Costa Rica marketing: a bit of an anomaly to some extent. Many businesses fall quite short of the mark when it comes to online marketing and these are my opinions on why this is.
Inherently I believe the problems stem from a lack of education on just how the WWW works and particularly how online marketing is conducted. Many businesses still subscribe to the old school marketing of years past and therefore it can be difficult to teach an old dog new tricks per se.
More popular than it should be, a large percentage of businesses will launch a web site and leave the rest to fate. Unless you find the odds of 1,000,000 to 1 worth the gamble, then I suggest you take a more serious look at your online marketing and SEO budgets.
A few little known facts about the Internet:
1. On July 25, 2008, Google software engineers Jesse Alpert and Nissan Hajaj announced that Google Search had discovered one trillion unique URLs.
2. 90% of all web site traffic can be accredited to generic search results.
3. The language breakdown for the internet goes like this:
35% English 65% Non-English w/ the Chinese language at 14%
4. Twitter users (75 million of them) post over 50 million tweets per day!
5. Facebook has reached over 400,000,000 users.
6. 2010 saw a rise in female Mobile (cell phones) internet users by 575%
7. 68% of all search queries look no further than Page 1.
8. Search engines do/cannot index Flash enabled web sites (correctly).
9. Page Rank means zilch! (Google stated in PR)
10. Allurent conducted a survey in January 2008 showing that online businesses currently lose as much as 67% of their consumers due to a lack of online product information.
Costa Rica’s largest source of income comes from tourism. The 2010 tourism numbers are not yet compiled however ICT (Tourism Institute of Costa Rica) expects the numbers to rise constantly through 2014 by 8% a year making 2010 numbers around 2.3 million. Of those 2,300,000 tourists, the top three nationalities are from the USA, Nicaragua and Canada.
Naturally if you are not corralling the attention of your target market BEFORE they reach Costa Rica, then chances are slim to none that you will ever achieve significant success on any level within the tourism sector of Costa Rica.
In today’s business climate only those that exhibit creativity and open-mindedness in their marketing strategies stand a chance at breaking from the pack and being noticed. Just ask Gary Kildall, the man that “could have been” the Bill Gates of today.
It is no secret that the key to any success in marketing is getting your product or service in front of the people that matter most. But how does one do this? With a lot of work and a few “insider secrets”.
Trust. It’s everything.
Today, if people can’t trust you or your company, you will not go very far. 81% of all online consumers originally explore product reviews before purchasing. In the case of the Costa Rica hospitality sector, this could not be more true with record numbers of travelers beginning their vacation planning on the influential review site, TripAdvisor. One bad review can nullify a dozen positive reviews. Treat your “trust status” with care and attention, for this is your lifeline to success in the online marketplace.
Corporate logo or face? I have seen this all too often when blossoming companies post a corporate logo on their Linkedin profiles or Facebook Pages. Not a good idea for most of us and here is why.
How can we expect potential clients to attach any sort of trust level to a corporate logo? I would recommend a corporate figurehead over a blase logo any day. People love to put a face to products or services more so than a cold corporate logo. Remember though, this is “for the rest of us” that do not have worldwide recognition like the Marriott or Hilton hotel chains.
” Costa Rica marketing is your secret weapon to success above your competitors. “
If you insist on using a logo in your attempts at developing a brand, then I would recommend spending the time and money in having a professional design it. Nothing turns a consumer off more than a half-assed logo representing a company that boasts professionalism, uniqueness and a commitment to providing service above the competition. It is like showing up to a job interview in your underwear.
Get the domain! If you have to spend $1000 to buy the perfect domain then so be it but get the domain. Often this is the biggest mistake made by businesses on epic propositions. You see naturally we love ourselves and anything we create. A business is no exception. We always lean in the direction of promoting our business name when in reality, no one cares. I mean this in the politest manner. No one knows your boutique hotel in Costa Rica by name. They don’t! What you need to do is acquire a domain name with keywords in it that people are searching for to find businesses in your market sector. Here is an example of what I am talking about.
You own a hotel in Dominical, Costa Rica called Domilocos. Naturally you would want to buy www.domilocos.com HOWEVER, people more than likely will not be searching the term “Domilocos”. What would someone be searching for to find “hotels in Dominical”…BINGO…our question is answered. Think like a web user and think about what you would search for if you were planning a vacation in Dominical. Get the domain!
Get involved in social media. Start a blog. Get Twitter, Facebook Page, mySpace, Stumbleupon (follow me!) and Linkedin accounts and keep them active with information about your product or services. Involve your staff and engage your clients as this helps build your “trust status”. With Google now indexing Twitter tweets, it is now more important than ever to be active in the social online communities. Knowing labour is relatively inexpensive in Costa Rica, I would recommend hiring a person to work full-time in this position. You may not see the value in it however this does not mean it is not important. If you drop the ball in this regard, someone else will pick it up and run with it leaving you and your company behind.
I realize this will require some time and effort but then again how important is the success of your business to you? Find the time and you will see, just how lucrative Costa Rica marketing can be.
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