Welcome to my Netherlands blog. I am Stefan, an independent digital marketer and SEO consultant from the south of the country. In this blog post, I will tell you about my own experience with online marketing in Aalst, and detail the various methods I used to get the word out about my travel agency and all the wonderful destinations I had available for holiday. I hope you will find this information useful and will give me a call if you have any questions.
In late 2016, I took a sabbatical from work to travel to Europe, and the opportunity to work remotely presented itself. My wife and I spent a lot of time planning, researching, and deliberating over where we should go and what we should do. I wanted to visit Italy and Spain in particular, as I had never been there. With two weeks left before our initial departure date, I was still searching for a way to make our visit worthwhile. One idea I had was to try online marketing in Aalst. I had heard good things about the city, and since Spain and Italy are both adjacent to France, I reasoned that Aalst might be the starting point for a European adventure.
I did some research and discovered many tourist attractions, galleries, and museums there were closed on Mondays. So, if I wanted to see some of the city’s highlights, I would have to visit other days. That was when I decided to try and attract potential tourists to my agency by marketing online in Aalst. If I could get some traction, I would use the platform to extend my reach to Spanish and Italian tourists who might be searching for a travel agency in Aalst.
I had seen similar platforms to YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat which are all well-known for popularizing short-form content. So, I figured that I would use YouTube to create short-form videos about my agency and its offerings. With a little research, I discovered that 80% of people in Aalst use YouTube to find travel information and that the video sharing platform is the #2 search engine globally after Google.
Since my wife and I were going for a long trip, we needed to find a way to make the whole experience worthwhile. That was when I came across the concept of virtual travel. It wasn’t something new, but it was something that had been largely overshadowed by the rise of the sharing economy and online shopping. Still, it was something that could be used in the right situation, and that was what we were looking for.
With virtual travel, instead of booking a vacation to a specific destination, you make an arrangement with a travel agency or hotel from the comfort of your home. You then set a date – often within the next month – and the agency/hotel sends an expert to meet you at the airport. From there, they escort you to your hotel where you can settle into your room and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime.
I had never done any kind of marketing or advertising, but I had seen enough to know what was entailed. Essentially, I would need to get people to come to my site, and from there, I could convert them into paying customers by offering them value and a good experience. To get started, I would need a social media account for each platform (Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter) and I would need to set up automated posts to connect with potential customers in Aalst.
It didn’t take long for me to discover the power of these platforms. The amount of people in Aalst who are active on social media is staggering and it’s clear that many of them use the platforms to help them get information on travel and tourism. Thanks to automated posts, I was able to gain valuable insight into the kind of content my audience in Aalst wanted to see.
I quickly found that my YouTube videos with the best shot and the most intriguing storyline got the most views and engaged my audience. It was a valuable learning experience. Still, the most efficient and effective way of reaching my target audience was through Instagram.
The key to effective Instagram marketing is to engage with your audience through content that is relevant and interesting to them. To determine the right content, you can use tools like Hootsuite or Keyhole to research what your audience is talking about and planning to share. For example, if you notice that your Instagrammers are often posting about fashion, you might want to create a fashion-themed content plan or work with a designer to create a special fashion-related project.
In the case of my agency, I now have a clear vision of what my audience is interested in, and I can use that to shape the kinds of content I create and the ways I engage with my audience. As a result, my Instagram videos often include fashion tips, outfit inspiration, and travel tips as well as the places I want to visit and the things I want to do. That content is then shared by my agency on various platforms and across the web. Through Instagram, I am able to keep in touch with my audience between uploads and encourage them to come back for more. Plus, I love the variety of content which makes Instagram an all-round useful tool.
YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat are powerful tools that can help you connect with your audience. More people are likely to be on social media than traditional search engines, and that means your videos could potentially reach a lot of people. If you are looking for short-form content creators to develop content for your business, these platforms are worth looking at.
Getting content that is relevant and interesting to your audience is the key to successful marketing on any platform. It will also make your life as a marketer or content creator much easier. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of content to find what works best for your audience.