, so everyone is on the same page.

Below, are some tips of how you can utilize Facebook Live:

•Tell fans when you’re broadcasting ahead of time.Show the fans what they are missing by showcasing the scenic aspects of your area.

•Poll the audience : ask them what they like about your company and what you can improve upon. This is your chance to assess your strengths and weaknesses
•Asks viewers to subscribe to live notifications

•Say hello to commenters! Respond to their comments live!

•Share a success story

With Facebook live, you have the potential to reach everyone who follows you on Facebook. Give your customers the live experience, and show them who you really are! You can instantly respond to their comments, and see their reactions.

VRMA 2016 Eastern Conference

It’s amazing how much can change in a single year. Since we left VRMA Eastern last time, Team ICND has been busy – to say the least.

We streamlined our code base, launched around 25 high-converting vacation rental sites, and even doubled the size of our offices! Needless to say, we’ve learned a lot more about the vacation rental marketing industry along the way.

icnd-vrma-eastern-2016

That’s why we’re so excited to see you at the VRMA Eastern Conference this year. We love giving back to our industry, so we put together two awesome presentations to let you in on the secrets we’ve uncovered.

If your company utilizes VR Marketing of any sort, you can’t afford to miss these talks – and we can’t wait to see you there!

Dominate your competitors with Social Media.

The first presentation from ICND is called Get More Engagement Through Social Media With Your Team. As you know, Social Media is incredibly important in the world of Vacation Rental Marketing – and is only becoming more so.

Over the years, we’ve made much use of its great power and have consistently improved and adapted our strategies along the way. It’s been a long yet rewarding road for ICND to discover the Social Media strategies that actually worked best for our industry.

That’s why we want to help you to skip over that struggle by teaching you everything we learned – putting your company on the fast track to Social Media domination!

The talk will be held from 11 – 12 a.m. on Monday, April 25 and will be presented by our own Account Executive April Burns. Come learn how ICND has been able to get our clients more engaged social traffic, as well as improved online recognition and reputation management – and how your company can do the same!

Onboard new homes easier than ever before.

Our next presentation is called How To Onboard New Homes Effortlessly. In the Vacation Rental Marketing industry, we all know how confusing and long-winded the onboarding process has the potential to be.

That’s why ICND want’s to teach you how to properly take on a new vacation rental home, all the way from signing on to adding the home to your website.

The talk will be held from 3 – 4 p.m. on Monday, April 25 and will be presented by ICND President Brandon Sauls and our Digital Marketing Director Conrad O’Connell.

Come learn about the “Ready To Rent” Checklist we’ve developed for Property Managers (who now love us for making their lives easier), and how we keep our property owners happy from day one by effectively marketing their homes online.

There are a lot of takeaways from this talk – and it’ll leave you wanting to run back to the office to put our strategies to use immediately!

Come see us!

At the end of the day, no presentation can cover everything – no matter how awesome. That’s why we hope to meet you in person this year at VRMA Eastern!

Come by our booth (# 33) and we’ll be happy to answer any burning questions you’ve got – or we can just shoot the breeze!

At ICND, we love throwing around ideas with our fellow Vacation Rental Marketing friends. So, come see us at VRMA this year and let’s get Summer 2016 started off right!


Click here to get the full schedule for VRMA Eastern.


Can’t attend the conference, but want our marketing advice anyway? No problem – reach out to us via Facebook, Twitter, or drop us a line at 866.249.6095 – we’re always here to help!

VRMA 2016 Western Conference

This April, the team at ICND will be attending the annual VRMA Western Seminar. The event takes place April 4th-5th and will be held at the Grand Hyatt in Denver, Colorado.

ICND Account Executive April Burns will be giving a presentation titled Get More Engagement Through Social Media With Your Team that’s not to be missed.

The biggest names within the vacation rental industry will also be attending/speaking at the event, so this will likely be the most important conference most VR companies attend in 2016.

VRMA-2016-Western-Conference

It’s a common problem.

As the team at ICND works to improve the social presence of our clients, we see a few other companies that know what they’re doing. Far more often though, the opposite is true.

It’s a sad moment for us when we see a business using social media in an ineffective way. That’s because we know from experience just how valuable of an asset it can be when used in the correct way.

That we want to help you solve.

That’s why we created the Get More Engagement Through Social Media With Your Team presentation. We know how long and mistake-filled the road to understanding social media can be – trust us, we’ve been there.

But it doesn’t need to be that way for you. We want you to benefit from our mistakes so you can skip the learning curve and get straight to the earning curve!

Through better understanding.

Our presentation will help to ensure that your business is using social media in a way that is actually beneficial to the business.

