Whether you’re hosting a specific event or simply want to improve your flow of visitors, advertising is key to boosting numbers and earning a fantastic reputation both online and in real life.
Historic houses, tourist hotspots and fledgling festivals can all benefit from the snowball effect of a strong advertising campaign.
When planning an advertising campaign for the first time, it’s important to explore all of your options rather than just falling back on Google Ads and a local newspaper spread.
Advertising has become a diversified playing field.
Consumers are shifting their focus from older formats and need to be reached in new ways.
So without further adieu, let’s dive in.
By now we’ve all heard the refrain that print media is dead. Sales are declining and more and more magazines and newspapers are shifting their focus towards digital formats. Even billboards have become digital now!
But, that doesn’t mean that there’s no value in print advertising options. Print ads have been shown to provide great brand recall, retention rates and the ability to drive action.
A study by Newsworks found that:
- Ad recall is 2.6 times higher for ads within print newsbrands than it is for ads appearing in digital newsbrands (on average 72% of readers recalled print ads compared with 28% of readers who recalled digital ads)
- Branding is 107% stronger in print advertising vs digital advertising (29% vs 14%)
- Print ads are easier to understand by a factor of 2.4 times (46% of readers claimed print ads very easy to understand, but only 19% of readers felt the same for digital ads)
- Readers are 190% more likely to say that print ads are interesting to them (32% for print vs 11% for digital)
- Print advertising drives higher levels of web visits (13% for print vs 7% for digital), intention to purchase (11% vs 4%), recommendation (23% vs 6%) and discussions (13% vs 4%)
How about that?
When you think of print, you probably think of magazines and newspapers. They’re the obvious choice - and for good reason. These print options offer the chance to promote your visitor attraction on a national scale.
However, there are some fundamental differences between magazines and newspapers that should be taken into account when deciding whether to advertise with them.
Magazines are often slightly more high-end, with long lead times and expensive price tags. But you usually do get a higher quality, glossy ad for that price.
Magazines tend to be read by highly engaged audiences with specific interests that you can use to your advantage to target your ideal audience effectively.
Plus, many people keep magazines for a long time. Your ad could end up in a magazine that gets left out at a hairdressers or a doctor’s office, accruing a huge number of readers over time.
Newspapers, on the other hand, have a much shorter life span, often being thrown out after they’re read (although many do end up being passed around commuters on train journeys home).
National papers can be expensive too, although local papers are often surprisingly affordable and a worthwhile option if you want to factor in some geographical targeting.
With shorter lead times, it can also be easier to get your ad placed at a later date if you’re in need of a last minute push.
How Do I Find Out Pricing?
Easy - Google it! A lot of major magazines and newspapers have this information available online; they aren’t trying to hide it.
The quickest way to find out pricing is by Googling your desired magazine or newspaper’s name and the phrase “media kit”.
What’s a media kit, I hear you ask? Media kits are essentially a package of information that media companies provide to advertisers and brands they want to collaborate with.
They often include a bit of information about the media company’s audience, readership figures, advertising prices and dimension options for both print and digital ads.
Some media kits are webpages, others are downloadable pdfs and some are sent via email. Many of the ones you find online are out of date, so double check that they’re for the correct year before you start making any concrete plans.
If you can’t find a media kit anywhere and there’s no “Advertising” page on the magazine/newspaper’s website then you’re going have to do it the old-school way and give them a call (or an email if you can find a relevant email address).
Don’t be scared to speak to their advertising department directly. Once they hear that you’re interested in advertising with them, they’ll turn up the charm for sure.
Trust us, they want that sweet, sweet advertising money.
Flyers are an often overlooked form of print advertising that can have a surprisingly large impact on visitor numbers.
According to a study by the DMA, 48% of customers either visited an advertised store or website, requested further information about a brand or purchased a product directly after receiving a flyer through their door.
Ways to Distribute
Door-to-Door Mail Drop
Direct mail is proven to get a positive response from readers, however it might seem like a pain to send out a large number of flyers in the post by yourself.
No worries though, Royal Mail can do flyer door drops for you. You can target houses by distance, postcode and demographics such as age and affluence.
Royal Mail claim that 92% of people say they read door drops that get delivered to your home, making this a great way to introduce your visitor attraction to your desired audience.
Newspaper inserts are proven to be incredibly effective when advertising a promotion or when they can be used as a coupon.
65% of readers believe that the best deals can be found in newspaper inserts, meaning that some people will actively seek out inserts in order to save money.
If you’re running a seasonal promotion or are desperate to get more attendees for a quickly-approaching event, then inserts are the way to go.
