What you should know about digital marketing for your regional event
This is a long post but easy to read, so grab a cuppa and learn about easy things you can do to improve your event marketing.
We didn't want to break up these ideas as they all fit together: they are from a capacity-building workshop for tourism operators, presented by Liz Ward of Tourism Tribe, provided for free by our local regional tourism organisation.
Here are the tips we came away with:
Focus your marketing efforts and budget on achieving event goals. Plan your content around those goals!
Content is the basis of digital marketing – make it relatable and highly relevant to your target audience.
Content marketing is to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience and to achieve a specific action/purchase.
Quality, relevance, and timing are key.
Create content for related searches your potential customers might be making such as 'How to have a great weekend during the [your event]' or for business guests: 'Where to have meetings in [your town]'.
Post interesting content that keeps fans connected with your event. They'll buy if/when they're ready.
Talk about your event a third of the time. Talk about topics related to your business.
Know why you are creating the content, what the benefit to the event is, and how you'll measure results.
Schedule the time you'll create content for blogs and post on social media into your weekly calendar.
Those most likely to attend your event.
'Speak' to an individual and personalise your offer. Consumers don't like to be lumped with a group E.g. Families with older kids within 300km who travel with their pet dog
Personas help you define the needs of different target markets who have different pain points (where they get frustrated), needs, attitudes and behaviour. Create content that will help them.
Post your content on the channels they use (from specialist magazines to Pinterest).
The tourism purchase cycle is Dream, Plan, Book, Experience and Advocate, though they often happen simultaneously. Provide genuinely useful info at each stage to delight, attract, engage and convert. Your customer is an emperor you are trying to please.
Understand your target markets' customer journey - the media they use and the info they read at each stage of the purchase cycle.
The most relevant stages of the purchase process for social media are Dream, Experience and Advocate.
Customers typically experience 7 to 11 ‘touchpoints’ before making a purchase, such as being on your website, seeing one of your ads, or hearing a recommendation. To make booking easy, ensure there are no more than three clicks from your homepage (or landing page) to your booking page otherwise you'll lose the customer.
Popular marketing means are social media, articles, email newsletters, blog posts, webinars, videos and traditional media (TV, radio, magazines). Events should focus on video, images, blog posts and email newsletters.
There is paid, owned and earned media.
Paid: ads, radio, TV, paid search ads, direct mail.
Owned: your website and blog.
Earned: word of mouth, social media likes, comments and reviews. Earned media is the most valuable.
Digital marketing can be offline; it includes apps and sms communications.
Email marketing is very good for events with return visitors.
If your target market is the drive market, grey nomads or campers, WikiCamps app is important.
Over 65s are using desktop internet to research trips prior to leaving and then mobile internet on a tablet or phone when they arrive in a town to find things to do and where to stay.
YouTube is being used to see how other people experience events.
Twitter is valuable for communicating with media and councils, and for events.
On Facebook only 4% of organic social media posts are seen – the more you post, the more of your posts will be seen.
For Instagram, keep a list of relevant hashtags to use in the notes on your phone and copy and paste them into your posts. Have at least 11 hashtags per post (you can put them in the comments). Writing and drawing on images increases engagement, as do emojis.
Google Adwords is good if you don't have many competitors.
Live video streaming
Visual content: overlay of words, hashtags, great fonts, memes
Paid ads on Facebook to increase the chance of people seeing your posts
Native advertising: advertorials, infographics, influencers, educational videos
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION (SEO)
Search engines are critical in the purchase journey. For inspiration, people look at social media and video. For planning, people use search engines, sites they know (hotel chain, travel agent, airline), travel reviews and destination specific sites (just 30% of people visit these).
Content can rate better than a website in search results (such as a blog article).
Inbound links to your website are very important. Who can you approach to ask to have a link from their site to yours?
Your website must be mobile-friendly. Test your website for mobile usability, loading speed and navigation quality at thinkwithgoogle.comwhich will email you a website report card - great for a conversation with your webmaster. Think With Google is a great resource.
Add a page of outbound links on your website: eg What to do in [yourtown].
Enable social sharing on your website with links to social media so articles and pages can be shared.
Make sure your website is useful.\
Try searching like your customer would search.
Go through your customer's journey on a phone (dream, plan and book).
Get listed on distribution sites and local directories.
Blogs drive long-term results.
Share your blog posts on Google Plus to improve your search engine ranking.
Brainstorm content to write about:
Think of your top keywords and search phrases.
Consider writing content to answer the top ten questions a visitor/purchaser would ask about your product.
Think of your customer persona: 'She's fit enough for horse riding but not confident' so write an article about feeling confident about horse riding.
Think about the needs of customers at different stages of the purchase journey and write to meet those needs.
Keep a swipe file of ideas including others' blog posts. Keep urls of inspiration.
Spend half of your time on your headline - only 20% go on to read the article - 80% only see the headline. Use keywords in the headline. Test your headline with com/headline
'How to [mundane task] that [rewarding benefit]'
'Who else wants to [x]?'
'The secret of [x]'
'Here is a method that is helping [target market] to [x]'
'Little known ways to [x]'
'Get rid of [problem] once and for all'
'Here's a quick way to [solve problem]'
'Now you can have [something desirable] + [great circumstances]'
'Do [x] like [world-class example]'
'Build/have a [x] you can be proud of'
'What everyone should know about [x]'
Understand your audience
Select a topic
Write the headline
Write a captivating intro that hooks readers. Set the scene.
Organise content in an outline
Write 300-500 words and make sure it's easy to take in on a mobile phone
Add a conclusion reminding your readers what you told them
Include a call to action
Work with partners – leverage what they are doing
Use your partners' hashtags, such as #SeeAustralia
Your visitor information centre, council, state tourism organisation (such as Tourism and Events Queensland), Tourism Australia, ATDW (Australian Tourism Data Warehouse), online travel agencies, local tourist-service businesses, special interest groups
Think about where your target market is
How can you work together?
Follow the social media of your partners.
We also found this old but good YouTube clip from Tourism & Events Queensland ‘Online Distribution for Events’. It’s worth watching.