Episode 262: Unlocking the Power of Digital Marketing
85% of Americans are online at least daily. With the rise of the internet, destinations have unprecedented opportunities to reach and engage with their target audiences directly. In the latest episode of the Destination Marketing Podcast, Relic’s Digital Director Ryan Jones talks about how DMOs can improve their digital presence. By harnessing the power of digital marketing, destinations can establish a strong online presence, attract more visitors and ultimately boost their tourism industry.
Building an Engaging Website:
A well-designed and user-friendly website is the foundation of any successful digital marketing strategy for destinations. A website is a virtual gateway for potential visitors to explore what a destination has to offer. It is also a form of owned media, letting DMOs have total control of their messaging. In the episode, “The Importance Of Owned Media with Stuart Butler”, Stuart explained Myrtle Beach’s push to improve their owned media offerings through their website, saying “We’re overhauling our website experience to make it more of a utility for consumers. We’re building it with consumers’ needs in mind. [Owned media] is going to be a cornerstone of why people come back to our website” To maximize the impact of their websites, destinations should focus on the following:
High-quality, informative, and visually appealing content is crucial for capturing the attention of potential visitors. From engaging articles and blog posts to captivating images and videos, destinations should showcase their unique attractions, activities and experiences. A website is where DMOs have the most control over their destination’s narrative. It’s important to take advantage of this and load your site up with quality content that will keep visitors coming back.
With the proliferation of smartphones and tablets, optimizing websites for mobile devices is essential. According to Statista, mobile devices accounted for over 50% of global website traffic in 2023. Destinations need to ensure their websites are responsive, fast-loading and provide a seamless user experience across various screen sizes.
Local SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is vital for destinations as it helps them appear in local search results when potential visitors search for specific attractions or activities in the area. To improve local SEO, destinations should optimize their website content with location-specific keywords, claim their Google My Business listing and encourage visitors to leave reviews.
Utilizing Social Media Marketing:
Social media platforms have become powerful tools for destination marketing, allowing destinations to directly engage with their target audiences. In 2022, social media ads accounted for 33% of all digital spending. Here are some effective strategies for destinations to make the most of social media marketing:
Social media platforms offer highly targeted advertising options, enabling destinations to reach their desired audience based on demographics, interests and behavior. Targeted advertising can be as simple as boosting a well-performing or important social media post. By running targeted ad campaigns, destinations can increase brand awareness and drive traffic to their websites.
Collaborating with influencers who have a significant following in the travel niche can greatly amplify a destination’s reach and visibility. By partnering with relevant influencers, destinations can tap into the established and engaged followings and benefit from the influencers’ authentic recommendations and endorsements.
Harnessing the Power of SEO
To ensure a destination’s online visibility and attract organic traffic, a strong SEO strategy is essential. Here are a few SEO best practices that destinations should implement:
Thorough keyword research helps destinations understand the search terms potential visitors are using to find information about their destination. Seek out high-performing keywords by using Google Trends or Keyword Tool. For even more help on this front, AI-fueled tools like ChatGPT can give you additional keyword insight. By optimizing website content with relevant keywords, destinations can improve their search engine rankings and increase organic traffic.
Creating high-quality, informative, and SEO-optimized content is key to attracting both visitors and search engines. Destinations should focus on producing engaging articles, blog posts and guides that provide value to their target audience while incorporating relevant keywords and optimizing meta tags. For example, if you’re writing a blog post about hiking opportunities in your destination, you may want to include key phrases like “switchback hiking”, “scenic trails” or “waterfalls.”
Having links to your site from reputable websites is crucial for SEO success. Think of it as having websites vouch for you. Collaborating with influential travel bloggers, partnering with local businesses and actively participating in industry-related discussions can help destinations acquire these valuable backlinks that let search engines know your website is worth its salt.
Digital marketing has revolutionized the way destinations present themselves to their target audiences. By investing in a well-designed website, harnessing the power of social media marketing and implementing effective SEO strategies, destinations can directly reach and engage with potential visitors, driving increased tourism and growth. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, staying up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices will be crucial for destinations to remain competitive and maximize their marketing efforts.