Mackinac Island Named Number 1 Summer Destination in America by TripAdvisor

The TripAdvisor ranking is based on seasonal hotel booking interest from spring to summer, including the average one-week vacation costs for hotels and airfare. As Mackinac’s Agency of Record, Advance 360 is thrilled to celebrate this well-deserved recognition.

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Advance 360, the Mackinac Island Tourism’s Agency of Record, has worked diligently to achieve this notoriety, but also dramatically improve the revenue of the island and the length of the peak season. Both have made tremendous inroads — growing by more than 30% in revenue since 2013.

In 2013, Mackinac Island Tourism identified a need for a refined, laser targeted digital campaign. Since that time, the budgetary commitment to this proven digital strategy has more than doubled, and the results speak for themselves.

Products Used:

• Paid Search
• SEO
• Display and Re-messaging
• Responsive Rich Media
• Sponsor Content
• Social Media Management and Amplification
• Web Design and Development
• Video Pre-Roll

Strategy

The primary goal has always been to increase total room revenue on Mackinac Island. Advance 360 knows that increasing site traffic and conversions on mackinacisland.org are the leading indicators of how the island will pace with regards to room revenue. Adjusting and solving for the appropriate increase in web visitors during target months, the strategy lifted traffic and with it, room night revenue.

Because the island is open only May through October, the window of opportunity is short. Using historical data, travel research, and audience profiling, Advance 360 was able to predict peaks in bookings, understand target audiences and messaging, and lift conversions. Insights from SEM analysis dictated a full year marketing campaign that elevated bookings in both early and late season, adding to increase of total room revenue for the island.

Advance 360 is still the DAOR for Mackinac Island and 2018 pacing is currently on track to exceed campaign key performance indicators.

Results

From 2013-2018, since Advance 360 has become Mackinac Island’s Digital Agency of Record, they have seen the following increases:

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CREATIVE EXAMPLES

Digital Ads:

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Website:

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88.3% INCREASE IN ADMITTED STUDENTS

Public, four-year state university leverages re-targeting to bring in Top Recruits

How can a state university recruit the most impressive student prospects online? Especially when there’s no database that tracks students by GPA or academic performance. For the College of Science at a four-year state university, recruiting high schoolers who excel in science, tech, engineering and math (STEM) was a top priority. The state university worked with Advance 360 to reach STEM students online and increase enrollment in the College of Science.

We developed a four week digital campaign leading up to National Decision Day, when seniors choose which college to attend — researching the 40 top-performing STEM high schools in the four closest states. Half of the campaign went toward mobile in-app ads, geo-targeted to those schools. Any student who engaged with an ad and then left the area were retargeted later using the other half of the budget. In total, the university spent less than $3,000 to deliver 250,000 ad impressions over four weeks. By National Decision Day, the results were in.

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How Much of Your Budget is Digital?

In December of 2016, just 25% marketing budgets averaged 70% of their dollars to digital efforts. 11% of those polled responded their budget less than 10% digital. Yet nearly half of the marketers cited content development as a leading tactic in their marketing.

80% of marketers in North America name lead generation and brand awareness as their top reasons for content marketing. But it isn’t enough to develop compelling and engaging content if you don’t take steps to bring your audience to it.

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Ensure that your website is mobile friendly. The smartphone is the preferred access point for 87% of users. If your site can’t be easily viewed and your content easily found while in line for coffee, the site and its architecture needs work. You must build the foundation for your business first, and that foundation is your website.

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Use pixels wisely. A re-messaging pixel is simply a device for finding someone that visited a page of content a second (or third) time. What you re-message these visitors with should be consistent with content they read, and over time introduce new topics and calls to action. These re-messages can drive your audience further down the funnel, introducing concepts or products that will pique interest. But don’t lean to heavily into this budget. Dial the re-messaging up too high, and your audience may be served multiple messages from you on the same page—wasting your precious dollars.

