4 Important Lessons Niche Marketers Can Learn From Marketing Giant Agoda.com

Filed in Affiliate Marketing, Case Studies, Sales by on August 28, 2016

Take it from a career traveller:

Booking a hotel is one of the most important parts of travel.

Knowing you're going to turn up to somewhere: clean, with a good location, good price and a piping hot breakfast is peace of mind you can't put a price on.

(But, probably about $80 a night if you could).

Which is why online travel agencies, like Agoda, are so effective.

They take the sting out of looking for a hotel, and give you all of the best prices, and locations, on one beautiful page.

 

agoda home page

 

But, Agoda is also a site you can learn a lot from.

And, not just on how to find a cheap hotel.

Their site - essentially a huge niche site - has all of the recipes for improving your site and making a lot more money.

Agoda is an excellent example of great online marketing in action.

In this article I'm going to show you a complete break down of the Agoda site.

And the strategies you can replicate yourself to create an incredible user experiences for your site.

All while putting more cash in your back pocket.

 

 

What You'll Learn

  • How To Use Social Proof To Drive More Sales
  • The Right Way To Use Scarcity And Urgency To Convert More Customers
  • Why Reassuring Your Users Can Create Repeat Business
  • How To Up Sell So Well Even The Most Tight Fisted Person Can't Help But Buy

A word of warning, though - you may not be able to look at your niche site the same way again after reading this.

 

(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 101 expensive affiliate niches click here or the image below)


1. How To Use Social Proof To Drive More Sales

Social Proof, again, is a pillar of the sales community.

Knowing that other people have used a service, or bought a product, makes you more comfortable buying it, too.

For example, which soccer game would you rather go to, the one with the crowd at the top or the bottom?

 

soccer game crowd

 

The second one, yeah? Not only is it more exciting, but more people suggests a better quality of soccer.

They wouldn't all turn out like this to watch bad soccer would they.

Adoga has managed to get this down to a fine art.

Everywhere you look on their site there is social proof of the quality of their hotels and the deals.

Take a look at this page, which you see straight after you've searched for your location and dates:

 

agoda hotel social proof search

 

You can see that high numbers of travellers have stayed here

there's nearly 10,000 reviews on the bottom one - and between 50 and 170 travelers want to stay in these two hotels alone.

This makes choosing your hotel a lot easier, because you can mentally start to weed out the good from the bad.

But the social proof doesn't stop there.

Once you click through, you get statistics of when the last booking of the room was, and how many people are thinking about booking it right now:

 

social proof two

 

Not only does this create urgency - more on that later - this makes you feel comfortable because you're not the first person to book this place.

You know there are other travelers staying there, and making this reservation feels like less of a gamble.

 

 

"People tend to do what other people are doing.andycrest Psychologists call this conformity, herd behavior, or the bandwagon effect. Marketers call it social proof"

-  Andy Crestodina

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And, when you look at selecting your deal, you can also see which are the most popular, which can help you make a better, more informed decision:

 

agoda booking

Great reviews. Lots of travellers. Limited rooms available.

They're making it really hard to not want to book this hotel.

 

How You Can Use This

Social Proof comes in lots of different forms to fit any niche site:

  1. Testimonials
  2. Reviews and Ratings
  3. Social Shares
  4. (Niche) Celebrity Endorsements
  5. Subscriber Counts
  6. Media/Niche Site Logos
  7. Badges
  8. Social Connections (Facebook likes etc.)

Think of all of the examples on this list that apply to your site.

Have you guest posted somewhere notable?

Have you been endorsed by someone?

Do you have a client or user testimonial?

Could people rate your product (or can you use amazon reviews)?

Can you display a share count for your best post?

List them and apply them to your page.

For example, Stuart makes great use of badges on all of his pages, so first time visitors know this site is completely legit:

 

nichehacks social proof examples

 

You may not even notice them at first, but subconsciously your brain is processing them and painting a picture of the site.

 

2. The Right Way To Use Scarcity And Urgency To Convert More Customers

Urgency is a great way to get people to buy something they want.

If they're struggling to make a decision, but the product they want is going to be gone by tomorrow, they'll be more inclined to buy.

I've spent hundreds of dollars on: T-shirts, cameras, accessories, Whiskey and flights because it was in a flash sale or because it was one of the few products left. And, you probably have too.

