How To Innovate For Free

How To Innovate For Free (Or Close-To-Zero Budget)

This is an excerpt of an article by Ivan Wong that was published by Web In Travel, Asia’s leading travel distribution, marketing and technology conference.
Read the full article here.
I started our WIT Ideas Lab workshop by posing the question “Is it possible to market online on a zero budget?”
One key premise was that marketers on zero budget would have to avoid paid advertising channels, and focus instead on attracting visitors through free traffic sources including the search engines, video and social media.
In this regard, some relevant quotes arising during the discussion included “content is king”, “social networks build trust and act as your personal information filter”, “content shapes the brand, especially user generated content”, “destination research is 70% of time online in travel” and “the ultimate aim is to convert lookers to bookers”.
We also considered some case studies of innovative use of social media for viral marketing, including the “Best Job In The World” campaign by Tourism Australia. Though not done for free, this campaign generated over US$150 million worth of media exposure on a US$1.2 million budget.
Some free tools were presented to assist in each step’s activities:
Market research tools: Google AdWords Keyword Tool, Kayak Trends, Google Trends.
Content creation/publishing tools: Free blogging software like WordPress, Animoto for producing viral sales videos.
Traffic generation sources:
For a typical travel business doing online marketing, there are a myriad of marketing channels to choose from. Citing the results of a recent HeBS survey in which hoteliers were asked to select their top three Web2.0 initiatives, I suggested that marketers start generating targeted online traffic by optimising for Google, using TripAdvisor, creating profiles on social networks and blogging on the hotel website.
Measure conversions: Use Google analytics to measure conversions and marketing success.
Read more at the WebInTravel Newsroom.

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