7 Ways DMOs Can Make a Big Marketing Impact on a Small Budget

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<span>7 Ways DMOs Can Make a Big Marketing Impact on a Small Budget</span>
Bottom Line:

It doesn’t matter if you have a big or small budget. By leveraging digital tactics, free analytics, creating great content, and more - even small-budget DMOs can create marketing campaigns that will have a big impact.  

Successful marketing doesn’t always mean you have to spend a lot. It can be a challenge, but it’s not impossible to make a big impact. In fact, a small budget can be a real advantage for some destination marketing organizations. It forces marketers to think outside the box, prioritize their goals, and dig deep to understand their audience. 

Here are some budget-friendly ways DMOs can embrace their marketing budgets and make a splash.

1. Focus on Digital & Social Media Marketing

Digital and social platforms offer cost-effective and targeted strategies that are beneficial for small-budget DMOs. These advertising platforms allow for highly targeted campaigns, which increases the likelihood your ads are shown to people who are most likely to engage with your brand. Spending is also flexible, as marketers can dynamically set and edit their budgets for each campaign. Try Facebook Ads or Google Demand Gen, which offer targeting options based on demographics, interests, and behavior.

2. Embrace Email Marketing

A weekly or monthly newsletter is a great way to stay top of mind with visitors and share information. By consistently delivering valuable content, DMOs can build relationships with subscribers. This content not only promotes your brand but also builds trust and credibility. Newsletters can also be automated for minimal effort (perfect for those DMOs with a small staff too!) and audiences can be segmented based on interests or demographics.

For example, at Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board, we created a quarterly newsletter focused on golf in Montgomery County, PA, so we can share golf related information to those interested in the sport.

3. Update Your SEO Strategy

When a potential visitor searches your destination, is your DMO website the first result on Google? DMOs should regularly update their websites to improve their online search visibility and attract more traffic to their websites. Conduct keyword research to identify relevant keywords or phrases that potential visitors are searching for and add them to your website, either through new content or by enhancing existing stories. Don’t forget to regularly optimize page titles, meta descriptions, and headings as well. 

4. Use Free Tools

When you are working with a tight budget, free resources can be a big help. Take advantage of free tools, like Google Analytics or Google Search Console, for better insights into your audience. You can run reports on website traffic or website users, analyze organic search performance, and monitor digital campaigns. The more data you have access to means you hold more information about your audience and can target them accordingly.

5. Content is King

Developing high-quality content is a great way to grow your audience. Addressing their needs and interests through blogs, itineraries, or videos will not only engage your audience but will raise brand awareness and authority. Using user-generated content like photos, asking for reviews, running contests, or sharing testimonials can be useful too. This type of content can build a sense of community around your brand.

6. Embrace Partnerships

Joining partners in their marketing is a great way to get more visibility for your DMO and save some money. Uniting on a marketing campaign together can mean more leverage in paid media marketing, and can also double the audience you are reaching. Plus, these campaigns can be more affordable because you can split the cost. For instance, try reaching out to your popular attractions and see if they want to create a billboard campaign together.

7. Get Good Press

Getting press coverage of an event or a campaign is a good way to generate buzz at no cost. Keep in touch with media contacts and share press releases when you need coverage. You can also invite reporters to have exclusive behind-the-scenes access to an event or exclusive coverage of a story to generate interest.

As you can see, DMOs don’t need a ton of money to run a successful marketing campaign. With a little creativity and the right tools, marketing on a budget can leave a lasting impression and increase visitation to a destination.

About The Author

Justine Garbarino

Vice President of Marketing, Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board

Justine Garbarino is the Associate Vice President of Marketing at the Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board. She is responsible for leading the Board’s marketing efforts to showcase the area’s rich history and vibrant attractions. She is passionate about travel and delivering dynamic marketing campaigns that resonate with potential visitors.   

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