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Early this morning, news broke confirming something that many who keep an eye on the tourism industry had predicted would happen sooner or later.

 

Thomas Cook, the longest operating tour provider in the world, has declared bankruptcy and ceased all operations; leaving hundreds of thousands of tourists stranded abroad. While many countries and insurance companies are sorting out how to get these folks home, the unfortunate news also has many here in Lapland concerned about the upcoming winter and what repercussions it will have on an industry that had been experiencing exceptional growth over the last 5+ years.

After being hit hard by the recession in 2007, and ultimately bottoming out in 2010, Lapland has seen a return to the old days and even better. For the last three consecutive years, registered overnights and total tourist numbers have broken records in Lapland; and not only in Rovaniemi. Massive investment & infrastructure projects at Rovaniemi, Kittilä and Ivalo airports were initiated to accommodate the increased flow of tourists and to provide greater accessibility to even more remote areas of Finnish Lapland. All of this is great and will yield benefits for years to come, but what happens when the bubble bursts?

Alright, let’s not look at it like THE bubble, but rather one BIG balloon in a handful of many. You still have a handful of balloons that are pretty, but missing that big one sure makes what’s left look a lot less impressive. That’s what happened when Thomas Cook declared bankruptcy and a large majority of the tourism companies in Finnish Lapland looked at the “balloons” they had left.

They’ve still likely got a beautiful and colorful assortment of “balloons” that will get them through, but what do they do next? Replacing a big balloon like Thomas Cook isn’t easy, but now is the perfect time for tourism and hospitality companies in Finnish Lapland to dive into the nitty-gritty of digital marketing and to find new sources of potential customers. Here are a few ways that they can start:

 

Google Analytics

 

Many tourism businesses in Finnish Lapland have very little idea how they have acquired the customers that they get. Sure, they may have them complete customer information cards upon arrival, but where did they actually discover your company or determine how to choose you over your competitors? Google Analytics is probably a good place to start to help you answer some of these questions. GA can help businesses to identify from where prospective customers live, what pages and content they are the most interested in, from what source your customers found you (direct, search, social, etc.) and much more. By utilizing the information provided through Google Analytics, tourism companies can then expand into two other areas of digital marketing: SEO & SEM

 

SEO – Search Engine Optimization

 

In addition to providing your the geographical locations, user behaviors and sources from which customers are finding your website, Google Analytics also provides information that can help you to optimize your website so that it will perform better in organic search results. Is your page loading to slowly? Are you lacking essential meta descriptions to differentiate your offerings from your competitors? Are people just coming to your website and then “bouncing”, and if so then why? Having a professional look into the structure, organization and content of your website could be the difference between you doing just alright and setting new sales records year-in and year-out.

 

SEM – Search Engine Marketing

 

Another great thing about Google Analytics is that is provides you with detailed information concerning how people are finding your website and which terms they are using in organic search. Most tourism companies in Finnish Lapland know what keywords their customers are searching for when they’re Googling them, but if their content isn’t in tip-top shape they may never reach those potential markets. Additionally, without knowing where your sources of traffic are coming from, you could be investing important marketing budgets into areas that aren’t yielding a solid ROI. The solution? A targeted and carefully tailored paid-search campaign. Google AdWords allows you to get started with a small budget and then grow out from there. See a steady stream of traffic coming from a country that you haven’t had customers from before? Now’s maybe a good time to run a test campaign to see if there’s potentially a new flow of customers. Google does provide a good set of basic guidelines for introducing it’s users to AdWords, but finding someone to explain the intricacies and manage the building, tracking and reporting of your campaign is your safest bet and will ensure that you’re not going to end up getting a huge bill that exceeds your budget for paid-search marketing.

 

What does Thomas Cook’s bankruptcy mean for Finnish tourism?

 

It’s too early to tell just what kind of impact Thomas Cook’s bankruptcy will have on the tourism sector in Finnish Lapland, but there’s no denying that it will cause far-reaching and potentially long-term repercussions in the region. It’s not necessarily a time to fear the future, though. Now is the time to work smarter; not harder. To spend a little money to make a lot of money. By investing in digital optimization, tourism businesses in Lapland will not only be helping to bring themselves into the present day and update their practices, but also begin to plan for the future and beyond so that the home country of Santa Claus can continue to welcome guests from around the world for the foreseeable future.

