Best Practices for Emergency Notification Content

I think it’s fair to say that the past few weeks have been interesting and, in some cases, pretty difficult. Like so many of you, we’ve been keeping our global community in our hearts as we’ve seen the rapid spread and impact of COVID-19 in many places around the world. Whenever our collective community faces… Read More

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I think it’s fair to say that the past few weeks have been interesting and, in some cases, pretty difficult. Like so many of you, we’ve been keeping our global community in our hearts as we’ve seen the rapid spread and impact of COVID-19 in many places around the world. Whenever our collective community faces a hardship, especially with such uncertainty, I am more aware of and appreciative for how information is shared.  Working within the DMO space, I love helping our clients brainstorm ways to share their unique travel experiences, as well as recommend best practices for ethical content. But I also find a great deal of meaning in the content that isn’t always the most exciting but provides vital information to the people who need it most. 

As we’ve had a number of our customers recently use Bound content to share the latest updates about COVID-19, we wanted to take this opportunity to provide general information and best practice recommendations to all our customers about using Bound content for emergency or other notification alerts.

Recommendations for content type:

Banners remain some of our favorite pieces of content for their diverse ability to directly provide information to audiences.  This is especially true for emergency notifications, given that information can be provided in a calm, straightforward way when imagery may not be appropriate.  Banners are one of our least intrusive forms of content and work well on both Mobile and Desktop, which makes them a great form to use for any type of notification.

Recommendations for content placement:

While your Homepage is typically a great starting place for sharing information with your audiences, it’s worth taking a thoughtful look at where notification content could be most appropriately visible.  One factor may be which audiences will best benefit from this information. Recently, we’ve seen customers tailor their informational content to Trip Planning sections in addition to main landing pages, as this is especially relevant for out of market visitors.  Main landing pages could be a beneficial place to highlight this information. As with all content, you can always expand this content throughout the site as it becomes appropriate.

Recommendations for content limitations:

Similar to being thoughtful about where we serve our content, we want to be thoughtful about how often to show this content.  While we may initially want to show this information multiple times per session, we know it is a fine line between providing appropriate information and overwhelming visitors with content they are not interested in or engaging with.  We recommend setting a limit on your notification content so that a visitor can become aware of this notification but is not greeted with the same content multiple times in one visit.  One option would also be to exclude visitors who have already visited the destination URL to ensure your content is shown to the most relevant audience.

Recommendations for audiences:

Speaking of audiences, I love that emergency notifications highlight the absolute effectiveness and purpose of personalization: providing the best information to the right audience. We’ve seen this with our customer’s previous notification content for Hurricane recovery efforts in providing the in-market audience with relevant local resources, as well as the out-of-market audiences with guidance on how they can best support recovery efforts. Tailoring your content to your audiences is a sure way to increase engagement and connect your visitors with the best information possible. 

 

We encourage you to keep these recommendations in mind when planning notifications of any kind to your audiences, and know that your Bound CSMs are always here to answer questions or talk through what content is most appropriate for your destination.  

To those communities affected by COVID-19, tornadoes and other loss, please know that you are in our hearts, and we are with you in solidarity.  

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A Deep Dive into Behavioral Targeting

Let’s imagine you’re a personalization marketer and thanks to Bound you’ve really been flexing your marketing chops. You’ve successfully set up targeting for all your geographic markets. You’re speaking to your Fly Markets and Drive Markets. You’re even personalizing to that one city in Germany that keeps reading your blog posts (Hello, Frankfurt!). You know… Read More

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Let’s imagine you’re a personalization marketer and thanks to Bound you’ve really been flexing your marketing chops. You’ve successfully set up targeting for all your geographic markets. You’re speaking to your Fly Markets and Drive Markets. You’re even personalizing to that one city in Germany that keeps reading your blog posts (Hello, Frankfurt!). You know exactly who to speak to on your website and how to speak to them. 