Some topics we plan on taking a deep dive into are: increasing engagement on social media, improving your online recognition, and reputation management.

Of this new playing field.

There’s no question that social media marketing is the newest player in the world of vacation rental marketing.

It’s because of this (and a few more factors we’ll discuss in our presentation) that many companies are not using the medium in the most business-conscious way. We’ll show you how we have navigated our way through the murky waters of social media and emerged with a set of amazing business-building strategies.

That’s widely misunderstood.

Of the many mistakes we’ve seen companies make on social media, they all stem from one of two specific mindsets – overthinking or underthinking.

To the overthinking group, social media represents a new skillset that they’ll have to learn from the ground up. This leads to an “information overload” that ends up leading the company to avoid the medium altogether.

For the underthinkers, social media is something made for kids (or for informal conversation). Again, this may lead them to avoid the medium completely. Even worse, companies with this mindset often share or post things that are so informal that they’re only appropriate for family and close friends.

We want to meet you!

That’s why you need to attend April’s “Get More Engagement Through Social Media With Your Team” presentation and stick around for questions afterward so we can keep you ahead of your competition in the coming year.

We can’t wait to meet you in person, so make sure to swing by our booth and say “Hi”!

And this is the perfect chance.

The VRMA Western Conference is one of the biggest annual conferences for the vacation rental industry. If your business falls into this category, this could be the single most important event you attend all year. So, don’t let your competitors pass you by in 2016 – follow ICND on the road to Denver. We’ll see you there!


Can’t attend the conference, but want our social media advice anyway? No problem – reach out to us via Facebook, Twitter, or drop us a line at 866.249.6095 – we’re always here to help!

Case Study: Email Collection Turns In $517,436 In Bookings

email-marketing-case-study-graphic

As email marketing professionals, we know the value of a great active list to send to. After all, if you’re not collecting new email addresses, then how are you growing your email database over time?

At ICND, we’ve spent lots of time working on the tactical part of email marketing messages: what’s the best time to send, what segment do we send the message to and what do we include to generate the most clicks? But, at the end of the day, email lists with more members get more clicks.

In short, bigger (lists) are always better (for your traffic and bookings).

With that in mind, we set out to help a client reach their email marketing goals — encourage more bookings, drive action and get more traffic to their website. At first, we added our typical email strategy: tracking capture points, optimizing copy and CTAs and creating urgency to sign up for this client’s newsletter.

It worked — we were gaining new email addresses but sadly also losing email addresses too. For every few emails we added to the list, one may unsubscribe during the next marketing message we sent.

Let me be honest — the list growth for this client was fairly stagnant.

Armed with this information, we set out to help grow their list with a plan designed to garner more attention, signups and results.

Enter The Email Popup Modal

If you’ve been on any e-commerce website or blog over the past few years, you’ve probably seen the trend of email popups dominating your screen. Large, in your face modals are all the rage. As we’ve learned, there is a good reason for that: They work.

In Spring of 2015, we added a popup modal for our client located in a popular beach destination along the South Carolina coast. The popup modal didn’t just come up on first page load but instead had a careful set of rules set before it would show to the potential guest.

  • The modal only shows after the guest has viewed three pages
  • A discount is shown if you sign up — $25 off your next booking
  • If closed, the modal does not return for 30 days
  • Just after the email, the promo code is sent to the guest to confirm it’s a real email address

Reviewing their 2015-2016 Google Analytics revenue reports lead us to pull the stats: the email modal was a smashing success.

The email modal added 4,656 new emails, generated $517,436 in bookings and lead to the biggest email database the client has ever had: 26,000 and growing. 

Why $25?

Working with other email marketing clients, this question keeps coming up: why the dollar discount? Ideally we’d offer a percentage discount so that we’re not giving alternate discounts to each rental. Some rentals are $1,800 per week while others are $3,200 or more: why the flat number?

It all came down to testing.

When we first added the popup, we tested the impact of signups on offering a 5% discount versus a $25 discount. In all cases, 5% is a much larger discount in terms of dollars compared to 5%. Yet, the dollar amount won every test we ran.

Simple = Works

Having to do the math on a 5% discount versus the simple idea behind $25 proved to be too complicated: guests preferred the easy version.

Common Question: Do I Have To Discount?

Nope. We’ve added popup modals for many other clients without discounts: but they don’t convert nearly at the same percentage.

Should You Add A Popup Modal?

Put simply, yes. We’ve seen stellar results from adding these popup modals to our clients websites, but discounts lead to the best results. If you want to get started, contact us today and we’ll get you setup with more emails. 

