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Fishing Charter Advertising on the Internet
Frequently I hear from fishing charter captains they are stopping their print advertising because the results for the price are hard to justify compared to their internet results. In the past, print advertising was really all that was available to a Captain. Now the internet has become part of most peoples lives and the prices to advertise much less than print advertising. So let's talk about where you should consider advertising so those clients find you.
Get your site listed with Google, AOL, MSN, Yahoo and all the search engines you can. This will require you work with your web person to submit it. Also in order to get a good position in Google and the others you will need to get links to your site and have good search keywords in your site. This is where your web person can help you make this happen. The judge of your success on this is where on the list your site appears when a person searches on your main keyword. Your main keyword is what describes your business the best. If you are a fishing charter in Key West your best keyword is "Key West Fishing Charters". Check your success on at least 6 or 8 search engines to see where your site is on the list (and do this each month to see how it changes). If you are number 355 you can't expect to get many visits to your site. Ultimately you want to be on the first page or two of your main search keyword depending on how much competition you have.
Get in the fishing directories. Typically the best place for clients to find a fishing charter are fishing site directories. These sites have lists of fishing charters and fishing guides by state and location. This is very important and one of the best places to have your listing. The price on this listing can range from a free listing to featured listings that cost money. Don't be shy. The more the better. Just be careful with your advertising budget on this. Pick out the top 3 or 4 sites you want to pay for and get listed with those. Then get a free listing with every other site you can. To find these directories just search for "fishing charter directory" or "fishing charters" in MSN.com or another search engine and you should locate most of the top directories. The best directory sites have listings by location (i.e. Key West, San Diego, etc.). If the site lists all the fishing charters in Florida your listing is one of a whole bunch. But if they list your site under Florida/Titusville area then you are one of not as many and the clients have a much easier time finding the charters they are looking for in the area they plan to visit. Whenever you pick a siteto list with, take the time to look at it... make sure this is a simple useful site for your clients to find you.
Using Google adwords might be worthwhile. These are pay by the click advertising you can do with Google. You see these on the right side of the Google Search page. How affective your ads will be can vary greatly depending on the keywords. If you select "Destin Fishing Charters" then there are a lot of other ads out there and even if you pay $1.00 a click (which is very expensive for clicks) then you may still not see too many visitors from that ad. Take your best shot at this and pick one to ten ads and start with around a .21 cent click and see how that does. If needed to get a good position increase your click amount but do so carefully. You can spend a lot of money on this so make sure it is giving you the results you need. Use keywords that will get you 'quality' clicks and not just a lot of curiosity shoppers who never book. A keyword such as "Key West Fishing Charters" may work well for you because those persons are looking specifically for fishing charters in your area. However, "Key West" will give you more clicks because it is more generic but those clicks are lower quality because they aren't specific.
Doing cross promotions are always a great way to advertise on the internet. The price is right. I will put your banner on my site and you put mine on yours for no charge. This method is great for both sides. You can also pay sites to list yours. Depending on the site and traffic they receive it may be worth it. Some larger sites will charge hundreds of dollars per month for a banner and some you can get for just a few dollars a month. Pick your sites well. Good fishing site banner advertising will typically get you the best quality visitors that are really looking. So you know also, the search engines like to see different banners and links which makes your site do better in the keywords. The best ad is a banner with your link shown below it. However, your link shown should be "fishing charters" which when clicked goes to your site. This is a relavent link and tells Google that the link has to do with fishing charters.
Those are some of the basics of internet advertising. Like everything else it can be simple and cheap up to extremely expensive and complex. Remember to try to compare your results to see where your spending money and if it is making the return. Your web person can help here. There are systems you can use that will tell you how someone got to your site (via Google search, BlueSportFishing directory listing, banner you had on the local tackle shop site, etc.). Obviously anytime you speak to a client ask them how they found out about you and ask them if they have seen your website. While a word of mouth might get the client directed to you, it might have been your site that really created the call. Get feedback on your site from your clients and your web person.
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