Adrian: Hi, I’m Adrian Maidment, the WUMA Media Digital Marketing Podcast. In this episode we’re looking at how to pick the right marketing channels for your business. With a focus on digital marketing. My guests for this episode are Loretta Crawford and Gemma Bond from Tourism Bay of Plenty. Loretta is the Destination Marketing Manager and Gemma is a Digital Content Manager.
Hello, Loretta and Gemma.
Hi. Hi. Maybe we should just start with what those titles mean. I’ll mention, you can’t see it, but we’ve got a beautiful view of the Tauranga Harbour this morning. So come visit.
Loretta: I think you probably just summed up our jobs with that phrase.
Adrian: And that concludes my podcast.
Loretta: We work on campaigns and content that would encourage people to come visit the Bay of Plenty region.
Adrian: And I guess maybe one change is the whole Covid thing. Has that been a change from international or regional, to more of a local people kind of thing?
Gemma: Yeah. We aren’t marketing to international visitors at the moment. We don’t have any cruise ship visitors, which made up about five percent of our visitor population pre Covid. So now we are heavily focused on our domestic market and also kind of raising the profile with our locals of what there is to do in the Bay.
Loretta: With Covid, we had to make quite a few changes to our marketing channels, particularly our website. Gemma built a whole new Covid. hub, for visitor information.
Gemma: Yeah, it was an overnight change. We just actually launched the new website on the day that Covid was announced as a pandemic. So I just spent a year working on the website and then we launched it.
And suddenly we had no international visitors to come to the Bay of Plenty.
Adrian: It does look good, the website. Is that sort of your central hub for everything?
Gemma: That’s our kind of our storefront I guess.
Adrian: So for your digital marketing mainly, you’ve got: Facebook, Instagram…
Gemma: Website, and e-news letters. They would probably be our key channels that we use.
Adrian: And is there something that works better than others? To find your target market?
Gemma: It depends on the target market. So you know, our Facebook page is primarily populated with locals. So the content that we share on there is often more about events, what’s going on, what deals there are. Whereas the Instagram, we have a few different accounts for Instagram, but the main Bay of Plenty NZ one is more of an inspirational look at the beautiful pictures.
This is what you’re going to see when you come to the Bay, rather than pushing products or, you know, kind of book a tour with us. It’s about kind of inspiring people to maybe look at coming here rather than, somewhere else.
And I mean, a lot of what we have on Instagram is locals as well. And there’s a lot of pride. People just love a picture of The Mount.
Adrian: Yeah. When in doubt, put a picture of The Mount up.
Gemma: Yeah, pretty much. Yeah. It is always super popular. And I mean, Mauao is amazing, but we do try and expand on what else there is in the region rather than just focusing, because people know that, it’s our hero.
Gemma: So we do try and share the love with the rest of the region as well.
Yeah. And how I mean, there’s so many photos going up. How do you sort of keep things consistent across your channels?
Gemma: With Instagram? We use a we use a platform called later.com. So it’s a super, reasonably priced kind of scheduling platform, 400 US dollars a year, I think. And it just means that you can set up a whole lot of tracking hashtags.
And when you’re mentioned and it brings all that content into later.com, and then you can re-share it ,so you can plan your feed, you can preview it and see how it looks and make sure it’s all nicely curated with beautiful images.
But also our region covers the coastal Bay of Plenty, so we start at Waihi Beach and we go all the way down to Ohope. So we need to make sure that everything we’re sharing is across the region and not just in Tauranga or the wider kind of Western Bay of Plenty. We focus on making sure that we share the love.
Adrian: It’s a big area. And you’ve got lots of stakeholders in there, with different councils.
Loretta: Absolutely. Try and get some good coverage. And CrowdRiff is another really good tool for managing Instagram.
Gemma: It’s specifically designed for regional tourism organisations or destination management organisations, which is what Bay of Plenty is. It’s a gallery that we have on the bottom of our website and throughout the website where it’s UGC, so that’s a whole lot of user generated content and you can curate the content on each page based on what that page has on that.
So, if it’s a foodie page, we bring in the foodie content. If it’s a beach page it’s got beach images. And so it’s super it’s authentic. This way we get our own images. But, you know, people want to see what actually is happening in the region.
So it tells our story in a really nice, authentic way.
Adrian: Yeah, it’s kind of a move isn’t it, like in general advertising, away from the cheesy model of this product. We want more real life now.
Gemma: Yeah. You know, it’s just more trustworthy. It’s genuine.
Loretta: Yeah, it looks good, too. Yeah.
You’ve got a good product to start with pretty much as well. How do you measure your success? Can I use the word ROI?
