You own an adventure travel company, or maybe you head up the marketing department; maybe both. Either way, you’re passionate about the outdoors, providing life altering experiences for you clients, and opening their senses to new experiences in areas of the world few have even seen.
Frustration sets in however, when it becomes difficult to bring a full sense of the experience you’re selling to potential travellers. Without actually being there, how do you connect someone from their smartphone with the beauty of Torres Del Paine National Park in Chile, feel the weightlessness and freedom of cycling through Tuscany, or becoming the captain of their own ship while canoeing, kayaking or SUP paddling on the waters of Muskoka.
Back in the day, word of mouth could sustain a business almost entirely on it’s own. Now, with more and more tour operators emerging, competition is fierce. Those who are succeeding aren’t just relying on word of mouth, they are also bringing their digital “A” game. Developing creative online strategies, making them the giant sized needle in a very large adventure travel industry haystack.
The next question is, “how do I compete?”. Because running a tour company, and/or looking after the day-to-day marketing outside of the digital realm is, well, exhausting. If you could clone yourself, then you’d be in good shape…sorry – we aren’t quite there yet. That’s where we come in (until of course, you can in fact clone yourself). We do the heavy lifting while you’re able to focus entirely on running your business, and bringing those experiences to your clients.
But then you think, “why would I hire an agency when I can look after Facebook and twitter myself?” – “What can they do that I can’t?”. This isn’t an uncommon approach, especially considering that digital marketing is fairly new. But look at it this way; You’re driving to work, and realize you forgot to read an important email during breakfast. No harm in pulling out your smartphone for a second, right? Ok, so we know how this plays out…distracted driving never ends well. The same applies when running a business. Sure you could tweet, post, blog, pin, and snap yourself, but is it worth taking your eye off the road of running your business to do it? What is your digital strategy? How will you measure it? Who’s your audience? We see this often – companies going blindly into the digital space with their marketing, and it always ends up doing more harm than good. Trusted branding that takes years to establish offline, can all be undone in under a month online with a lack lustre digital strategy.
“online success isn’t a straight line…”
Being in the adventure travel world, we know you’re pressed for time; with trails to guide and waters to ride. But we can’t just leave you empty handed. Tackling a digital marketing strategy is a daunting task, so we’re highlighting a few points to consider out of the gates – the rest can be slowly integrated over time as you get more familiar with the digital content landscape.
Wether you’re doing it yourself, or hiring folks like us (*ahem*) to handle your online strategy, here are some things to consider.
Anything worth doing, is worth doing right. A content marketing strategy is no different. Going month-to-month without goal setting incorporated into your digital strategy, is like paddling in place, while expecting to reach camp before sundown. It’s important to establish clear, measurable benchmarks and decide where to place your focus during that particular month. The first month could mean gaining new Facebook followers, then building creative content that appeals to your personas (discussed below). Whatever it is you hope to get from your digital marketing efforts, set clear goals and hold yourself, and/or your marketing agency accountable, keeping in mind online success isn’t a straight line.
We’ve all heard, and probably experienced ” talking to them is like talking to a brick wall”. Same rings true when attempting to engage your social audience. Part of your digital strategy is to identify who is your existing market (you may already know), who buys your tours, and who you’d like to be buying your tours. Because building an online presence is much more than speaking to those who already love you, it’s about drawing in a new demographic – those who didn’t know you existed, until you entered their digital universe. Yes, we’re talking millennials. Adventurous spirits with money to burn, millennials, more than ever are seeking new adventures and yours could be next. Creative & consistent content, and total transparency in your messaging, will get you noticed by this 28-35 year old crowd. But not matter who your crowd is – speak to them, offer value in your content, and followers will become customers – customers will become brand ambassadors.
“Anything worth doing, is worth doing right…”
You aren’t a creative person, and you don’t know the first thing about putting together digital creative content. That’s ok! You have a few choices; hire an agency like ours to do it for you (again, avoiding distracted driving), or get out on your tours and start taking great pictures and video that tell your brand story. Be real – tell your story – make people fall in love with the unique travel experience you offer. Easy, right? Well, this is just one piece of the content sourcing puzzle, because nobody wants to tune into your social channels to only see your content. Being a part of the social community means engaging with like minded businesses, bloggers, and influencial types, and sharing their great content too. What goes around comes around – become and active contributor to the adventure travel digital space, and your business will reap the benefits.
Finally, let’s talk distribution. Boil your entire social initiative down to one goal. We can all agree it’s to get more eyes on our businesses, and less on the competitor’s. Simply posting video, witty tweets, and sexy instagram pictures won’t set you apart from the rest. But if you can get on board with the three following content distribution channels, you’ll not only drastically widen your audience, but bring even more value to your brand.
1) Partners: Align yourself with other online adventure travel businesses and tour operators. Approach them with ideas to cross promote, and share your creative content to their audience.
2) Influencers: Similar to aligning yourself with partners, you can get even more bang for your buck by aligning yourself with influencers. Travel bloggers & gear providers who have built a large following, and can share your content with their audience.
3)Paid: Talk about great value. The options now on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for paid advertising have become affordable, and allow you to target by country, city, state, gender and interests. You can set your own spending budget with the freedom of ending or extending the ads whenever you like.
I guess that’s it for now. Go bravely into the world of content marketing. If you need some help to get started, or someone to take the reigns all together, we’ve got over a decade of experience under our belts and would love to help you reach, and surpass your company’s potential.
Until we hear from you, check out some social media stats below, that further demonstrate your potential digital reach – one adventure you don’t want to miss out on!