B-step3 How Much of Your Budget is Digital?

Social Media is a great place to start if you haven’t dedicated much of your budget to digital. With it you’ll learn how to target an audience, set a budget, and even list-match. These concepts can be expanded more broadly in digital display messaging, as you (and your budget) are ready. But don’t expect to “post and run.” Social media is a long play: you can’t disappear for weeks at a time. You must pay to play in this space, though you can start very small.

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Open the digital floodgates. Sync your social media efforts with your digital display ones, using your learnings about what is most engaging. Segment audiences that you know have a propensity to convert, and experiment with frequencies to influence them to do so.

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Whatever your budget, recognize that when used properly, digital can dramatically reduce the amount of waste in your marketing spend, by highly targeting your exact audience and serving messages in their natural internet travels. Lower cost per acquisition? Check.

Learn More:

Community College Garners Record Engagements (+253%)

The higher education market is highly competitive, especially for two-year colleges and community colleges that compete with four-year universities for students. Additionally, community colleges battle the negative perception that they are the post-secondary destination of “last resort.”

Community colleges thrived during the economic recession as students who were struggling to pay for a four-year university or to find work looked to improve their academic and professional credentials. As the economy recovered, community colleges have had to get creative in their marketing to potential students. Our client approached Advance 360 to construct a strategy targeting a very specific audience of community college prospects — summer transient students.

THE STRATEGY

B-CCengage-icon1a Community College Garners Record Engagements (+253%)
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THE CHALLENGE

The local community college was struggling to reach the summer transient students. These are students who live in the county, are eligible to take classes and have credits transferred back to their original institutions. In addition, the local community college wanted to reach the parents of children that are most likely to participate in summer classes.

The strategy that was created revolved primarily around three tactics to reach parents and students. First, targeting geographically, to focus on very specific locations where the likeliest audience exists. In this case, targets included six college campuses that would function like “feeder schools.” In social media, Advance 360 targeted students enrolled at schools nearest the community college and/or within a 40 mile radius of the city. Responsive Rich Media, or RRM, communicated the advantages of summer classes at the community college, in an engaging way.

RESULTS

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William & Mary Athletics’ Social Campaign Draws Record Attendance

The College of William & Mary sought assistance with ticket sales for their basketball season. With a layered targeting approach, Advance 360 used lat/long targeting (also known as geo-fencing) to target students on campus, with messages specific to student ticket pricing. List-matching and social media targeting was used to find alums within a specific radius of campus, and those viewers were encouraged to engage with the purchase of season or single tickets. Additional audiences with an interest in basketball, special events or sports were also targeted and delivered messages around the affordability of tickets, and specific athletic events and dates.

Overall, this campaign achieved record attendance for the University, tripling the men’s basketball audience and quadrupling the women’s audience YOY.

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2018 Digital Marketing Trends

Who is your most valuable audience? Your digital strategy should lead them directly to you. But the landscape changes quickly. How do you keep up? Here’s our take on actionable insights you can (and should) incorporate into your marketing strategy, including advances in online display targeting, content marketing and video.

Fruit Company Offered Finest Products, but Lacked Measurements for Success

With zero ability to measure ROI on marketing initiatives and zero integrated digital marketing strategy, Shoreline was operating at a disadvantage. Though their website effectively meets the needs of direct visitors, Shoreline Fruit was missing a vital component – a holistic marketing strategy designed to expand their audience, reaching those still steps away from the “visit a website” piece of the customer journey. They had built the piece, but the audience wasn’t coming. We dug into the data-driven realities of Shoreline Fruit’s ideal and targeted audience. Using this market research data and our understanding of the stages of the customer “path to conversion,” Advance 360 fashioned a comprehensive campaign. The campaign focused on identified targets as well as other targets determined during our collaboration with Shoreline Fruit. Next steps involved converting this knowledge into action.

