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Playing the Long Game with your Digital Campaign


A strategic digital marketing campaign is the very definition of a long game. It often takes patience and will not produce results overnight. You may ask, “what exactly constitutes as  ‘success’ when using a long game strategy?” While the answer will be different for every organization, by following these steps to approaching your digital campaign, your long game strategy will be set up for success. 

Step 1: Define the Goals

To determine the priorities of the campaign, the marketing team should decide what it wants to accomplish and what type of audience will be targeted to achieve this goal. These goals could include: building brand awareness,developing an email subscriber list, website traffic, or increasing engagement with your targeted audience. 

Deciding on what Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will be recorded throughout the duration of the campaign is just as important as determining a set goal. Some commonly recorded KPIs include:

  • Website Traffic Year over Year– campaign vs. campaign
  • Engagement– Site time, pages per visit, decreased bounce rate, mobile vs. desktop
  • Increased traffic to partner sites
  • Overnight stays and booking inquires
  • Travel guide distribution

For some organizations, this is also a good time to establish an appropriate theme for the campaign. Campaign themes can be based on vertical product offering like skiing, golf, fishing, anchor events in the destination, attractions and/or seasonal activities.  

To determine what content is most important to support each theme during a campaign, we recommend a process that begins with extensive exploration and research. 


Step 2: Do the Research

Once you have determined an appropriate theme for your campaign, the next step is to begin the exploration and research of that topic.  This will help you determine the promotional angle for the program.  The areas of research will include:

  • Google Analytics Data: number of page views, time on page, and audience demographics. This is done to tell us what content and subject matter related to the theme is most interesting to past website visitors. 
  • Content Consumption: Social media stats, blog postings, consumable travel products featuring itinerary suggestions, seasonal booking & occupancy trends.  

This is a great indicator of specific areas of interest along with identifying the best opportunities are for engagement and conversion. 

The data will provide us with key consumer demographics, landing page content details, and additional campaign itinerary ideas. Once this data is organized and categorized, it can then be developed into a well-structured website landing page and complemented with campaign creative.  At this point,  the campaign planning can officially begin! 


Step 3: Plan the Ad Program

Begin campaign planning by determining a start date and an end date for the promotion. Then, work through an ad schedule that will include several different flights and creative elements like video and imagery. Once the ad flights are determined, be sure they align with your established goals and effectively moves potential prospects through the customer “journey.”

The ad flights can take on multiple options, such as lead generation, content promotion, display or social ads.


Step 4: Implement and Monitor

Once the campaign is live, be sure it builds awareness, keeps customers engaged, and allows them to constantly discover more about your travel product.  You should continuously monitor results based on your KPIs and make any needed adjustments or changes to ensure success.  If the campaign is primarily built around a social platform like Facebook and the ads are appearing in the feed, be sure to review and respond to all comments. This can be as simple as a like or a “Thank you” with a smile emoji.


Step 5: Post Campaign Analysis

If this campaign was the first one run by your organization, explore benchmarks for industry standards to help determine the level of success. Once the benchmark measurements are reviewed and some time has been spent analyzing data, you can begin setting new goals based on what has been learned about the audiences’ needs based on performance

And finally, remember this: running a campaign is all about patience and perseverance. If you miss your mark the first time, don’t give up – keep on working to reach your established goals and pursuing the long game of digital campaign management. 

For more ways to master your digital marketing strategy and to stay up-to-date on the latest destination marketing trends, subscribe to the TwoSix E-Newsletter and follow us across social media! 

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Knowing the success of your tourism e-newsletter is an integral part of your digital marketing strategy. Here are 5 metrics to make sure you pay attention to when you’re reviewing your latest newsletter. Be sure to check out our blog about 5 Big Email Marketing Challenges, Solved, to help you come up with ways to improve these numbers!



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Digital Campaign Process for DMOs Beyond the Sign Up (VIDEO)

By Brian V. Matson, TwoSix Digital Senior Director of Strategy and Education

I recently returned from the Texas Association of CVB conference in Beaumont, Texas where I presented a keynote on digital campaigns. The session was well-received. One of the talking points that seemed to have stuck with attendees was my analogy of digital campaign development compared to the layers of an onion. My point was that when conducting a digital campaign much of the effort should come after the public campaign comes to an end.

Peel back the layers in your digital campaign

Digital Campaign layers

There are many stages in conducting successful online digital campaigns.

