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.

Zephoria. The Top 20 Valuable Facebook Statistics.

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.

Marketing for Events

In our hometown, there are events that entice people from all over the country to attend—from the Gem, Mineral, and Fossil Showcase to El Tour de Tucson, there are many opportunities for local businesses to benefit from an influx of travelers. Every destination has unique events like these, but how do you reach travelers during their stay? How can you remarket to attendees after they leave and encourage them to plan their return trip? Below, we’ll discuss how you can reach travelers before, during, and after your destination’s awesome events using Snapchat and Geofencing.

Before the event

Increase excitement building up to your event by creating a Snapchat Story featuring photos and videos that encourage engagement. Behind-the-scenes footage, hinting at special guests, interviews with vendors, or sharing updates gets followers involved and make them feel an emotional connection with the event. Being an authority on the coolest things to do during and attractions surrounding the event helps you build trust with your audience.

During the event

Creating a Snapchat Geofilter is an easy way to create brand awareness. Fun photo filters specific to your event create a community between attendees and expose new people to your brand. When people use your filter for their photos, the photos become part of your Snapchat Story. Consider offering an incentive in exchange for using your filter and hashtag—you’ll get attendees promoting the event to all of their followers, which means low-cost advertising for you.

Establishing a geofence around your event and tying it to a strategic digital marketing strategy allows you reach people who enter the invisible perimeter. This means that while attendees are in the area, you can serve ads that are relevant to the time and place. Remember to extend the geofence beyond the event’s exact location and time—people are likely to check their phones while they’re at nearby restaurants and hotels before and after the event, giving you an even greater chance to connect.

After the event

Want to reach event attendees after they leave? While your geofence is active, it can collect data about the people who were within the perimeter, giving you the opportunity to remarket later. You can serve display ads after the event to promote similar upcoming events or encourage another trip to see more of the destination beyond the event. One of the coolest things is that you’ll have a target audience you know is interested in the event ready for next year, which can help you increase future attendance.

The Traveler’s Journey

We focus on connecting people to places. Using each stage of the traveler’s journey as a touchpoint to communicate with someone opens their eyes to new locations, inspires them to try new experiences, and builds their trust in traveling to new communities. But what is the traveler’s journey? 

Exclusively marketing to travelers and constantly analyzing travel intent data enables us to map decision making and highlight key stages of people’s travel planning process—the traveler’s journey

See how to keep your audience engaged through the entire traveler’s journey


People might be dreaming of their next vacation or stuck in the daily morass of regular routine. Connecting with prospective travelers during this time with prospecting messages about your destination plants the seed for future touch points in later stages of decision making. 

Display ads, out-of-home ads, or video distribution on television, YouTube, or Facebook are all great ways to show off your destination. Don’t worry about logistics and specifics. Serving up storytelling highlights the look and feel of your communities. Those sights and feelings will stick with people. 

Learn more about the value Madden can deliver as a Google Premier Partner


Why do people travel? The answer is specific to the individual. Our analysis of travelers gives us a line of sight into common answers, and gives us the ability to tailor storytelling to match their travel intents and inspire people to take a trip. 

Intent-focused website content, Facebook and Instagram prospecting ads, or Spotify audio ads crafted specifically to resonate with intent-based audiences inspires people to start thinking about their next trip. Whether its food, arts & culture, outdoor adventure, or nightlife, communicating the experiences that make your destination unique will build an emotional connection between your brand and audiences—a connection they will remember when looking to plan their next trip. 


Alright, you have people considering a visit to your destination. Now what? How do you convert them to a visitation? Prospective travelers might check out your DMO website, but they will likely look directly on hotel or third-party booking websites. We use that insight to our advantage, leveraging our relationships with vendors to meet people where they are. 

Targeting people who have been exposed to your prospecting messages with remarketing ads, we can serve your destination’s messages to prospective travelers on Expedia, Hotels.com, Vrbo, Google, Facebook, and Instagram. You can also use content on your website to send users to hotel and third-party booking websites. Tactics like these ensure your destination will be top of mind when they go to book their trip. 


