Digital Marketing Archives - RTO 9

Q4 Marketing Highlights

We are excited to share the collective accomplishments we have made for Q4 (January 1st – March 31st, 2021).

Campaigns

Earned & Paid Media

Rail + Roam

RTO 9, in partnership with VIA Rail and Landsby.ca, launched a winter Campaign – Rail + Roam. The goal of this campaign is to drive interest in winter getaway travel to South Eastern Ontario city destinations such as Cornwall, Brockville, Kingston, and Belleville. This campaign promoted unique hub and spoke winter experiences and stays through packaging created by Landsby.ca. The campaign promoted safe, local travel by train from key Canadian markets and provided a VIA fare discount when experiences were booked through Landsby.ca.

Rail + Roam Results

The Rail + Roam campaign ended on March 15, 2022. Within the reporting period, the campaign generated 1,004,614 Impressions and 13,282 clicks in total. On social, Facebook/Instagram generated 732,971 Impressions with 12,760 clicks at a CTR of 1.74%, which is well above the industry benchmark of 0.9%. On the programmatic end, our campaign generated 271,643 impressions and 522 clicks at a CTR of 0.19%, which is above the platform benchmark of 0.08%.

Media

Here’s a look at just some of the media our operators and destinations in South Eastern Ontario gained in Q4.

Article: The Great Lakes Waterfront Trail, Two Days at a Time

Outlet: Ontario By Bike

Date: February 28, 2022

About the Article:  A cyclist shares their cycling adventure throughout Ontario and highlights their trip to Kingston and Frontenac. They recommend making a stop at Canada’s oldest and most notorious prison called Gord Downie Pier, taking some time to see some public art and exploring Kingston’s patio scene with good food and drinks.

Reach: 4,038 UVM (Unique Visitors per Month)

Article: Nine unique places to stay during March Break within three hours of Ottawa

Outlet: CTV News Ottawa

Date: February 27, 2022

About: Journalist, Josh Pringle, listed nine unique places to stay during March Break and highlights The Elmbrook Yurt located in Prince Edward County. This Yurt is nestled in a rural property where guests can enjoy four seasons of glamping.

Reach:  2,319,590 UVM (Unique Visitors per Month) Note: Syndicated in iHeartRadio Total syndicated reach = 1,686,778

Article: 7 Truly Spectacular Canadian Road Trips To Take Your BFF On In 2022

Outlet: Narcity

Date: February 28, 2022

About: This piece lists seven places in Canada for travellers to visit while on a road trip. Prince Edward County is featured in this list and the writer highlights a winery called the Rosehall Run Winery.

Reach: 4,054,908 UVM (Unique Visitors per Month)

Article: 7 Adorable Small Towns To Visit Along Canada’s Rideau Canal

Outlet: World Atlas

Date: Feb 16, 2022

About: This article lists small towns that sit along the Rideau Canal. The author highlights each destination with experiences for tourists who are looking to explore parts of Ottawa.

Reach: 3,847,655 UMV (Unique Visitors per Month)


Earned Media Snapshot

Total Stories: 91
Print: 1
TV Segments: 1
Online: 90
Newsletter: 0
Radio: 0

Total Media Impressions for March 2022: 43,349,424
Total Cumulative Impressions Since the Beginning of the Campaign in 2022: 118,722,620

Owned & Paid Media for South Eastern Ontario

Total Reach: 1,840,490 (+124% YoY)
Total Engagement: 155,464 (+67% YoY)

Total User Visits: 62,436 (-33% YoY)
Total Page Views: 92,683 (-37% YoY)

Total Events (direct links to tourism operators’ websites): 32,296

Top Website Content
Bucket List: 25 Restaurants You Need To Try In Prince Edward County (4,562 Page Views)

Bucket List: 24 Restaurants You Need To Try In Kingston (4,433 Page Views)
6 Things To Do On A Winter Weekend In Prince Edward County (4,010 Page Views)
A Guide to Ice Fishing in the Bay of Quinte (3,380 Page Views)
25 Unique Places To Stay In South Eastern Ontario (2,839 Page Views)

View our Fiscal Year Report

2021 -2022 Fiscal Year Report for owned & paid media for South Eastern Ontario

Future Initiatives

RTO 9 is collaborating with Destination Ontario in our spring/summer-themed spotlight campaign; 2022 Cruise Campaign. This co-marketing system leverages aligned partner planning content/storytelling to inspire travel and direct-to-operator tactics to connect the consumer with buyable experiences in our region. This will be accomplished via a $50,000 media buy, funded through a $20,000 partner investment from RTO 9 + a $30,000 Destination Ontario investment.

