The Digital Communication Plan for Tourism – Part VIII: Channels

Media By wanaktek

The destination or operator can choose whether and what to communicate directly (e.g., through their own website and blog) and what to communicate using other media (e.g., professional bloggers, online magazines, customers, residents, etc.).

In the digital world, there are numerous channels for communication. A classification, called the PESO™ model (Fig. 4), introduced by Gini Dietrich of Spinsucks [Spinsucks, 2020], helps us identify four types of online media:

  • (P) Paid Media
  • (E) Earned Media
  • (S) Shared Media
  • (O) Owned Media

Fig. 4 PESO™ Model – ©Gini Dietrich, spinsucks.com [Spinsucks, 2020]

  • Owned Media refers to media owned by a destination or a tourism operator, such as the website, blog, and social media channels through which the destination or operators communicate. They are “owned” as the control over the content lies entirely in the hands of the communicators (destination/operators). This is true for websites and blogs hosted on owned domains, while it partially applies to social media platforms where communicators must adhere to their rules and evolutions over time, although in general, destinations and operators have significant control over the published content.
  • Paid Media includes paid advertising channels. The internet provides various forms of advertising, such as sponsored posts on Instagram or Facebook, paid search engine ads, banners, and videos on third-party websites, and more. Therefore, in the case of social media, they become paid media when used for sponsored posts.
  • Shared Media refers to media shared by others (typically tourists, but also operators, etc.) where they share our content. This aspect is crucial for generating digital word-of-mouth and referrals (recommendations to family and friends)
  • Earned Media refers to earned media coverage, such as influential media outlets (online publications, influencers, etc.) that feature our content or mention our communication messages (proposals, themes, experiences, products, unique features, etc.). The difference between Shared Media and Earned Media lies in the level of influence of the media: typically, Shared Media consists of individuals who communicate within their circles of friends and acquaintances, while Earned Media includes professional or semi-professional communicators who reach their reference communities, with a more pronounced amplification effect.

Click here for Part I ; Click here for Part II ; Click here for part III; Click here for Part IV

Click here for Part V ; Click here for Part VI ; Click here for Part VII

Sources:

#Channels; #DigitalCommunication; #OwnedMedia; #PaidMedia; #EarnedMedia; #SharedMedia; #OnlineMarketing; #InfluencerMarketing; #ContentStrategy; #TourismCommunication

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The Digital Communication Plan for Tourism – Part VII: Senders, Styles, and Tones

Follow us By formatoriginal

In digital communication for tourism, the main sender is the destination itself, but it should rely on other voices besides its official voice. In fact, the destination is responsible for institutional communication, but it is crucial for communication to be enriched by the voices of tourists, residents (who work in tourism or simply live in the destination), as well as influencers who are invited by or are present in the destination. Messages on the internet have a greater potential for dissemination when they are amplified by multiple entities, generating digital word of mouth.

Clearly, the increased message penetration associated with a multi-voiced communication is achieved when there is agreement on the content to be communicated. It is even better if the destination shares strategies, plans, guidelines, and communication logic. Otherwise, there is a risk that tourists will receive conflicting or even opposing messages. Of course, in a free world, it is neither possible nor advantageous to control the communication of all entities in the area. Instead, it is important to define and share themes, messages, formats, and graphics used in communication in a participatory manner, working together like a symphony orchestra.

In digital communication, in addition to traditional media relations that manage relationships with the traditional press, the communication team benefits from digital media relations. Therefore, the Destination Management Organization (DMO) manages relationships not only with traditional media (print, radio, TV, etc.) but also with digital creators and influencers to generate greater online engagement and targeted message dissemination.

Click here for Part I ; Click here for Part II ; Click here for part III; Click here for Part IV

Click here for Part V ; Click here for Part VI

Sources:

#DigitalCommunication; #Tourism; #DestinationMarketing; #Influencers; #WordOfMouth; #OnlineEngagement; #MediaRelations; #ContentStrategy; #CommunicationGuidelines; #TravelMarketing

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The Digital Communication Plan for Tourism – Part VI: Strategies and Tactics

Growth By formatoriginal

To achieve planned objectives, it is necessary to define a specific strategy. A strategy is the action scheme that will be implemented to achieve those objectives. The strategy materializes in activities that are the planned methods to achieve the goals of the plan.
The strategy is the way to achieve a goal, while tactics are the steps of a strategy. Tactics consist of actions.