Official Visitor Guide, maps, recommendations on travel review websites, and content on your website are crucial during this stage in helping visitors plan those last-minute details and round-out their trip. You can create a digital passport that compels people to visit different points of interest in your community, and using out-of-home advertising is also a great way to emphasize a consistent brand ecosystem, reinforcing the trust visitors have placed in your destination. 


Keep the relationship going after people leave. Remarketing ads, email newsletters, and sweepstakes are great ways to convert travelers into regular visitors.

Serving people Facebook and Instagram ads and leveraging user-generated content on your website also encourages travelers to share photos and videos from their trip—generating work-of-mouth endorsements.   

Find out how to bring more advocacy to your destination marketing

Website Best Practices: Part Two


As the digital age has grown, our attention spans have shortened. In an attention battle, a human will lose to a goldfish.(HostingFacts) In a best case scenario, a user will only read 28% of the text on a website.(Nielsen Norman Group) Here are some tips on content creation, so you can maximize the value of what users did read:

  • Bold headlines. The Nielsen Norman Group did a study that shows how users read a website by tracking eye movements. We naturally scan a page in an “F” shape, mostly reading headlines and quickly scrolling through the contents only if the headline interests us.
  • Bulleted lists. Bullets help to break up long paragraphs, which is easier for the eye to scan.
  • Engaging content. Everyone likes a good story. Don’t just describe your destination, attractions, or lodgings—paint a picture. 60% of consumers feel more positive about a brand after consuming content. (iMedia Connection)
  • Including links in the copy is a great idea. Links can encourage further reading, reassure trust and validity, and help boost SEO. Here are a few rules when using URLs:
    • Cite the source at the end of the sentence or the bottom of the page.
    • Do not paste the URL itself onto the page. Hyperlink the source in the text.
    • If you include links to another site, make sure the link opens a new tab, so they can return to your site afterwards.
  • Content with errors or incorrect facts can reduce your credibility.
  • Easy to read. You can use this Readability Test Tool to assess the current content of your site. We took the test, and our site received an average reading level of 7th grade, meaning that it should be easily understood by 12 to 13 year olds.

Content is everywhere, but truly great content stands out from the crowd. We hope these tips help you create better content for your website.

Website Best Practices: Part One

First impressions are everything. A person’s first glance at your website will allow them to form several opinions pretty immediately—does the website load, is the website easy to navigate, is the information clear and easy to read, are the content and visuals engaging? All of these questions will lead the consumer to decide whether or not they continue to investigate your site. So you need to make that first impression count. Here’s how.

Loading time

First things first, does your site load quickly? If there is a delay, it might be costing you visitors. 53% of consumers will abandon a website that takes longer than 3 seconds to load.1 Google recommends that your site load in 2-3 seconds. How can you speed up your load time?

  • Optimize images. Huge site banners are eye-catching and can induce FOMO, but what if they never load or take too long to load? 39% of people will stop engaging with a website if this happens.2Crop your images to the correct pixel size to fix this problem.
  • Enable browser caching. When users visit your site, the information will be saved, so it will load faster for them each time they visit your site.

Try using Google’s PageSpeed Insights to test your site.


One of the most important parts of a website is its layout. If a user cannot find the things they are looking for, they will leave and probably never return. Here are some tips for creating a strategic site layout:

