A DMO’s meetings website (or microsite) is a crucial cog in the meetings marketing machine. Here are a handful of tips to reach more planners through this valuable plot of digital real estate.
1. Do a Site Audit
This doesn’t have to be a daunting ‘to-do’ for you or your team.
• Start with your sitemap (the list of all of the pages on your meetings website). Does it flow or make getting around the site easy? Is it organized in a way that makes sense to the user’s journey? Try to streamline navigation so that planners find exactly what they’re looking for with ease.
• Take inventory of the content on your site
• Refresh content that is outdated, irrelevant, duplicated, or maybe just needs a little more meat. Updated content helps with search engine optimization and provides planners with relevant information about your destination, for which they are constantly searching.
• Ask questions like, “Is this everything planners want or need to know about the destination?” “Is there more to tell them about what groups can do?”
2. Create Planner Personas for Your Website Content
Simply defining your audience as ‘meeting planners’ doesn’t quite cut the mustard anymore. (But, it is an imperative start.) To appease today’s user and their need for instantaneous results and knowledge, content needs to be produced with as much relevancy as possible.
Here are some traits you can define when creating your personas:
• A memorable name for each grouping of planners
• Tagline for that group (make it fun!)
• Planner’s market segment (Ex: Corporate)
• Type of meeting (Ex: Sales Incentive, Training, etc.)
• Type of attendees (Ex: Executives, new hires, etc.)
• Planner’s average group size
• Planner’s possible pain points
• Influencers to whom they gravitate
• Where they consume content
• What formats they use to consume it (Ex: desktop, mobile, tablet)
An optimized site is a relevant one. From design to content creation to site functionality, when you keep these personas in mind, your site is optimized for your target audiences.
3. Develop a Meetings Content Plan
• Create/Optimize Your Editorial Calendars
• If you aren’t sure how to set it up, or if it just needs a refresh, use one of the thousands of online templates available.
• Plan for topics and ideas to shift when necessary. Calendars should be adaptable to industry trends, news and DMO priorities that fluctuate throughout the year.
• Consider the expertise you’ll need for the content that will be produced. Who are the subject matter experts you’ll need?
• Define the purpose of each page: Is it to inform, entertain, get the RFP?
• Bring out the personas: Make sure each piece of content is addressing at least one of the persona needs.
• Perform the ‘So What’ Test with each page: Do users feel like there is something else or that they are left hanging?
4. Keep Your Meetings Blogs Fresh
Keeping content fresh within your meetings blogs will help drive traffic to your site on a routine basis; it also helps planners maximize the attendee experience in your city.
Keep topics relevant for planners. Explore:
• Content that is relevant to the targeted market segments (think personas!)
• Unique activities and outdoor spaces found only in your destination
• Meetings related news (new product, new events, new airlift, new venues)
• Featured spaces
• Meetings tips and how-to’s
• Access & affordability
• Vlogs, if resources allow
5. Put Your Content Out There
Distributing your content through different channels helps send traffic to your site. Examples of distribution channels include:
• Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Youtube
• Mobile apps
• Media publications and many more
Explore the different channels to find out where your target audiences live and which channels are best for your goals. One goal may be to raise awareness for your award-winning food scene. Visual platforms like Instagram can be excellent for increasing engagement and creating interaction.
Remember, a little maintenance can be the difference between an RFP submission and a bounce from your site to a competitor’s.
A veteran in Destination and Hotel Sales and Marketing, Shirley utilizes her expertise to develop services that assists DMO’s in research, generating leads and increasing awareness for the destination’s meetings product and experiences.