Marketing is essential for small towns with the goal of attracting visitors year-round. Without marketing, your hidden gem will only be discovered by happenstance. Thankfully, marketing can be simplified to be low maintenance and highly effective.
Tips and Tricks to Market Your Town
Just like corporations, rural towns also need to prioritize marketing. This will help get your town on the radar and boost tourism numbers. Don’t worry, this doesn’t have to be complicated and it doesn’t require hiring a handful of employees. Read our tips and tricks for attracting visitors.
Use Hotel Motel Tax Dollars For Your Budget
The cost of marketing is the primary concern for many city managers and officials. However, spending this money is essential for economic development and tourism. When small Texas towns focus on marketing, they increase tourism numbers, which starts a cycle of boosting economic development, that then leads to more sales tax revenue. But, getting the money to start your marketing campaign can be tricky.
One area to pull funds from are hotel motel tax dollars. In Texas, hotel, motel, and bed and breakfast owners are required to collect state hotel occupancy taxes. Local laws and state laws require any space that costs more than $2 per day to collect this form of tax from customers. The tax rate is six percent of what the customers are paying for the stay. This quickly amounts to a large budget, even for towns with a small tourism market.
When using this form of sales tax revenue, paying to market your small town is doable. Not to mention, marketing will increase tourism, which boosts sales tax revenue in your town, encouraging economic development. It’s something that will repay itself over and over again when done correctly. A great example of this cycle is the town of Brownwood, which has seen significant economic development and over two dozen new businesses downtown since working with us.
Create Content For Your City’s Website
From rural Texans to suburban dwellers, everyone spends most of their time online now. This includes using search engines to find their next vacation spot. Blog content and travel guides are a great way to start showing up in these search results. Covering topics like the best restaurants in the area and the best places to explore has helped many towns see more people visiting their towns. A marketing team can assist with this effort, as most small towns don’t have entire content teams supporting them.
But, how does this work? This is what is known as search engine optimization, or SEO. SEO is a complicated topic, but blog posts will increase your chances of being one of the top results in search engines. By using strategic keywords that match what tourists are looking for, you can create content that is designed to be listed in search results. When your website is one of the first to show up in search results, your town’s hidden gems will be discovered. Writing blog content according to SEO best practices is hard work, but it’s a popular outsourcing service with marketing companies.
Utilize Social Media Platforms
Speaking of people being online, social media platforms are a highly effective marketing tool. If you haven’t already, make a Facebook and Instagram account for your town. These are the two most important platforms to be on for local governments. If you have the bandwidth to record videos, you should also download TikTok. Posting about your town and its local events will help people find your town more easily.
A great example of the power of social media for rural towns is the San Saba Sip ‘N Stroll event. The Found team worked hard to boost the attendance and revenue for this event. By using social media and paid advertising, we have increased attendance by 300% and boosted revenue 900%. Each year we see more success through our marketing efforts.
Running campaigns like this to support local businesses or events will bring more foot traffic to your hidden gems. By now, you may have noticed a handful of local businesses started their own social media profiles to market themselves. So, with your profiles, support local businesses and tag them in content.
Invite Influencers to Visit
Another social media marketing strategy is the use of influencers. Texas-made social media influencers are essential in marketing your town online. These people have amassed a significant number of followers, particularly from Texas. They will typically charge a town a rate to visit the area and make a number of posts about it. From there, their followers will become interested and book a trip to visit. View our preferred Texas influencers that we have ongoing relationships with.
Travel influencers also benefit from working with local towns. Other than getting paid to travel, they also grow their followers by posting quality content. The Daytripper, a YouTube content creator, has worked with us to market his videos of visiting small towns. Through our partnership, we have tripled his monthly revenue.
Should You Work With a Marketing Company?
If your small town doesn’t have the budget to hire a marketing team, consider outsourcing one. Marketing is an essential practice for city officials wanting to increase tourism in their rural towns. But, it is a lot to learn for someone already balancing other responsibilities. We suggest hiring a marketing team to ensure every dollar is put to great use.
We are a marketing company that specializes in tourism. Found has been at this for over a decade and we work closely with city managers, economic development directors, business owners, and city leaders, so contact us to learn more about how to get your town on the radar.