Alternatively, street distribution is also a great way to drum up interest in an upcoming event and is much cheaper than the cost of inserts.
Whether you hire a street distribution team for the day or give it a go yourself, handing out flyers in person is a great way to engage with potential attendees face-to-face.
Not only do you get the chance to convince people who might be on-the-fence, you also get immediate feedback about the reasons why people might not be able to go that can help you plan ahead better in the future.
In Store Distribution
Perhaps the easiest way to distribute your flyers is to convince some local stores, cafes or coffee shops to keep a stack of your flyers in a place where wandering eyes might spot them.
However, keep in mind that whereas some forms of flyers benefit from advertising limited time promotions, flyers that are distributed in-store are better received if they aren’t likely to go out of date.
Flyers come in lots of shapes and sizes but generally speaking A7 is usually the smallest that most printers would recommend and A4 is the largest.
Don’t hesitate to get creative. DL sheets and square shaped flyers stand out amongst other inserts and mailers. The more eye-catching, the better.
For a bit of inspiration, check out some great examples of well-designed flyers here.
If you want to make a big splash, billboards are your best bet. The length of time they remain visible to passers-by and their huge size makes them particularly appealing as an advertising option.
Although billboards are restricted to having an impact in one particular location, they’re often strategically placed in busy areas that are viewable for commuters in order to increase their audience as much as possible.
There are all sorts of billboard offshoots to consider too. Have you thought about advertising on the side of a bus, for example? Or what about on a Tube platform?
In the past, billboards were created using sheets of paper pasted together to form one image, hence their sizes are often referred to in terms of “sheets”.
There’s no average size for UK billboards so don’t make any assumptions about the size before you start your designing process.
If in doubt, you can compare billboard sizes with a size you might recognise (such as A4) using PaperSizes.
What About Digital Billboards?
Digital billboards have all of the same benefits of location and size as a print billboard, however they lack the permanence.
This means that they need to be approached in a different way. Rather than being used to predominantly create brand awareness, digital billboards are better for time-sensitive promotions.
They have shorter lead times and can be targeted towards an audience during specific times of the day. Plus, because they’re digital, they can be edited with updated prices, times, locations etc. that might be relevant for specific promotions.
And with that, we’ve arrived at digital advertising.
Digital advertising is a hugely popular method for attracting attention to your business, so much so that in 2017 it overtook all other forms of advertising, including television, radio and print, to reach 52% share of total advertising spending in the UK.
In part, this is because digital advertising is an umbrella term for such a wide variety of advertising methods, each of which have been evolving rapidly in recent years.
In this post we’re going to cover:
- Paid search advertising
- Display advertising
- Social media advertising
- Video advertising
Paid Search Advertising
Paid search is a form of advertising where you pay search engines such as Google and Bing to show ads on their search engine results pages (SERPs).
In order to appear when people search for a specific term (e.g. ‘things to do in Redhill’), you bid against other businesses on these long-tail keywords. The more you pay, the more likely your ad will appear in the search results.
You’ll be asked to set a campaign budget and potentially the maximum amount you’re willing to pay per keyword, as well as the geographic location you want to advertise in.
You don’t have to create any special creative or copy for these ads, you just provide a link to the webpage that you wish to appear in SERPs.
What is PPC?
You might have heard this buzzword (buzz-acronym?) before in relation to paid search advertising. That’s because PPC is a form of paid search.
PPC stands for pay-per-click and it refers to the method through which you’re charged for paid search advertising. Each time a person clicks on your ad, you’re charged a fee.
That fee varies based on a wide range of factors, including how popular your keyword is. The more competition, the higher the price.
Google processes on average over 40,000 search queries every second, over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide.
It has a gigantic audience ripe for the picking. But to wrestle your way up to the top of its rankings, more often than not you have to invest in a bit of advertising.
Did you know that Google accounts for 31.1% of worldwide ad spending? Not worldwide digital ad spending - ad spending full stop.
It’s a fundamental part of most businesses’ advertising budget, which unfortunately means that it’s difficult to perfect because it’s likely that you’ll always be bidding against other businesses with much bigger pockets.
However, there are ways you can improve your chances. Google uses a metric called Ad Rank to determine the order in which they display their paid search ads. Your bid amount is not the only thing they keep in mind. Google also review:
- Your Quality Score - the quality of your ads and landing page as judged by your click-through-rate (CTR), relevance and user experience
- Search Context - e.g. the time of the search, what device was used and how the search relates to other results
- Ad Extensions & Other Formats - Google reviews pieces of additional info such as a phone number or links to other pages on your website to see whether they produce increases in your CTR
By working on your SEO in general, you can give Google a reason to position you above the other big dogs.