Additionally, RTO 9 has been approved for 2 additional campaigns in partnership with Destination Ontario. We will be developing and implementing a Theatre Campaign in late summer as well as a Winter Packages campaign featuring bookable overnight packages in South Eastern Ontario through Landsby.ca.

RTO 9 will be working with their tourism partners/ Digital Marketing committee members on developing a content calendar for the consumer brand, South Eastern Ontario. This includes Blogs, Campaigns & Giveaways.

RTO 9 provides regional leadership and coordination for tourism in South Eastern Ontario. We are fiercely working on your behalf to grow all aspects of tourism to attract more visitors, increase revenues, and generate economic activity such as investment and job creation. Connect with a team member who can assist you in your tourism initiatives.

Q3 Marketing Highlights

We are excited to share the collective accomplishments we have made for Q3 (October 1st – December 31st, 2021).

Campaigns

Earned & Paid Media

RTO 9’s Digital Marketing Support Program provided six Digital Marketing members (from Destination Marketing Organizations & Tourism Offices in South Eastern Ontario) the opportunity to partner with RTO 9 on digital marketing tactics such as Facebook Ads, Blog creation, and Giveaways. This content was managed and paid for by RTO 9.

On our Facebook channel, we featured Facebook Ads for Prince Edward County’s newest Experiences page, SDG Counties Paranormal Investigation promotion, and Rideau Waterways Festival of Small Halls Christmas Event.
Our ‘Storytelling Campaign’ featured Prince Edward County and included a blog, Instagram Stories, Instagram Reels, and a giveaway.

Rail + Roam

RTO 9, in partnership with VIA Rail and Landsby.ca, launched a winter Campaign – Rail + Roam. The goal of this campaign is to drive interest in winter getaway travel to South Eastern Ontario city destinations such as Cornwall, Brockville, Kingston, and Belleville. This campaign will promote unique hub and spoke winter experiences and stays through packaging created by Landsby.ca. The campaign promotes safe, local travel by train from key Canadian markets and will provide a VIA fare discount from November 1, 2021- March 31, 2022 (some blackout dates will apply) when experiences are booked through Landsby.ca.

Rail + Roam results ending as of December 2021

The Rail + Roam campaign ad units ran on Sharethrough, Facebook/Instagram, Search and YouTube in December 2021. However, the ad units on Facebook, Search and Sharethrough were paused on December 24 in response to the rising case of COVID. Before pausing in December, the campaign generated 1.3M impressions and 8,735 clicks in total. On social, Facebook/Instagram generated 398,969 impressions with 7,879 clicks at a CTR of 1.97%, which is well above the industry benchmark of 0.9%. An unskippable video ad ran from Dec 6 to Dec 24 on YouTube which generated 573K views in total with a high completion rate of 83.82% meaning that viewers are highly interested in our content. On the programmatic end, our campaign generated 256K impressions and 238 clicks at a CTR of 0.09%, which is above the platform benchmark of 0.08%. We have gone back into market with this campaign as of Jan 27, 2022.

Here’s a look at just some of the media our operators and destinations in South Eastern Ontario gained in Q3.

Article: Hotels and resorts across Canada are offering a wide range of festive packages to fully vaccinated guests

Outlet: Globe and Mail

Date: December 9, 2021

About the Article: A new partnership between Via Rail, Toronto’s Landsby travel agency, and the regional tourism organization for Southeastern Ontario has produced “Rail & Roam” packages that combine and discount train tickets, accommodations, meals, tours, car rentals, and more. From the Via station in Cornwall, for instance, guests can travel west along the scenic St. Lawrence River until they reach Upper Canada Village in Morrisburg, which until Jan. 1 is draping the recreated 19th-century settlement in more than a million coloured lights. From there, the historic village of Winchester, and a suite in the country-cozy Terrace Green B&B, is less than 30 minutes away by rental car. From $399 a night, landsby.ca/rail-and-roam

Reach: 6,618,420 UVM (Unique Visitors per Month)

Article:  Six great day-trip ideas to keep you active

Outlet: Toronto Star

Date: December 18, 2021

About the Article: The article notes various day trip activities to keep readers active over the winter, including ice fishing in P.E.C. and the ice fishing hut options available at Merland Park Cottages.  