And that’s fantastic! Geographic targeting is a great way to personalize to your website visitors because it’s relatively easy to enable and can be highly effective. But, geographic targeting is also like hanging out in the shallow end of an Olympic-size pool. You’re going to have a good time in that shallow end, but there’s an entire pool of other opportunities to explore! And that next deeper level of segmentation is Behavioral Targeting. 

Behavioral Targeting is essentially speaking to a visitor based on their interactions with your site. Instead of targeting broadly based on a visitor’s location in the world, you’re instead targeting based on what pages they are visiting or how many times they have visited the site. It’s an expansive way to categorize audiences so it may seem daunting at first. But, with the help of your trusty personalization expert, you can easily add behavioral targeting to your personalization toolbelt. 

So, get your swim caps and floaties on, we’re diving into our favorite ways to target your on-site visitors based on behavior!

Current URL

We’ll start with segmenting based on the page a visitor is on. Targeting based on a visitor’s current URL is a natural next step after personalizing based on Geographic location. This type of segmentation involves targeting a visitor when they are on a specific URL (i.e. the homepage) or when that visitor is on a page within a set of URLs (i.e. the visitor is currently on a page that contains /blog). Often times, this brand of behavioral segmentation is dismissed as being too simplistic, but in practice, it can be highly effective.

For Example:

Imagine you have an especially tantalizing blog written about a new outdoor park in town. This would be a perfect piece of content to get in front of everyone interested in the Adventure or Outdoors area of your website. Ah-Ha! Let’s set up a fly-in to serve to every person currently on your site’s ‘Outdoors’ page to make all visitors interested in that subject aware of this wonderful resource in your city! 

Previous URL

Similar to the above targeting strategy, you can also set up personalization based on pages that a visitor has been to in the past. If a visitor returns repeatedly to a specific page or set of pages, that’s a pretty clear indication that they are interested in content of a specific nature. The most strategic personalization would be to show them related content or to offer a conversion point related to their engagement with those interest based pages once they have left those pages.

For Example:

If a visitor has gone to the dining pages on your site 2+ times they are either A) hungry or B) a ‘foodie’ (or both!) . If you’d like them to digest (pun!) the food and drink content on site without interference, you may not want to target them on a food focused page. However, if they leave the food focused area of the site and you have more related content, like a restaurant deal or a special Dining Guide, it would be fantastic practice to target them on other pages with content you know they will find interesting. Bring on that creative cuisine content!

Number of Visits 

We’ve written a blog post or two on how to speak to your repeat visitors. That’s because speaking to repeat visitors is a super effective way to target people you know are interested in your destination. Repeat visitors have seen your site and virtually said, “I should visit this site again!” What a compliment- They like you, they really like you! The trick to getting those repeat visitors to come back for more is figuring out how to show new content to keep those visitors engaged.

For Example:

Within the realm of targeting repeat visitors, there’s a ton of strategic possibilities. One of my favorite ways to target repeat visitors is to set up a waterfall system of targeting based on what visit a person is on (i.e. first, second, third, fiftieth visit??). In practice, this could look as simple as targeting a ‘first-time visitor’ with a Fly-In that promotes the Visitor Guide conversion. Then on a visitor’s 2nd visit, serving a fly-in that promotes a eNewsletter conversion. On a 3rd visit, you could serve a fly-in asking for a survey completion. This gives a repeat visitor something new to do every time they engage with your site and will keep those visitors coming back for more. Of course, this is not limited to conversion centric fly-ins. You could similarly target a repeat visitor with new blog posts or perhaps send them straight to an events page. The strategy will be dependent on your visitors and dependent on your site. 

Goal Completions

A visitor comes to your site and after a few minutes browsing, decides to download a Visitor Guide. Woo-hoo! Start the Parade! Throw the confetti! But now what? Do you want that visitor to leave the site? Chances are you want to keep them around. And you may even have more conversions that you’d like them to complete. Targeting based on Goal Completions allows you to lead a visitor down a predetermined nurture path, consistently giving that visitor a new asset to download or a new form to fill out. This is when targeting based on goal completions truly enters your segmentation strategy. 