Adrian: You can use the word ROI?
How do you measure stuff?
Gemma: It’s probably less of a thing for us because it’s not so much about selling or making money. But I think in terms of measuring success, it’s making sure you’ve got goals at the start and setting those benchmarks so that you know what needs to either be improved or, you know, you can kind of go back at the end and compare and say with what’s worked, what hasn’t. Not everything’s going to work.
Loretta: And yeah, I think setting those goals and then pushing yourself a little more each year really helps you.
Adrian: What are some of your goals? At the moment.
Loretta: Well, for example, or locals campaign, “No Place Like Home.” We had a goal of a certain amount of subscribers to the database. We had a goal for click rate. Bounce Rate. So we really knew what we were chasing for the whole financial year.
And we’ve hit most of those goals. But I think it’s also really good to combine your on and offline efforts. So we’ve made sure that we skinned our i-SITE, that we also had corresponding Google AdWords and the same messaging throughout our radio campaigns.
It’s kind of basic stuff as well. But we had one overall goal, which was to drive subscription to the e-newsletter.
Gemma: And spending a lot of time in Analytics, you know, like Loretta was saying about the bounce rate, the time on site, you want to see that the traffic you’re driving to the website, like I said, it’s our store front.
So we want people to get there and know that what they’re going to is what they were expecting to see. So how long are they spending on the site? What are they looking at? Is it good quality traffic?
So the bounce rates are really important to bring down. Those are things that you just constantly working on. And sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. You’re going to have a fail every now and then. It just depends on who those people are and what the messaging is, really.
And the call to action.
Loretta: We get some surprises, too, but there’s also some pretty obvious ones. You know, tourism marketing is really seasonal driven. So our most popular content at the moment is hot pools, when the weather gets warmer it will often be fresh water swimming spots.
So it’s about being really relevant and timely with your audiences, which is what content marketing is all about. In fact, our latest e-newsletter has done incredibly well, hasn’t it?
Gemma: Yeah, we did. We have our domestic campaign. So that’s the ‘ Sure to Make You Smile’ campaign. So we’re targeting people outside of the Bay of Plenty to come here. We want to encourage them to come and visit. On Friday, I sent a newsletter out in open rate is at 70 percent.
And the kind of competitor bench mark is about 34. So that’s really good. And we led with the hot pools content. So you just know that that’s obviously seasonal, people are thinking about it. It was just before the school holidays.
So it was, you know, here’s some things to do during the school holidays. It’s inexpensive. It’s targeting people in the Waikato where there are no hot pools really. So it’s thinking about who you’re talking to. What might be interesting.
And we do a bit of A/B testing with our subject headlines just to see what people prefer. And then you can kind of make the next versions based on what you think working based on that test.
Adrian: Because email marketing has grown a lot, hasn’t it? And it’s really effective.
Loretta: I feel I feel like it’s it’s a new age of email marketing
Adrian: It’s not one of the cool things. But it actually works really well.
Loretta: It can be very, very effective. And I feel like its reputation was a bit damaged a little bit. You know, as as you know, brands might have got a little bit too spammy. But now moving back to content marketing focus, when it’s where it’s really relevant for your audience and nurture that audience with the right content, it can be really, really effective.
Gemma: And I think it’s really important to not to kind of manage expectations when people sign up to our newsletter. We have literally say we’re not going to email you every week. We’ll email you when there’s something interesting.
We don’t want to feel like we have to do it every Friday because we’ve seen we all. So we don’t want people to just kind of expect it, because once you expect something, you kind of ignore it a little bit.
So it’s almost like that surprise and delight.
Adrian: I was actually going to talk about time consuming parts. What are the most time consuming parts of marketing?
Gemma: Whether that’s writing content or curating content or video content . It takes time, takes thought. It’s, you know, I mean, you can do some sort of fast and dirty video content and it comes out pretty good.
But you gotta be quite good at that. You know, it’s hard to nail it. So definitely creating content. And I think it’s being smart about it. And, you know, with e-news letters we have a couple of different databases.
So we email content, but we also share that content between the different databases because it just makes sense to use it in multiple places.
Loretta: We sometimes take inspiration for our content from local Facebook community groups. So if there’s a thread where people are asking how we can, I take my dog to a café on the weekends and there’s enough people interested and we’ll create a place based on that.
And we have done a piece recently on dog friendly cafes in the Bay of Plenty, and that’s been really, really popular. But the effort that it took to research that piece and reach out to some of the cafes and to curate photographs.
Yes, we put quite a bit of time into that piece, but it has been worth it.