In other words, the strategy is the general answer to the question “how to…?”, while tactics are the more detailed answers, and actions are even more detailed secondary responses. Thus, a hierarchy is created between strategies, tactics, and actions.

Strategy is based on creativity and innovation, to differentiate oneself from competitors and to attract the attention of customers with the uniqueness of one’s own brand. It is therefore crucial at this stage to find inspiration.

This does not mean that inspiration must only come in meeting rooms or under the shower, but it is also possible (and recommended) to browse through successful strategies and campaigns introduced by others.

For example, you can find success stories on social media in the business section of Facebook (www.facebook.com/business/success).

Furthermore, case studies can provide valuable information that you can apply to your digital communication plan.

Additionally, you can look at the winners of international awards such as The Shorty Awards (https://shortyawards.com/) or The Streamy Awards (https://www.streamys.org/) to have examples of brands that excel in communication.

In addition to that, you need to follow profiles and brands that you like and understand how they succeed, combining the decisions of one with the choices of another and integrating it all with a pinch of your own imagination. These are good ways to practice digital creativity.

Click here for Part I ; Click here for Part II ; Click here for part III; Click here for Part IV

Click here for Part V

Sources:

#DigitalCommunicationPlan #Tourism #Strategies #Tactics #Goals #Inspiration #Creativity #Innovation #Competitors #BrandUniqueness #SuccessStories #SocialMedia #Facebook #Business #CaseStudies #ValuableInformation #DigitalCommunication #ShortyAwards #StreamyAwards #Brands #Communication #Profiles #Imagination #DigitalCreativity

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The Digital Communication Plan for Tourism – Part V: Audiences /Targets

Target icon by formatoriginal

An essential aspect of the communication plan involves selecting the audiences, also known as targets, as it is not appropriate to address undifferentiated audiences (generalized and mass communication). Instead, it is crucial to select potential interested individuals for each message.

Mass communication, by its nature, being generic and not targeted, does not elicit a particular response from anyone within such a large group. Instead, it is necessary to address specific audiences, targets, segments, and targeted niches with specific messages that leverage their passions, interests, specificities, and unique needs within these narrower groups.

Clearly, a diverse and comprehensive offering can be directed at multiple specific targets, but each target should receive a targeted and unique message. It is possible to start with the product, offering, or experience and identify the target audience as those who can and want to enjoy that particular solution. It is also possible to start with niche targets, communities identified through studies or online reconnaissance, and based on their needs, inclinations, interests, and passions, re-evaluate the offering and communicate it in the most appropriate manner.

It is also important to differentiate communication for each target, even with the same offering, by differentiating attributes, characteristics, emotions, and suitable occasions for each target.

Especially with the advent of digital communication, it becomes easy and, in some ways, necessary to communicate a rich variety of messages for specific target audiences.

For example, mountain bike tourism, which is already a sub-segment of cycling tourism, further divides into completely different niches with specific and distinct needs, such as:

  • Rail-trail riders: “Rail-trail riders” love non-paved roads or relatively easy trails with few obstacles. They are generally families who enjoy a relaxing afternoon ride on a converted disused railway path or an old cleared road to admire the landscape.
  • Cross-Country riders prefer single tracks that cover a variety of terrains with a mix of moderate to difficult climbs and descents.
  • Downhill riders are often found in ski resorts, taking their bikes on a ski lift and descending the longest possible mountain trail. Downhill riders often seek bike parks equipped with lifts or shuttle services.
  • Gravel riders: “Gravel riding” is an increasingly popular form of cycling that combines aspects of road cycling and mountain biking. Gravel riders seek long routes on unpaved roads, gravel, and other non-paved roads like forest roads.

But the list of mountain bike tourists doesn’t end there and continues with All-mountain/Enduro riders; Four-cross/Dual Slalom riders; Freeride riders; Dirt Jumping riders; Trials riders; Urban/Street riders; Trail riding riders; Marathon riders (Fig. 3).

Fig. 3 – Different niches of Mountain Bike tourists (own elaboration)

In a future post, we will also discuss the concept of “buyer personas,” a more current and effective segmentation method that helps to further target the digital message, both for web marketing and, especially, for social media marketing.

In the following sections, we will continue with the main areas of the digital communication plan for tourism and address basic strategic questions.

