1. Help customers to find you.
Have your rental shop 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:
2. Are you on the first page of search results on the net?
Improve your website 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 rental 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.
– For example use Keyword “bike rental” if you target US or “bike hire” for UK customers. This is the most common search term = keyword phrase used by customers looking to rent a bike. And at least add your location or type of gear you rent, like “electric bikes”. 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 your amazing products and how they perform or how they could use your great products whilst they explore the local area. Remember to include pictures and Keyword alt tags on them. 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 events. That might get people who attend events to find your site and even rent from you. People sometimes like to try different types of bikes/skis etc. for events, even if they already own one. This creates more content for your web site.
– Add links to local routes, maps or places to see and visit. 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 in UK 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 website ranking in search engines.
3. Get more out of social media, like use the FREE “Book Now” button on your Facebook page
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 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, analyses when your audience is most engaged and automates 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 can also take online bookings straight from your Facebook page with “Book Now” button. BRM online booking tool integrates with Facebook. Find out more in our blog.
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
4. Let your customers do your work for you with online bookings 24/7, no added admin for you!
Many customers like to be able to book online in advance to make sure they get what they want and when they want them. They want to make sure they can rent a baby seat or trailer with their bike for the little ones. Or make sure that they can get skis for the whole family, that you have got all needed sizes. Or try the new bike/skis they have their eyes on. Make sure you will get their business, not the competitor who offers online booking.
Good online booking system will automate the rental transaction for you and increase your rentals. It should:
- Check against your live inventory
- Have live pricing
- Send automated confirmations
- Take payment or deposit for you
Without any added workload to you any online bookings will be in the same place as all your other bookings without you having to touch them.
Online reservations are Great Business! Make sure you are not losing any potential customers.
Check out how Sunshine Cycles in Australia, one of our customers, uses the online reservations tool.
5. Form a partnership to increase your rentals.
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, airbnb, campsites, travel agencies etc.
- Contact the companies that organise corporate events and rent your gear in bulk.
- Get your rental listed on Tourist information Conference directory, so when companies organise their events they will have your details handy for any activities they might consider for their delegates.
- You can add the BRM online booking widget onto any website so customers can book YOUR bikes directly from your partners website. Reservations come in as any online reservation with a “partner reference” so you know which website it came from.
6. 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.
Good luck with marketing your rental business!
p.s. If you want to save time on admin Bike Rental Manager will take care of most of your admin so you can concentrate on the things you enjoy!