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Four Key Ingredients to a Successful Online Campaign

When the VisitUtah.com spring campaign was launched, I was excited that people would see all the reasons they needed to get to Utah.  I didn’t expect the campaign to convince me to make the trip. I’ve been in marketing for 20 years, so an online campaign is like a play. When you’ve been backstage producing a play, you tend to focus on all the things that could be done better; you lose some of the magic.  I was viewing the campaign strategically, objectively, and critically from a user experience and design point of view.  Even so, the campaign grabbed me and compelled me to make plans right that minute. Here’s how the four key elements of a successful online campaign convinced me, someone who hasn’t planned a summer vacation in several years,  to take the plunge and mark the national parks in Utah OFF my bucket list.

Banner Ad Beauty

The Utah landscape is beautiful, but that doesn’t mean the banner ads will be, right?  In this case, wrong.  The banner ads showed compelling images to capture the imagination.  How long has it been since you saw stars so bright you thought someone had thrown a handful of diamonds in front of your eyes?  It had been a long time for me, so these images made an emotional impact.  They reminded me of my childhood, growing up in Colorado and camping in the Rockies under stars so bright, I’m surprised I ever went to sleep.

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Because Aristotle developed VisitUtah.com, I went to the site multiple times. Then the campaign launched, and here came the banner ads.

Retargeting, or Why People Have to Be Hit Over the Head

I had to see those banner ads many times though before I took action.  That’s just how people are.  We need frequency.  We are distracted or simply busy with other things.  Fortunately, I was retargeted, and wherever I went on the Internet, the ads would follow me and gently remind me again of those amazing Utah arches, stars, and landscapes. Finally, one night while working on something else entirely, I saw the ad and thought, “Why am I not going?” The ad had a sense of urgency: “Escape this spring.” The ads finally whittled me down and the person I am, not the professional, finally clicked.

Goldilocks Landing Pages

The ad did not have me at “hello.”  The landing pages had to keep my imagination piqued but also deliver some content that made the trip real.  They did that.  I saw mo’ better photography:  bigger and bolder.  I saw big images where people were doing the things I love to do — exploring, hiking and my new addiction, mountain biking.

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There weren’t too many photos and not too many places to go.  Just the Mighty Five national parks.  It felt full and yet doable.

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Travel Planning – The Clincher

The landing pages had my sense of  adventure on the hook, but when I saw a map and enough practical information to begin my travel planning, I was halfway there.  I easily downloaded the PDF, read through it, and shared it with my potential travel companion.  We won’t follow the exact itinerary, of course, but the map and possible schedule showed us what a trip could look like, how simple it could be.  That was all I needed.

SOLD!

Each element of the campaign was essential to convince me to go. Beautiful banner ads, the repetition of retargeting, killer landing pages, and a practical map and guide that told a simple story.

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For so many things in life, we just need to know that a thing is possible, and we can imagine ourselves doing it. That’s how a great travel campaign works, and that’s why I’m heading to Utah for 10 days this summer! Can you believe it? So take heart for your online marketing campaigns — they really can work. When all these elements come together — and with a little help from someone who knows the biz — you can get amazing results, too!

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About the Author
Marla Johnson

Marla Johnson

Marla heads up Aristotle, Inc. and speaks nationally on Internet trends. Insatiably curious and constantly present.

Marla Johnson
Marla heads up Aristotle, Inc. and speaks nationally on Internet trends. Insatiably curious and constantly present.
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