Many of the folks involved in marketing seem to completely ignore the offline world. The result is that billboards normally look nothing like the website (see Spaced Repetition for why this is a fail) and rack-cards featuring different colors (see Colors in Marketing for why this is a fail). The truth is that your customers will go through your sales funnel online, offline and a combination of the two. I believe that all you marketing needs to work together to be as effective as possible.
With this is mind, I include networking in my sales funnel just the same as a Twitter account. By the way, I also include the Credibility Statement in my sales funnel for much the same reason. I accept that I am an outlier on this topic when compared to the experts. I’m happy with that status - everybody is wrong except me.
When a visitor comes into town, he may have seen your website and that’s the logo and colors he will be looking for on the sign. Your real-world marketing needs to be integrated into this process.
The top of your funnel is where visitors first hear about your attraction. This may well be a question posed to a local: “Hey, where’s a good place to eat?” What happens in the next couple of seconds will affect your business. When out in town, I am asked several times a month what I recommend for a show, restaurant, hotel, or whatever.
I bring all this up because you may well believe that your business is geared towards tourists and the locals already know about your place. They simply are not your target. Nothing could be further from the truth! You need locals to speak highly about your business.
In the video Lecture, I talk about a client who doesn’t ever give out tickets to his attraction — ever. But these tickets cost him nothing and he could generate a lot of good will by donating tickets to various local causes. I get several a month so I can run various Facebook contest but that is not the same as donating to the local auction to support the Women’s Shelter.
Besides generating business later, this is simply the moral thing to do. Your tourist attraction can be the center of your community and it's simple to do.
Try to have local area Appreciation Days where you give out discounts and freebies to area residence. It normally cost very little to do something like this and the local paper & radio station will be happy to get the word out for free. Schedule this event for a time when very few visitors will be at your place and things will be otherwise slow. Yeah, the locals also have family, and cousins from out of town will come to visit later. They will purchase tickets to attractions they feel good about. All marketing is about feelings.
Face to Face marketing will also include things like attending events for your local CVB (Convention & Visitors Bureau) or local business group. I tend not to be a great small talk with strangers person so I’ll not recommend you do something I don’t do much of myself. However, I have belonged to the local Chamber of Commerce and attended many events.
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