“One of the things Advance 360 will be helping us with specifically is social media. Since January, our Facebook likes have already grown 116% and our LinkedIn followers are up 146%.”

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Peter & Company Jewelers Increases Awareness and Revenue with Strategic Marketing

By all accounts, Peter & Company was a successful Cleveland jeweler. With their concentration on special occasion jewelry, diamonds and engagement, and specialty brands, they had all the devices to gain and keep their clients’ attention.

But at Advance 360, we knew that with a strategy centered around events and special occasions, true gains could be made. We built for them a layered campaign with evergreen, event, and other segments, targeted at those that could be most influenced.

Marketing Challenge

Peter & Co. is a single point customer service oriented jewelry retailer that has been in business for 30 years. They have/had partnered with jewelry specific agencies over the past decade. Peter & Co. wanted to understand how their marketing efforts were performing, have a better knowledge of their customer base, and be able to better leverage the digital space.

Our Solutions

  • We proposed becoming their Agency of Record to handle ALL marketing efforts
  • A full CRM and POS data analysis was performed
  • Custom reporting was created to track both web analytics and POS performance in one place
  • We built them a 12 month media calendar including digital, video, print, radio, signage, etc.
  • Our team coordinates and/or activates and optimizes all of the media plans
  • Our creative team initially designed campaigns for Always On, Mother’s Day, Spring, and Summer

Capabilities:

  • Display impressions
  • Campaign management
  • Design
  • Video
  • Photography
  • Responsive rich media
  • Social media marketing
  • Print advertising
  • Email
  • Direct mail
  • Blog
  • Exterior signage
  • Store collateral & signage
  • Swag items
  • Catalogs
  • Holiday website
  • Campaign analytics
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Creative Samples

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Building a Lasting Social Media Strategy

Building a brand. Great positioning. Reach and frequency. Content is king. We’ve heard these mantras again and again, but do you really know how to approach any of it to get results for your business? Take it one step at a time, and start with building out your social media strategy. We’ve compiled these social media rules of the road get your started.

  • Facebook, Instagram and other social channels are inexpensive, but you still must pay to be seen. It isn’t enough to post daily, as you won’t be seen by the majority of your friends or followers. Only promoted posts or advertising on the platform will generate the attention you are looking for. Too frequently, we think of social media as “free,” when in fact, while economical, you must invest to reap its rewards.
  • Engagement is the most important metric to measure. Yes, you want to increase those that follow your brand, but people who interact with you and share your stories on your behalf provide more value because they are extending the reach and affinity for your brand. A regular stream of content that offers a unique view into your business or behind-the-scenes activities will generate that activity (when used in conjunction with paid posts as noted in our first tip).
  • Don’t expect to be a viral, overnight sensation. We’d all like to hit the grand slam the first time we step up to bat. But it takes practice and patience to learn what will be well received.
  • Be consistent. Don’t lose sight of the long term goal: that you’re building a foundation for lasting relationships with your audience. Your strategy is akin to a marathon, not a sprint.

See how a consistent, long-term strategy can perform. This example offers real statistics from an Advance 360 client for the first eleven months of 2017.

Total App Downloads Outpace Goal

Smart strategies and swift optimization create engagement beyond expectations.

 

We all have dozens of apps on our phones. How did we learn about them? What’s the difference between those we use everyday and those that we barely touch, yet refuse to delete from our device? And how does the originator of the app influence us to download or purchase their app over a competing one?

In this case study, you’ll see that the special blend comprised Google App Ads, Paid Search, Social Media and Display impressions, but the clear winner was social media.

PREMIUM APP WITH A ONE TIME INVESTMENT OF $12.99

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FACEBOOK ADVERTISING RESULTS IN ONE MONTH

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In the two months represented by this data, 334 total downloads were made from the social channel. Using targeted social ads led to a dramatic increase in purchases from this space.

IOS APP ANALYTICS: 2 MONTH RESULTS

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