Lake Tahoe is a popular tourist destination, with over 2.7 million visitors per year. If you’re a small business owner in the Lake Tahoe area you may be wondering how you can capitalize on the ever-growing tourist industry.
It has a great variety of tourist attractions, from the stunning natural beauty and hiking trails, such as Eagle Rock, to winter sports, including some of America’s best skiing. If you prefer a more laid-back approach to vacation, there are stunning beaches as well as high-end shopping and dining along the north shore. Alongside these are historic sites aplenty, including Tallac Historic Site and the Ed Z’berg Sugar Pine Point.
Lake Tahoe is so stunningly beautiful you don’t have to convince people to visit.
However, the local tourism industry is well-established and highly-competitive, a lot of competition, with activities, beaches, and sight-seeing destinations all vying to catch the attention of visitors. An effective marketing strategy will distinguish your business from others and make sure customers find you first!
Beacon Media + Marketing has an office in downtown Reno, but our story started in Anchorage, Alaska. We have plenty of experience in developing and executing successful marketing stratgies for the competitive outdoor tourism sector. Here, we’ll summarize some of our most successful tricks of the trade, giving you an insider’s view into the world of tourism marketing.
Small business marketing
We mentioned before that we are well-placed for providing insight into marketing for the tourist industry in an area of outstanding natural beauty, which also includes historic sites and plenty for the outdoor sports enthusiast.
Here we’ll summarize some of our tips that are applicable for Lake Tahoe tourism companies, from a series of blogs on marketing for tourism and related businesses that we’ve written.
You may have heard that blogging is important to growing your business, and it is. There are a few tricks to effective blogging. The primary thing to remember is that consistency is key! You need to be publishing regularly to get the results you want. Here are some proven methods of blog marketing:
- The inbound marketing philosophy is a simple concept. People are online all day, every day – this means that putting quality content in front of them is easier than ever. The core tenet of the inbound philosophy is that if you consistently provide useful content to people, they will remember you and seek you out when they need your services.
- People use Google to ask questions, so it’s super effective to answer them. If you’re the one people can rely on when they want to know something, they’ll remember you when they want to buy something.
- The waterfall method of blogging is a highly successful, and slightly sneaky, trick for getting your posts to rank on Google! Google highly rates backlinks: that is, other credible websites linking to your blog. Links of this kind act a bit like a referral, but it can be difficult to get links from other websites. So, we do what is called backlinking. This involves using your own website to provide links! A common way of organizing this, which you can use successfully for your Lake Tahoe tourism business, is called the waterfall method.
To see an example of one of our blog waterfalls, and to read more about our blogging strategy, read our blog on blogging for arctic tourism here.
There are two types of Google ads: display ads and search ads. Display ads pop up on websites, they are usually a graphic or image and can be identified by grey “advertisement” text above them. Search ads appear at the top of your search results page, very effective for putting you in your customers’ eye-line.
Google uses an algorithm to determine which ads you see when you search. In the fraction of a second after you press search, it takes an inventory of all the ad accounts that contain keywords or phrases used in your search.
If you want to read about google ads in more detail, including how the algorithm works, and how they can help tourism-related businesses, head over to another blog we wrote here.
We at Beacon Media + Marketing have a 5-step process for developing a strong brand.
Here is a quick overview:
- Understand what branding is. Your brand is your visual identity, it’s what people will think of you
- Brand discovery. Your primary focus in this part of the process should be focused on identifying your competition and how you can differentiate yourself from them. You also want to identify your target customers and work out how you can appeal to them.
- Naming. Sometimes naming can come naturally, but other times it can be the hardest part of the process, so we offer some advice:
- Look at competitors
- Consider using names of founders
- Consider using your location
- Alongside a name, you should come up with a tagline
- Choosing iconography, color, and font. The icon is the part of your brand that most people think of when they talk about the “brand” or the “logo”. It is the part of your brand where you can use form, rather than text to communicate your brand. It can be used to represent name, location, and mission in a quick and easily accessible manner.
- Management. A mismanaged brand can become messy and inconsistent, which dilutes the effectiveness of your brand. At Beacon Media + Marketing, we provide clients with a style guide that informs staff of what logo, colors, and fonts to use and how to use them.
If you’d like to learn more about branding, you can delve into it in more detail in a blog we wrote, here.
Experts recommend that you redesign your website every 2-3 years. Why? Because product changes, staff changes, fashion, and best practices all change rapidly in business and online.
However, we appreciate that this can be a daunting task. We at Beacon Media + Marketing have 20 years of experience in the marketing industry, and a proven process for website design.
You can read about our process in more detail, here.
Meet with your team
Before you get started on your website design, it’s vital to get a handle on what exactly you want to create, what you want to say about your tourism business, and what your goals are.
We recommend gathering all the key people in your business into one room and asking yourselves questions to determine this. It is often helpful to look at some of your competitors and determine what aspects of their website you like, and what you don’t like, to help you generate some ideas .
Map out your design
Now that you have an idea of what your website should look like, and you have some concrete features you’ll need, you can create an outline.
For our clients, we create two documents to provide a guide for the website: a site map and a wireframe.
The site map is simply a flowchart or bullet list of all the pages on your website and the order in which they will derive from one another.
This then provides the foundation for the wireframe, which is a set of images in which you show the elements you want on each page and how they relate to each other.
Despite the technical name, a wireframe is just a rough sketch of what you want your website to look like and where you want the elements to be.
Write the content
Having created the wireframe and left spaces for paragraphs, it is now time to write the content that goes into those boxes. We recommend three best practices for content writing, which will allow you to produce attention-grabbing and engaging content:
- Choosing keywords that people are searching on google, and ensuring you use them throughout your writing, is a good way o rank on Google
- Including your keywords in your headers helps Google know what your content is about. Writing catchy headers also helps draw in readers, often people just skim over the text looking for their interests; you want to catch them and keep them interested.
- Google can tell if your content is low-quality as people will quickly leave a page if it doesn’t have what they’re looking for or isn’t nice to read. If lots of people do this, Google takes it as a sign that your content is low quality and will be less likely to recommend it.
Develop your website
The site map, wireframe, and content are all going to come together in the final web design. The first step in developing your website is deciding which software to use to build it. We typically recommend WordPress, which is an industry-standard solution that is completely customizable.
When building your website, be sure to stick to your brand guidelines. A well-managed, and cohesive brand is vital for a good-looking website. (Remember, we talked about this earlier!)
Once your website is ready to go, it’s time to publish and set it live.
If you’ve found this insight helpful, and want to learn more, be sure to check out our other blogs that go into more detail on each of these topics. Alternatively, if we’ve convinced you that your business could benefit from our expertise, you can schedule a free consultation.