Fishing charters, especially in warmer year-round climates such as Florida, are becoming more heavily reliant on being found online by their target audience which is why it’s so important your charter outfit needs to focus on the top 5 ways to capture bookings when people are proactively searching for options.

1) Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Marketing

PPC advertising, such as Google Ads, is a great way to get your brand in front of people who are proactively searching for fishing charters in and around the area you offer your services.

As the name indicates, Pay-Per-Click marketing is based on a per-click/per site visitor basis which is dictated by several factors:

  • Keywords and phrases you’re targeting and what your competition is willing to pay for each click
  • Matching options (broad match, modified broad match, exact phrase match, etc.)
  • Geotargeting options (if you only serve a particular area and only want your ads to show in that area)
  • Etc.

What’s great about Google Ads is they offer fishing charters the ability to limit how much they spend on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. In other words, if you only have $300/month to spend on PPC, you can limit your monthly spend total to $300 and spread that spend out over the month which can make budgeting for PPC a breeze. Furthermore, you ONLY pay when someone clicks on your ad and is sent to your site.

Here’s an example of Google Ad placements for the phrase “fishing charters” in the Orlando area:

As you can see above, FishingBooker.com, TacoHookedUp.com, and CatchyTuneCharters.com are all bidding on the phrase “fishing charters” to buy their way to the top of search results to pull in traffic to their site.

Due to the controls Google gives its advertisers, PPC is an absolute must for charter outfits looking to pull in new bookings, especially if the charters have newer websites or virtually no presence online in other areas

2) Local Search Engine Optimization (Google My Business/Google Maps)

Fishing charters and boat rental operators alike oftentimes only offer their services in a specific market or radius of their physical location which makes local SEO one of the most important digital marketing channels they pursue to pull in local traffic and conversions from people in the immediate vicinity.

In the case of Google My Business, several areas need to be evaluated and optimized to maximize your charter’s presence in the prized “three pack” which we’ve highlighted below:

For local SEO, here are the main areas fishing charters should evaluate and optimize to maximize their exposure in Google Maps:

  • The Name of the Business (it should be the legal name of the listing)
  • An accurate address
  • A local phone number that is unique to the location
  • An email address that is official and checked regularly
  • A link to the main website
  • An SEO optimized description
  • Primary category that describes the business with at least one category being Google sanctioned
  • Office hours of operation
  • Payments accepted
  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Additional Details (fully customizable)
  • Regularly contributing content to the profile such as special offers, blog posts, limited time offers, etc.
  • Ongoing citation building (listings on other directory style sites such as Yelp, Merchant Circle, Superpages, Citysearch, etc)

3) Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO, also known as “natural” or “organic”,  is one of the tougher endeavors since it requires a lot of time and persistence to earn your way to the top of search results for your main keyword phrases, but it’s not exactly rocket science either.

As shown above, with PPC Ads & Local SEO images, organic search results appear just under them like this:

When it comes to optimizing your fishing charter site for organic search placement, there are a few areas you’ll want to focus on to get in the good graces of Google in particular. These areas include:

  • Titles
  • Meta Descriptions
  • Alt tags
  • Content (the more content you create, the more keyword phrases you can target)
  • Internal Linking (linking from page to page within your site)
  • Inbound Linking (acquiring links from other sites that link back to yours)
  • Site Speed/Page Speed (very important for mobile SEO in particular)
  • Headers
  • Footers
  • H1’s/H2’s
  • Canonicals
  • URL Naming
  • Custom 404 pages
  • Redirects (301’s, 302’s, etc)
  • Robots.txt
  • Navigation/Layout
  • Calls-to-Action Placement
  • Social Signals (linking back to site pages from social profiles)

If the above list seems like a lot to cover, we would agree, but you can’t do effective organic SEO without covering all conceivable angles to address search engine algorithms such as Google’s.

Other than covering your bases with periodic updates to coding (titles, metas, h1’s, etc), the two most important areas you should focus on regularly (monthly) are to build out new pages in the form of blog posts/articles and/or new landing pages and ongoing link development activities to amplify your ranking potential for your most important phrases.

Our advice would be to have a content calendar assembled and put into play to ensure you can regularly create valuable content for your target market who will find your content when looking for information through search.

Here’s a generic example of a content calendar:

Month 1: “Best fishing spots in the Gulf of Mexico”

Month 2: “The Top 5 Things to Look for When Booking a Fishing Charter in Florida”

Month 3: “Half Day Charter vs. Full Day Charter, Which is Better?”

Month 4: “Top Ways to Catch Blue Marlin”

Month 5: “Grouper Fishing in The Atlantic”

Month 6: “Why Customized Boat Charters Are Better”

The above content calendar is very basic, but hopefully, you can see that by putting together a calendar in advance will give you ample time to research and write about each topic and be sure each post or page is no less than 500 words in length if you ever want your content to see the light of day in search.

4) Social Media Marketing

Social Media profiles such as Facebook and Instagram are insanely powerful. Not only do these sites have well over two billion active users between them, but they are also referenced for people seeking additional information about your fishing charter through reviews, images, and other information to help them make an informed decision about which charter outfit to book with prior to making a booking.

For charter outfits, we always recommend using images heavily when conducting social media marketing. Images such as customers holding up a prized catch they just caught, YouTube videos such as someone pulling in an Atlantic Goliath Grouper, and other relevant images should be used and used often.

We also suggest doing regular updates beyond images and videos for things such as events your charter may be holding/sponsoring, memes, funny gifs, etc, to spice things up a bit beyond just images.

5) Reviews

Reviews can make or break your charter, so make sure you keep a close on your 5-star ratings on Google My Business, Facebook, and other sites that provide review options for their users.

Nothing will crush your charter outfit’s ability to gain new bookings faster than a bunch of negative reviews that bring down your star rating, so our advice is to hit up happy clients to leave reviews on Google and Facebook, in particular, to ensure your rating stays healthy and the number of positive reviews continues to grow over time. You’ll also want to make it easy for them to leave reviews by providing them either with a link via a follow-up email thanking them for booking a fishing charter with you or via a post-charter pamphlet or the like with information on where to go to leave reviews.

If you find the above list too daunting of a task to manage on your own, don’t worry. Online Marketing Standard is here to help navigate the high seas that is digital marketing. Just give us a call at 407-604-0990 and let us help fill your calendar with bookings today!