The power of popularity has long been utilized to influence groups and individuals, alike. People crave real connections and authentic content to help drive their decision-making, and travelers are no different. Check out our infographic about the growing power of influencers.
The Measurable Success of Amplified Storytelling
You’ve launched a strategy to make an emotional connection with potential visitors through Amplified Storytelling, the ultimate content campaign…how do you know it’s working? Let’s talk about what kind of metrics you want to focus on now that you’ve chosen an awesome marketing decision.
You’ve probably got a really cool website, with tons of beautiful pictures, catchy headlines, and now, inspirational and engaging stories. Good on you, smart marketer! So how do your stories make things even better? Amplified Storytelling, marketed through native ads, reaches new audiences, bringing in potential visitors from the top of the funnel. On average, a campaign will deliver 90% new visitors. Yes, you read that right, 90% of the site visitors will be new to your brand, exploring and engaging with all that imagery, information, and of course, your stories.
The more time they spend, the deeper the connection grows
Your carefully crafted site content captivates your new audience, making them feel immersed, thus increasing time spent on the page. The more time they spend, the deeper the connection grows, and the further they dive down the conversion funnel. Plus, not only are users finding your story on their favorite site and choosing to click on it, Amplified Storytelling with its rich and deep text also reaches users organically through search engines and generates greater SEO value for your website as a whole.
Did we mention there’s an upgrade for all of this? Here’s how we make your story even cooler: a Presentation Layer. This option is ideal if you want to add captivating visual elements to your stories. They not only make your content more appealing with rich experiences optimized for desktop and mobile devices, but also invite the reader to engage with interactive photos, videos, and links. See what we mean here. On average, Presentation Layers double time on site, when compared to site averages.
Telling a story
Content is everywhere in marketing—in ads, on websites, encouraging you to “click here” or offering lists of the “Top 10 things”. But what if there was content that went beyond the traditional content that most CVBs have on their website? Well, there is, and we’ve been perfecting it for the past five years.
It’s all in a name—Amplified Storytelling
So what makes our content different?
“Amplified” refers to the way in which we distribute the content through our premier audience development network. Our team of digital marketing experts customize targeting and constantly analyze the campaigns, carefully crafting your distribution so we reach readers interested in traveling. We optimize these placements daily so that the right people are seeing your content at the right time.
Beyond complementing your brand, storytelling creates an emotional connection with the reader.
“Storytelling” refers to our unique approach to content. We use a combination of words, graphics, and video to promote your brand story. It really allows you to take the reins and control what message your readers are getting. Beyond complementing your brand, storytelling creates an emotional connection with the reader. You could say “My destination has a cool taco shop. Try it out,” but really it’s so much more engaging and inspiring to show photos of someone eating those tacos, and to step into their shoes as they experience those first bites.
If readers aren’t salivating and mentally bookmarking your destination as somewhere they’d like to travel, we haven’t done our job. We sponsored a recent study by University of Florida that found that an emotional impact translates into inspiration, which then makes that person more likely to travel to your destination. Basically, hit them with the feels, and you will be one step closer to a conversion.
The gift that keeps on giving
One of the best things about Amplified Storytelling is the many ways it can impact your marketing campaign. By creating an emotional connection with your readers, you’ll create a positive image of your brand. As they continue to interact with your brand it will only reinforce their positive feelings about your destination.
By creating an emotional connection with your readers, you’ll create a positive image of your brand.
You’ll also see an increase in organic traffic from your stories. The analytics-driven content plan considers search demand, content opportunity, and uses keywords that can help boost ranking. Your stories are indexed by search engines, which helps increase your search presence and ability to be found.
If you could have content that is based on analysis, reinforces your brand, and creates an emotional connection with readers that helps move them toward planning their next vacation, why would you settle for anything less?
