Updated: Mar 17
I get it. If you make glamping pods, you entered this business because you like building things and you noticed the demand for glamping accommodation is on the up. Or, if you run a glamping site, you loved the idea of running a nice little site in a picturesque corner of the country. Whatever you’re doing in this industry, marketing your business probably wasn’t at the top of the list of the things you couldn’t wait to do. But it’s pivotal if you want to thrive. As tempting as it can be to spend all your time perfecting your glamping pods or glamping site, it would be a huge mistake for your business to overlook the importance of marketing. After all, how do you expect to make money if nobody knows what you’re selling? The good thing is, since the advent of social media, the barriers have never been lower to getting eyes on your business. Now, you might prefer to spend 10 years in lockdown than start thinking about marketing, and that’s fine. Just hire someone to take care of it for you (if you can afford it). But if you do fancy trying your hand at the art of attracting customers, or if you’re on a tight budget, we’ve compiled a list of four books, a set of free online courses and a podcast that will help you get started. The authors/teachers/podcasters mentioned in this article have produced these resources so you can absorb in a matter of hours what they learned from years of honing their crafts. It would be silly not to listen to what they have to say. Note: Clicking on each heading takes you to the page to buy/enrol in that resource. For the books, the links take you to bookshop.org, which helps support independent bookshops rather than lining the pockets of that nasty bloke at Amazon, even if he’s only worth *checks Google* 184 billion dollars since his divorce. Oh, and needless to say, we’re not being paid by any of these people to recommend their work. We’re not that big time.
#1: Oversubscribed - Daniel Priestley (book) This is one that every glamping business owner should read if they want to attract and keep the highest-value customers, without being so busy that you can’t give them an outstanding customer experience. Priestley has been successful in a multitude of businesses by applying the ‘Oversubscribed’ philosophy, and I guarantee that reading this book will change the way you look at the process of attracting customers. Key ideas:
You don’t have to appeal to everyone. You should be aiming your marketing at those who really want your product and are willing to pay a price that reflects that desire.
You need to become comfortable with people missing out on your product. Not every potential customer needs to become a customer.
People are unlikely to spend money on your glamping pods the first time they come across them. You should try to gradually warm them up to the idea of buying.
Always give your customers more than what they were expecting.
Most valuable quotes:
“You should never sacrifice your standards in order to squeeze another customer through the door.”
“Look at every touch point in your business - your website, brochures, people, products, premises, ads, staff handbook, uniforms, packaging - and ask yourself the question, ‘Is this touch point positively remarkable?’. You can list off every touch point in a spreadsheet, not only for the customers but also for the team and suppliers too.”
“When you sell, only talk about 70% of what you intend on doing … Keep a little magic up your sleeve.”
#2: The Social Media Marketing Podcast Once a week, Michael Stelzner sits down with a guest, usually an expert marketer specialising in a particular field, to discuss an area of marketing that the guest is particularly interested in. If you’re someone who has no interest in social media marketing, this probably sounds as interesting as painting a glamping pod and watching it dry, but there are some genuinely good tips to be found if you invest your time in listening. Top episodes:
5th July 2013, Why Things Catch On - The Science of Why People Share: In this episode, Jonah Berger, author of The New York Times bestseller, Contagious: Why Things Catch On, shares the six things commonly found in viral social media content: social currency, triggers, emotion, social proof, practical value and stories. It’s very difficult to craft a viral piece of content for your business, particularly in an industry as small (for now) as glamping, but those principles are useful to bear in mind if you want to cause a ripple on social media.
21st February 2020, Messaging Matters: How to Attract Your Ideal Customers: This is 45 minutes of pure gold when it comes to marketing to your ideal customer, and particularly the adjustments you need to make to your language based on who you’re targeting.
6th March 2020, How to Persuade: The Science Marketers Need to Know: Six years after his first appearance on the show, Jonah Berger returned to deliver more great insight on consumer psychology. Here, he gives some advice on removing the obstacles your potential customers will face before they spend money on your product. If you’re a glamping pod manufacturer trying to show a site owner why taking the plunge and buying your pods will benefit them, this one’s for you.
#3: Magnetic Marketing - Dan Kennedy (book) Dan Kennedy has written a shed-load of books on marketing, and this one focuses on attracting your ideal customer, as opposed to chasing them. Key ideas:
If your initial marketing efforts gain some traction, don’t become complacent. Double down.
There’s always something deeper that people want out of your product. If you’re an insurer, you’re selling peace of mind; if you’re a gym owner, you’re selling a version of your customers that they’ve only dreamed of attaining; if you’re a glamping site owner, you’re selling an experience your guests will never forget. You must appeal to that deeper desire.
You should be aiming to surprise your customers with how much value you’re giving them.
If you’ve given a customer an excellent experience, ask them for referrals.
Most valuable quotes:
“There’s the story of the guy walking into the hardware store looking for a 3/4 inch drill bit. The mistake that’s easily made is thinking the customer wants a 3/4 inch drill bit. Wrong. He wants a 3/4 inch hole. The drill bit is just the hoop he has to jump through to get it. Let’s take it a step further than recognising the ‘want’ for a 3/4 inch hole … what’s the underlying need driving that desire? Is it simply to hang a picture? Or does our homeowner crave a lifestyle surrounded by elegance that makes their home the envy of family, friends, and coworkers? So it’s not just about merely needing a hole, it’s about Pride and an increased sense of Self-Worth.”
