Why Alaska Internet Marketing Is Different
1 - Alaska internet marketing close to home, looking abroad
People come here to live or travel with a purpose. The people who do live here tend be flexible, have a strong sense of work/life balance, are heavily invested in the local community, and for the most part maintain a do-it-yourself type attitude. Because of that Alaskan marketing is anything but traditional.
Alaskan tourism accounted for roughly $4 billion of economic impact in 2014 - a record year. Nearly 3 times as many toursits come here every year as people who actually live here. And that’s a lot of out of state money and traffic flooding Alaskan businesses, usually in the form of an extremely busy peak season. And while it reminds me of Hawaii or Las Vegas in that sense, unlike such places Alaska’s local population tends to be extremely invested and opinionated in the local community’s
- politics, and
- social events.
Alaskan businesses are set with the paradoxical task of attracting the $4 billion a year tourist tornado, but without alienating its core local group. It’s like a bird having to guard the nest and at the same time go out and find the flock. That requires 2 entirely different Alaska internet marketing strategies rolled into one. That’s tough.
2 – Alaskan tourists are here with purpose
Rarely do visitors come to Alaska without meticulous planning on research. That means most if not all tourists' decisions are made based on what they see on the internet. These decisions are usually made when customers find out:
- Which businesses are near the top of search results (authority);
- Which businesses online presence looks the best (legitimacy); and
- Which business is rated higher by past customers (quality).
Businesses here can’t rely simply on word of mouth or random customers. Alaskan internet marketing strategies for tourism must absolutely cater to fulfilling the three needs bolded above – what I refer to as “The Big Three” – to effectively attract tourists.
3 – Alaskan internet marketing revolves around impressions
Now let may something totally opposite of what I just said above. Alaskan local marketing strategy is almost exclusively catered towards what people are saying about a business - what are local's impressions of your business. Sure, word of mouth. But more importantly:
- Making what people are saying your business visible for others;
- And speaking directly to customers;
You’ll guess where I’m going with this – social media marketing. It’s the ultimate word of mouth tool. Businesses who generate great traffic are active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc., and find creative ways to involve customers on their social media profiles.
For businesses that are higher dollar and lower traffic, like Alaska’s outdoor adventure service industry, using social media as word of mouth weapon even more important.
4 - Internet marketing in Alaska in harder
Doing two different tasks for two different populations takes time and effort - double the time and effort in fact. You have to worry about social media, SEO, and what people are saying in two entirely different populations whose needs are very different.
And all in addition to actually running a business. That means it's just harder in Alaska. A few things you can do to alleviate this are:
- Automate social posts;
- Highly targeted mobile marketing campaigns; and
- Give customers opportunity to market for you (i.e. business hashtags, photos, etc).
It makes it easier to keep in mind that as much fun as marketing isn’t, and as much time as it takes, it’s the foundation of most businesses ability to generate new customers and reach out to existing ones.