3 Actionable Insights for Your SEO strategy
Simply stated, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the key to bringing organic traffic to your website via search engines. Expert SEO audit and analysis help us gain insight into the best ways to boost your website ranking on search engines. The majority of the Traveler’s Journey takes place online, just like most customer experience. You want people to find your website, and a solid SEO strategy is the way to make that happen. Here’s how:
Step 1: SEO Audit & Analysis
A Madden SEO Analysis gives you a comprehensive look at how your site is ranking for different keywords and phrases. We compare your site to competitors and determine opportunities for improvement. When auditing your SEO, we focus on these types of errors:
- Critical crawler issues
- Landing page speed, including mobile speed
- Missing or invalid H1 tags
- Pages with duplicate content
- Title tag issues
- Content issues
- Missing or short meta descriptions
- Broken links or missing pages
- Keyword ranking position changes
Search engines calculate how relevant your content is when compared to millions of other pages available. There are many things considered by the search engine algorithm in less than a second before it delivers results. Location, site traffic, keyword density, and authority all factor into where a site ranks on the search results page. SEO is greatly affected by broken links and 404 errors. If a search engine’s crawler spends too much time looking for content on your site, it negatively impacts your ranking.
Knowing what’s working well and where you can improve helps you focus your efforts. The key is to have realistic expectations. Unless a traveler searches for your exact brand name, odds are that your website will probably not rank #1. For example, if your site ranks 47 out of 100 or shows up on page 10 of the search results, it may be unrealistic to get to that first page without the help of paid search. Working on your “striking distance” keywords where you can move from #10 up to #6 is a reasonable goal. Focusing on moving from page two to get onto the first page is the best way to spend your time and resources.
Step 2: Make a Plan and Take Action
So you know which keywords have the biggest opportunity to improve your site’s rank on a search engine—now what? The page name is the first thing you check. As awesome as the algorithms are, they simply cannot compete with a human brain when it comes to syntax. For example, if your “Things to Do” page is called “Play”, your site may not rank as high. Using the keyword or phrase naturally throughout the copy of the page also comes into play. Evenly spread out the keyword throughout the content without sounding repetitive.
Increasing traffic is another way to make your site more appealing. Tripadvisor’s page for your destination will probably rank #1 because their overall site gets over 456 million visitors per month. High volumes of people coming to your site makes search engines want to send more people to your site. This is why Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization go hand in hand.
Another opportunity to consider is having your site linked on influencer or authoritative sites, and to use your site influence to help your partners. The algorithms notice these back links referring to your site and see that as a sign of a reputable resource.
As voice searches grow in popularity, including content that answers a specific question can boost your search ranking. For example, as we reorganized and updated content for DiscoverAtlanta.com, we answered questions consumers were asking. Atlanta CVB’s new site has four featured snippets, which are used by smart speakers to answer voice queries. Asking Alexa, Siri, or Google about affordable activities or fun things to do outdoors in Atlanta delivers insights directly from the CVB website.
Step 3: Never Stop Improving
Nurturing your SEO and continuously enhancing your website content is a must. Organic traffic doesn’t change overnight—improving your rank is a marathon, not a sprint. Keeping your website up to date and adding current information, new images, videos, and more will contribute to boosting your credibility. Search engine algorithms prefer to recommend sites that load quickly on any device, making site speed crucial to strong SEO.
Looking for more ways to raise the bar? Adding new content to your site in tandem with strong distribution tactics is important, but not just any content will do. Blog posts on your site are helpful, but their timestamp makes them irrelevant to search engines within a couple years. Using a competitive content strategy for your website, such as Amplified Storytelling, allows you to incorporate the search terms travelers are looking for and inspire audiences. Our team of experts recommend adding this type of evergreen content to your website throughout the year to keep travelers coming back to your site.
Figuring out where you stand compared to the competition, creating a solid strategy, making smart changes over time and creating relevant content will help your site rank better and appear higher in search engine results. Want more insight on how to step up your website SEO? Contact us and start a conversation with our team of experts.
Get ‘em to give you another chance with remarketing!
Site visitors don’t always stay and play as long as we’d like or complete the action we want them to complete—how do you re-engage and extend the interaction? That’s where remarketing ads come in.
Track ‘em down
Display ads are utilized as a mid-funnel marketing strategy to reinforce brand identity, helping you encourage potential consumers to take steps toward conversion. With the ability to be geo-, demo-, contextually, or behaviorally targeted to your key audiences, smart marketers implement specific creative messaging to direct clicks to the corresponding page of interest on their site. But once you get them to click, how do you further encourage interaction, even if they clicked out of your page?
