Best PracticesMarketing

Harnessing the Outlander Effect – SEO Marketing Strategies for Scottish E-Commerce Businesses


Online sales is the key channel for Scottish companies looking to expand their business internationally.

A massive global market is readily available, and content marketing and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) are the key practices for reaching them.

There are a wealth of resources that businesses can utilize to promote themselves online. For example for the tourism sector Digital Tourism Scotland provides a detailed library of guides like how to better use SEO and Google Analytics to apply digital marketing best practices for that industry.

Leveraging Scotland’s content assets

Tourism is a great sector for exemplifying the critical success factors for content marketing – Quite simply it needs to be stimulating and engaging, and the key is to remember that the first part of the eye catching process doesn’t need to be the product you want to promote. The first goal is to capture attention.

Yes tourism businesses need to be on the booking sites for the transactional elements, from Airbnb through, but prior to this stage consumers engage heavily in online research, to decide first where they want to go and critically, what type of experience they want to have. This is the best opportunity to influence them towards Scotland, and ultimately to your destination.

As Digital Tourism Scotland describes:

“Did you know that 90% of travellers research their holidays online and 80% book their holidays online? Digital channels play a huge role in the visitor experience. From dreaming up their ideal trip to sharing it, good digital marketing is essential for any business looking to get the attention of today’s visitors.”

During this research stage tourists aren’t necessarily interested in the logistics of the trip, the hotel bookings et al, instead they are seeking a stimulating experience.

Scotland’s history is a treasure trove of assets that can be utilized towards this goal. Our heritage of folklore, the historic battles and the tales of family tartans all are rich sources of the type of storytelling ideal for eye-catching promotional blogs.

For example Heritage of Scotland sells a range of tartan products and offers this guide about the clans of each, and their blog shares some insights to learn more about the history of them, such as for the Gordon tartan:

“Three consecutive Gordon clan chiefs, including the aforementioned Adam de Gordon, lost their lives in battles fighting for Scottish independence.”

Harnessing the ‘Outlander Effect’

Hence the Outlander Effect, it is the story that captures attention, and so the right type of online marketing for this can be described as ‘digital storytelling’ – The use of blogs and other visual media, like this site, to share those stories.

Blogs are ideal for this and moreover are better for promoting through tools like Facebook advertising, they are far more eye catching than yet another price comparison site, can be deeply SEO indexed and encourage community engagement through commenting and so forth.

A key dynamic is the relationship between TV media and social media, providing the context for tapping into global markets.

For example VisitScotland in particular focuses on the TV hit Outlander, and how the huge viewer popularity is translating into tourism traffic, describing it as the new ‘Braveheart of tourism‘. They have even packaged an ‘experience’ tour around this theme.

A smart Airbnb entrepreneur has even tailored their apartment!

For tourism businesses through e-commerce sales of tartan products, Scotland’s heritage offers a goldmine of what is truly valued most in today’s online world – Storytelling that stimulates the mind and soul, and any Scottish company can thoughtfully relate this to their online business to better achieve audience engagement.

As the Scottish Government reports tourism is a booming trade and with the right strategy, they too can harness the Outlander Effect to inject a massive boost into their local economies.

“Rise in overseas visitors coming to Scotland.

“Overseas visitors from North America spent £732 million in the 12 months to the end of June 2017, a 48% jump compared to £495 million in the previous 12 months.

There was a 38% increase in visits from North America, with more than 707,000 choosing Scotland as a destination in the 12 months to the end of June 2017 compared with the previous 12 months. Across all international markets, there was a 11% increase in visits in the 12 months to the end of June 2017 with spending rising too by 19% to more than £2 billion.”


Digital Scotland
Editor of the site.

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