UK search awards

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Rob Shaw photo

Rob Shaw

Content Strategist, Passion Digital

The challenge

Refocus content strategy for a specific audience

Every business needs to know what makes their customers tick, for the simple reason that audience insights are rocket fuel for effective marketing. Of course knowing the value of audience insights is one thing; actually finding those insights is another – especially when businesses have a hundred other things demanding their time and attention. And just to complicate matters, some audiences are naturally tightlipped, guarding their privacy unless they’ve a good reason to open up. But without granular research into what your target audience wants, you’ll struggle to create content that really resonates. That was exactly the situation faced by Passion Digital’s luxury travel client:
The Thinking Traveller, an exclusive Mediterranean villa rental company, was struggling with an underperforming blog that generated low organic traffic and very few conversions.

They’d focused on the audience previously, but wanted to dive deeper to understand more about the different interests and segments within the ultra-high earner group across markets. With this insight, they could launch a blog with content that was more in-tune with their audience (addressing what they most cared about) and create content to share across channels depending on where and how their markets interacted with brands online.

Passion Digital didn’t have a detailed understanding of this particular audience, certainly not to the extent this project called for. And that’s where GWI came in. The agency was already successfully using the platform to create effective client solutions, so turning to us for insights made total sense.

The action

Understand ultra-high earners and what makes them tick

Starting with a set of psychographic parameters including income and traveling habits, the team created what are essentially audience personas – pen portraits of ultra-high earning individuals describing: who they are, where they live, what platforms they use, what media they consume, and so on.
The client’s ultra-high earning audience were younger than expected, and GWI data revealed that when traveling, they’re particularly keen to support small local shops, markets, bars and - above all - independent restaurants unknown to most holidaymakers. The reason was simple:

Ultra-high earning travelers prize authenticity. They seek out unknown local restaurants because they make the best memories - and offer the best bragging rights to friends at home.

Armed with this killer insight, the team set about creating highly targeted content for The Thinking Traveller website, guides, and blog. To fuel their efforts, they spoke to their client’s network of concierges based around the Med to discover the coolest eateries in every location – exactly the sort of local knowledge that doesn’t appear in guidebooks or on websites. They also ran a campaign centered around an awareness day (called The Thoughtful Traveller Day), encouraging people to leave reviews of local restaurants they’ve fallen in love with while abroad – inspiring others to support these businesses in the future. And that was just the tip of the iceberg.
Knowing Facebook was this audience’s social media platform of choice opened up a marketing opportunity like no other.
Leveraging this knowledge, the team launched a secretive, exclusive Facebook group for The Thinking Traveller’s customers. Joiners received perks, discounts, and other benefits – like first refusal on cancellations at their favorite harbor-side bistro. Now here’s the really clever bit. The only way for someone to join this Facebook group was to prove they'd left a review for a local business while abroad, creating a virtuous circle of engagement. And to generate prestige, only 100 new joiners were allowed in any year.
This multi-layered approach soon gained traction. Not long after launch, the agency saw that local businesses being reviewed were sharing and promoting the coverage they’d received. Even other travel companies were doing the same, not realizing they were in effect amplifying the marketing efforts of a direct competitor.
The beauty of this solution is that it can roll on from year to year, pretty much indefinitely, refreshing itself automatically as word spreads.
The more people talk about the awareness campaign and the businesses it features, the more relevance and authority it gains, and the more people will talk about it. This open-ended, self-sustaining format means as long as the wealthy continue to travel and seek out local small businesses to support, it’ll continue to be as relevant as it is today.

The result

Better organic visibility, more site traffic, and higher dwell times

Put all this together, and using GWI insights enabled Passion Digital to create a content calendar that engaged their client’s audience, driving traffic and attracting coverage from relevant publications to boost brand awareness and online visibility.
Passion Digital went above and beyond their client’s expectations, interrogating their audience, interpreting the data, and using the resulting insights in a particularly innovative way.
Remember the exclusive Facebook group? It received 350 membership requests and drove over 100 new reviews for local businesses that the agency attributed directly to The Thoughtful Traveller Day. As well as benefiting their client, this project also paid dividends for the agency, winning them not one but two industry awards for “Best use of search - travel/leisure (SEO) (Large) and “Best use of content marketing (Large) at the UK Search Awards 2022. This increased their brand awareness, which in turn attracted new clients - the lifeblood of any agency.
At the heart of everything was GWI and audience insights, enabling Passion Digital to focus on what their client’s customers really want, not what they might want.
“Passion demonstrated a unique ability to marry a number-focused strategy with a content plan. I personally haven’t experienced that with another organic search agency.”

Dale Bray ,head of digital marketing, The Thinking TravellerThe Thinking Traveller

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