Bring ‘em back
By placing a remarketing tag on your website, you can remarket consumers who have been to your site but did not complete a specific action such as requesting information or contacting you. Using sophisticated targeting parameters, remarketing ads are served to these “window shoppers,” bringing them back to your site where they can complete a conversion activity. The coolest part is you can analyze your audience and target them based on their interest and interaction with your website. Talk about tailored messaging!
Appeal to ‘em
Segmenting your audience to create ads based on their interests seems like a no-brainer, but how do you break it down?
- Homepage visitors: focus on top-level imagery and branding to create awareness, eventually driving them to your optimized landing page.
- Specific page visitors: use creative specific to their interests on your page, enticing them to come back and learn more about the things they already have shown action toward.
- Visitors that downloaded information, like your Visitors Guide: develop their curiosity with additional content and relevant stories. Drive them closer to conversion with inspiration.
Fresh and exciting content will keep your brand top-of-mind with interested site visitors. Calls-to-action and offers can provide opportunities for interested viewers to click-through and be exposed to new and relevant information that they may have missed before.
Don’t overwhelm ‘em
Overexposing someone who has an interest in your destination can have the opposite effect, driving people away from your brand. You want to create an inspired action to visit, not an inspired action to change course. The highest click-through rate will occur when you’ve shown previous visitors your ad the appropriate amount of times, in the appropriate platforms. This can vary from campaign to campaign, so monitor results closely and “frequency cap” accordingly to ensure optimal results if you see performance start to wane.
Remarketing is a highly effective way to bring travelers closer to making their plans in your destination, when used strategically and appropriately.
Video inspires action
How do destinations get in on the action?
Make a plan for your videos
By now, you’ve likely realized that video marketing offers an extraordinary opportunity for destination marketers to reach large audiences and tell your stories visually. But are you taking advantage? If so, high-five! You’re making smart decisions to diversify your reach across platforms like YouTube and Facebook. If not, we’ve got some ideas that can help you turn your video assets into inspirational assets.
Working within a set marketing budget, destinations have difficult choices to make when it comes to which campaigns receive the most cash. It’s not always easy to decide where your attention should go, or which efforts are going to deliver the most payoff. Video marketing is quickly taking up its rightful share of the pie and it’s clear that this strategy is here to stay. Measurable ROI is imperative and can help you form better strategies as well as the content of your videos. With YouTube ads, you can tell in real-time if your targeted audience likes your content (with engagement metrics) and if it’s making an impact (with brand metrics)1. This all means that your campaign can be optimized quickly in order to get the most out of your efforts. Now that’s some serious bang for your buck.
What are consumers watching?
With YouTube’s popularity soaring past live TV, it’s no surprise that travelers are more likely to be inspired by your videos while they browse their favorite topics2. Videos bring awareness to a destination, delivering brand recognition to viewers. It has an incomparable ability to create emotion-driven decisions, and helps create favorability. Visitors want to experience the sights and sounds of your destination before they make their decisions. Are you sharing ideas and activities to drive engagement and curiosity? Travelers want to be excited, inspired, and enthused about where they plan to take their next trip—your videos can do exactly that.
Visitors want to experience the sights and sounds of your destination before they make their decisions.
Did we mention that video performs well across devices? In fact, video traffic now accounts for over 55% of total mobile data traffic3. Mobile-enabled video marketing helps you expand your reach because it’s user-friendly and viewer-focused, allowing you to reach the audience you want to target. Inspiration doesn’t have to only occur before a visitor arrives, mobile marketing efforts can reach travelers mid-adventure and continue to encourage further activities and engagement in your destination. Video for the win!
Cooperation just makes sense
Destination marketing organizations have the ability to create opportunities for partners to participate in cooperative efforts, making it easier and more affordable to engage in a video marketing campaign. Video ads can be co-branded to strengthen partner videos within the companion display ads that appear alongside your video. This brand familiarity is powerful, and partners will get in front of a bigger audience that they may have not reached otherwise. That’s some serious sponsorship value. In addition, visitors to the DMO’s website can be remarketed to with partner video ads, encouraging further interaction and guiding viewers closer to making their final travel plans.