Click here for Part I ; Click here for Part II ; Click here for part III; Click here for Part IV

Sources:

#DigitalCommunication; #Tourism; #TargetAudience; #Segmentation; #BuyerPersonas; #MountainBikeTourism; #RailTrailRiders; #CrossCountryRiders; #DownhillRiders; #GravelRiders; #AllMountainEnduroRiders; #FourCrossDualSlalomRiders; #FreerideRiders; #DirtJumpingRiders; #TrialsRiders; #UrbanStreetRiders; #TrailRidingRiders; #MarathonRiders; #WebMarketing; #SocialMediaMarketing

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The Digital Communication Plan for Tourism – Part IV: Objectives and Messages

Business achievement goal and objective target concept. By formatoriginal

Communication objectives can include brand affirmation, product promotion, sales increase, highlighting specific experiences, conveying particular aspects, announcing news, promoting specific events in the area, and so on.

Defining objectives is one of the key stages in any communication and marketing plan. Setting objectives provides an idea of where the organization is heading and allows for any necessary adjustments and modifications to the communication strategy if there is a deviation during the process.

The definition of objectives should follow the SMART criteria [CMI, 2014]:

  • Specific: Clearly defined and easy to understand.
  • Measurable: Objectives can be quantitatively or qualitatively measured.
  • Achievable: Objectives should be challenging but not impossible, based on available resources and capabilities.
  • Relevant: Objectives defined in the plan should be important for the organization, strategically relevant, and aligned with other relevant objectives.
  • Time-related: Objectives should have a timeframe for achievement and specific deadlines for assessing goal attainment.

To distribute the objectives consistently with the different stages of the tourist’s customer journey, it is essential to use the funnel [marketingprofs.com, 2016], [rockcontent.com, 2020] mentioned in a previous post:

  1. Exposure
  2. Discovery
  3. Consideration
  4. Conversion
  5. Customer relationship
  6. Retention

This model provides a framework for potential communication objectives. For example, the first objective to achieve in a new market or with a new audience is brand awareness, which is accomplished through exposure. It is important to guide tourists along their customer journey without excessively pushing for a purchase action, as it would not be an effective strategy.

Examples of objectives may include:

  • Creating or increasing brand awareness
  • Building or increasing brand credibility/trust
  • Improving or modifying brand positioning
  • Educating and preparing the audience
  • Increasing market share
  • Launching a new product
  • Introducing the destination in new markets (local or international)
  • Improving return on investment (ROI)
  • Optimizing different levels of the funnel (e.g., generating new leads)
  • Attracting new tourists
  • Fostering loyalty among current tourists
  • Increasing arrivals/visits
  • Increasing sales/revenue
  • Enhancing conversions
  • Increasing customer loyalty
  • Boosting engagement (online audience involvement)

Objectives can (and should) be subdivided by offers, target audience, markets, seasons, etc.

To achieve the objectives set during planning, communication relies on messages, which are a structured form of communication that convey the objectives, highlighting attributes and benefits. Messages are divided into primary and secondary messages based on content priority.

In communication, it is important, even with multiple objectives to be achieved, to focus on one element at a time for the sake of clarity, uniqueness, and ease of reception by the recipient.

In the following sections, we will continue with the main areas of the digital communication plan for tourism and address basic strategic questions.

Click here for Part I ; Click here for Part II ; Click here for part III

Sources:

  • [CMI, 2014] CMI (Chartered Management Institute), “Setting SMART Objectives Checklist 231” November 2014 https://www.managers.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/CHK-231-Setting_Smart_Objectives.pdf visualizzato il 13/08/2021
  • [marketingprofs.com , 2016] marketingprofs.com, Matt Banner “Today’s Digital Marketing Funnel (and How to Optimize Your Conversions)” 22 march 2016, https://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2016/29582/todays-digital-marketing-funnel-and-how-to-optimize-your-conversions ; retrieved 22.05.2023
  • [rockcontent.com, 2020] rockcontent.com, Rock Content Writer, 31 march 2020 “Digital Marketing funnel: what is, how to create one and what type of content work in each stage” https://rockcontent.com/blog/digital-marketing-funnel/ ; retrieved 22.05.2023
  • [Rossi A., 2022] Andrea Rossi “Comunicazione Digitale per il Turismo”, Amazon KDP, 2022

#DigitalCommunication #TourismMarketing #CommunicationStrategy #BrandAwareness #MarketingObjectives #CustomerJourney #FunnelMarketing #BrandCredibility #BrandPositioning #TargetAudience #MarketSegmentation #ROI #OnlineEngagement #CustomerRetention #TravelIndustry #DestinationMarketing

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The Digital Communication Plan for Tourism – Part III: Implementation of the digital communication plan

Plan concept By formatoriginal

Communication plans do not have a fixed and unchanging structure, but they are compiled based on the specific needs of a territory or an operator. However, it is possible to identify some logical areas (which often make up chapters of the plan) that are common to most plans.

