At Monday night's Franklin Tourism Development Authority, members were presented with an update of the marketing plan that is being implemented by local marketing firm, Premiere Marketing. Jessica Mason, who has been handling the TDA's account, set to work describing the effects the plan has had so far for the Discover Franklin website.
“As you can see since we started the marketing plan, there's been about 5,000 visits to the site each month,” said Mason. “The number dropped in the winter months and we expected that to happen.”
In the month of September the number was 4,539; in October it was 4,845; and in November, it began dropping with 3,311 visitors and 2,964 in December as the temperatures got colder.
The top locations that spawned visitors were here in Franklin, Atlanta, and Charlotte. The top referral sites were franklinnc.com and Facebook.
“Something that shows that our ad campaigns are working is that Atlanta is always in the top two. You can also see that Facebook is in the top two. Like Atlanta, it is always in one of the top spots,” she said.
Most of the money that was allotted from the TDA for the marketing campaign was put toward billboards in Atlanta and advertising on Facebook.
“On July 15, 2013, Discover Franklin, NC had 494 fans and as of December 30, 2013, it has 3,626 fans,” said Mason.
One of the ads depicts a smiling lady. The targeted audience that ad is looking to attract were listed as: Those who live in the U.S.; who live in N.C.; are age 30 and older; people who like fishing, outdoor recreation, biking, hunting, fishing, or hiking; and people who not already connected to discover franklinnc.com.
The other ad, which uses a picture of a waterfall, targets people who are: Living in the U.S.. Atlanta (+25 mi) Georgia; or Charlotte (+25 mi) North Carolina; exactly 25 years or older; like North Carolina, outdoor recreation, Blue Ridge Parkway, kayaking, waterfalls, rafting, Great Smoky Mountains, Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian Trail, tubing, or Blue Ridge Heritage Area; who are not already connected to discover franklinnc.com.
According to Mason, the next billboard campaign will begin on May 12, 2014.
“If you all can think of anything specific that you want to promote or if somebody comes to you and says 'hey we have this going on', please let us know,” she told the board.
Justin Belleme of JB Media was also at the meeting to give an update of the internet search engine optimization that his firm was tasked with.
“We used keyword research which basically indicated how many people are searching for different things,” said Belleme. “We looked to see what would be the best keyword for each page. What are the most people searching for? We picked the ten pages that have the best keywords and my writing staff spent time injecting key words in as much as we could without getting redundant.”
The reason for this is so the Franklin site comes back in one of the top spots when someone browsing searches on the internet for something in particular that the local site has to offer.
The board members applauded both presentations. In discussions that followed, a possible free vacation getaway to Franklin was suggested by member Matt Bateman, with member Mike Gruberman agreeing that he may be interested in such an idea.
Mason assured the board that once the legal aspects were explored, she could set them up to make an offer to visitors of the site or Facebook if they wanted to move forward with it.