Conventions and meetings are big business for destinations

So how do you land the big gigs?

Let’s start with the basics: does your destination have the facilities to host conventions like trade shows and conferences? If your answer is no—skip down to the next paragraph. If your answer is yes—high-five! Your destination is well equipped for event planners looking for the ideal place to book their event. A comprehensive marketing campaign, using platforms like LinkedIn to reach professionals and tactics like storytelling to share firsthand experiences while highlighting the technical aspects of your hosting capabilities, offer an innovative way for interested parties to get inspired. Keep the information dynamic, and make sure to sell yourself beyond the venue. Your unique amenities and attractions may make the difference on whether an event planner selects your destination over another.

Keep the information dynamic and make sure to sell yourself beyond the venue.

Most destinations aren’t equipped with grand convention centers or sprawling resorts, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have the ability to entice meeting planners with the venues you DO have. Meetings like off-site company gatherings or group events have the ability to bring serious dollars to your destination. Upgrading your search engine marketing efforts ensures meeting planners searching for the perfect venue find you for all the right reasons at the exact right time. LinkedIn and Facebook ads with professional targeting can also be great tactics in this space. Always make sure to have dedicated pages on your website for this specific audience with clear calls-to-action.

Travel to where the jobs are

What influences someone to relocate? Is it the job benefits? The salary? But those are only part of the reason. Professionals want to live in a place where they can explore, dine, and relax on their downtime and continue to be successful while on the clock. But it can be a challenge to encourage these professionals to consider relocating. People are always dreaming of the perfect job, but don’t always consider that the perfect job could be in a different city—or even a different state. By showing off the top quality-of-life reasons to live, work, and thrive, Madden Media is able to target professionals who are looking for a job and influence them as they consider moving. But how does it work? Take a peek below to see how Lubbock, Texas was successfully able to encourage IT professionals to relocate.

Case Study: Lubbock Economic Development Alliance

The Lubbock Economic Development Alliance (LEDA) partnered with Madden Media on a strategic digital campaign focused on growing Lubbock’s IT industry by recruiting IT professionals. They also sought to increase awareness of Lubbock’s competitive technical industry and excellent quality of life. After reviewing the city’s goals and determining the audience, Madden Media devised a plan and tactics to execute the campaign. The campaign utilized LinkedIn to target the most desirable audiences, specifically Texas Tech alumni and those educated in IT Engineering. LinkedIn Display Ads and InMail marketing were launched to generate visits to the Alliance’s microsite, Return2LBK.org, which featured IT job listings and quality of life comparisons between Lubbock and other major cities. Within a very short period, LEDA had already received more than 20 responses from IT professionals interested in being considered for job opportunities in the area.

Results:

  • LinkedIn InMail Marketing for LEDA averaged a 6.8% CTR and 54.7% open rate (LinkedIn benchmarks are 4% and 40%)

LEDA’s campaign delivered more than 719,000 impressions and a total of 1,090 clicks to Return2LBK.org

Travel Micro-Moments

What is a micro-moment and why should you care?

When you turn to a device looking to learn, discover, or find or buy something, you are creating a micro-moment. During this time, preferences and decisions are often made. These moments give tourism entities a perfect chance to influence potential visitors.

Dreaming

Sitting in a boring meeting, hearing a friend talk about their fantastic trip, or seeing an ad about a destination—all of these can spark an “I want to get away” moment. In this moment, they will turn to their device to look more into getting away. It’s important to kindle that spark of desire to travel. Mobile is huge—60% of searches for destination information are coming from mobile devices. 1 in 3 travelers say they haven’t typically decided on a specific destination, so it’s the perfect time to bring out all the bells and whistles. Be inspiring. People look at 10 images on average when dreaming about vacationing—the greatest engagement is with the main image. Don’t bog them down with details or try to get them to commit to booking at this time, they just want to get excited by the idea of visiting your destination. So show it off!

Planning

Once they are inspired and are dreaming about visiting your destination, travelers move into a “Time to make a plan” moment. This is your chance to add in a bit more detail about your destination. They are looking at hotels and flights, reading stories about what others have done there—the logistics of their travel plans—and the majority of visitors do it on their phones. 70% of travelers with a smartphone have done travel research on their smartphone. Now, more than ever, it’s important to have a mobile-responsive website that is inspiring and easy to navigate.

