I spent half an hour on the phone with a young man who is volunteering to help his community reach more visitors. It’s a town of around 1,000 people, with many of the same challenges other towns of all sizes face.
- The old guard folks just don’t get it yet, and he wants to find a way to help them do more.
- The existing website is static, and hard to update.
- He mentioned their wonderful walking trail. The trail map is on paper only, and you can pick up a copy, but only when the office where they keep it is open.
- To learn more about using social media for tourism in a small town, he wants to take our Tourism Currents course. He doesn’t think they’ll pay his way, so he’s thinking of paying for the course out of his pocket, and use the results to convince the old guard that it’s worth it.
How many towns fall into this same pattern?
If you are stuck in that pattern, here are two ways to get things moving:
- Start building a group of like-minded supporters. These can be people inside and outside the organization.
- If you run into resistance in changing the old site, start a new blog on a separate site. Or build an outpost on Facebook, Twitter or Flickr.
We also talked about measuring his results, so he can show the folks that new visitors are coming from his new efforts online. In Lesson One of our courses we talk about lots of ways to monitor how much buzz you are generating.
If you are wanting to measure new bookings, like my friend on the phone, then you can try some of these tracking tactics:
- Create a special discount code
- Use a separate website for registrations
- Create a special event or secret reward
Then spread the word through all your new marketing tactics, but don’t mention them in the old, traditional places. Don’t put them in your paper newsletter or on your old website. Then you should have some results to show around.
If you’re facing the same challenges, find ways to show rather than tell.
- Beauty Salons as Business Incubators - April 25, 2016
- I love everything about business fairs except where they are held - April 18, 2016
- Collisions, Serendipity and the Hybrid Vigor of Ideas - April 11, 2016
- Have a town history video? How about a town future video? - April 4, 2016
- Small town tourism activity: Architectural scavenger hunt - March 28, 2016
- Business idea: photo scanning service - March 21, 2016
- Small business email marketing makeover: from a cluttered mess to a personal letter - March 14, 2016
- Rural retail trend 2016: diversification - March 7, 2016
- Recruiting business to your small town - February 22, 2016
- Should small towns allow outside food trucks? - February 15, 2016