Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Campaign Websites - Why They Work

An interesting email came through yesterday debating the merits of "Mini Campaign Websites". It's something that we've been encouraging clients to make use of over the past few years and whilst there has always been resistance to the move we've always felt that creating websites focussing on specific campaigns, or markets or products has made sense and can be highly cost effective. The article argued the case for arguing that it was an effective method of enhancing traditional online marketing efforts.

The seven reasons listed make sense to us and are perhaps best reflected by the work we've done with Fairfield House Hotel in Ayr. When we redid their website a couple of years ago we started looking at their key products and printed materials. One campaign that was needing refocused was the Christmas promotion. It was taking over the website for a disproportionate time and didn't correlate with the revenues and was a distraction for the visitor looking to book a room or find out about business meetings. It was a perfect candidate for a campaign website and Stuart the GM agreed. "We felt that the hotel website was being undermined by the Christmas promotions which were starting in August and disenchanting the visitor who had no interest in booking festive parties. It made sense to break the product out.

"The new website is now rebranded annually but provides the Fairfield with a twelve month a year site for the search engines as well as the early booker!
Have a look at the Christmas 2009 Campaign website for the Fairfield House Hotel in Ayr - The "Long Tail" and 'niche markets' are in everyone's thought process but what should your business be doing about it? So many companies sell the same product, the same way, to the same audience, that people no longer pay much attention. The tourism market requires that small and medium sized operations have to be different to be heard. They need to be bold and innovative and constantly try new approaches to reach their audiences.
If you need to chat about how a campaign website could work for you why not drop us a note? Below are seven reason why you could consider the potential strengths of campaign sites.

1. Focus Your Presentation: eliminate distraction and non relevant clutter.
Wanting to cram everything you provide into one website aimed, or more to the point not aimed, at every interested audience only creates clutter and confusion. A campaign or brand specific website allows you to get right to the point. A focused brand or campaign site shortens the sales cycle by making what you provide clear and distinct; it provides visitors with the sense that you are both competent and innovative in what you do and how you do it.

2. Use Alternative Tactics: experiment with non traditional campaign and sales' approaches.
Most companies follow a consistent sales approach that they have found successful. This is both a good thing and a bad thing: following a plan that has worked in the past aimed at your traditional customer base makes sense, except that it also limits you in reaching new audiences for your products and services. Why give up on these potential customers when you can create an audience specific Web-presentation on a separate campaign website aimed specifically at that market. With a series of highly targeted websites you speak to the needs of specific audiences and at the same time insulate your regular clients from the alternative approaches.

3. Create Urgency & Impact: campaign sites urge quick response, while creating a memorable impression.
Website visitors are always complaining how much time it takes them to search for and find the products and services they need. A campaign or brand-specific alternative marketing site gets right to the point and delivers the information or the promotion referenced in your email, banner, and print ads, or television and radio commercials.

Your targeted marketing sales pitch won't get watered-down by extraneous information that just gets in the way. Depending on how the site is constructed and what the marketing objectives are, a campaign specific website can create a sense of urgency by building in a time sensitive expiry date.

4. Target New & Alternative Audiences: create new markets for old products and services.
Not every audience for a product can be approached with the same tactics. Specific brand or campaign sites allow you to customise your approach for new or alternative markets appealing to their specific lifestyles or behaviour patterns. Different markets require different approaches. Like a one-size-fits-all hat, it rarely fits anybody. Customise and isolate your approach to different markets, so you can speak directly to that market's needs and attitudes.

5. Isolate & Differentiate Brands: target specific audiences with specific tactics.
Tourism businesses that provide a large number of products or services often confuse potential customers by presenting far too many options and alternatives. You want to provide prospects a limited number of distinct alternatives, just enough so they feel they have been given a choice, and don't have to look elsewhere. But too much choice within the same product category creates buyer indecision. If a product or service is aimed at a particular market because it has specific features, create a separate website to sell it. Isolating a product line on a separate website allows you to create a distinct image and brand story for that offering. In tourism terms this could easily relate to specific activity breaks or seasonal breaks; create your own autumn breaks website? Why not

6. Accelerate Comprehension: be clear, be understood, be direct, and sales will follow.

Campaign websites get right to the point. They present the marketing message quickly, and promptly direct people to take action without making them wade through introductions and information on weddings, new menus, room types, or special offers or other parts of your product mix that they don't wish to trawl through.

The longer it takes for someone to understand what the campaign is all about, the less likely they are to stick around long enough to make sense out of it. When it comes to website visitors the old maxim is true that you only have one shot at making a lasting impression, so don't blow it by confusing the visitor.

7. Support Other Advertising Efforts: supplement other marketing material with engaging, viral presentations.
Campaign websites can function as landing sites and contact venues for print, television, radio, online video, banner, and display ads, as well as for articles, newsletters, and news releases.
By segregating your campaign site you can more easily track responses better than if the campaign material was integrated into your main site. Separating your campaign website from your main site allows you to experiment with marketing tactics aimed at new or alternative audiences, with approaches that may not be suitable for your regular site visitors.
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