The layers of the “campaign onion” are:

Entry Point: The entry point is simply how users are getting to your offer. It could be through paid ads, organic posts or through blogs, etc. Even if a user doesn’t interact with the offer you still have a major opportunity to cookie the user for later communications and content offerings.

Acquisition: The acquisition stage is when a user enters their email, submits information, likes a page or opts in for future communications. These users will be added to a database that you can use to target future messaging to whether through promoted content, e-newsletters, etc.

Retargeting: This stage is after the public campaign has ended and it’s time to put the data to work. By using retargeting tools you can reach a wide range of users who interacted with your initial offer. It’s key that the retargeted messaging match the theme of the campaigns niche for maximum resonance.

Cross-Promotion: During retargeting you can cross-promote your other social media accounts. Building additional touch points with consumers can help you reach them in a more regular manner. If a user follows you on Facebook you should try to entice them to connect on Instagram, Pinterest, etc. by sharing content from those channels in retargeted messages.

Nurturing: This is all about engagement and interaction. This stage is key to showing users relevant content and putting your human side forward for increased authenticity and consideration.

Conversion: This stage may take a bit of time but eventually, if you provide quality content pieces that resonate with user interests, you will enjoy the benefits of a well-educated visitor who is more prone to share their experiences and increase word-of-mouth awareness for your destination.

While many DMOs do a great job of presenting offers to their audiences there are a lot of missed opportunities to get more out of the results of a campaign’s core mechanics. Once a user has clicked on an ad or social media post they’ve indicated interest. It’s our job as marketers to develop and deliver content well after the campaign ends to continue the educational and inspirational process whether they signed up or not. If your digital campaign is focused on a particular niche (as it should be) you now have a prequalified audience to develop content for. That’s huge.

Before you launch your next digital campaign

Check to make sure that you’ve done the following:

  • Installed a Facebook website pixel on the campaign’s landing page to retarget users with relevant content relating to the campaign’s theme in the future.
  • Ensured (and tested) that the campaign is mobile friendly and features an easy to use sign up process from mobile devices. Don’t forget the opt in!
  • Developed a plan for using existing databases to help drive your online advertising for the campaign. These high value targets can really enhance your final results. Facebook’s Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences should be created in the ads manager prior to the launch of the campaign.
  • You’ve created a content calendar including a handful of posts (or evergreen content) that can be used to re-market to users after the campaign ends. Stretch it out. Think long term communication and provide valuable bite-sized pieces of content to keep consumers aware of your destination in relation to their expressed niche.

Want to learn more? Check out the entire keynote below which includes several case studies, additional tips and even more info on making your next digital campaign one that produces results well into the future and help to better convert your next wave of visitors.

Tourism Industry Veteran Brian V. Matson Joins the TwoSix Digital Team

Connect with Brian on LinkedIn

Click to connect with Brian on LinkedIn

TwoSix Digital is happy to welcome 10-year tourism industry veteran, Brian V. Matson to the team as their Senior Director of Strategy & Education.

Brian has been a part of the travel and tourism industry since 2003 where he started as a front line visitor service representative with the Fargo-Moorhead CVB.  From 2005 to 2012 Brian served as the Marketing Director in Fargo where he launched “The Woodchipper in Fargo” campaign that was the Recipient of the 2011 Explore MN Travel Marketing Excellence Award and the 2011 North Dakota Governor’s Wade Westin Award for Tourism Marketing.  In 2012 he left the DMO side of the industry and joined the agency side to expand his experience and skills.  Since that time Brian has become a well-recognized speaker and educator at state, regional and national conferences and is known for his entertaining presentation style that makes his talking points stick with attendees.

“I’m really excited to have an old friend and colleague join us at TwoSix Digital,” says Dave Serino, the organization’s founder. “Brian brings a vast amount of digital and destination marketing experience to our team.  His skill sets and knowledge base are a perfect fit for our customer base.”

In his spare time Brian enjoys keeping his finger on the pulse of the latest technological advancements, social media trends, Jeep Wranglers, MMO video games and developing the art of storytelling through multimedia. He’s a self described “news junkie” and is never far behind the latest news of the day.  He currently lives in Brighton, MI with his wife, Kate and their cat Murphy.

You can follow Brian on Twitter at @BVMatson and LinkedIn.  Be sure to give him a warm welcome at brian@twosixdigital.com.  We’re certainly excited to have him aboard the TwoSix Digital Team.