The digital communication plan consists of two main components: Web Marketing and Social Media Marketing, which need to be integrated to offer the best communication synergies. In addition to the digital part, the integrated communication plan also includes the traditional, offline component, and once again, synergy helps create better and more consistent communication.

The main areas of the communication plan are:

  1. Objectives and messages
  2. Audience/Target
  3. Strategies and tactics
  4. Senders, styles, and tones
  5. Channels
  6. Timing
  7. Budget

In the upcoming sections, we will continue with the main areas of the digital communication plan for tourism and how to address the basic strategic questions.

Click here for Part I

Click here for Part II

Sources:

#digitalcommunicationplan; #WebMarketing; #SocialMediaMarketing; #communication; #synergy; #objectives; #messages; #audience; #target; #strategies; #tactics; #senders; #styles; #tones; #channels; #timing; #budget

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The Digital Communication Plan for Tourism – Part II: Analysis for the Digital Communication Plan

Business person presenting analysis to coworker at the meeting By DragonImages

One of the most relevant parts of any strategic document is the definition of the current situation of the organization and its competitive environment. The analysis phase allows the development of a plan based on known reality and therefore must minimize risks in strategy development.

This phase helps determine the organization and its situation in the environment in which it operates, particularly in the digital world. From this information, it is possible to identify the potential and gaps of the organization in order to design a future strategy.

The analysis for the digital communication plan is divided into internal analysis and external analysis.

The internal analysis is relevant to determine weaknesses and strengths and must address aspects related to tourism offerings, promotional activities, organizational and financial issues, as well as management orientation and policy directions (in the case of tourist destinations).

For the external analysis, the objective is to determine threats and opportunities, thus considering the specific environment (market products, customers, competitors, and suppliers), as well as the general environment, namely the ecological, technological, economic, legal, political, and sociocultural constraints.

The combination of internal analysis and external analysis leads to a SWOT matrix (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats).

In addition to being an organization and environment study, a digital communication plan must analyze its online presence and positioning. This study will help determine a concrete digital strategy and compare its results with the initial situation. In this sense, the following should be developed:

  • Monitoring of organization, competition, and industry keywords (useful tools include Google Alert, Ubersuggest, Ahrefs, SEMRush, Mention, Brand24, etc.).
  • Evaluation of the organization’s web positioning and its platforms (e.g., Google search).
  • Assessment of social networks: presence, activity, influence, etc. (relevant tools here include Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Agora Pulse, Sendible, etc.).
  • Benchmarking competition and key industry influencers present in digital media.

To complete the situational analysis, it is necessary to define the target audience, paying particular attention to the target groups without neglecting the stakeholders.

This description should also focus on the presence and activities of these audiences in the digital world: active presence on platforms and services, access devices, usage times, interests, main activities, etc.

The audience description should be very detailed in an attempt to tailor the proposal to both the real needs of those users and their aspirations and frustrations.

Fig. 2 – Empathy Map Canvas ©Dave Gray of Xplane [Gray D., 2009]

For example (Fig. 2), the use of an empathy map, developed by Dave Gray of Xplane [Gray D., 2009], allows us to delve into various aspects of our audiences, such as:

  • Who do they empathize with?
  • What do they need to do?
  • What do they see?
  • What do they say?
  • What do they do?
  • What do they listen to?
  • What do they think and feel, in terms of pains and gains?

In the upcoming sections, we will continue with the subsequent phases of the digital communication plan for tourism and how to address the basic strategic questions.

Click here for Part I

Sources:

#DigitalCommunicationPlan; #Tourism; #StrategicAnalysis; #SWOTAnalysis; #OnlinePresence; #DigitalStrategy; #CompetitiveAnalysis; #TargetAudience; #SocialMediaEvaluation; #MarketResearch; #StakeholderEngagement; #EmpathyMapping; #DigitalMarketing; #TourismIndustry; #CommunicationPlan

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The Digital Communication Plan for Tourism – Part I: Introduction

Brainstorming and Discussion for Communication Plan By Rawpixel

Creating a digital communication plan means understanding how a destination or a tourism operator will reach its audiences with the right messages. Moreover, the communication plan is a document that allows sharing the strategic communication ideas with the DMO (Destination Management Organization) team and the stakeholders of the area, so that the main guidelines to follow are clear.

