For those running marketing campaigns for travel brands, paid media has long been a go-to advertising resource. And for good reason: It offers a great way to get new users to the website of a destination, property or travel service to build brand awareness and drive bookings.
But in the modern marketing era, paid media is only a portion of the bigger marketing strategy — acting as a huge lead generator for growing the brand’s consumer database. If your travel brand can do this successfully, it can then employ its owned media to exponentially build upon the successes that paid media brings.
How so? By leveraging owned media to continue the conversation and nurture prospects who are already familiar with your brand, you can strategically focus the bulk of your paid media spend solely on attracting new customers. The more you can remarket to and engage with your database prospects free of charge through your owned media channels, the more potential new visitors you can reach through your paid media campaigns.
Why ramp up owned media marketing?
When it comes to developing a media strategy for the travel industry, owned media is among the most effective marketing tools travel brands have at their disposal. This is because, when the elements of a brand’s owned media — including email, organic social media and a destination’s website — are employed effectively, brands can reach and continue engagement with potential travelers at a minimal cost. For this reason, it’s vital that each and every destination marketing organization (DMO) employ all the assets in its owned media toolbox.
Here are three ways to build your owned media approach:
To build your travel brand’s owned media assets and launch a successful owned media campaign, follow this three-tiered approach focused on generating long-term success:
1. Crank up your content
First, build up the content on your website (including blog articles, videos, customer testimonials, etc.) to give visitors something to engage with when they arrive. Be sure that the content you develop is interesting enough to draw users in, and that it serves to highlight all the things that make your destination or property worthy of a visit, or your travel-related service worthy of considering. Brands can also use this content to convey their expertise in the subject area, whether it’s offering travelers insider tips on things to do at the destination of choice or, with travel-related services, letting users know how to use the services to make their trips easier and more memorable.
2. Share it on social
As you build up the content on your brand’s website, make sure you are posting that content to social media to drive engagement on your social platforms and to drive traffic to your website. As your website and your social channels begin to grow in scope and size, they will naturally start building upon one another — with strong website content spurring visitors to follow your brand on social media, and engaging social posts leading followers to visit your website and review its content, over time generating a snowball effect.
3. Develop your database
Finally, your travel brand needs to build up its email database so that it can continue to remarket to potential visitors to your destination or users of your travel-related services. Effective ways to build up your brand’s opt-in email database include (just to name a few) simply asking consumers to sign up with a call to action in blog articles and emails, adding opt-in messages to your employees’ email signatures, creating lead-generation offers in which consumers provide their email addresses to receive special discounts or resources, and running contests in which consumers provide their email addresses during the registration process. (Once you’ve developed a solid database and begin your email marketing campaigns, there are also a number of steps you can take to further ramp up your brand’s email-marketing success — as this TBA blog article outlines.)
Getting started — and moving forward
For brands facing challenges generating the funds needed to start with large-scale paid advertising, a simple pop-up contest or giveaway conducted on the brand website or via paid social advertising can go a long way toward garnering attention and building an opt-in email database. And the prize doesn’t even have to be a big one to gain attention — many consumers go nuts over small prizes like YETI cups or giveaways of brand offerings and services.
From there, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on paid media to talk to potential visitors — rather, use your owned media to continue the conversation. And once you’ve developed a strong email database, to really entice visitation, it’s important to make sure you are segmenting your email campaigns so you can send messages highlighting specific areas of interest to the consumers most likely to be drawn in by those topics.
We can help.
Could your travel brand use some expert guidance in creating an owned media strategy that reels in followers and engagement at a fraction of the cost of traditional paid advertising placements? The Brandon Agency can help you with all of your owned media needs — from creating content, to posting on social media, to driving lead generation and setting up a segmented email program to continue to talk to your prospective visitors and buyers. Further, at TBA, our fully integrated marketing firm boasts a team of seasoned professionals who continually strive to stay in tune with what drives consumers, and has all the skills needed to cover brand exposure, brand strategy, social media, e-commerce and much more — all in one place. And as certified brand strategists, we can help your brand with the big-picture adjustments sometimes needed to put your business on a course to long-term success.
To learn how we can provide you with a full-circle marketing plan to capitalize on your owned media — or to get started with a range of additional professional guidance ranging from a simple web-store analysis to a comprehensive strategy tailored to boost your brand’s overall performance and identity — contact us today.