For many organizations, September 30th marked the day that the 2014 fiscal year rolled over; whether you are new to the industry or a seasoned professional, planning your budget for the new fiscal year can be rather stressful! As an event, venue or destination, (DMO) it is your responsibility to bring in visitors to your local community by successfully marketing your brand and product. Knowing where to effectively place budget dollars can be challenging with all the new platforms and technology available today. We all know that a strong online marketing mix is a must but with new technology being introduced daily, how do you know where to focus your efforts and invest? Have no fear: Saffire is here to provide a closer look into what marketers are focusing on in 2014 – 2015!
Website, website, website. We cannot stress the importance of this enough. In today’s technology-driven environment, it is crucial to carry a strong online presence to keep your clients informed, entertained and engaged. Bottom line: the lack of a beautiful, interactive website results in lost revenue for your organization (through ticket sales or tax revenue). If you have an inadequate presence, people quickly move on to the next organization with a website that can easily close the sale. These sites have to be easily accessible on all platforms (mobile and web) and must be dynamic sites. DMO’s have spent more than $39 million on website and mobile app development in the last three years and that number continues to grow on an annual basis (The Destination Marketing Landscape: The Role of DMOs). Along with increased presence usually comes increased staff as more than three-quarters of DMO’s use a Content Management System (CMS) and almost half have at least one staff person devoted to website content management (abouttourism.wordpress.com). Here at Saffire, we know that content management can be time consuming and that is why we created a CMS system that cuts down the time devoted to editing on other CMS platforms.
#socialmedia. Social media websites continue to implement new and innovative advertising strategies that organizations can utilize to reach their audiences. With these new strategies comes an increase of the “pay to play” marketing style that many social media sites have adopted. It is now estimated that only 3% of your Facebook followers will see your posts if you do not pay for advertising. As the social media marketing game changes and grows more complex for marketers, many organizations plan to increase their social media efforts in 2015. Many of these organizations have at least one full-time employee dedicated to creating an existence through platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest. In 2014, it was forecasted that 40% of DMO’s in the $10-25K budget level plan on expanding their social media team (Destinationmarketing.org).
Below is a detailed breakdown from fredericogonzalo.com presenting how a social media budget is allocated in a typical DMO. As you can see, paid promotion through tweets and Facebook ads is highly important to leaders in this industry.
Social media has also been proven to drive sales and attendance for all types of events that your organization might plan or host. Your social media presence allows attendees or visitors to bond before, during and after an event of vacation by connecting with others who have the same interests in your product. Music festival attendees are a prime example, as 65% tweet or post to their social networks during a live concert, 56% upload photos of the event and 31% write reviews of their experience (New Trends Impacting Festivals and Consumer Events).
The social media marketing game is not rigged and research shows that it is worth the investment. As part of the Social Commerce Report for Festivals and Consumer Conventions, Eventbrite calculated the value of social media sharing in terms of awareness and ticket sales. The study found that Facebook shares were worth about $4.15 in future ticket sales and generated 15 views of the event’s ticketing page. Twitter drives nearly 28 event page views, or almost 2 times the number of views than Facebook and $2.18 per tweeted share (eventbrite.com/festivals).
For more information about Facebook Advertising, please see our blog post: 5 Steps to Help Your Event, Venue or Destination Take Off With Facebook Advertising.
Get your name out there. Online advertising is an excellent way to reach your audience on both a local and international level. In fact, more and more organizations are beginning to market to local, national, and international visitors, primarily using online advertising campaigns. Online advertising produces immediate and traceable results, allowing organizations to save time and cut costs in comparison to traditional marketing (radio, TV and print), which tends to be more expensive. Banner ads, e-blasts, newsletters and digital campaigns through third party agencies are examples of popular ways to gain exposure and generate your brand to possible attendees or visitors.
Of the online marketing tools, email marketing is one of the quickest and cheapest ways to get attendees to purchase tickets and travelers to book hotel rooms. Using a mass email marketing tool like Saffire Mail or Constant Contact is an easy, low cost way to send an email blast! For a more in depth look at email marketing, please see our previous blog post, Email Marketing (Still) Isn’t Dead.