Record Visitors to GNP - Did your business set a record?
Glacier National Park and Your Local Business
Last year was a record-breaker for Glacier National Park with more than 2.3 million people visiting in 2014. This beats GNP’s all-time visitation record of 2.22 million set way back in 1983. One interesting point is that fewer people stayed overnight in the park last year, which was a 4 percent drop from the previous year. (Source)
Why is this important to you?
Virtually every business in Kalispell, Whitefish, Bigfork and every other town in the Flathead Valley benefits from this influx of tourists. Some more directly than others of course, but all of us benefit with more dollars circulating in our economy. The obvious benefactors are the lodging industry, restaurants and all tourist related businesses, but even specialty companies that have no tourism connection can see increased business because their customers have more money to spend.
Regardless of the number of visitors, most of us have other companies in our space with whom we compete for business. The challenge every business faces is reaching all those potential customers. The fact that fewer people stay overnight at Glacier Park means that lodging providers are in competition with each other for those people who need a room.
How can you reach these visitors?
Marketing 101 teaches us that advertising your business in the places most likely to be seen (or heard) by your target audience is paramount. You already know which publications or media options deliver for your business, but in the past couple of years, things have shifted dramatically.
Reach them where they spend the most time!
With very few exceptions, every visitor to the Flathead now carries a cell phone, and most of those are smartphones. People no longer drag their laptops on trips; they take their Tablet PCs and their smartphones. When they want to know where to eat dinner or grab a cup of coffee, they don’t look for a magazine or a newspaper – they search on their smartphones. When they need their vehicle repaired, or want to go shopping, find a realtor, doctor, fishing guide or a hair salon – they search on their smartphones.
Your potential customers may not be reading the magazine or newspaper that you spent your ad budget on, and they may not drive down that road and see that billboard you bought. Hey, you know that buying advertising can be a crap shoot and you need to participate, but today you cannot ignore the digital component of marketing. You MUST be visible online and just having a website is not enough.
marketing solution for 2015 and beyond.
There are literally hundreds of things you can do to promote your business online and most will cost a lot of money or take an inordinate amount of time to put in place. And yes, some things are better than others, but the best place to begin is by having other local websites point to your site. Search engines place great value on such relationships and will reward you with higher ranking in search results. Capitalizing on this important online marketing tactic was one of the driving factors behind launching the Flathead Guide.
Let the Flathead Valley Business Directory™ be your “Guide”
Your listing in the Flathead Guide offers huge benefits that I have discussed many times in this blog, but here are the big ones:
- Our Flathead Guide listing is like having an additional stand-alone, mobile-friendly mini website for your business
- 100% Search Engine Optimized
- Hyper-Local to the Flathead area (unlike other resources like Yelp or FourSquare, etc.)
- You can features photos and videos in your business listing
- Include links to all your social sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc.
- A Google map provides directions to your location
- Your personal Control Panel – login anytime and update your listing, add coupons, special deals
- Heavily promoted on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube and other resources
- Promoted in local print advertising
- In 2013, more people bought a smartphone than a PC
Mobile is the new Internet access device.
You cannot find a less expensive, more effective marketing solution anywhere! If attracting new customers is your reason for advertising, before you do anything else, list your business in the official Flathead Valley Business Directory™. Do it now while this is fresh in your mind.