For Example:

If a person has downloaded your visitor guide, you may segment them into a group of visitors that has already converted on that specific goal. With this information you can assume that this visitor is highly engaged, after all, they just downloaded something from your site! In theory, that visitor would be a fantastic person to serve an eNewsletter prompt. Since they’ve already converted on the Visitor Guide, you want to push them further down your nurture path and personalize content to them which promotes the next step on their journey into your website. 

The 4 Behavioral Targeting strategies listed above skim the surface of potential ways to speak to your online audiences but in this Olympic pool of personalization, there’s even more you can do! If you want to keep swimming deeper and deeper, reach out to a member of the Bound team or your designated swim instructor (CSM) to learn more! 

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Old vs New: How Repeat Visitors Impact Your Metrics and 3 Strategies to Increase Engagement

New, new, new. New year, new website, new goals… the focus on new never ends. T&T marketers know that the majority of their website visitors are new users and tend to focus their personalization strategies around engaging these new visitors. But what about your return visitors? Do you know how your return visitor traffic stacks… Read More

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New, new, new. New year, new website, new goals… the focus on new never ends. T&T marketers know that the majority of their website visitors are new users and tend to focus their personalization strategies around engaging these new visitors. But what about your return visitors? Do you know how your return visitor traffic stacks up compared to other destinations?

Working in the DMO space gives us unique insight. Return visitors can make up anywhere from  6-30% of sessions for destination websites. While return visitors commonly have slightly higher performance on pages per session and visit duration, they tend to have a higher bounce rate than new visitors.

It makes sense to prioritize strategies for new visitors, but if almost a quarter of your website traffic is returning visitors, it’s also important to plan the best possible website experience for these repeat visitors. 

Here are 3 questions to keep in mind when thinking about your repeat visitor traffic and some best practices to keep this audience engaged.

How Frequently Are You Showing Overlay Content?

We’ve discussed the ethics of “pop-ups” before, but this is of utmost importance when considering your repeat traffic. If you are only setting daily or weekly limits on your pop-up content, your returning traffic is likely being repeatedly disrupted by that same old content. 

Best Practice: Serve unique content only once a month at minimum, and if possible, consider showing even less frequently, like every six months or once a year. If there is specific content repeat visitors should see multiple times, set up fresh versions of the content instead of short frequency limits. This prevents content fatigue and also helps the new content stand out from what they saw on their last visit.

Where Are Your Repeat Visitors Located?

Geo-targeting is always a solid strategy and shouldn’t be overlooked for repeat visitors. Because your repeat audience is smaller, breaking out individual markets creates very tiny visitor groups, but consider separating your local audience from drive or fly regions. The reasons a local visitor frequents your website are quite different from someone who would be potentially flying in. Additionally, while repeat visitors are prime candidates for hotel/places to stay offer content, someone already in the area likely isn’t interested in these deals.

Best Practice: Take advantage of geo-targeting to create in market, drive market, and fly market repeat visitor groups. You can then serve content to these visitors that’s more likely to be of interest, such as hotel deals for out of market visitors and activity deals or upcoming events to local visitors.

Where Are Your Repeat Visitors Entering the Site?

Identifying where repeat visitors are landing can help you determine if it’s a page that typically has fresh content, or if they’re potentially seeing the same thing over and over again. The homepage is still the most common landing page for repeat visitors, and having been there before these visitors are less likely to scroll down the page. 

Best Practice: If you aren’t currently updating your hero content on a regular basis, consider targeting repeat visitors with fresh content or at minimum, new imagery. To combat fatigue, plan to update repeat visitor content more frequently than your other visitors. Alternatively, consider setting up your hero based on exclusions so that repeat visitors who have already been to the destination page are served new content. 

By keeping these best practices in mind, you can use personalization to make your returning visitors feel like they’re getting a new experience not once, but every time they come to your website.

If you’re interested in discussing other ways to engage your returning visitor traffic, contact us today!

