Retreat Marketing Guide: More Bookings in 5 Steps
If you are reading this retreat marketing guide you probably have a retreat or are considering starting a retreat. And that’s great! However, it can be a challenge for retreat entrepreneurs to find participants for their retreat.
I often see them promoting their retreat at large booking platforms where they pay high commissions per booking. And we think that’s a shame! It’s very feasible to generate bookings through your own channels so that all income is for you. In addition, if you are serious about having a retreat for the long-term, you would do well by building a strong brand.
So reason enough to not be completely dependent on booking platforms and to invest in your own marketing! But how? In this retreat marketing guide we explain in 5 steps how you can get an outstanding online presence and build a sustainable business with your retreat.
1. Create a website for your retreat
You will first need to create a place where you can receive bookings and where you can present your retreat properly. So make sure you have your own retreat website that is user-friendly for both mobile and desktop. Think of it as if you are going to sell a house. You are also not going to invite potential buyers to an open house before your house looks awesome. In this case, your website is your house. So make sure that your retreat is presented in the best possible way on your website and make it visual. Ultimately, your potential buyers buy based on a feeling that they have, so you want to offer them a unique experience on your website.
See below some important elements that you should have on your website:
Retreat website requirements:
– High quality photos of your retreat.
– Video of your retreat.
– Information about the location.
– Information about the program.
– Concrete retreat offer(s).
– Easy and automated booking system.
– Booking and payment information.
– Information about the organizers.
– Reviews from participants.
– Contact & directions page.
– Social media buttons.
– Easy content management system.
– Fast page speed.
– SEO friendly website structure.
2. Optimize your retreat website for SEO
Most people use Google if they search for a retreat. It’s therefore important that your retreat is at the top of the search results so that potential guests can find you. The downside to SEO is that it takes some time before you rank high in Google. You have to compare it with building a brand. This takes time. The good news is that if you keep investing in this consistently, you can already achieve a nice ranking after 6 to 12 months and you won’t lose it just like that. Once you’re high in Google, all clicks on your links are free. So it could become your most profitable marketing channel in the long-term.
Combination of website technique, content and link building
SEO can be divided into 3 categories, namely: website technique, content and link building. The technique and code of the website must be good so that Google can properly understand what your website is about. In addition, Google also looks at how user-friendly your website is to determine how high you should rank.
With regard to content Google likes qualitative and unique content, preferably as much as possible. Content refers to texts, photos and videos. Within this content you want to involve keywords that you want to rank for. For this you want to do keyword research first with tools like Ubersuggest.
Finally, Google will rank you higher if there are a lot of links from other websites to your website. Preferably websites that are very popular and social media. Creating outstanding and shareable content will help to get picked up by other people.
An extra last tip for retreats with a property: don’t forget to register your business at Google My Business. As a result, Google knows even better what your local business is about and you will also rank in Google Maps!
3. Build your own community on social media
If you haven’t done it yet, create your own business page on social media. Especially Facebook and Instagram pages are important for retreats. Social media is gaining more and more influence in the purchasing process of retreats. People love to see how others experienced your retreat. Next to that it also contributes to your reliability. If people see that you have a lot of followers on social media, this is often an indication that you have a lot of experience and that your retreat is popular.
Social media will increase your brand awareness and ultimately result in new bookings. Start sharing content about your retreat. If this content is of high quality, your followers will respond to it and you will reach other people. Proactively ask your guests if they want to follow you and ask for reviews on Facebook. Let us know when you set-up the pages, we will be your first follower 😉
4. Start with building up a database for email marketing
The rule of thumb in marketing is that it is five times more difficult to find new customers than returning customers. This may be a bit more nuanced for retreats, but we see that many retreats are successful in getting customers back. It’s therefore important that you build a database with e-mail addresses of not only your current, but also potential customers. There are many methods to achieve this. If your guests have booked via a booking platform, you can, for example, ask them for their email address upon arrival. You can also add lead generators on your website. If you start with this now, in a few years’ time you will have thousands of email addresses to which you can sell retreat packages.
You should be able to convert 2% to 5% of your subscribers to a customer per email. But your emails must meet a number of important conditions for this. Not only your design must be suitable for every device, but also your content and your offerings must be good. Mailchimp is a free tool that can give you a flying start with email marketing. Let’s go!
5. Explore paid media for fast results
Only when you have completed the above steps (basics), I do recommend you to start with advertisements (ads) to gain quality traffic to your website. Since the above actions take longer to reap the benefits, you can also accelerate growth with advertising. Google search ads can offer a good outcome if used properly. Competition is often fierce, making clicks on your ad expensive. So you want only people to click on your ad who have a high intention to book a retreat in your area.
At the moment, however, we notice that the best results can be achieved with Facebook and Instagram ads. This is mainly due to the specific targeting and advertising options. You can also build very smart conversion funnels with ads on social media. The Retreaton team has tested a lot with ads on social media and has a good idea of what works and what doesn’t.
Retreaton: Online Marketing Agency for Retreats
We hope that this retreat marketing guide gave you a good idea on how to market your retreat. Nevertheless we can imagine that it can be overwhelming to digest all this information. We just want to make you aware that we can help you with all the things we mentioned above.
We help retreat owners to get more customers by creating an outstanding online presence. We work for retreats all over the world. If you don’t have the time, skills or people to invest in marketing yourself, we are happy to be part of your team so that you purely can focus on servicing your guests in the best possible way.
Good luck with running your retreat and for now, let’s connect on Facebook!