Clearly, in more advanced tourism contexts, the DMO’s communication plan is the result of participatory discussions among the DMO, stakeholders, and possibly residents. This approach is lengthier and more complex, but it ensures a more shared vision of communication strategies. In the case of tourism operators, the planning process is considerably simplified compared to that of the DMO.

A digital communication plan is a strategic document that takes into account the current situation of a specific organization (DMO, operator) to establish medium-term objectives and determine the strategy and means to achieve them. This document also describes the responsibilities, timing, and control tools for monitoring.

A communication plan describes how to effectively convey strategic messages to target audiences and is, therefore, a way to proactively organize a brand’s communication actions in order to direct resources towards achieving complex and structured results within defined timeframes (annual plan, three-year plan, five-year plan).

The objectives of a digital communication plan include assessing organizations and their competitive environment (customers and potential customers, competitors, trends, technologies, macro-environment, etc.). Similarly, it should serve as a roadmap for managing the organization’s communication strategy, ensuring that resources are allocated correctly. The plan also helps control and evaluate the output and address any potential deviation from the organization’s expected results. From this perspective, a communication plan becomes a flexible document that must be adapted to the destination/operator’s situation and must fuel the results obtained from each developed action, especially in the digital realm.

The communication plan addresses some basic strategic questions, such as:

  • What are the communication objectives?
  • What are the messages that need to be communicated?
  • Who are the communication audiences/targets?
  • How to achieve the set objectives?
  • Who should communicate the messages?
  • On which channels will the messages be distributed?
  • What are the communication periods?
  • What are the communication resources and how to deploy them?

Fig. 1 – Process of Developing and Implementing the Digital Communication Plan (Author’s elaboration)

The process of developing and implementing the digital communication plan involves four distinct phases (Fig. 1):

  1. Analysis
  2. Planning/Writing
  3. Action/Execution
  4. Measurement

In the upcoming parts, these phases will be detailed, along with how to address the basic strategic questions.

Sources:

#DigitalCommunicationPlan; #StrategicAnalysis; #SWOTAnalysis; #TargetAudience; #OnlinePresence; #DigitalStrategy; #CompetitiveAnalysis; #EmpathyMapping; #DigitalMarketing; #CommunicationStrategy; #OrganizationalAnalysis; #SocialMediaEvaluation; #MarketResearch; #StakeholderEngagement; #MarketingStrategy

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Destination Management: Building Sustainable and Thriving Tourist Locations

Scenic view of The Lake Furnas. Sao Miguel, Azores. By JJFarquitectos

The convergence of sustainability and tourism has emerged as an impactful area of research in the 21st century, presenting a myriad of opportunities and challenges. In an era where the effects of overtourism and environmental degradation have become starkly apparent, sustainable destination management is pivotal in ensuring the longevity of tourist locations (Koens, Postma, & Papp, 2018).

Sustainable destination management encapsulates a holistic approach. This approach navigates the intricate balance between stimulating economic growth, advocating for environmental conservation, and endorsing active community involvement – the three pillars of sustainability (Bramwell & Lane, 2013).

The recent management strategies adopted by the Azores, a group of Portuguese islands, provide an inspiring example of this balance. To manage growing tourism numbers and prevent environmental degradation, the Azores implemented the “Azores for All” initiative in 2019, fostering sustainable and accessible tourism. This included developing sustainable accommodation options, ensuring accessibility for all tourists, and prioritizing local involvement in tourism planning and operations (Azores for All, 2019).

On the economic front, the success of the “Azores for All” initiative stimulated local economic growth by fostering an inclusive tourism economy and creating job opportunities for the local community (Azores for All, 2019).

The environmental conservation efforts have also been commendable. To minimize the carbon footprint, the Azores have encouraged the use of renewable energy in the tourism sector and focused on waste management, water conservation, and sustainable transport (Azores Government, 2020).

Moreover, the initiative has ensured that the local community remains at the heart of these development plans. It encourages local businesses and stakeholders to partake in decision-making processes related to tourism, promoting a sense of ownership and aligning development with community needs (Azores Government, 2020).