Booking

After visitors have decided that their plans are feasible, they are ready to start booking the trip—the “Let’s book it” moment. Here is where device really matters. 46% of mobile travelers say they make decisions on mobile, but then book on another device. Mobile limitations and usability is usually the reason for the switch to another device, which can often delay booking or sometimes derail it entirely. What can you do to keep the ball rolling and make it easier for visitors looking to book on mobile? Here are a few tips:

  • Implement one-click functionality
  • Help the traveler fill in forms
  • Put call-to-action front and center
  • Decrease the amount of steps to book
  • Decrease loading time—any wait will make them question whether they want to continue

Experiencing

They’ve booked—congratulations! Now what? Visitors move into a “Can’t wait to explore” moment. It’s during this time you want to keep up the feel-good feelings. Now make sure they enjoy their time in your destination and, of course, feed your local economy with tourist dollars. The best way to sustain a destination’s success is to encourage your visitors to get out and engage in experiences. 67% of travelers feel more loyal towards a travel company that shares information during their trip that improves their travel experience. 

Is your brand easily accessible during each of these micro-moments?

Building a Dynamic Digital Campaign

At Madden Media, each digital marketing component we provide for our clients has a purpose and strategy behind it. Components fit together like pieces of a puzzle, building to create a comprehensive campaign that will drive visitors closer to booking their vacation.

Website

Your website is the foundation of your marketing campaign. It has to deliver on the promise to consumers of what’s being advertised. You need to send interested readers to compelling landing pages that reflect your branding and offer relevant and engaging details about your destination. Not sure what you should shoot for? We think a few of our partners have really easy-to-navigate websites with engaging landing pages that are not only informative, but also inspiring. Take a look:

Experience Columbus won the Skift 2016 Award for Best Website 

Outer Banks of North Carolina won an Adrian Award, Gold in the category Tourism Website

Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater won an Internet Advertising Competition Award for Best Travel Website 

Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing

Once you have a fabulously designed site where visitors can easily explore all the amazing options available to them, it’s time to integrate Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) into your mix to bring in highly-relevant site traffic. SEO works behind the scenes of your website, harnessing strategic keywords and relevant content to move your site organically closer to the top of search engines like Google and Bing. Ensuring that your site’s code and structure delivers an optimal user experience, and that the content is original and engaging, will help your site move past the competition in search results.

SEM allows you to market to consumers at the exact moment they’re searching for keywords relevant to your brand and deliver them the content they desire.

SEM allows an advertiser to bid on keywords valuable to their business, serve custom ads, and compete with other advertisers on a cost-per-click basis to earn clicks to their website. SEM allows you to market to consumers at the exact moment they’re searching for keywords relevant to your brand and deliver them the content they desire.

Content and Display

You’ve heard it before, but it still rings true…Content is king. No, we don’t mean the traditional content of “what to see” or “where to stay” that most destinations use on their sites. This information is certainly important to help visitors learn more, but we encourage our clients to take it a step further to create an emotional connection with immersive stories written in such a way that the reader can imagine themselves in the destination. But it doesn’t just include a content plan and stories that live on your site waiting to be found. We recommend proactive distribution on popular news, lifestyle, and social media websites which drives new, potential visitors to the stories on your website.

Display Ads can play a valuable role in building awareness about a destination, offer, or event. Not only can these ads improve brand recognition and bring new visitors to your site, but also can be used as a strategic follow-up to those who have already been there—“Hey, you visited our site. Did you maybe want to go back to look around some more? Would this special offer entice you to book today?” When encouraging visitors to more deeply consider your destination and to book their vacation, remarketing is an invaluable tool.

Social

When you’ve built up the foundation of your core marketing campaign, you should then include social media advertising: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Snapchat, to name a few. While maintaining every-day social media posts is something we feel is best handled by each destination, creating and optimizing ads through these platforms to spread the word, gain more followers, and increase views should be an important facet of your paid media mix. From your individual goals, we can determine which platform would be most beneficial. For example, if you are looking for a fun element that brings awareness to your destination, Snapchat is your jam. If you’ve got some videos promoting your area, Facebook or YouTube will work well. If making visitors drool over your images is your thing, using Instagram is where you’ll see the best results.

For example, if you are looking for a fun element that brings awareness to your destination, Snapchat is your jam.

Now that you’ve laid the foundation of a comprehensive digital campaign, you can begin thinking about honing your strategy by activating more robust targeting or including influencers and user-generated content into the mix.

