In order to keep up with increasing competition, marketing expectations for 2017 and beyond are astonishingly high in the vacation rental management (VRM) industry. Today’s marketing managers are charged with being web developers, SEO/SEM experts, copywriters, marketing technology and automation specialists, graphic designers, media buyers, social media professionals, public relations experts, email strategists, and marketing analysts. In addition, marketing budgets are shrinking making it very difficult to accomplish all that you need to do as an in-house vacation rental marketer.
The truth is that you can’t do it all. Here are a few tools that can help you accomplish your objective, wow your team, and focus on the areas of your strengths.
It is expensive and time-consuming to have to hire a graphic designer every time you need an image with text overlay for an email, an infographic for an email to owners, or a postcard campaign. Canva is a free online design tool that lets you create professional, branded social media graphics, email designs, flyers, brochures, posters, infographics and more. Using drag and drop functionality and professionally designed templates, it is easy to create designs with professional results even if you don’t have any graphic design experience. Canva also has an extensive library of fonts, photos, illustrations, charts, and graphics.
From logo creation to data scrapping, connect with freelancers to help with your projects for a fraction of the cost of using an agency. Simply post your project and watch the bids come in. You will be surprised at the pricing. If you can think of it, there is a freelancer on this site who can make it happen. You can also run contests for design work. And you never know who you will meet. VRM Intel Magazine’s own director of design and production, Donato Berbelja, and I met on Freelancer.com working on a postcard campaign.
My fellow VRM marketers will nod in agreement that finding people to proofread your content is a constant challenge. It is difficult to edit and proofread your own writing and even harder to find other people you can trust with the task. VRM marketers manage a lot of content, including ad copy, property descriptions, blogs, press releases, newsletters, marketing materials, and more. ProofreadingPal is a lifesaver. Upload your file, pay online, and check a box for when you need it back. They can even turn it around in thirty minutes if you are under the gun. Every document is proofread by two editors to correct grammatical errors including punctuation, capitalization, verb tense, spelling, and sentence structure. Your document is also checked for clarity.
Buffer is a free tool that saves a ton of time on social media marketing by scheduling posts ahead of time for your social profiles. You can batch the social media marketing process: do all your curating and composing at one time and then spread those updates throughout the next day or week. The free plan at Buffer lets you connect a profile from each network (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and schedule ahead ten posts for each network.
Once you’ve created an amazing video to share on your website or social media, where will you post it? YouTube is easy, but you want to avoid ads and suggested videos. Wistia keeps people on your page—or sends them precisely where you want them to go next. Once you’ve uploaded your video, you can go to the dashboard and add things like call-to-action buttons or email capture at the end of the video. Wistia also shows how long people view your video and when they pause or click out of it.
See what Google sees when they crawl your webpages. This search engine indexing simulator tool shows the source code of a page, all outbound links on the page, and common words and phrases found in the page copy. You can also compare pages and check keyword density.
Formerly known as Webmaster Tools, Google Search Console gives you advanced website tracking with detailed reports on your search traffic, click-through rates, and mobile vs. desktop traffic. Through the Search Analytics Report, you can group, filter, and compare your data to tweak your overall digital strategy and maximize website performance. The alerts feature will notify you of any website errors that might affect your rank in search results. Google Search Console can provide your business with the tools to get an extra edge against your competition in search results.
These are a few of my favorite tools, but there are many more out there to help you accomplish your goals. New tools are being created every day, so if you can dream up a new marketing idea, chances are there is now an online tool that can help you make it happen.