Gemma: And we’re really lucky we have access to the iSITE downstairs. And, you know, they have people coming in all the time asking for where’s the map for this or how do I do that? So we have that kind of on the coalface kind of. I guess, feedback so we can direct our content based on what we know people are asking for, which is really helpful as well.
Loretta: So you listen to your audience.
Adrian: What’s the most popular thing? What’s the most popular thing that people ask for downstairs?
Loretta: Cycleways and just, you know, general maps. They’re also really interested in heritage and history. Sometimes they come in and they ask, what are the middens on Mauoa.
You know, what are these bits and pieces that I say? Because, you know, there could be better way of finding the signage around Tauranga about Mount Maunganui. So a lot of times they’ll come and ask the frontline staff. What’s this place, what does it mean, why is it relevant?
Well, say someone from a business, they’ve set up their business, right? They’ve got their product and they’ve got all these different channels. And they’re freaking out about…I got my Facebook and Instagram. I don’t know.
Adrian: I got the website… Is there a channel you recommend they start with? What’s their first step?
Gemma: I think that a website probably, if you’ve got no way to direct people, then it’s going to be pretty hard for them to get a profile. So, I mean, you can create a free website with Wix, or I mean, there’s so many platforms now that you don’t need to be a developer to be able to get a website.
So I think, you know, you need to kind of break down that barrier of feeling like you can’t do it. But also, so many people have a niece or a brother or, you know, cousin. That’s really good with that stuff.
So just make the most of your friends and family that might be able to help. But I think the first step would be either a website or even just a Google business listing. You know, Google is bigger than anything in the world.
So making sure that you’re on there, your hours are up to date, your street address, phone number. As long as someone searches for you on Google, something pops up that is super important.
Adrian: Google My Business and local listings are really important.
Loretta: It’s just, you know, having the Yellow Pages online. Usually. So it’s a real must. And Facebook, of course, is free. And you can take bookings through Facebook, which is really useful if you, you know, have a bookable service, of course, Facebook and Google aren’t friends.
So if you’re a new business owner and somebody is searching for you and you don’t have a web presence, it’s not going to pop out the top of the top of the search results.
Gemma: But in terms of, I guess, trying to decide what channel I think do a bit of research, look at what your competitors are doing, what seems to be working for them, and don’t over commit, pick one and do it well.
And then once you’ve kind of got that ticking along, if you think you’ve got capacity to say, reach out to Instagram, then, you know, stop that. But I think. Whatever you start with, just put the time into making it right and doing it really well.
Otherwise, you know, I don’t know how many times I’ve done that. you go and look at a Facebook page and they haven’t put a post on for a year and a half. And you’re like, all right, well, I’m not going to go there.
Adrian: Is there business closed?
Loretta: Exactly. You run the risk of looking like you aren’t operating if you’re not posting regularly. Yeah. But it’s also really just knowing where your audience is. So you want to take your product to market to where the people are.
If it’s foodie related business, Instagram’s probably going to be a really good choice. But Facebook might be better or, you know, a website depending on some products. Your audience still reads the newspapers as well. We do a mix of obviously online and print.
Because it’s for locals in particular, it’s a broad audience. And so a lot of the decision makers do still pick up the community newspapers.
Gemma: Yeah. And Facebook is definitely an older audience now.
Adrian: How do you define an older audience? What age group?
Gemma: Definitely under 25 is not really on Facebook. And I’m not saying that twenty five year olds are old, but I think if you look at the, you know, 25 plus, the stats just get higher. But it’s actually, I think, like the 50 to 60 year olds are really active on it.
I’ve got lots of aunties that spend a lot of time on Facebook all day. But yeah, it’s it’s and, you know, they are very what’s the word? Engaged. Yeah. Whereas I think the younger people might be only, but they are just kind of scrolling.
Loretta: That’s OK for our efforts because a lot of that audience, the ones making the travel decisions. Yes. So it makes sense for us to be spending time to put content on that channel and engage with that audience. Yeah.
Adrian: What about paid advertising, Google ads or Facebook?
Loretta: We’ve found Google ads to be very effective when complemented with offline efforts to drive subscription. So we found that step was missing with our campaign to drive subscriptions to an e-newsletter.
So we implemented that digital layer. So when you search the Web address, the first thing that pops up is sign up here. So we were kind of able to control that journey a little bit more, and that’s been really effective and increasing subscriptions.
Gemma: Adwords is always a good thing to even just put a little bit of budget to and just have it running in the background. They’re hot leads. They’re searching as long as you’re getting your keywords, right.
They’re searching for your product or your activity or whatever it might be. And so, you know that if they happen to see your ad is up there and they click on it, that’s what they’re looking for.