Therefore, the Azores exemplifies how strategic destination management can contribute to creating sustainable and thriving tourist locations, demonstrating the vitality of the sustainable destination management model for modern tourism.

References:

  • Azores for All (2019). About Us. Retrieved from https://azoresforall.com/en/
  • Azores Government (2020). Sustainable Azores. Retrieved from https://sustainable.azores.gov.pt/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/EC08_01PlanoAcao2019-2030_EN_s.pdf
  • Bieger, T., Wittmer, A., & Laesser, C. (2016). Transportation modes and travel behavior: The role of accessibility. Journal of Travel Research, 55(6), 673-686.
  • Bramwell, B., & Lane, B. (2013). Getting from here to there: Systems change, behavioural change and sustainable tourism. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 21(1), 1-4.
  • Buckley, R., Zhong, L., Ma, J., & Chen, N. (2019). Sustainable tourism: Progress, challenges and opportunities. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 27(7), 644-660.
  • Hall, C. M. (2020). Tourism and regional development: New pathways. Routledge.
  • Koens, K., Postma, A., & Papp, B. (2018). Is overtourism overused? Understanding the impact of tourism in a city context. Sustainability, 10(12), 4384.
  • McKercher, B., & Prideaux, B. (2014). Academic myths of tourism. Annals of Tourism Research, 46, 16-28.
  • Rossi A. (2022) Comunicazione Digitale per il Turismo, KDP
  • Sigala, M. (2018). Tourism and customer value co-creation: A critical overview and research agenda. Current Issues in Tourism, 21(4), 455-476.
  • UNWTO (2021). International Tourism and the Sustainable Development Goals – 2030 Journey. United Nations World Tourism Organization. Retrieved from https://www.unwto.org/global/publication/tourism-and-sustainable-development-goals-journey-2030
  • Weaver, D. (2020). Sustainable tourism: Theory and practice. Routledge.
  • Xiang, Z., Du, Q., Ma, Y., & Fan, W. (2017). A comparative analysis of major online review platforms: Implications for social media analytics in hospitality and tourism. Tourism Management, 58, 51-65.

#SustainableTourism; #DestinationManagement; #CommunityInvolvement; #EconomicGrowth; #EnvironmentalConservation; #ThrivingTouristLocations; #AzoresForAll; #TourismDevelopment; #BalancedTourism; #SustainableTravel; #ResponsibleTourism; #TourismTrends

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Mastering the Digital Marketing Funnel for Business Success

Business success. By AnnaStills

The Digital Marketing funnel is a strategic model that represents the entire customer journey of tourists, from the moment they come into contact with the brand until they become customers and then loyal customers. It is called a funnel because it resembles a funnel that gradually narrows down (at least in the first part).
The concept is widely used by salespeople but has also become a fundamental resource for the success of marketing and communication efforts. There are numerous approaches to the funnel concept, and the model presented in this paragraph, proposed by Marketingprofs.com [marketingprofs.com, 2016], is divided into six stages (Fig. 1):

  1. Exposure
  2. Discovery
  3. Consideration
  4. Conversion
  5. Customer relationship
  6. Retention

Fig. 1 – The Digital Marketing Funnel, adapted by the Author from [marketingprofs.com, 2016]


First, we can divide the funnel into three sections [marketingprofs.com, 2016]:

  • Top of the funnel (TOFU)
  • Middle of the funnel (MOFU)
  • Bottom of the funnel (BOFU)
  • Top of the Funnel (TOFU): The top portion of the digital marketing funnel (exposure and discovery) represents the first interactions that tourists have with the brand. Today, these interactions can come from various directions. The most common are “organic” search results (i.e., non-advertising-related), but that’s not always the case. Therefore, the first step is to understand which channels people are using to discover our content.
  • Middle of the Funnel (MOFU): In the middle of the funnel (consideration and conversion), interested potential customers (called leads) move from the initial interaction towards making a purchase or possibly making additional purchases based on their experience with our brand so far.
  • Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU): The bottom of the funnel is where customer relationships are managed, focusing on customer care and satisfaction to generate new purchases from loyal customers.