Need help with your SEO? Check out our handy Website Audit Checklist.
Previously known as Bing Ads, Microsoft Advertising is the main alternative search engine advertiser that you should consider working with alongside Google Ads.
Microsoft Advertising includes the search inventory of Bing, AOL and Yahoo, making it a fantastic resource for reaching anyone that might not use Google as their default search engine.
Referred to as ‘The Bing Network’, this search inventory shares 22.2% of the U.K. desktop search market, with 409 million monthly searches.
Display ads are probably the most recognisable form of digital advertising online. They’re essentially banner ads that are featured in areas of a website or social media platform that are specially designated for advertising.
Although display ads are most commonly image-based, you can actually advertise with plain text-based ads instead.
However, we don’t encourage that - you’re much more likely to capture the attention of your desired audience with some eye-catching graphics.
Aside from static images, you can also use videos, GIFs and rich media formats that include an interactive element or animations.
Display ads come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes. According to Google, the top performing ad sizes are the ‘medium rectangle’ (330x250), the ‘large rectangle’ (336x280), the ‘leaderboard’ (728x90), the ‘half page’ (300x600) and the ‘large mobile banner’ (320x100).
Google Display Network
Google Display Network is the easiest way to set up and run display ads across a wide variety of websites.
With Google Display Network you can create your own ads using Google’s free image library, your own logo and text. Google will automatically optimise your ad to improve its performance and make it mobile-responsive.
Responsive ads are great for boosting your conversion rates not only because it allows them to be shown via multiple devices, but also because Google will also show responsive ads natively. This means that they’re formatted to blend into the rest of the website’s design.
Aside from its ability to help with ad creation, Google Display Network is also helpful for targeting warm leads as it gives you access to data such as remarketing lists which can help you re-engage previous visitors to your site.
Google’s automated features mean that you can set up your campaign to automatically target high-performing audiences, optimise your ad over time and adjust your bid to help your meet your ROI, all while you spend valuable time getting on with your own business.
Banner ads often get a bad rap, largely due to a phenomenon known as ‘banner blindness’ which is a form of web behaviour where users ignore certain areas of a webpage that they know features advertisements.
In fact, paid search ads have even begun to suffer the same fate, with many users having learnt to skip past the ad at the top of Google’s search results.
So how do you combat banner blindness? Here are three simple tips:
1. Make your content more relevant
One of the main reasons readers will learn to ignore your ads is because they’re not relevant to the content that they’re placed next to.
Put yourself in those readers’ shoes. If you’ve gone to a website to read about a certain topic or product, ads that aren’t related to those topics or products are unlikely to capture your attention.
But, by contrast, if the ads alongside this content are tailored to suit your interests then you’re much more likely to click on them.
Ad relevance can have a massive impact on motivating your readers to undertake a certain action. For example, a Meditative study found that 40% of participants took an action because the ad in question was related to the interests that led them to that web page in the first place.
Furthermore, other studies have shown that ads with relevant content resulted in an 82% increase in brand recall, meaning that these ads have a lasting impact on readers.
2. Experiment with placement
Although Google has guidelines about which display ad placements are the most effective, many of these placements have become so ubiquitous now that they’re the very first areas of a webpage that we’ve learnt to block out.
Try experimenting with ad placements that most consumers aren’t as accustomed to ignoring, such as nestled amongst your content or as part of the website's background skin.
You’re much more likely to generate engagement through these methods than by sticking to the same placements that all other advertisements follow.
3. Improve your graphic design
Eye-catching graphic design is fundamental for counteracting the effects of banner blindness. With the help of a pop of colour and some engaging copy, you’ll be able to snag attention away from the main body of content on the page.
Some design tips to keep in mind:
- Avoid clutter - keep your design simple and easy to read
- Feature a prominent CTA - prompt your customer to take action
- Explore interactive features
As mentioned previously, native ads are ads that are formatted to blend in with the design of the webpage they’re located on.
Rather than being located in designated advertising areas, they’re hidden amongst other editorial content, making it much harder for users to automatically ignore them.
Native advertising covers a wide variety of ads, some of which can be considered display ads, some of which are advertorials and some of which are paid search listings.
Paid search listings count as native ads because although they’re usually always featured in the same area, they are formatted to look exactly the same as the rest of the search engine results.