Sources: 1 Google, 2 Adroit Digital, 3 Cisco
Lead Generation for the Destination Marketer
A savvy marketer such as yourself already knows that lead generation is the process of attracting new visitors through brand awareness while collecting their information for future marketing efforts—but you may not know why, how, or what you should be doing to properly tap into its potential.
What’s Your Goal?
The first thing to ask yourself is: Why do I want leads? Any campaign that delivers high-quality leads (people who have indicated an interest in your destination) can give you the ability to inspire a potential visitor to take the next steps and book their trip.
Establish a goal for your lead generation campaign. Do you want to gauge awareness about your destination? Do you want another way to distribute your visitors guide? Do you want to continuously reach out with emails or an eNewsletter? Whatever your goal is, make sure you structure your campaign around achieving it. If all of your effort is only focused on the generation of leads, you’re missing out on all of your conversion opportunities. When someone shows interest in your destination, don’t just leave them hanging, provide them with the inspiration they are looking for to plan their next trip.
If all of your effort is only focused on the generation of leads, you’re missing out on all of your conversion opportunities.
Ideally, your campaign will be an integrated piece of an overall marketing effort, focused on driving conversion. Your lead generation efforts would utilize components that spark interest in a potential visitor because of a specific call-to-action that is served to them at the right time. From there, they complete a conversion activity that collects their information such as a request for a visitors guide or a sweepstakes entry. Other efforts like Search Engine Marketing or Display Ads will create awareness or drive clicks to your site, but lead generation focuses on collecting information for future marketing efforts.
Diverse Marketing is Smart Marketing
Smart marketers should create a diverse campaign, utilizing both digital and print efforts to reach different types of travelers. Options like printed and digital inserts can provide a familiar feel, as they are inserted into magazines and newspapers, encouraging readers to learn more about your destination by going to a campaign-specific URL. This URL can drive readers to a page that collects their information so you can reach out to them at a future time with more information, a special deal, or an eNewsletter. This encourages potential visitors to initiate the relationship with you, making it more organic and natural for them to keep in touch.
Facebook is an ideal platform that offers strong targeting options.
A digital lead generation campaign can create more engagement, faster lead turnaround, and faster fulfillment, which is especially helpful if you are promoting an event. Facebook is an ideal platform that offers strong targeting options so you can deliver visually-stimulating, focused ads in user’s newsfeeds that are likely to convert. Furthermore, Facebook has options so that when they click on the ad, they are taken to a pre-populated form that collects their information with very little effort, making it user-friendly and efficient.
Level Up Your Efforts
Sweepstakes and special offers contribute to successful lead generation and our experience has shown that offering an incentive increases the number of leads your campaign receives. A sweepstakes package or special offer should promote a specific experience and be relatable to the audience. If your demographic is luxury-seeking Baby Boomers, don’t include a family pack of tickets to the local theme park. Make sure your package is desirable and appropriate to the visitors you are trying to attract. Don’t forget that as of October 2017 all forms, including those used for lead generation, need to be secure to avoid users receiving a warning pop-up that could deter participation in your campaign.
Made for Mobile: Facebook Instant Experiences
Mobile is BIG. Of Facebook’s 1.94 billion users, 1.15 billion of them use Facebook on their mobile device daily (Zephoria). Let’s say that again: 1.15 billion people looking at Facebook on their phones every day. Facebook has been cranking out new options for advertisers that keep up with trends, but one of our favorites is Facebook Instant Experiences.
The ads are—you guessed it—for mobile devices. They are full-screen, interactive, and users can tilt the phone to see more of the ad’s panoramic images. The ads also allow users to read inspiring content, swipe through a gallery of photos, watch videos, and click links to learn more. And the ad isn’t just visually appealing, it’s responsive. It’s an immersive experience that builds your brand and inspires users.
Gimme the Stats
Need for speed. Instant Experiences load 10x faster than the mobile web.
Higher Engagement. The immersive experience has been reported, by Facebook, that 53% of users viewed at least half of the ads. Average view time per user is 31 seconds.
Increased Conversions. Load times on ads are almost instantaneous, which means more users are following through once clicking on an ad.