The post Old vs New: How Repeat Visitors Impact Your Metrics and 3 Strategies to Increase Engagement appeared first on Bound.

Finding the Fun in Travel Marketing: Aiming for the Sleigh Factor

Ho Ho Ho and Happy Holidays to all you wonderful winter people! As the weather gets colder, our DMO client’s marketing starts to focus on one big winter holiday that takes over department stores, classrooms, offices, and websites. It’s festive, beautiful, and usually involves family, presents, and gratitude. That’s right, we’re talking about the big… Read More

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Ho Ho Ho and Happy Holidays to all you wonderful winter people! As the weather gets colder, our DMO client’s marketing starts to focus on one big winter holiday that takes over department stores, classrooms, offices, and websites. It’s festive, beautiful, and usually involves family, presents, and gratitude. That’s right, we’re talking about the big one… Boxing Day!

Kidding! Of course we’re talking about CHRISTMAS. Around mid November, the team at Bound gets to experience first hand the holiday traditions that take over cities, states, and CVBs (we even named a few of our favorites in this blog post). Marketing winter and holiday events is merry and joyful and helps us feel fully prepared for the Christmas season.

But, it also got us thinking about some other Christmas-focused destinations that may be more difficult to market because of the variety of visitors or the difficulty in reaching the location. So, as a continuation of our multi-part series of ‘personalized marketing for fictional* destinations,’ we’re adding another famous place to our list:

THE NORTH POLE 

Because while it may be easy to get humans to visit Santa’s factory, it’s going to take some very different marketing approaches to convince the Elves to visit the winter wonderland way up North. And what better way to market to different Christmas personas than with a little bit of persona based personalization!

DESTINATION BACKGROUND: 

Let’s start with a  little background information about the North Pole as a destination. As a disclaimer, based on my intensive research I do not think you can actually reach the North Pole because 1) it’s constantly moving and shifting around like a wobbly top hat on the globe, 2) it’s frozen, and 3) Santa’s put a magic spell on it making it impossible for humans to see or visit. But, according to legends, songs, and popular films, it’s a beautiful place that’s constantly doused in Christmas cheer. It’s snowy and cold but everyone seems genuinely pleased to be there. And most importantly, it’s where Santa has chosen to set up shop literally and figuratively. He has, as of a few hundred years ago, moved his workshop and home to the North Pole, making it the capital of Christmas and arguably, where all Christmas magic begins. 

There are three main groups of personas that would be highly interested in learning what is going on and what makes the North Pole an exciting destination, but all three would want to explore for very different reasons. First, I’ll describe each of these personas, then I’ll provide the DOs and DONTs for targeting them so that we can understand how in the jingle bells the North Pole could become the most visited Christmas destination, with the right personalization strategy.

PERSONA SEGMENT: SANTA
(AKA Business Travellers)

For the sake of your childhood wonder, I hope that you have a vague idea of the man that is Santa Claus. But if not, I’ll give you a few bullet points about the legendary Kris Kringle. He’s a jolly older gentleman who exclusively wears a red fur suit, keeps a list of good and bad children, and delivers presents on Christmas Eve. His job entails sneaking into our houses after we’ve gone to sleep, leaving us presents, and taking whatever sweet treats we leave out for him (I think his preference is oatmeal cookies). He also runs a very busy workshop that creates toys and that workshop is headquartered in the North Pole. 

DOS:

If the North Pole set up personalization for Santa, it’s important to understand that Santa is not a businessman. He’s a business,* man. His work is very important to him and he has essentially created a Christmas empire. So, thinking business first, he wants what is best for him, his company, and his employees. When targeting Santa, be sure to note that the North Pole is actually outside the confines of any one country. That’s right, according to a quick google search, the North Pole is technically floating in international waters somewhere. That means no taxes which is a brilliant financing ploy to convince the big man in red!  Plus, for a workplace that emphasizes warm beverages and cozy stockings, the temperature is ideal for Santa, elves, and reindeer alike. 