ICND Featured As VRM Intel’s Best Websites of 2015

Congratulations to Amy Hinote of VRM Intel for the first and second issue of VRM Intel Magazine. Many Vacation Rental Manager’s and Industry Suppliers follow her site religiously for industry news and information.

ICND is honored to have had one of our websites – www.DeepCreekVacations.com featured on VRM Intel’s Best Websites of 2015 list. The sites were graded based on a series of criteria that included: Continue reading “ICND Featured As VRM Intel’s Best Websites of 2015”

On The Road With ICND

This year, the team at ICND will be attending the annual NAVIS Leaders Conference. The event takes place February 24th-26th and will be held at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, FL.

ICND founder Brandon Sauls is a NAVIS Certified Partner, and will be giving a presentation titled Website Conversion Rate Optimization that’s not to be missed.

The biggest names within the hospitality sales and marketing industry will also be attending/speaking at the event, so this could truly be the most important conference many businesses attend this year.

We know Conversion Rate Optimization.

If there’s one company within the vacation rental industry that knows about conversion rate optimization, it’s ICND. Since our President Brandon Sauls founded the company way back in 1999, the creation of highly converting websites has been a large part of the infrastructure of ICND as a business.

And we want you to learn from our mistakes.

Of course, you can’t do what we do for as long as we have without making some mistakes along the way. With such a large variety of sub-categories within the hospitality industry, there’s a seemingly endless variety of websites in need of conversion optimization. The tactics that work for one type of site will not necessarily work (and often simply won’t work) for a site of even a slightly different variety.

So, come on down.

That’s why you need to come hear Brandon’s “Website Conversion Rate Optimization” presentation. Over the many years, ICND has worked to optimize an incredible variety of sites and has come to understand which tactics work (and which really don’t work) for any given site. Brandon’s presentation will serve to illuminate these secret tactics, and help you avoid the mistakes many companies are making (some without even realizing it).

We’ve got this covered.

At the end of the day, there’s really no better measure for experience than a business’ longevity. As you know, within the marketing industry the number of truly long-lasting companies is relatively microscopic. ICND is one of the rare exceptions, and that’s why we know you’ll be running back to the office immediately after our presentation to implement the tactics we’re going to teach you.

Industry leading guest speakers.

This year’s NAVIS Leaders Conference will be wrought with industry leading experts. Just to name a few, Larry Mogelonsky and Peter Yesawich (of LMA Communications Inc. and MMGY Global, respectively) will be guest speaking. There will also be a variety of presentations from NAVIS Certified Partners (our very own Brandon Sauls, for example).

Who you’ll actually get to talk to.

We’ve all been to conferences that are so over-scheduled that they leave no time for discussion or one-on-one time with the speakers. This is not that kind of conference. Rather, you’ll have plenty of time to ask questions at the end of each presentation, or to speak directly with the speakers at their individual booths.

It’s the perfect chance to network.

The skills that you will take away from this conference are one thing, but let’s not forget the fact that you’ll be surrounded by the biggest names in the hospitality sales and marketing industry. That means that you’ll get the chance to build lasting business connections with the companies in your industry that truly matter.

Thought-provoking industry discussions.

It is quite common to attend a conference only to realize that many of the presentations were included simply to fill time. Once again, the 2016 NAVIS Leaders Conference is not that conference. Instead, it will be packed with a large variety of stimulating presentations from industry leaders.

That relate directly to your business.

It’s one thing to give an interesting, thought-provoking presentation. It’s a whole other animal to give one filled with strategies that listeners can immediately take back to the office and implement the very next day of business. That’s what makes this conference so different – every presentation you’ll see fits the latter criteria, and none are simply time fillers.

Come ready to learn and participate.

The conference was designed precisely to connect businesses with industry leaders so that these extremely important discussions could be had. So come ready to both learn and participate, because that’s the perfect recipe for building a better business (and a better industry as a whole).

Don’t miss out on the latest industry knowledge.

If your business is anything like ICND, you can’t stand to miss out on the latest trends and best practices within your industry. With the state of modern technology, these “best practices” can literally change from one day to the next.

We want to meet you!

That’s why you need to attend Brandon’s “Website Conversion Rate Optimization” presentation and stick around for questions afterward so we can keep you ahead of your competition in the coming year. We can’t wait to meet you in person, so make sure to swing by our booth and say “Hi”!

And this is the perfect chance.

The NAVIS Leaders Conference is the biggest annual conference for sales and marketing companies in the hospitality industry. If your business falls into this category, this could be the single most important event you attend all year. So, don’t let your competitors pass you by in 2016 – follow ICND on the road to Orlando. We’ll see you there!


Can’t attend the conference, but want our marketing advice anyway? No problem – simply reach out via Facebook, Twitter, Email, or drop us a line at 866.249.6095 – we’re always here to help!