Show and Tell
What’s it like, you ask? It’s so difficult to talk about how engaging these ads truly are without pulling out our phones to show you. We’ve had many clients run Facebook Instant Experiences campaigns, but Visit Gainesville’s ad is one of our favorites. Watch below to see the ad in action.
Taking Advantage of Search Lost Impression Share
What is Search Lost Impression Share?
Impression share is the number of impressions you’ve received, divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive. Basically, it’s the percentage of people who are searching for your keywords who are not seeing your ads. When you put it that way…sounds pretty important, right? The factors impacting your impression share could range from not having enough daily budget to meet the demand to not ranking high enough in the paid search to have your ads consistently show. Your bid may be too low or your ad quality may be poor. So what can you do?
Improve the quality
If your SEM ads are not reaching everyone who is searching for you, adjusting the quality of the keywords, ads, and your landing pages (speed and content) can make a world of difference. Google will display your ads more frequently when you optimize each of these elements and ultimately improve the quality score of your keywords. Keep in mind, Google wants to show the ads most often that are leading to clicks and delivering a positive user experience in terms of relevance. As a Google Premier Partner, we are well-versed in all it takes to run a successful Search Engine Marketing program. Getting a strong share of voice with optimal ad presence should be a factor you’re consistently taking into account.
Make it rain
There are advantages to getting your message in front of your entire potential audience if you’re not seeing a diminishing return on your investment. One thing you can do is up your spend to take advantage of the lost impression share your losing because your budget is too low to meet the demand. We see a lot of clients with this opportunity. We recommend increasing your SEM budget whenever possible to ensure you reach more people trying to find you, especially if the campaigns are delivering a return on investment at their current cost per click. While all aspects of the marketing funnel are important, you know that this audience is already looking for you. They just need a push to make it to the right content—your content! And that’s what SEM does best.
SEM on paper seems really cut and dry—make an ad, pick some keywords, pay when the ad is clicked. But so much more goes into SEM than meets the eye. Targeting, ad quality, relevant keywords, engaging landing pages, and constant optimization and analyzation can be the difference between a successful campaign and wasted efforts. It’s a delicate balance between having the knowledge and experience and dedicating the time needed to make an SEM campaign successful.
What’s the deal with Search Engine Marketing?
Why your digital marketing campaign is incomplete without SEM
No doubt you’ve heard about Search Engine Marketing, but do you really know what makes it a foundational component of any digital marketing campaign?
SEM is one of the most effective platforms for tourism entities. It allows you to bid against other advertisers on keywords relevant to your destination and present your custom ads to users at the exact moment they’re searching those keywords on Google, Yahoo!, or Bing. This proactive marketing maximizes value for your digital efforts by ensuring a greater share of relevant and interested searchers choose your website over a competitor’s. As travelers search for their next vacation destination, your content needs to be highly visible—SEM makes it happen.
Boom! Clicks + Engagement!
Active searchers that are driven to your site through pay-per-click SEM ads are considered highly qualified traffic, often yielding engagement rivaling organic search and performs better than other paid mediums. Your custom ads will show continuity by incorporating the theme of the keywords being searched and should include action-oriented messages to grab a searcher’s attention and encourage them to click-through. Keep in mind that with pay-per-click advertising, the search engines make their money when ads are clicked. This means that they want to show the ads that are being clicked most often and delivering a strong user experience. When you utilize strong calls-to-action and put yourself in the mindset of the user, your click-through rates will climb and users will be driven directly to the most appropriate content on your site. Boom! Clicks + Engagement!
SEM is an ideal component for strategic marketers, especially with a limited budget. Marketers are hard-pressed to find any option that delivers the level of return-on-investment (ROI) like SEM can, and you can’t start too soon. The power of an SEM campaign builds over time with strategic adjustments based on keywords, ad variations, and trends. It is also extremely effective if your site is lacking major SEO power. Organic strength is a big deal, but with ever changing Google & Bing ranking factors, your best shot to quickly leapfrog the competition is a well-executed SEM campaign. When you need highly qualified website traffic, engagement as strong as money can buy, and a provable return on your marketing dollars—choose tried and true SEM.