Research and Analytics

You’ve made a comprehensive digital campaign—now what? The best piece of advice we can give is to establish your goals up front and don’t build or promote anything you can’t track. Knowing what’s working and what’s not working using metrics from the individual platforms, as well as your website analytics, ensures that you’re able to continually optimize and maximize your marketing dollars.

Madden Media’s team of digital experts is ready to work with you on a strategy, keep you updated with regular reports and daily optimizations, walk you through the performance results (good and bad), and make adjustments based on tracking of your goals.

Marketing to the Generations

Appealing to Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers in your marketing can be a challenge. Keeping similarities in mind can help you determine your strategy:

No matter the age group, visitors are looking for places they can fulfill their “bucket list” or “once-in-a-lifetime” travel dreams. Targeted marketing based on behavioral patterns and preferences is effective regardless of age. Adjusting your strategy, style, and language based on the medium can help you reach different generations on different platforms—as long as you stay true to your core branding. The most important thing is to share what’s unique about your destination and inspire wanderlust.

Finalist for Two ADDY Awards

We’re very proud and excited to announce that the digital campaigns of our partners, Experience Kissimmee and the Stowe Area Association, have been selected as finalists for the American Advertising Federation of Tucson Digital Marketing Campaign of the Year.

Even Jedi Need a Kissimmee Vacation

Kissimmee makes vacations, so we knew their campaign would need to match the energy and excitement that goes along with Experience Kissimmee’s brand in order to impress and inspire potential visitors. The campaign was timed to launch with the hype of Rogue One and the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular launching at Disney’s Hollywood Studios™ and featured Star Wars-themed content.

Click here to read the story.

A Land of Winter Wonders

The Stowe Area Association dreamed up the idea of a campaign that revolved around a winter wonderland in order to show off the many opportunities in winter beyond skiing. The campaign expressed the authenticity that is integral to the unique, personal, and friendly environment of Stowe. To accomplish this, the content included interviews and callouts from local experts, including a sled dog named Merck.

Click here to read the story.

The 2017 Tucson American Advertising Awards (ADDY) will be held on Saturday, March 11 at Casino Del Sol. The winning campaigns will be on display in the AAF Tucson Creative Showcase Gallery. To read more about the ADDY Awards and AAF Tucson, click here.

Being a Google Premier Partner is kind of a big deal

You’ve probably heard the term “Google Premier Partner” before, but what does that actually mean?

There are three tiers of partnership with Google: Google Member, Google Partner, and Google Premier Partner. To be recognized as a Premier Partner not only means that our employees are experts in the field of Google digital advertising, but also means that they trust us to treat your campaign with the utmost care.

Don’t just take our word for it; here’s what Tom Hammel from Google says:

“Madden was recently awarded Premier Partner status as an agency and has been recognized for their extensive specialization around Search & Mobile SEM. One unique quality of their service is their deep specialization in travel. It’s rare to see an agency so hyper-focused on one industry. The advantage is that they’re well experienced in solving the unique needs of travel clients, so there is lower risk that any mistakes will be made. The last thing I’ll say is that I’ve looked over their Display Remarketing campaigns myself and they’ve implemented all of our best practices.”

How does the Partnership benefit our clients?

Expertise

The expertise of our employees is second to none. We are constantly learning new and better ways to run campaigns, passing on the benefit of their knowledge to our clients. At Madden Media, we have over a dozen Google Certified Experts who have specialized in several different disciplines of Google AdWords. We also receive exclusive, executive business training from Google, so we are always up-to-date on new products and procedures.

Performance

To achieve and maintain a Google Premier Partnership, we had to prove a history of client satisfaction and retention, client revenue growth, and company growth. Madden Media consistently meets and exceeds these benchmarks—so you know you are placing your campaign in the right hands.

Support

Any business can become a Google Member, and any marketing company worth their salt can qualify to be a Google Partner. So with all of those accounts, how can you make sure Google is paying attention to your campaign? As a Premier Partner, our accounts are given priority over other Google accounts. Google representatives are available to speak with us by phone, chat, or email, so we can always discuss the best practices and options for your specific campaign.

To be selected as part of such an exclusive partnership gives us the support from Google to back the expertise and care that goes into each campaign we run—making our clients happy. So yeah, we’re pretty proud of that.