So it’s a good way to do it.
Adrian: Is it better for more established businesses, because they know the brand?
Loretta: It depends. I mean I think radio can be quite useful if you’re trying to drive brand awareness. Especially if you’re pushing a memorable kind of URL, people search for it, you need to make sure that you’re popping up.
And often if you’re starting out, Adwords is the only way to get to the top.
Gemma: Yeah, paid advertising on Facebook. I think that you need to commit some of your budget to boosting your posts. The Facebook algorithm has made it so difficult to have any visibility unless you’re paying them. So even if it’s five dollars, you know, per post, which doing that once a week, that’s 20 bucks a month or whatever it is. It’s not a big spend, but it just means that you can kind of have a bit of control over where, you know, who’s seeing your posts as well as anyone being able to see them.
Facebook advertising, I think depending on the markets, depending on the product, in the tourism industry, it’s really muddied at the moment. So I’ve actually noticed quite a decline in the engagement and the kind of the success of it with the last campaign.
There’s just so much there’s so much terrible content, so much come and explore your own backyard. And, you know, everyone’s trying to do the same thing. So I think it’s not always going to work. There’s times when it does.
Video content is hero.. So if you’ve got some good video content, then just spread that far and wide because that’s. Yeah, it’s going to always get preference in terms of visibility.
Loretta: And I think sometimes people underestimate the efforts that are required for the final step of the content marketing process, which is distribution and sharing. So you’ve got your strategic content strategy at the beginning and then you create it, which is very time consuming.
Then it’s like, who’s going to actually say that? So how am I going to get it out there? And it’s not you know, you could sit it on your website and it might stay there for years and nobody sees it.
You’ve actually got to take it a step further. So we do that not just in our social channels with other content partners or, you know, moving into the PR space where you try and share that as well, as well as out our e-marketing email.
A newsletter communications program.
Adrian: Yes, good point. A lot of people are, I’ve made my video…Why isn’t it working? You haven’t done anything with it. It’s just sitting there.
Gemma: And I think, you know, it’s really important if you’re short on time or short on budget or both, is to make sure that the content you create has a bit of longevity.
And then at the end of date, you know, start with anything that we do. We try to really have that video content to make sure that we can use it for a couple of years, because it can be expensive.
So it’s making sure that you’re getting the best bang for your buck in terms of how many times you can use it and things like putting products on videos. If they change the brand, suddenly you can’t use that video anymore.
So you have to be really careful with what you’re putting in there, I think. Yeah, content that’s kind of timely. Also, you can use it more than once, like the hot pool content, we’ve used it heaps, because those hot pools are generally always there and we can kind of reuse it.
You might update and friction it up a bit, which is really good SEO. It’s to kind of make sure your content is getting refreshed.
Adrian: Cruise ships, not so much at the moment. No shots of the cruise ships?
Gemma: Not so many. No, no, that’s yeah.
Loretta: I’m not sure what will happen. We’ll just watch that space.
Adrian: Do you do much SEO?
Gemma: Our web agency does. Yeah. So I think by virtue of us loading content all the time, that’s really good for SEO. I don’t think it’s like it used to be back in the day where you had to, you know, type keywords into your content to make sure that it felt really forced.
Content is king. So the more content you add to your website or any online presence is going to help that profile.
Loretta: The bayofplentynz.com is our web agency’s most authoritative website simply because the amount of effort we’ve put into creating new content that we know is really relevant to our audiences, because we do look at those community groups and say, hey, what do people actually want to know about the region?
Where are the gaps? How can we be of use?
Adrian: So just what are your three, maybe three top tips for a business looking to work on their channels of distribution and everything and the websites,
Loretta: If they have a content marketing strategy, as well as knowing who the audiences are and what will be really relevant to them, putting the effort into creating good content that audiences will enjoy. Make sure you’ve got the time to distribute and publish it to multiple channels.
Gemma: And I think don’t get disheartened if, you know, if it doesn’t work the way you think it’s going to. Don’t think that it’s not going to work at all. It’s an evolving thing and it’s a slow burn.
It’s not going to happen overnight. You do need to commit to doing it properly. So just be patient.
Loretta: Maybe consider some really clean call to actions. What is the one thing, if you had to choose what your really want your audience or your potential customers to do, is it that you want to visit the website, you want to sign up to your e-newsletter, or do you want them to interact with your content?
Really pick some targeted goals and go after those.
Adrian: Great! We’ll leave it there on this sunny day that no one can see. But thank you, Gemma and Loretta. Thank you. And please come and visit.
Loretta and Gemma: bayofplentynz.com!!!