“To be truly irresistible, it should literally overwhelm the customer with value.”
#4: HubSpot Academy (online courses) The other resources mentioned in this article will provide you with marketing philosophies, but HubSpot Academy is great for introducing you to the basics of everything to do with digital marketing: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, paid ads, organic growth, e-commerce; you name it and there’s a course, usually free, on HubSpot academy. It won’t make you an outstanding marketer, but it will teach you to be a competent one. Top courses:
Social Media Lesson - Building a Social Media Content Strategy: Content is king. It’s why I’m writing this blog post. You can’t just be advertising 24/7 anymore; the world has moved on. That’s not to say you should never advertise, but the majority of your social media efforts should be spent building a presence and establishing your business as being one to trust within your industry. To use a Dan Kennedy term (see above), by providing value to your potential customers, your marketing will become ‘magnetic’. This course gives you a grounding in all of the types of content that you can produce, and you should come away with plenty of ideas on how to grow your glamping business’s social media presence.
Instagram Training Course - Learn How to Use Instagram for Marketing: This course does what it says on the tin. Beginning with advice on optimising your Instagram profile, it goes on to provide in-depth Instagram content ideas, before finishing on tips to increase your follower count. If you’re Instagram-phobic, this one’s for you.
Facebook Marketing Course - How to Develop Effective Organic and Paid Strategies: Similar to the Instagram course, this walks you through the basics of growing an audience base on Facebook, as well as introducing how paid advertising works on the platform. If your business isn’t active on Facebook, take this course and get cracking.
#5: Purple Cow - Seth Godin (book) Seth Godin is nothing short of a marketing genius, so you should absorb as much of his content as possible if you want to improve your marketing skills. This book is different from the others on the list because it makes clear that ensuring the product is remarkable is a vital part of the marketing process. So, if you’re a manufacturer of glamping accommodation and you love to innovate and create unique designs, this one is for you. One way to create a remarkable product is to tailor your designs to those with additional needs. For advice on how to do that, see our previous blog post. Key ideas:
If you want your business to be huge, your products have to be remarkable. Your customers have to be wowed by them. They have to be ‘Purple Cows’.
The marketing has to be built into the product from day one - it can’t be treated as a separate entity. A Purple Cow is remarkable from the start. Get the marketing team involved in the conception and design of the product.
Listen to what your customers are telling you!
Most valuable quotes:
“If a product’s future is unlikely to be remarkable - if you can’t imagine a future in which people are once again fascinated by your product [i.e. improvements will only be incremental], it’s time to realise that the game has changed. Instead of investing in a dying product, take profits and reinvest them in building something new.”
“Instead of selling what we wanted to sell, we sold what people wanted us to sell, and then figured out how to make money doing it. Every time we talked to our customers, they wanted us to follow the path that turned out to be the hardest possible path we could follow. And every time, that path was the right path.”
#6: Thinking, Fast and Slow - Daniel Kahneman: I first encountered this book in my A-Level Economics class, as it provides an excellent introduction to the concept of behavioural economics. It can also be read as a book on psychology, rational decision making and probability. But reading it from the perspective of a marketer can be hugely insightful, as it teaches you about the psyche of consumers. If you’ve ever wondered how to present a special offer, negotiate a deal or even name a company, you need to read this book. Key ideas:
Companies with pronounceable names and names that flow are likely to be better received upon first viewing.
People are more likely to react to something positively if they’ve come across it before, even if the word means absolutely nothing to them (e.g. is in a foreign language). This effect is scalable, so the more they see it the more positively they view it. This is ingrained in humans and animals because novel stimuli are treated with caution, whereas familiar ones require little cognitive unease.
Rationing can increase demand for a product. In one study, a promotion stating “max 12 per person” led to twice as many sales as “no limits per person”.
Consumers believe in the ‘less is more’ theory, even if it isn’t logically correct. For example, if they can only see one of the following sets, they will value set B higher: Set A = 10 dishes, including 2 broken ones; Set B = 6 dishes, none broken. If you’re selling a set of products, don’t add more to it if it will detract from the quality in the customer’s eye.
Studies show that people’s memory of an experience is very much predicated on the last part of that experience. So, if your customer service is brilliant through out but you let them down at the very end, their memory of the experience will be more heavily affected than if the worst aspects happened at the beginning or in the middle. If the experience was average but the ending was excellent, the customer is likely to remember it more fondly than the other way round. Make sure that customers end their buying experience with you on a high, even if that means cutting it short or extending it where necessary.
Framing is important. Frame something in terms of the positive, rather than the negative (e.g. “95% satisfaction rate” rather than “5% dissatisfaction rate”).
Most valuable quotes:
“They added a cheap gift to the expensive product, and made the whole deal less attractive. Less is more in this case.”
“‘Imagine that we are a year into the future. We implemented the plan as it now exists. The outcome was a disaster. Please take 5 to 10 minutes to write a brief history of that disaster.’”
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