Reach: 5,689,932 UVM 

The same article also appeared in the following outlets:

Toronto Star (print) – 242,300 Circulation

Welland Tribune – 125,940 UVM

Waterloo Record – 467,741 UVM

Niagara Falls Review –  94,084 UVM

Article: 9 Small Towns In Ontario That Are Even More Magical To Visit In The Winter

Outlet: Narcity

Date: December 13, 2021

About the Article: The article highlights various places in Ontario to visit during the winter and highlights Kingston as one of the province’s top destinations. Madeline Forsyth selected Kingston for its small-town vibes, tons of downtown shops and cafes, and an enchanting ice skating rink in the square.

Reach: 3,129,248 UVM

 

Article: North Grenville Community Theater still going strong

Outlet: Toronto Star

Date: December 10, 2021

About the Article: The article notes that the North Grenville Community Theatre has requested $5,000 in funding with the goal of making some needed repairs to the old Oxford Mills Town Hall. The building is being used primarily for the storage of costumes and equipment by three local performing arts groups. The article notes that the theatre group is bouncing back with a planned production of “Ripcord,” planned for the Spring of 2022 at the North Grenville Municipal Centre. 

Reach: 5,689,932 UVM 

The same article also appeared in the following outlets:

Hamilton Spectator – 804,908 UVM

St. Catharines Standard – 396,138 UVM

Welland Tribune – 86,138 UVM

Article: Brockville Has A Free Holiday Trail Of Lights Where The Trees Dance To Music (VIDEOS)

Outlet: Narcity

Date: December 6, 2021

About the Article: The article highlights Brockville’s River Of Lights is happening at Blockhouse Island, where guests will be able to see thousands of twinkling lights. The piece notes that the event is happening seven days a week until January 2, 2022, and no admission tickets are required.

Reach: 941,190 UVM 

Earned Media Snapshot

Total Stories: 80
Print: 11
TV Segments: 1
Online: 69
Newsletter: 1
Radio: 0

Total Media Impressions for Q3: 64,050,638
Total Cumulative Impressions Since the Beginning of the Campaign: 8,229,322,601

Owned & Paid Media for South Eastern Ontario

Total Reach: 2,140,707 (+102% YoY)
Total Engagement: 36,816 (-58% YoY)

Total User Visits: 107,267 (-15% YoY)
Total Page Views: 155,088 (-17% YoY)

Total Events 55,624 (direct links to tourism operators’ websites):

Top Website Content
Bucket List: 25 Restaurants You Need To Try In Prince Edward County (10,352 Page Views)
16 Paranormal Locations In South Eastern Ontario We Dare You To Visit (8,381 Page Views)
22 Of The Best Ontario Holiday Markets You Have to Visit (8,184 Page Views)
Bucket List: 24 Restaurants You Need To Try In Kingston (7,731 Page Views)
Home Page (6,300 Page Views)

Future Initiatives

Winter Campaign – Rail + Roam (Continued)

South Eastern Ontario Cruise Campaign, Theatre Pitch to Media, planning, and implementation of both

Fam Trips to South Eastern Ontario

Updating SEO Maps and Cycle Maps

Working alongside our DMO’s, we will be launching blogs and itineraries that will highlight experiences and operators in the region.

Promotion of awarded Winter Partnership Funding recipients.

RTO 9 provides regional leadership and coordination for tourism in South Eastern Ontario. We are fiercely working on your behalf to grow all aspects of tourism to attract more visitors, increase revenues, and generate economic activity such as investment and job creation. Connect with a team member who can assist you in your tourism initiatives.

Social Media Engagement: How To Connect With Us

We all have amazing stories to tell and know that travel-related storytelling, in all its many forms, is of great interest to consumers. We encourage our partners, stakeholders, and operators to share their stories/products/experiences/packages with us to keep us in the loop. Your input will help with our marketing needs.

How do we connect with tourism partners?

