It Is Time to Turn Your Marketing Back on, Now!

It Is Time to Turn Your Marketing Back on, Now!
AUGUST 2020

As a full-service marketing communications firm that handles hotels and resorts all around the country, we understand the devastation that COVID19 and the shutting down of our economy has had on businesses. Truly unprecedented, and new territory for us all. We’re fully six months into this pandemic and hotels – like most businesses – remain fairly dark when it comes to marketing. Yes, many businesses have been slowly reopening, but restrictions on what they can and can’t do remain suffocating. So the big question is, “what is a marketer to do?”  Remain quiet and in the background hoping things will get better on their own?  Or is it time to boldly move forward and prepare for the day where things are a bit normal again – a smooth, efficient, effective reentry. 

Truth be told, while it might be tempting to keep ad campaigns to a minimum until revenue starts coming in again, doing so can be risky. With sales being at all-time lows for so many businesses – particularly the hotel and travel sector - it’s critical to get back into the game, now!  To optimize for profitability, businesses have to begin getting their message out, and let people know they are open and ready to do business. How? 

78Madison believes there are two immediate options: 

  • Attractive special offers and promotions
  • Investment in the right marketing channels

Developing promotions and offers
The last thing one wants to do when revenues are in the tank is discount, right? But this approach will simply be necessary to get people to venture out again, not only to travel, but just to buy. Every business needs to re-evaluate what audiences will deliver the most short-term possibilities and then develop promotions that will attract them to your place of business. As an example, during the initial stages of re-opening, especially with state border restrictions evolving rapidly, hotels will want to rely more on local, state, and regional markets with a large portion of that business coming from leisure travelers. 

Consider your businesses primary selling points as part of your special promotion. Sticking with the “hotel” theme: Is the hotel located in a destination that is easily accessible by car? If yes, then include free parking, and perhaps offer a special long weekend getaway rate (i.e. book two nights for the price of three). Consider packaging “socially distanced” recreation, such as free bicycle rentals, an intimate dinner served in their room, golf, tennis, free beach chairs, etc. Whatever discount/promotion you think will get travelers out of their living room. 

Once you’ve developed your promotions and offers, the next step is to get the word out to the right target audiences and through the right channels, without hesitation. 

Investing in the right digital marketing channels 
During the past few months you have hopefully used your downtime to fine-tune your businesses SEO and content strategy, from revisiting page titles and descriptions, to honing in on any non-brand keywords you’re looking to make gains on to increase visibility. As well, you have hopefully spent some time making sure your website is well-optimized to help with ad rank and relevancy for paid search, which can help increase the efficacy of SEM spend. But as, or more important, you need to TURN YOUR DIGITAL BUDGET BACK ON and spread it smartly across channels so that you’re covering your key audiences adequately.

  • Start by capturing the “low hanging fruit” by investing in brand name paid search (SEM) and metasearch. 
  • To fuel the upper part of your business funnel and drive traffic…
    • Consider using inspirational ads on channels such as Facebook and Instagram, bidding on the niche non-brand keywords defined in your SEO strategy, or…
    • Incorporate a display remarketing push to re-engage previous site visitors. 

To be clear, inspirational doesn’t suggest being tone-deaf. Simply, it means that all of your messaging should reflect that your business is open, is doing all it can to be safe, and value its customers. 
 
Closing Notes
As you begin to ramp up your marketing – digital being the most flexible for the time - it’s important to reset expectations for your initial period of reopening.  

Traditional revenue-based metrics like “Return on Ad Spend – ROAS” will likely be lower than normal to start, so you will want to also focus on upper- or mid-funnel metrics like clickthrough rates and conversion rates to analyze the success of ad campaigns. Also, establish micro-conversion rates to track small goals. For example, the percentage of users who clicked on the “purchase or booking” button after landing on the website from an ad campaign is insightful in measuring campaign relevancy. 

Most of all, it’s important that you communicate and work closely with your advertising agency partner (if you have one) ahead of time to clearly delineate the goals and ROI expectations for any marketing dollars spent.

We hope this offers you some helpful tips during these most difficult of times. Let us know your thoughts. 

The 78Madison 
Marketing Team

78Madison is a full-service marketing communication firm located in Orlando Florida (Altamonte Springs). We believe we are the ideal choice for an organization that needs the assets of a larger agency but wants one that is flexible enough to provide personal service and a high level of collaboration. Let’s start a conversation.