Any rental business can get hectic with managing the day to day activities and you might feel that there are not enough hours in a day to do everything. So we thought we could lend you a helping hand and share some top marketing tips with you.
1. How to help customers to find you
Make sure to have your hire business listed in as many directories as possible to increase the chance of potential customers finding you. Here are some examples where to list for free:
- Your local tourist information or Forestry web site
Maybe you would like to be added to our affiliate www.rentmeabike.com directory for free? Just email me your details you would like to add.
2. How to improve your web site ranking in search engines?
All major search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo have primary search results, where web pages and other content such as videos or local listings are shown and ranked based on what the search engine considers most relevant to users. To make sure your hire business will be as high on ranking as possible, one of the most important things you can do is to use Keywords and make sure your mention your business name in all your pages, like Contact Page, About Us and to have a “sitemap” for your page.
- Use Keyword “bike hire” if you target UK customers or “bike rental” for US. This is the most common search term = keyword phrase used by customers looking to rent a bike. Make sure you use it in all your tags and meta description. You can read more in Barry Wise’s article. You can find more keywords to use and their volumes in https://www.google.com/trends/
- Writing blogs is a great way to get people onto your website and to keep it current, it will encourage people to stay longer on your website and encourage repeat visitors. You could write about riding your great bikes and how they perform or riding amazing local routes or trails. Remember to include pictures. Creating content and updating it will help with your ranking as search engines like updated pages, just remember to use your keywords and business name in all your content.
- Write about local cycling events. That might get people who attend events to find your site and even rent a bike from you. People sometimes like to try different types of bikes for events, even if they already own a bike. This creates more content for your web site.
- Add links to local routes and maps. Search engines like pages that have links and those will also useful to your customers. Strava route mapping is very popular with cyclists http://www.strava.com/routes. And so are Sustrans cycling maps http://www.sustrans.org.uk/ncn/map.
- Creating a LinkedIn profile is another way to promote your business and increase your search engine rankings.
All the above tips will help you to increase your web site ranking in search engines.
3. Get happy customers to market you.
Don’t be shy about asking for customer referrals. The majority of people say they are willing to provide a referral if asked, but very few take the initiative to do it on their own. Referrals make it easier to get in the door with new customers. If you aren’t asking for them, you are missing opportunities. One of the best places to have them is on your TripAdvisor listing.
4. Make it easier for your customers to book bikes with online booking
Many customers like to be able to book the bikes online and in advance to make sure they get the bikes they want, when they want them. Did you know that the way many bike hire businesses use online booking is broken? Check out the blog on our website to find some surprising facts about using online booking and make sure you will get the benefit of customers doing their own bookings so you can spend your time somewhere else.
Here is an example of how Rutland Cycling, one of our customers, uses Bike Rental Manager online booking. All the reservations are checked against live inventory and customers get immediate confirmation. http://www.rutlandcycling.com/pages/cycle-and-climbing-hire.aspx
5. Form a partnership
Pairing with another business means that you will have access to their network of customers. Try creating a partnership with other tourist service providers like local hotels, campsites and travel agencies. Or contact the companies that organise corporate events, to sell them the idea of cycling for team building activity and get your bike hire listed on Tourist information conference directory.
6. Get more out of social media
Social media is the best way to connect with your audience on a personal level. You may not have to sign up to every social site out there, simply find out the places that your customers like to hang and go there.
You can use some marketing tools to save time on social media. They let you integrate all of your social platforms in one place for example you can automate your posts.
- Hootsuite: Integrates with Twitter, Facebook and Google+, create campaigns, analyse when your audience is most engaged, and automate publishing.
- Buffer: Stagger your content throughout the day, schedule way ahead of time and analyse the reach of your post.
Great way of promoting your business in Facebook is to make links with your partner’s Facebook pages. When you mention them in your post you can make a link to their page and they will get a notification that they have been mentioned in your page.
To mention a Page or group in a post or comment:
- Type “@” and then the Page’s or group’s name
- Select a name from the list that appears
Keep in mind that depending on a Page’s settings, you may not be able to mention it.
When you mention a person, Page or group in a post or comment, a link is created. The audience for the link that’s created depends on the privacy settings of the person, Page or group you mention. For example, if you mention a secret group, only that group’s members can see the link. The person, Page or group you mention may get a notification, and the post or comment may appear on their Timeline. This means that their followers/friends might be able to see your business name.
You should be active in social media, here are some tips what to do:
- Keep your profiles up to date and fresh with new information
- Post few times per week
- Add value for users by sharing content that is of value to them
- Engage actively with users – follow, share, retweet, like content of other users
- Don’t just share content from your website
Good luck with marketing your bike hire! (or other rental business!)