Marketing ideas for every budget

Marketing budgets represented by money purses coin purses from Johnson Space Center courtesy San Diego Air and Space Museum Archives on Flickr Commons

“What’s in your wallet?” Different budgets call for a realistic assessment of where to spend money and time. (Photo of Johnson Space Center souvenir coin purses and wallets is courtesy the San Diego Air & Space Museum Archives on Flickr Commons – click to view the original)

How is your marketing budget looking these days?

One of our clients recently asked us to include basic budget spending advice in a presentation – what would we recommend for organizations with no money or time, some money and time, and a decent amount of money and time.

That challenged us to put on our thinking caps, and we thought we’d share the result with you.

Here are our marketing ideas for every budget…

You have no money & hardly any time

1) Focus your limited resources on your website.

  • Modern design
  • Mobile-friendly, responsive
  • Reviewed and updated regularly
  • Include good maps
  • At least a few itineraries (“Top 10 Things to See”)

—>> Free and powerful for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) but takes time: a blog

2) Build and maintain a strong tourism partner team. Cross-promote each other, share ideas, make trades for exposure. Consider setting up a private partner Facebook Group to help communication.

—>> Free and powerful but takes time: help partners with what we call The 2 Things online marketing basics… their Google My Business listings, and their Facebook Pages.

3) Your own active, ENGAGING Facebook Page. Learn to create better photos and videos for it. In general, make sure you’re paying attention on social media and sharing good posts and comments by others, especially when you’re tagged.

4) Bonus items: right now during the COVID pandemic, a lot of normally expensive data and studies are free, so take advantage. For U.S. tourism, look at the frequently-updated U.S. Travel Association COVID travel research page. Another great data roundup with more worldwide resources is the TTRA (Travel and Tourism Research Association) COVID Resources Page.

You have a little money & time

1) Do some more with digital marketing and social media.

  • Start an email list. Send an informative monthly email. YOU own and control this list, not a social media platform or search engine.
  • Do some Facebook and Instagram advertising. Start small, about US$50. Learn more here from Buffer about Facebook advertising.
  • Make sure you’re using hashtags effectively, especially on Instagram. Here’s our post about how to do Instagram hashtag research.
  • Consider adding another social platform/channel like Instagram, YouTube, or Pinterest, once you have Facebook down. YouTube and Pinterest are both powerful, popular search engines for travel.

2) Hire part-time marketing help, especially if they can help you create more/better photos and video. Think about how this person might also help your tourism partners. One of Leslie’s posts from our archives has tips on getting social media help with a college intern.

3) Do some PR; be more visible. Offer to be a guest on local TV and radio shows. Attend and sponsor regional events/fairs.

4) Offer to write a guest blog post for your regional or state tourism organization’s blog.

5) Get some help with educating your partners in digital marketing and social media. We do workshops like that all the time, including virtually.

You have a decent budget and time/resources

Woooo, good for you!

1) Do more advertising, including Google and Bing PPC (Pay-Per-Click) and some print. Spend on digital campaigns to build your email list. Get creative – try ads/sponsorships of travel podcasts, on Spotify, on Pandora, or do an influencer campaign.

2) Budget for help with video, PR, blogging and copywriting, SEO, and learning/professional development for you and for partners. Pay a local blogger/writer to write articles for web and print.

3) Organize a press trip/fam (familiarization) tour, but make sure attendees have a strong digital presence on more than one platform.

4) Sponsor and be present at state events, like your state fair.

5) Pay for economic impact and visitor profile studies and data.

Which marketing ideas did we miss? Let us know down in the Comments.


PS. Our whole focus is teaching you and/or your partners how to use digital destination marketing to bring more visitors to your town (when the time is right for that.)

Let us know if you need workshop or conference speakers – including virtual/webinars – or would like some personalized coaching and consulting.

If you want to bounce some ideas around about working with us, ping us through our Contact page.

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Holidays downtown Nov 2020 Save Your Town video graphic

Are your downtown businesses struggling, with too many empty buildings making things look sad?

What are the holidays going to look like with so many empty spaces? That’s what Deb Brown and Becky McCray, our colleagues and friends at SaveYour.Town, will help you with in their November video, Filling Up Downtown for the Holidays.

It’s only US$5 to purchase (normally US$20) and is available for viewing through November 16, 2020.

Deb and Becky focus on two things any town can do right now, with the least amount of prep work, and costing as little as possible.

They’ll have you start by filling up as many empty buildings as you can with temporary pop-up businesses, tapping your own local entrepreneurs. Then you’ll cover up the remaining empty spaces with inexpensive holiday decorations that really make downtown feel more festive.

Between temporary businesses and cheap decorations, you can eliminate almost all of those empty storefronts.

Click here to watch a sample of the video.

Go here to purchase video access, through November 16, 2020 (unless you have a monthly membership with SaveYour.Town, then they’re always available to you.)

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