Part of what we do includes increasing the marketing reach for destinations, communities, and tourism business operators within South Eastern Ontario. We actively work with our Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) and Destination Marketing Program (DMPs) partners when developing our content on a seasonal basis. The content recommendations are referenced and repurposed into our marketing activities across our website and social media channels. We also reference these suggestions when organizing Influencer and other Media trips.

Social Media allows us to connect with our audience and inspire visitation. Both Facebook and Instagram serve as our primary channels for connecting with consumers and staying connected with our Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs), Destination Marketing Program (DMPs), tourism partners, and operators in the region. We have leveraged our Social Media channels to build a community of advocates for the South Eastern Ontario region. Our brand hashtag, #SouthEasternOntario, has been used over 22,000 times on Instagram alone. We invite you to use our hashtag in your Social Media posts but please note that we do not monitor hashtag usage on Facebook. 

We use “Mentions” and ‘Tags’ in our posts when we communicate with our Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs), Destination Marketing Program (DMPs), and tourism partners. A mention is an act of adding another user’s handle (@) or account name in a Social Media post. A properly formatted mention allows our audience to click through to the profile of the user mentioned in the post and be directed to their page. A Tag is a keyword that is added to a Social Media post for the purpose of categorizing related content. You can also use tags to tag another profile in a post or photo, which creates a link to the user’s Social Media profile and associates them with the content. 

Why should you participate?

1. We can better promote you! 

Tag us in your post and mention us in your caption to tell us about your tourism product and experiences. Connecting with us keeps you top of mind in our marketing efforts – such as our website, social channels, newsletter, etc. This is a simple way for you to share your content with us.

2. Amplify your reach 

When you share your story with us, this gives you the opportunity to increase the visibility of your brand. When we share your story, we are amplifying your brand and sharing it with an entirely new audience (ours!) 

3. Reach a new audience

Try searching #SouthEasternOntario on Instagram and Twitter. Take a look at what visitors are talking about and doing in the region. Once you know what visitors are saying, we hope you’ll be excited to participate in the conversation by creating a similar post and engaging with other accounts. From this, your content and your brand can be seen by an audience that you may not have been able to reach before. 

A Note About Events

We have recently moved away from an events calendar on our website and are now linking directly to our Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) and Destination Marketing Program (DMPs) event pages on their website.

If you are using the Facebook Events listing on your page, keep us in mind: Tag us, mention us or ask us to be a co-host on your Facebook events as we can then easily share them on our events page. Any changes you make on your event will automatically show up wherever it has been shared on other Facebook events.

How do we respond to a post when South Eastern Ontario is Mentioned and Tagged?

As part of our engagement strategy, we will ‘Like’ all posts we are tagged and mentioned in and may leave a comment. We may share your post if it fits in with our tourism mandate, our current social media calendar allows it, and our number of daily posts hasn’t been exceeded. Or, we might just save it to refer back to at another time.

We check our Social Media notifications at least once a day as part of our daily routine. Due to volume, we cannot share all posts we are tagged/mentioned in. We are cautious about “overposting”, especially on Facebook when we have numerous campaigns running as it can disengage followers. Don’t be discouraged if your post isn’t reshared on our Social Media pages. Remember, you’re still feeding us information to help us in all of our marketing activities.

What to do when you have been Mentioned and Tagged in a post?

So, we have tagged and mentioned you in a post, what are we looking for in return? Here are different ways you can engage in a post when you have been featured. 

  • ‘Like’ the post – Acknowledges that you have seen it.
  • Leave a comment, maybe with more info about whatever is featured in the post, a thank-you for the feature, or you can just leave an emoji if you can’t think of anything to say. 
  • Reply to an inquiry from a user that you can answer way better than we can.
  • Share/Retweet the post if it’s relevant to your Followers. Bonus: sharing helps increase engagement for all of us!

The success of our consumer brand South Eastern Ontario depends upon the active engagement from our Followers and the participation from the tourism community across the region. Together, we can work towards increasing awareness and inspire visits to the South Eastern Ontario region.

Like and Follow our Consumer Social Media pages listed below to get involved in the conversation.

Facebook @South Eastern Ontario – Mention us in your captions.
Instagram @southeast.ontario – Tag us in your post, Mention us in the caption, & use our hashtag #SouthEasternOntario.
Twitter @southeast_ontario –Tag us in your post, Mention us in the caption, & use our hashtag #SouthEasternOntario.