  • Search bar. It may sound ridiculous that we have to mention this, but you would be surprised how many sites don’t have one. In addition to helping users find what they are looking for quickly, you also can check Google Analytics to see what visitors are searching for. If there are searches that come up with 0 results, make sure you write some content to respond to this need. If you haven’t already, set up Google Analytics so you can take a deeper look into how your website is performing. Check it regularly to see where you can improve.
  • Contact information. 44% of website visitors will leave a company’s website if there’s no contact information or phone number.3 Our advice is to have a robust About Us page where you can house information about who you are as a company as well as contact information.
  • Clear navigation. Providing a clear way to explore your site is a huge part of what can make a website successful. 50% of site visitors will use the navigation menu to orient themselves.3Helping visitors find the information they are interested in will build trust, credibility, and also will help reduce your bounce rate.
  • Logo=home. Always provide a way to get back to the homepage. The most common way to do this is to make your logo clickable. When coming from a referral site, 36% of visitors will click on the logo to reach the homepage.3
  • Scrolling is in. Scrolling is second nature now; users expect to scroll on pages. 76% of users use the scroll bar, with 22% scrolling all the way to the bottom of the page.4

Search Engine Optimization

We’ve had a few things to say about SEO, but there is always more to write. We’re firm believers that data should drive your website content, but not dictate it. Repeating the word “attraction” 14 times on your page will not increase your SEO value, it actually will do the opposite. But writing content about your attractions—now that is helpful and interesting to visitors and will likely increase your SEO strength. Search is the #1 driver of traffic to content sites, beating social media by more than 300%.5

General tips

  • Blog it up. When used in addition to informative and inspirational content, blogs keep content on your site fresh and encourage further reading. If you have the resources to maintain a blog, we highly encourage it. 70% of consumers learn about a company through their blog rather than ads.6
  • Mobile-friendly. Your site should be optimized for mobile users. Almost half of internet usage is from mobile phones.7
  • Video is king. Videos are a great way to captivate visitors. They help persuade 73% of people to buy a product or a service.8However, the size of videos can slow your website down. To avoid this, we recommend uploading your video to YouTube and embedding it onto your site, rather than hosting the video on your own servers.

1DoubleClick2Adobe, 3KoMarketing4ClickTale5Search Engine Land6QuickSprout, 7SUPPLYGEM,8Animoto

Social Media best practices: Twitter

You know you should be posting to Twitter, but are you doing it correctly? For all those aspiring social media gurus out there, here are some tips and tricks to make the most of your Twitter presence.

Your page

Keep it simple. Complicated handles can keep people from tagging you in their posts. Why make it hard for them to help you get your message out? Keep your handle simple.

Clean up your bio. Does your bio reflect who you are as a DMO? It should. The bio is one of the first things a follower will see on your page.

Best practices

All the posts. Twitter moves quickly, so it’s important that you stay on top of what is happening. Post several times a day when you first start up your profile to keep interest up. Don’t let your page become static.

Retweet and reply. Keep the conversation going by retweeting travelers’ posts, glowing feedback, or relevant articles that align with your brand. When users post on your page, direct message you, or mention your handle in their tweet, reply as quickly as possible. Keep in mind that social media is a venue of customer service.

Measure your efforts. Take a look at your analytics regularly to gauge how your page is performing and see where you can make improvements. If you see that you’re adding or losing followers based on certain strategies or that some tweets are getting more traction that others, adjust your plans accordingly to get the optimal return.

What should go into a post?

Keep it short. Even with Twitter’s recent increase to 280 characters, most Twitter enthusiasts are keeping it short and sweet. Focus on communicating one message rather than trying to say it all. You can always include a link to your website if you have more to say. Make the link shorter by using a URL shortener, like bit.ly.

Use visuals. Images and video in tweets lead to higher engagements. You can add up to four images, so go ahead, post a bunch!

Host a poll. Want more engagement? Having a poll is a great way to get followers involved. Twitter users love a good poll.

Soft sell. Passion Digital recommends that 80% of your posts be conversational, while 20% be promotional. Constantly trying to sell your destination can feel spammy to users. Give them content that they will want to engage with. These interactions will get them even more interested in your brand, so when they do see a post about converting, they’ll consider it even more.

On trend.  Another way to get noticed is to look out for events and people that are trending. If relevant to your page, find an organic way to work the hashtag into your post.