Combine this with the fear that your hotel deal might be $50-$100 more if you don't buy right now, or even worse, there'll be none left, and you have a cocktail for sales success right here.

Take a look at this hotel in Manchester.

Agoda combines social proof and the amount of deals they have left to create a real sense of urgency.

 

gotham manchester hotel urgency

 

The fact there are two people looking at it - who might book the room - and there is only one room left, adds urgency that makes someone who really wants to stay at Gotham try and beat the other two people to the booking.

Whether it's factual or not remains to be seen, but it's a remarkable strategy.

Even if I change the dates to a little further away, their entire booking page is filled with urgency and scarcity comments that fill you with a rush, and desire, to book.

 

gotham limited rooms

 

Limited Rooms available tells you that there's not a high quantity, so if you want to get a room, you better get your card out and book.

Best Seller - Limited Supply! tells you that these sell, and they sell quickly - almost as well as Stuart's Niche Products - so there is a real chance you're going to miss out on the hotel you want.

Best Deals for Your Dates tells you that you're not going to be able find these prices anywhere else.

If you don't buy it here, you're going to pay more, and when you come back they just might be gone.

I've experienced this when I was trekking across Spain, trying to book a hotel for that particular night and the numbers were seemingly going down - with lots of travelers looking at the page - you felt more inclined to buy in that moment.

 

How You Can Use This

Scarcity and Urgency doesn't just apply to quantity; it applies to time and price, too.

So don't worry if you're not in the hotel industry.

For example, Marcus Taylor over at ConversionXL, used scarcity to improve his product sales by 332%.

 

musicians guide scarcity example

 

By combining time and price, he was able to create a sense of urgency that made people want to buy his product there and then.

Because, for a limited time only, they could save £200 on his product.

Once the timer hit zero, it's back to full price.

Who want's to pay more when they can pay less?

Look for opportunities where you can manipulate price, time or quantity, like:

  • This Weekend Only...
  • The Next 100 Email Subscribers Get My eBook Completely Free
  • Flash Sale: All T-Shirts $5
  • Only 10 Spaces Left: Get Access To The Membership Site Now!

On that that note, have you heard about the Nichehacks Membership site yet?

 

3. Why Reassuring Your Users Can Create Repeat Business

Reassurance - the act of removing people's doubts or fears - can create loyal, repeat customers for you.

And as HelpScout point out, this is really important:

 

loyal customers

 

This is because if people know they're getting the best value for their money, from someone they can trust, and cares about them, they'll be more likely to return.

Agoda do this perfectly throughout the buying process.

They constantly reassure and show you that you're making the right decision.

Let's say you're looking at this hotel in Bangkok.

This combination of social proof and reassuring copywriting - "Great choice in property!" - pulls you towards this hotel. (You can read Chelsea's Beginners guide to copywriting for free right here).

 

first image

 

Once you've selected your property, after using the urgency tactics in the last section, they reassure you and talk to you in the same way a real sales person would if you were in a travel agency:

 

reassuring words

 

Then, once you've parted with your cash - the point of no return - they reassure that you've made the best possible decision with your money.

Making you feel safe in your decision and more likely to return, because your parting experience with the site is that you got real value for your money.

 

final stage reassurance

 

Where the internet can be a cold, harsh, distant place, creating this real warming connection between you and your customer can be the difference between keeping them, and them leaving the page to look somewhere else.

 

How You Can Use This

There are a lot of different ways you can use reassurance, both directly and indirectly.

Taking the social proof elements out that you read about before - which can also add reassurance - here are some of the ways you can give it to your audience:

  • Payment Protection
  • Return, Exchange and Warranty Policies
  • Privacy Policies
  • Control Certificates (Industry Certifications, like HubSpot content marketing certificate)
  • Customer service offers
  • Feedback sheets

For example, Nabru found one of the problems with buying furniture online is the fear of it getting into your property.

So, they created this section on all of their to combat it:

 

nabru reassurance example

 

It's a simple message, but it really does add an extra level of comfort to your decision, doesn't it?

You really need to look at all of the points of contact on your site where people are dropping off - checkouts, sales pages, blog posts - and add reassurance to them.

It could make a world of difference to your conversion rates.


4. How To Up Sell So Well Even The Most Tight Fisted Person Can't Help But Buy

Have you ever been into a shop where they have lots of shiny, little, must-have items dotted around the cashier?