If personalizing to Santa Clause, emphasize the cold weather, availability of workers, and the fact that his business gets to exist in a much more frigid version of the Wild West. No laws, no taxes, anything goes! 

*Note: Santa’s workshop may be a non-profit. I don’t really know. 

DO NOTS: 

While the North Pole is a wonderful place for business, it’s not all candy canes and mistletoe. There are things about living in the North Pole that could turn anyone into a Grinch. For instance, if targeting Santa or any business, the North Pole should absolutely NOT mention the commute to work. Santa has a limited amount of time to get to the “office” (what I’m assuming he calls our living rooms). Do not emphasize that he’ll need to travel thousands of miles to his first stop or that it will be thousands of miles to his next stop after that, or his next one, or his next one. Also, maybe don’t mention that there’s no movie theatre, no restaurants, no grocery stores, or really anything in the North Pole. We don’t need Santa trying to make any kind of big move. 

PERSONA SEGMENT: ELVES
(AKA the locals)

The next persona group is the Elves! Elves are typically thought of exclusively as ‘Santa’s Helpers’ but they are so much more than that! They’re tiny little creatures that love to sing, dance, and yes, they usually work in Santa’s workshop building toys or taking care of his reindeer. They enjoy standard winter activities like snowball fights, eating candy, and spending time with family.

DOS: 

If movies like Elf are to be believed, the Christmas elves are a tight knit community. They love Christmas but they also love spending time together. If you’re personalizing your content to Elves you’ll want to emphasize the more social aspects of the North Pole. Push events and things to do around town. Show off the Elf community, the plethora of syrup, and the availability of snowman building supplies. 

DO NOTS: 

Santa’s elves are an interesting persona group because traditional “North Pole” messaging will not work on them. Do you think the city you live in would entice other travelers to visit by posting pictures of your workspace? Definitely not! So naturally, targeting should not use pictures of Santa’s Workshop to entice Elves to come visit the North Pole. And in that line of thinking, do you think they want to see pictures of their boss everywhere? No matter how much they love the jolly guy, it’s probably tough to be bombarded with images of the person you work for. 

PERSONA SEGMENT: HUMANS
(AKA the tourists)

And lastly, let’s talk about marketing towards humans. Hopefully I don’t need to get too far into what a human persona group looks like because if you are reading this you should be quite familiar. But, generally humans enjoy the holiday season, a few Scrooge-y humans notwithstanding. We have fragile human skin which does feel cold. And for the most part, we like presents. 

DOS: 

Do I need to break down the reasons humans would go to the North Pole? It’s the same reason travelers might want to go to the Dr. Pepper facilities in Dublin, TX or the Jelly Belly Factory in Fairfield, CA. We want to see a glimpse behind the scenes of what it takes to pull off the best holiday of the year! Is it chaotic or well organized? Is Santa kind to his elves or is his managerial style more stern? How do they train the reindeer for their big night?I want to know it all! And it is literally the only attraction that could convince me to travel to a place that requires 4-5 parkas to still feel cold. 

So, North Pole’s Marketing team, if you’re reading: lay it on thick with the Christmas content when speaking to us regular ol’ humans. We like Christmas. We like presents. We like the idea of everyone wearing a standard fur trimmed uniform to work! Show us the North Pole’s Christmas!

DO NOTS: 

Did I mention the weather in the North Pole? It’s colder than a Polar Bear’s toenails up there. Living in central Texas I sometimes forget that the thermostat drops below 30  degrees Fahrenheit in most places. If marketing to humans my advice would be to leave out the fact that it gets to be -40 degrees Fahrenheit in winter (THIS IS TRUE! I JUST LOOKED THIS UP! THAT’S VERY COLD). 

And there you have it! A perfect way to personalize North Pole messaging to the different marketing personas that would most likely visit. Did we convince you to make the North Pole next year’s winter vacation? 

Happy holidays from our happy work family to yours – see you in 2020!

The post Finding the Fun in Travel Marketing: Aiming for the Sleigh Factor appeared first on Bound.