Native display ads, on the other hand, include ads featured in content feeds, promoted listings or in recommended modules or widgets. These ads can be created and run via the Google Display Network.
Lastly, advertorials are pieces of commissioned content that subtly advertise a product or service. Usually advertorials are mostly educational editorial content that keeps branding to a minimum in order to obscure the fact that it has been paid for by the advertiser.
Native Advertising Laws
Due to the fact that native ads purposely try to disguise their advertising intent, they’re subject to a few laws that are there to protect the interests of consumers.
The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations means that you can’t mislead consumers by leaving out important information, such as the fact that your content is paid for as an advert.
If you’re interested in reading up on the law, it’s worth reading The Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008 and the CAP Non-Broadcast Code.
The main rules to keep in mind are:
- Advertorials must be distinguished from editorial content, usually using a heading such as ‘Advertisement Feature’.
- For native ads that are featured in recommended listings sections, the header ‘Recommended Content’ is considered insufficient and should be replaced with ‘More from around the web’ or ‘You may also like these’.
- Don’t use terms such as ‘sponsorship’, ‘in association with’ or ‘Thanks to [brand] for making this possible’ as these phrases obscure the fact that the advertiser actually has editorial control over the content.
Thankfully, most of the time the websites that host adverts are in charge of the layout of their advertorials and display ads so they will be responsible for following these laws. However, it’s always useful to be aware of the lines you shouldn’t cross.
Social Media Advertising
Social media is one of the easiest, low-cost, high-return forms of advertising that’s available nowadays. For visitor attractions in particular, it’s an incredibly effective way of boosting awareness, gaging interest and selling tickets.
Many platforms are even in the process of developing ways that consumers can buy tickets natively via social media (with Facebook Events leading the way).
Social media is a huge topic - and we should know! We’ve created a massive guide to Building a Social Media Strategy that’s packed full of helpful info about how to get the ball rolling with your social media content. If you want some insight into social media basics then check that out.
Here we’ll be solely focusing on the main ways you can advertise your visitor attraction on the three of the most important social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Facebook offers the biggest advertising platform of any social media network in the world. Its huge user base, combined with its ownership of Instagram, means that it easily dominates the social media advertising landscape.
Thankfully, 78% of social marketers say that they’re satisfied with the service that Facebook Ads provide. The average cost per click is $1.72, although this does vary based on which industry this is within. If each of these clicks translates to new visitors to your business then this ROI has fantastic potential.
Facebook offers a wide range of advertising formats, including:
- Carousels - uses up to 10 photos or videos
- Slideshows - creates short video ads out of a collection of still photos or video clips
- Collections (mobile only) - showcase products that customers can click to buy
- Instant Experiences (previously known as Canvas) - once clicked on, they expand to full screen and can be used to share an Instant Storefront, Lookbook, Customer Acquisition, Storytelling or Form
- Lead Ads (mobile only) - designed to make form collections easy, e.g. for signing up to a newsletter
- Dynamic Ads - promote targeted ads to customers that are most likely to be interested in them based on their previous actions
- Messenger Ads - photo, video, carousel and dynamic ads that appear in Facebook Messenger
The easiest way to get started with Facebook ads is to give your regular social media posts a bit of a boost with some advertising cash. To do this, all you have to do is press the ‘Boost Post’ button next to your Facebook Business posts.
Using this shortcut button, you can quickly set a budget, the duration of the ad and a specific target audience to advertise to. This way, you can get social media adverts up and running in just a couple of minutes.
Facebook Business Manager
However, when planning out proper, long-term campaigns, you’ll need to dig into Facebook Business Manager.
Facebook Business Manager is essential a help center, control hub and dashboard platform for anything to do with marketing or advertising on both Facebook and Instagram.
To set up a Facebook ad from Facebook Business Manager, you need to:
- Click the Business Manager tab in the navigation bar.
- Under the Create & Manage header, click Ads Manager and then click the green Create + button.
- Choose your objective. There are 11 options to choose from that all fall under either Awareness, Consideration or Conversion. Usually Engagement will be your main aim.
- Narrow down your objective again to specify whether you’re looking for post engagement, page likes or event responses.
- Name your campaign.
- Choose whether to run an A/B split test.
- Choose whether to optimise your budget across all ad sets. If you’re only running one ad set then this is not necessary.
- Select your target location, age, gender and language of your audience. Ensure that your audience size indicator remains green.
- Choose your Facebook ad placements. The simplest option is to enable automatic placements.
- Set your budget and schedule.
- Create your ad by choosing your ad format, adding text and media, previewing and confirming your final ad.