SEO For Your Property Pages Explained

As you’re probably aware, SEO is a critical marketing channel if you want your vacation rental website to grow and book more stays in 2016 and beyond. Typically, clients want to rank for highly competitive keywords like “Myrtle Beach rentals” or whichever area you’re working with. While this is possible, it’s a long path to success and requires a long investment period in terms of time and money to see it through.

However, there are other low volume, low competition keywords that you should want to rank well for within Google and Bing. Those keywords being: Your Property Name.

If you brand your properties with short, easy to remember names, you’ll want to make sure you capture anyone who’s looking for that rental in Google. For example, the Flamingo House in Holden Beach is rented by Brunswickland Realty. This house is unique in its design and color and generates a fair amount of people looking specifically to stay in it during the busy booking season.

When searching in Google for this, your guest may use the house name followed by the area like so: “Flamingo House Holden Beach”. Here, Brunswickland Realty is doing a great job! The URL for the property ranks at the top of the page with organic search, Google has generated a Knowledge Graph snippet for the query and is showing reviews and business information.

hb-flamingo-house

How To Outrank The Big Listing Sites

The primary reason that you want your property pages to rank well in Google Search is to not bleed branded traffic into the big listing websites. If a guest is searching for your homes, don’t let them get distracted! If you’re not careful, you can find your searches for rental properties that you manage falling into the large web traffic bucket that is VRBO/HomeAway/Flipkey/Airbnb.

Why is this a big deal? Well, while the big listing sites can drive you a lot of traffic and bookings, they also aren’t always looking out for your best interests. Getting a potential guest onto VRBO.com for your area means that you’re now competing with dozens of other properties, managers and price points. Simply put, it is also easy for your guests to leave the property listing and get distracted and book elsewhere. With changes coming in 2016, your guest isn’t served well either (traveler fee, anyone?).

To best outrank big listing website, keep the following tips in mind when designing your website layout:

Best Practices For URLs

Ideally, you want short URLs that show the name of the property in the “slug” portion of the URL. Let’s look at a few examples. In some recent website launches, we’ve also tweaked some of our URLs to include the area, view or neighborhood in the URL as well. On larger websites (think: 250+ properties), this is a solid option to organize your property pages in a logical fashion.

We include the property name in each URL.
We include the property name in each URL.
Even with long URLs, Google will show the keyword searched.
Even with long URLs, Google will show the keyword searched.

Create SEO-Friendly Title Tags

Next up is the most important on-page SEO factor: title tags. Simply put, title tags are the most important element that we can work on from the SEO end to help improve rankings for these property pages.

Typically all of our title tags for property pages are generated based on the name of the rental business, the format the client wants to see in search results and the property name. It’s usually a formula of all three elements that allows for us to setup this title tag templates.

Resort Rentals of HHI uses SEO-optimized title tags.
Resort Rentals of HHI uses SEO-optimized title tags.

Letting Bots Crawl Your Property Pages

Before Google or Bing can do a good job of indexing and showing your property page URLs, they need to be able to crawl the pages. Put simply, crawling is the act of connecting together all of the many billions of documents (pages) on the web. Use Google’s robots.txt testing tool to make sure that Google can see your property pages in search. Double-check the cached version of your property pages using a site: command and make sure both the rendered version and text-only cache are readable.

Search the cached version of each URL. Source: Joe Lamb Jr.
Search the cached version of each URL. Source: Joe Lamb Jr.

Going The Extra Mile With Schema.org Markup

HomeAway has added Schema.org markup.
HomeAway has added Schema.org markup.

Coming soon to our latest vacation rental websites is Schema.org markup. Schema.org is the standard language of the rich-snippet future of search engines. Recently, large listing websites VRBO and HomeAway have integrated Schema.org review markup into their listings results pages, earning the star markup from Google for this change. To make a great solution, we’re working through some great updates to our booking engine website code that’ll allow this markup for new websites. Making your website look great in search is an ever-evolving process. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out on Twitter.

VRMA Annual 2015 Wrap Up

Team InterCoastal Net Designs is back from New Orleans for VRMA Annual 2015 and it was a blast!

For three days, we took the stage, vendor showcase (and some bars too) to have the most fun and education possible. I think it’s safe to say that everything we set out to do was accomplished.

Representing our team at VRMA was President Brandon Sauls, Sales Director Vanessa Humes, Sales Rep April Burns and yours truly (Conrad O’Connell, Director Of Digital Marketing). Arriving on Saturday, we were able to carve out some time to get our booth setup dialed in before the rush.

Continue reading “VRMA Annual 2015 Wrap Up”