Can someone else ever really market your destination like you can?

Why, as destination marketers, would we EVER delegate our marketing or PR to a company/person that doesn’t live in our area? This isn’t a product you can just send someone to have them take a few snaps of and play around with… our product in this industry is a place, and for many of us, it has emotional ties and a strong sense of pride.

Now I don’t mean that someone from an outside area can’t do a one-time job and create our website for us, or compile our monthly newsletter if we send them all the info, but why would we let someone from outside our area completely take over how we market our region to potential customers. Would you let someone a state away run your social media platforms? No! They wouldn’t have the ability to get all the photos/run live stories on a regular basis, and then what is the point?

I was recently watching a video by Marie Forleo, a business coach that I adore, where she talked about how we really shouldn’t allow another organization to take over our marketing. So many people have a negative association with the word “marketing” (they see it as slimy or unethical), and, as Marie says, “because of that distaste, they make the tragic error of trying to ‘delegate’ their marketing to someone else. Or worse, they ignore it all together.

Eventually, this wrong kind of thinking will kill your business.

If you can’t attract enough [customers]… or can’t seem to get enough people to listen to your ideas or message…

A mistaken, outdated mindset about marketing is likely the cause.

What’s more, marketing is not an area to delegate to someone else. It’s not an area to hire out or entrust to anyone, especially in the beginning. This is even more true if you’re a [business] with limited resources.

Please hear me when I say this…

YOU are the best person to market and sell what you do.”

I could not agree more with Marie. It’s about changing how you look at marketing, and figuring out what YOU can do in 2018 to make this the year your organization starts marketing again. Get that bad taste out of your mouth about the word “marketing” and put some of these easy practices to good use:

  • If it doesn’t already, make sure your website is trying to convert EVERY VISITOR into a member of your e-newsletter list. This can be a simple pop-up that asks only for a first name and email. Don’t expect that a button on your site is going to do the trick – the pop-up is where the sign-up magic happens.
    • Entice them to sign up with exclusive content from your region. This could be “48 Hours in XXX” and give them an itinerary, or “5 Secret Spots to find Hot Springs” – it doesn’t need to cost your organization anything, just creating the PDF download. You would simply just need to set it up so when they sign up for the newsletter they automatically get a confirmation email with the download button in it. Easy-peasy.
  • Don’t rely too heavily on social media. Marie says it best, “when you don’t own the social media platform, you don’t own the connection.” What that means is, Facebook (or Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) can change their mind anytime about how they want to run their business (and trust me, they have) and that may leave you out in the cold if you’re relying too much on any social channel. Instead, focus on what you do own and have control over – your e-newsletter and your website.
  • Actually write an e-newsletter and keep up with it! Maybe once a month works for you, or perhaps once every two months is more feasible. Whatever you decide, stick to it! Remind people that they should come visit your location by sharing special events, itineraries and recent press coverage.
  • Lastly, amplify the publicity you get! One of the biggest mistakes I see happen to destinations is they receive great coverage and then they do nothing about it. SHARE IT! While many know to post it on social channels, you should also be putting it in the next e-newsletter and sharing on your website.

You can do this. It’s all about shifting the mindset on marketing, and realizing that the best person to do the job is you!