Part Two: Targeted Media Planning Generates Best Impact
Since more than 90% of travel planning is done online, having a compelling digital presence is essential for tourism brands. When it comes to identifying priorities for where to advertise, options include pay-per-click, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, e-mails, banner ads and branded content. With limited marketing funds, how do you get the most from your media spend?
This is the second in a three-part series designed to help you develop a results-focused media plan for 2013. This article focuses on where and when to apply the message across other content and media channels so you’ll get heads in beds at the most critical times of year.
In the first part of our series, we shared tips on how to prioritize who you want to focus your digital communication efforts on. After you’ve narrowly defined your target audience (e.g., Millennials, Baby Boomers, etc.) and determined objectives (e.g. attracting a new audience segment or inspiring repeat visits from people specific geographic areas), it’s time to begin mapping when and where to connect with them.
Step 1: Analyze the media investments you made in the past year, including information sources driving traffic to your website and social media sites, to identify the best performers. If you’re like most travel marketers, you’ll find that search engines are tops in website referrals and destination selection, and email marketing and Facebook ads also usually perform very well.
Step 2: Plan to have an ongoing presence allowing your brand to be visible when your target audience is ready to consider short-term or long-term travel options. That most often means year-round pay-per-click, e-blast programs and ads in destination guides.
Step 3: Identify potential media most likely to be viewed, heard or read by the people you are trying to attract during your off-season.
If Baby Boomers are your targets, include the leading newspaper or city magazine from the geographic area you targeted on your list.
Millennials are more likely to be reading popular lifestyle brands, such as Urban Daddy, Thrillist and Tasting Table, publishing free daily emails. Many of these sites produce versions created for specific cities.
Special interest blogs are a great way to reach niche audiences, including foodies, beer drinkers, wine lovers, parents, skiers, cyclists and more. If your target audience fits any of these profiles, invite the most popular bloggers to visit your area and write about their experiences. You’ll need to cover the bloggers’ travel expenses and in some cases also may also pay a fee or advertise on the blogs.
If you represent a luxury hotel and are targeting affluent consumers, working with an online booking service like Jetsetter, an invitation-only travel community, may make sense. Jetsetter curates and features vacation experiences on its website based on places its journalists have visited and verified; participating hotels pay a percentage of room rate for nights booked by the service.
Step 4: Request a media kit and a proposal from the outlets you think might be good matches with your audience. Brief your ad reps on these important points:
Step 5: Evaluate and prioritize top bloggers likely to be interested in featuring your destination or hotel. Since there are PR firms specializing in identifying and working with these folks – and there are so many bloggers that it’s difficult for an individual to keep track of all of them – consider engaging an experienced PR firm to research and recommend how to best work with these writers.
Step 6: Review proposals and identify those with the greatest potential of connecting with your target audience as well as the best value-add opportunities.
Step 7: Reserve a portion of your budget for social media, which may include a promotion and targeted advertising.
Step 8: Create a spreadsheet mapping out a month-by-month program, including costs. You may need to cut some opportunities to meet your budget, but it’s also possible to negotiate a lower-cost alternative.
After identifying your target audience, and how and when you will connect with them, you’re off to a good start on your 2013 new media plan. If you don’t have the time or expertise to do this, consider bringing in an outside resource such as a consultant or agency to help.
Next month, tune in to my Marketing:Travel post for the third article in this series for tips on how to measure campaign effectiveness and optimize your digital marketing based on what was learned.