Piggy back. Spend some one else's marketing budget - not literally, but ride in their slipstream. Target the same markets as others in the area, with similar themes so you benefit from a much bigger collective budget.
Jump on a bandwagon. Take note of popular TV programmes & magazines. Their themes could be used as promotional angles for you. Be clear about current trends & capitalise on them.
Get other people to work on your behalf. Build relationships and provide information for journalists so they can feature you. Make friends on twitter or facebook. If you can cater for groups, make sure group travel organisers know about you – they can act as your unpaid sales force!
Don’t spread yourself too thinly. If you’ve got a limited marketing budget, it pays to focus on a couple of specific markets and then to ripple your efforts outwards instead of trying to target everyone at once.
Segment your markets carefully – don’t rely on age or income as determinants. Life stage, life style and personal values are more reliable but remember people change their needs depending on who they’re with & even the time of day.
Be sure of who you are. What do you stand for? What do you want people to think about you? Make sure that image is reflected everywhere you can – on your stationery, in your brochure, on your website, on signage, staff uniforms or badges etc. Carefully choosing (and sticking to) the right colours and typefaces can help you convey the right message.
Beat your competitors by knowing them as well as you can. What do they do better than you? Get copies of their promotional materials and study their website. If you can’t beat them…join them – in collaborative marketing.
Be clear about what you do and do it well. Have a clear and focused identity. For example, you could be the place to take a family, or for stressed city dwellers to relax, or for active breaks.
Use a strong emotional appeal. How can you do one of these: make people happier, healthier, more beautiful, more loved, or richer?
Don’t assume budgets are the barrier. They sometimes are, but not always. Remember sometimes people don’t buy because they’re suspicious, especially if the price seems unusually low.
Often people don’t buy because they don’t understand what you’re offering. Don’t make it too hard or complicated to buy or book. People don’t want to fill out forms if they can avoid. They like to pick up the phone and speak to a real person or send an email and get a quick response.
Make a strength out of a weakness. Don’t just do a SWOT analysis – use it, by considering how to maximise strengths, minimise weaknesses, capitalise on opportunities and deal with threats.
Follow through. A customer research survey found that that 19% of establishments didn’t respond to email enquiries. 25% found that phones were engaged or they were directed to unwanted messages. Don’t spend money on marketing and then waste it with bad follow up service.
Do your customers have a problem you can solve? Are they tired, stressed, in need of a change? Find a problem, offer a solution and you’re on to a winner.
Write in language real people understand. Get rid of the jargon. Make your sentences shorter. Add a touch of humour. Sound like you’re a human!
Avoid over-used expressions. How “unique” is unique? What does “something for everyone” actually mean?
Don’t forget the cheapest, most effective marketing tool – word of mouth. Build a buzz by doing something that’s talked about and exceeding customer expectations.
Step back and look at all your staff and the people who come into contact with the public. How can you make them happier? Enthuse them? Reward them? Whatever their job, they can help make visitors’ experiences better – and convince them to return.
Keep up to date with what others are saying about you on sites such as www.tripadvisor.com. Thank people for positive reviews and if you get any negative ones, work to put things right as soon as you can.
When you say good bye, make it a positive last impression. What can you do to make sure the good memories last? It might be a cheery wave, an email to say “thank you” or a free “I spy” car quiz for the children.
Copyright: Susan Briggs 2017
The Dales Tourism Network is a not-for-profit run by Susan Briggs Get in touch: Email: Susan Briggs The Tourism Network, The Old Mill, Millgate, Masham, HG4 4EZ. Telephone: 01765 688178