 

Does your website need an optimization overhaul? Are you interested in exploring a paid-search campaign for your business? Could you use some help with getting your social media rocking and rolling? Call or email us today to set up a meeting and we’ll see what we can do to help!

 

Google, and its expansive product offerings, can often intimidate small businesses; leaving them missing out on things that can truly help them improve their sales and reputation management.

 

It hurts my eyes every time I see it when I search for a prospective or new client’s business on Google.

“Own this business?”

It’s worse than nails on a chalkboard to me, for so many reasons.

Claiming, verifying and completing your Google MyBusiness profile is one of the most important tasks/mini-projects that you can do to help your business look better online. With Google currently owning nearly 90% of the online search traffic, it’s not that difficult to see why having your ducks in a row with Google MyBusiness is important, but let’s break down the top 4 reasons why I personally think that having a super-spiffy Google MyBusiness profile is important to the success of your business.

 

Reviews & reputation management

 

Unless you have gone completely off the grid, it’s likely that you have used online reviews to influence or at least help you make a decision. In fact, 91% of consumers aged 18-34 trust online reviews as much as they do personal recommendations from friends and family. That’s a number that is too big to be ignored. If you haven’t claimed and verified your Google MyBusiness profile, you could be missing out on a treasure trove of positive feedback that you could be using to help your business succeed! Or, you could be neglecting people that have had negative experiences and it looks like you’re ignoring them. These negative reviews could keep you from acquiring new customers, just because one person had a less than stellar experience.

 

Who, what, when, where & how?

 

Google MyBusiness lets you complete and edit all of your business’ information in an easy-to-use and attractive interface. It’s changed and evolved over the years, but you can essentially turn your entire profile into a small website of sorts where you can include you opening hours, where you’re located, who works for you, how to contact your business, what services you offer and more. When you consider that so many potential customers and clients are finding you for the first time through your Google MyBusiness listing, it’s increasingly easy to see why having this information completed –and up to date!– is important.

 

Analyzing who has found you and from where

 

Love it or hate it, Google has somewhat forcefully carved its way into our every day lives, one way or another. If you have an Android device, you’ve likely been prompted to review places that you have been at — or places that you have even been close to. Anytime anyone accesses your business profile on Google, it uses your location information to show the business owner where you are and what actions you have taken; whether that be looking for directions, visiting your website or calling your business.

This information can be incredibly important to your business’ marketing efforts and can help you to emphasize areas of your business that are already interesting your customers. If you see that people from a certain zip code are finding you more than from another, a Google Adwords campaign could help you to further expand your operations in that geographical area, as well as familiarize others with who you are and what you are doing. The more people that know about you, the better your chances are at growing your customer base and increasing sales!

 

It’s all about being social

 

I would feel great remorse if I didn’t mention Google’s failed social network, Google+. What seemed like a great idea at the time, Google never really was able to establish the network in a way that it could compete with Facebook, Instagram or even Twitter. Although Google is a powerhouse, they still have had their fair share of failures and duds, but with Google MyBusiness they have taken the remnants of Google+ and made them incredibly functional and practical.

Posts made through your MyBusiness account are visible for a week and then they kind of “disappear”. This is good for a few reasons. First, it requires businesses to be more active and engaging with their customers, which is exactly what the modern customer wants. Second, your MyBusiness account allows you to see what your competitors are posting and talking about too. Is a competing tour provider running a promotion for a day-tour? Do you have something similar or even better than what they have? Throw it into a post, create a call-to-action and see how it performs.

Like all social media, it’s a process of trial and error, so don’t be afraid to play around and get creative. This is an extremely handy feature that allows you to create a dialog with your customers that allows you to build trust and a solid reputation with the public.

 

Do you have questions about Google MyBusiness and how it can benefit your business? Do you need help getting your business claimed, verified and looking pretty on Google? Give me a call or drop me an email today, and let’s talk!

As a whole, digital marketing is still very young and under-utilized in Finnish businesses. Chances are that if you are one of the people that is working in this field, then you’ve likely had co-workers and family members ask you,”what exactly is it that you do?”

Don’t take it personally – I was that ‘social media guy’ at the place I worked before I started Nutmegger PR in August 2014, and I’m pretty sure that most of my friends and family think that all I do is play around on Facebook all day. Suffice it to say, and believe me when I say, “I hear you and I feel your pain.”