Are You Mobile-Optimized or Mobile-Awesome?

Weird fact about me – while I am of average height, I have tiny, below-average hands. Because of my tiny hands I was super reluctant to upgrade my tiny phone, so until the last few weeks I was still living my best life with my 4” screen iPhone 5. When your phone is that tiny… Read More

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Weird fact about me – while I am of average height, I have tiny, below-average hands. Because of my tiny hands I was super reluctant to upgrade my tiny phone, so until the last few weeks I was still living my best life with my 4” screen iPhone 5. When your phone is that tiny it becomes really clear really fast when websites aren’t optimizing well for mobile.

Which brings up a good question: what does it really mean to “optimize” for mobile? For a lot of websites it simply means nothing breaks when viewed on a phone. You would think “not breaking” should be the bare minimum, but I have been on plenty of websites where everything from the hero image to a form fill is in fact “broken” and either cannot be viewed or cannot be used on my mobile phone.

Of course, “not breaking” is still a pretty low standard to set for such a large chunk of your audience. While the percentage of mobile visitors will always vary by site, in 2019 we’re seeing an average of 64% of travel & tourism website visitors using mobile devices. 

If you want to create the best mobile experience for your visitors, why not use personalization? Here are 5 examples of ways you can use personalization to create a better website for mobile visitors without having to recreate the entire website wheel.

Changing the Copy

A giant block of text on mobile? Ain’t nobody got time for that! A lot of times mobile optimizing means that the text technically fits on the screen. And that’s it. But we can do better than that! You can create a better experience overall by shortening the copy for mobile. 

Think about your homepage hero, for example. If you overlay copy over an image, it will always take up a large portion of the image space, even when using smaller text. If you try and make it much smaller you run the risk of no one being able to read your copy. Create a cleaner mobile version by shortening or removing an element such as the subhead text, so that mobile visitors can still get the full effect of the image. Or, consider setting up a different template on mobile where the text moves below the image instead of appearing over it.

Changing the copy can also mean changing the call to action text. Mobile visitors are more likely to click on a visitor guide “view” call to action over one that says “download.” 

Changing the Content

Wide, sweeping landscape images are beautiful. On desktop. 

On mobile, wide images can get tricky. If you keep the same image ratio on mobile your image can become very, very small. If your website automatically crops the image to create a taller version, you might end up with a completely different point of view:

Instead of a mobile-optimized version of the image, use personalization to show a completely different image that better fits the story you want to tell on mobile.

Prioritizing the Right Content

That big, long intro text is really nice for your desktop visitors since they can still see other elements further down on the screen, but maybe you have articles or user generated images you think would appeal more to your mobile visitors. Using personalization to make sure the best mobile content is visible before scrolling can keep mobile visitors better engaged. This could mean rearranging content or using an overlay campaign to grab your mobile visitors attention right away.

Using Different Forms

Think about your formfill pages for a minute. How you would feel trying to fill them out on a phone. Are there 10 required fields before they can sign up for your newsletter? Are there several dropdowns they need to try and scroll through? Are there tiny checkboxes close together that might make it hard for them to indicate the right interest?

These are all issues that can easily dissuade a mobile visitor from completing a form. If you have a shorter, mobile-friendly form, you can use personalization to promote it strictly to mobile visitors who abandoned the original form page. Alternatively, you can direct them to the short form when they first click your call to action instead of showing them the long form at all. 

Using Different Overlay Content

With mobile visitors making up over half of your website sessions, of course you still want to target them to promote your key goals. However, even when sized for a mobile screen, a fly-in can still create a larger than desired impact, more akin to using a modal. If you want to create a less disruptive experience on mobile, considering using banner campaigns instead. Mobile visitors can easily choose to either interact with a banner or ignore and continue scrolling.

 

Personalization is all about creating the best website experience for a group of visitors, and at the end of the day your mobile visitors are just another one of those groups! Looking for more ideas of how to better personalize for mobile? Contact your designated Customer Success Manager or reach out to here to discuss more!

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