Going into more detail about the stages [rockcontent.com, 2020]:

  • Exposure: On average, there are about 75,000 searches per second on Google. This means it is necessary to be present and, more importantly, be visible within this channel. Therefore, we need to start our Content Marketing strategy (which we will see in Chapter 3) by strengthening our presence through Search Engine Optimization (SEO, which we will see in Chapter 4) techniques or even paid advertising on search engines. The important thing is for the user to enter a specific keyword (keyword), and our page appears among the top results. In this stage, the goal is to produce content that captures the attention of users, such as informative videos and infographics. Now is the time to attract as much qualified traffic as possible. On the blog, we should focus on materials targeted at people who are not familiar with our brand or on the fact that we can offer solutions to some of their problems. The formula for this step is simple: to increase exposure, the brand should work with topics that attract a large number of people. To do this, they can conduct research focused on a short-tail keyword with thousands of searches per month.
  • Discovery: In this next step, the ideal is to focus on producing content that encourages users to become interested in our brand. After all, even though the previous stage means they already know our brand, we need to make them stay on our page to discover our products, services, and solutions. There is no point in bringing a user to our website if they have no interest in our brand. This will only increase the bounce rate of our site, which can even harm the exposure phase. The main goal of this stage is to turn the visitor into a lead (interested potential customer). And now the first challenge arises: offering material or content that encourages the user to provide their contact information by creating an account, for example, or asking users to take action (e.g., subscribing to a newsletter). The most suitable suggestion for this stage is to provide rich and informative content that presents offers aligned with the needs, desires, and passions of tourists.
  • Consideration: Consumers are in a consideration stage when they are aware of our brand and know that we can provide offers aligned with the needs, desires, and passions of tourists. But we are not the only ones. Some competitors are also in the decision-making process. It is up to us, then, to provide materials that facilitate their decision-making process towards us. Therefore, the most suitable materials are those that explain the differentiators and advantages of our offer. In this stage, we already know a bit more about the leads (potential interested customers) and what they are looking for. Our content should present facts and information that demonstrate the superiority of our proposal. It can be helpful to present frequently asked questions (FAQs) that address the main issues or relevant evaluations from other customers. After all, there is nothing better than the opinion of someone who has already tried a specific product or service to make a decision. Investing in examples and concrete cases of experiences lived by other tourists, for example, is an excellent way to clarify any doubts they have about what we offer. The idea is to communicate everything necessary to confirm the superiority of our offer.
  • Conversion: Now that we have showcased the pros of our offer, it is time to help potential customers make the decision. So, it’s time to focus on increasingly personalized content based on our goals, preferences, and challenges. It’s time to create personalized campaigns. With sponsored links, we can draw the user’s attention to a specific landing page, a special page on the website created and focused solely on converting users. In all communications, it is necessary to focus on the benefits and emotions that the tourist can experience with the help of our brand, while slightly neglecting the technical and informational aspects. The idea is for them to understand practically how what we offer is better than what our competitors offer and, therefore, make a purchase.
  • Customer Relationship: With the conversion of leads into customers through the purchase, the next step is to get closer to our customers. It is essential to set aside brand advertisements and focus on providing tourists with the best ways to experience their time with us. This closer contact can become a source of great competitive advantage. For example, investing in an Email Marketing/Messenger Marketing strategy can further strengthen our relationship with the customer. This way, we can establish a direct channel with them, including all social contacts, and be available to resolve their doubts now that they know our brand and how we can provide them with an unforgettable experience.
  • Retention: The work has been extensive, but it’s not over yet. It’s time to think about actions and content focused on the challenge of customer retention. In other words, we need to ensure that the consumer who already knows our brand and has purchased our product or service continues to make new transactions. Especially in the long term, this phase is crucial. In addition to continuing the production of content from the previous stage, it is essential to regularly monitor and analyze our communications with customers. A very efficient way to do this is by interviewing customers, perhaps by asking for a qualitative and quantitative evaluation to create case studies to be used in the previous stages.

Creating a Digital Marketing funnel for our business is, therefore, essential to develop increasingly accurate actions and generate an impact on our target audience.

References:

  • [marketingprofs.com , 2016] marketingprofs.com, Matt Banner “Today’s Digital Marketing Funnel (and How to Optimize Your Conversions)” 22 march 2016, https://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2016/29582/todays-digital-marketing-funnel-and-how-to-optimize-your-conversions ; retrieved 22.05.2023
  • [Rossi A., 2022] Andrea Rossi “Comunicazione Digitale per il Turismo”, KPD, 2022
  • [rockcontent.com, 2020] rockcontent.com, Rock Content Writer, 31 march 2020 “Digital Marketing funnel: what is, how to create one and what type of content work in each stage” https://rockcontent.com/blog/digital-marketing-funnel/ ; retrieved 22.05.2023

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