Misconceptions and misunderstandings aside, business is changing and with that change comes the need for professionals that know how to adapt and grow in an ever-evolving business landscape. Change can yield both positive and negative results, but in most cases it comes down to the strategy and how that plan is implemented as to whether or not your efforts will succeed or fail.

Here’s the good news.

Something great is happening in Finland right now. Businesses that have been around for years – many of them even several decades – are starting to invest resources and educate themselves in digital marketing in an effort to reach new generations of consumers; primarily millennials and teens. Making the changes and taking the steps to do so is great, but the old adage of, “a good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow”, doesn’t always apply- especially in this instance. Just wanting to change and hiring a bunch of hot-shot, hipster-esqe  recent-grads isn’t going to do it, and just because your new-hires have 500+ followers on Instagram doesn’t mean they know how to professionally manage your business’ corporate social media presences. In fact, if you want to really use any saying to characterize the direction of digital marketing and business operations, “it takes a village,” would probably be the most accurate.

“It takes a village?” Yes, and it’s really easy to understand why when you think about it. Although usually attributed to the raising of children by a community, “it takes a village” can also be used to illustrate that true success in a digital marketing is dependent upon many factors and parts within a business working in unison to best achieve the goals and expectations that are being laid down as you enter this brave new endeavor that is digital marketing. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and successful digital teams and plans weren’t put together overnight.

Educating your staff, bringing in consultants, and working with freelancers can be a great way to introduce yourselves to this new sphere of operations. Luckily, there were some early-adopters -yours truly, included- that are determined to help businesses of all shapes, sizes, and industries succeed in the evolving, Finnish economy.

Bottom line – if you’re going to wade into the digital marketing waters, make sure that you have a lifeguard there to teach you how to swim. A lifeguard like Nutmegger PR!

Did you know that October is International Breast Cancer Awareness Month? During this month, women all over the world take proactive steps to help prevent breast cancer by attending their annual mammogram. For Wake Radiology – one of our wonderful clients – this is also one of their busiest times of the year.

Although we had been primarily helping Wake Radiology with their social media optimization over the past year; they asked us to flex our design and creative muscles for their Breast Cancer Awareness Month across all of their social media channels. To help them with this we decided to create three, Wake Radiology-branded infographics to help illustrate three important themes: providing breast cancer statistics, highlighting the importance of early detection and the often-overlooked topic of male breast cancer.

Here are all three of those infographics; in that exact order.

BCAM-infographic
EarlyDetection-purple800px

MaleBCAW-infographic800px

 

 

2015 has been a very busy year for Nutmegger PR. From developing social strategies and digital communications plans to translating texts for businesses entering the Finnish market and delving into more graphic design work; we’ve absolutely kept ourselves busy. The remainder of 2015 promises a busy schedule with plenty to do, but before we get into too much of that, we’d like to first talk about some work that we’ve been doing with a very exciting client: Amcham Finland.

Amcham Finland is a dynamic and fast-paced non-profit organization that is completely member-funded. They’re led by their inspiring CEO, Kristiina Helenius, who took the Amcham Finland reigns in 2007 and has expertly led this Northern European business hub and its staff of about 20 to new heights and continues to grow their member-network  while boasting a 90% retention rate. Some of their most recognizable members include Stora Enso, Kone, Fiskars, Wärtsilä, & Nokia – some serious heavy hitters not only within Finland, but on a global scale too. It’s not all about the ‘big boys’ with Amcham though. In fact, with members spread out across more than 20 different industries of business; Amcham is one of the most diversified and international organizations for business growth and development that has yet to even reach its full potential.

Recently, Amcham Finland struck a deal with Nutmegger PR to help develop and implement a communications strategy to focus on their US operations that began in Autumn 2014. This broad project has taken the first steps in promoting Amcham Finland’s American members, with the goal of growing their US member-base and to encourage more North American companies to test the Nordic business waters. That brings us to purpose of this post – to brag up our client (Who, BTW, is awesome. In case you hadn’t figured that out yet.), and to show off the first of what will probably be four infographics that we will be creating and releasing between now and the end of 2015. It may not look like much, but it’s brief, to the point and helps to provide a little bit of insight as to why Finland is an excellent ‘Business Destination’.

BizDes-Finland