It could be chocolate bars at the Supermarket, or it could be socks in a sports apparel store, or cups and mugs in a housewares shop; you've definitely seen it.

This is called upselling and it's where you can make a lot of money, selling products in addition to the product they're there to buy.

The upsells on Agoda are subtle, but my gosh are they effective. And they use it not only with their own original offers, but with affiliate offers, too.

When you're booking a room, where possible, they slip in an upsell where you can get more for just a little more money.

 

agoda upsell

 

Not only is the page filled with benefits of why you should buy, they combine all of the elements you've seen in this article to drive home their extra product sales.

There's a: limited time offer, reassurance of saving money, social proof and urgency on the amount of rooms there are. Making buying more from them a much more appealing offer.

 

"When used properly, upselling can actually lenmarkidanbring you closer to your customers, while bringing you more revenue, better retention and lower churn."

- Len Markidan, Groove HQ

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They also continue the upsells - especially their affiliate ones - depending on where the attention of the customer is, too.

For example, after you've booked your hotel, they focus on the next decisions you'll be making.

You probably already have a flight if you've booked a hotel, so they offer out for the next logical step - renting a car.

 

affiliate upgrade agoda

 

This is really subtle, there's no hard-sell here, but it's a benefit drive affiliate offer that's perfectly in line with their core business - providing quality vacation services at value.

 

 

How You Can Use This

Look at where the attention is on your site, and think about the process people are going through.

If they've just bought a product, for example, they're already in a buying mode and are open to being sold to. So, what are they looking for next?

Alternatively, look at specifics on your site, like the type of blog posts they're reading.

If it's a how to, you could upsell your practical courses . If they're on a more thought-leader style post, you can sell them on your personal eBooks.

This doesn't just apply to sales products, either.

You can also upsell to a content upgrade, or getting people on your mailing list.

On the Roman Fitness Systems site, you have two options when you start:

 

roman homepage

 

If you choose the Make People Hot option, you can expect to see this eBook:

 

fat loss ebook

 

And if you select the Make People Huge option, you get this eBook:

 

roman mucle gain upsell

 

This is tailored, targeted upselling that gets someone onto their mailing list.

Then you can continue to upsell through your mailing list, and cross your site, if it's not what people are looking for.

 

(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 101 expensive affiliate niches click here or the image below)

 

Wrapping It Up...

Agoda clearly have their Niche Marketing on point. Heck, I wish I'd come up with the ideas they have.

They are great online marketers and an excellent example.

But, here's what you really should have learned from them:

  • Social Proof: Put your social proof where people's attention is focused to convert more highly and influence their image of your site.
  • Scarcity and Urgency: Let people know that what you're offering isn't going to be here forever. They need to act now, or forever live in regret.
  • Reassurance: Buying on the internet is scary. Give them a hand and let them know they're making the right decisions and their hard-earned cash is safe.
  • Upselling: Find where your audience attention is when they're looking to buy - or upgrade, like to your mailing list - and strategically place your next level products there.

Are there any niche sites where you love the way they sell? Let me know in the comments!

 

CLICK HERE TO GET ACCESS TO 150+ NICHE REPORTS

James Johnson
James is the founder of the Freelance Writers School where he teaches normal people how to make money through freelance writing even if they failed English at school and have no idea about business.

Comments (9)

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  1. Thanks for the great article with some incredible tips...especially the one about using scarcity. I just started using scarcity in my emails series. It works like a charm. I get most of my sales in the 10 email when I let them know that the offer may be gone...

  2. Jeffy Adam says:

    Really i enjoyed very much. And this may helpful for lot of peoples. So you are provided such a nice and great article within this.

  3. Very nice article indeed. But a question came to my mind, whether the scarcity was real or it was an artificial scarcity?

    • NicheHacks says:

      Should be real. But I think they are a bit creative. When they say " only 1 room left" they probably mean at that discounted price or with those exact conditions rather than there just being 1 room left in the whole hotel etc.

  4. John Adam says:

    Awesome tips James,

  5. Shishui says:

    Nice.
    Aside Agoda, Yelp is also great for learning content marketing.

  6. Hi,
    First thank you for your great sharing, especially for your social proof list. It's very useful for me. I'm learning marketing online. However can I have a question? How i can apply these social proofs to raise my product?