Check out these post to better understand Social Media Engagement: Understanding and Using # Tags and @ Tags, How to Use Instagram Tagging for More Exposure, Social Mentions 101: What Are They and Why They’re Important.

Like and Follow our Industry accounts to stay up to date on tourism industry news, tips, and opportunities.

Facebook @RTO9 
Instagram @RTO9_ON 
Twitter @RTO9_ON
LinkedIn @RTO 9

RTO 9 x Shopify Masterclasses

If you’ve always been curious about using Shopify for your business, this series of webinars is for you! We’ve teamed up with Shopify to teach South Eastern Ontario business owners what they need in order to create a successful e-commerce presence. From product selection to photography, branding to shipping, we’ve got you covered!

Offline to Online: Getting Started Online

When: Tuesday, November 24, 11:00 AM EST

It has never been more important for businesses to have an eCommerce presence. This comprehensive overview provides entrepreneurs with the knowledge they need to get the process started. Watch Now.

Driving Online Traffic And Email Marketing

When: Thursday, November 26th, 11:00 AM EST

Building a great website is only the first step in the journey; next up is driving traffic to your site.  Join us as we share ways you can ensure your customers will visit your website.  You will also learn how to capitalize on your email list to generate sales. Watch Now.

Turn Browsers Into Buyers: Optimizing Conversions 

When: Tuesday, December 1st, 11:00 AM EST

It costs more to attract a new customer, so let’s focus on capitalizing on the ones you have.  Learn how to increase average sales and encourage more visitors to buy with smart website design. Watch Now.

Futureproofing Your Business With Shopify

When: Thursday, December 3rd, 11:00 AM EST

2020 was quite the year, full of twists and turns and entrepreneurs were definitely forced to get creative to keep up.  In this session, we will discuss buying trends, the importance of omni-channel marketing in this new world, and what we can expect moving forward. Watch Now

7 Tips To Get Your Business Ready For The Holidays

As Canadian businesses continue to navigate through the pandemic and the changes in consumer needs, one thing is for certain, the holidays will continue to be the busiest time of the year. 

With COVID-19 potentially impacting foot traffic, it’s a good idea for businesses to approach the holiday season with a digital-first mindset. To help businesses plan and respond to this holiday season, we have included tips, resources, and upcoming webinars below.

Tip #1: Update Your Website Content & Google My Business Listing

To appeal to new and loyal consumers, you need to ensure that the information people are looking for can be found online. 

It’s critical to keep your Google My Business profile visible with the latest information about hours and offers such as contactless pickup and delivery. Offering curbside pick up and click-and-collect options can help you capture same-day or last-minute demand from consumers without having to invest in additional infrastructure. Think about how you can reach those last-minute shoppers this holiday season.

According to Google Data, more than half of Canadian shoppers say the pandemic has changed the way they shop and more than one-quarter say shopping is now completely different. Also, consumers are looking for new ways to send gifts to their loved ones on sentimental holidays while supporting local businesses.

Not only do consumers want the convenience of ordering holiday gifts online, they want to be able to do it quickly and efficiently. According to this survey from Ipsos, 73% of consumers will be browsing for gift ideas online and not instore. Canadian consumers that do shop in-store will be entering with their decisions already made through online researching. Bottom line: avoid losing consumers by updating your website now with faster loading times and easy to navigate content.

Bonus Tip: One of our favourite platforms for sourcing images is Unsplash – a platform with over 1 million free high-resolution images. If you need holiday-specific imagery for your website, emails, or social media that doesn’t include your products (such as: gifts under the tree) we highly recommend Unsplash.

Tip #2: Get Set Up With Instagram Shopping 

We know that Social Media is a necessity for businesses year-round, but it’s especially great for the holiday season. Not only can you use your platforms to connect with consumers, you can use your platforms to promote new products, holiday sales, and gift ideas!  

When it comes to Instagram, you can use the platform for the ideas above and actually make sales from your page! According to Instagram internal data, every month, 130 million people tap on an Instagram shopping post to learn more about the products. This is a clear opportunity for businesses to showcase their products and drive more sales. With features like tagging products and shopping stories (more on that below), you have more ways to convert your followers into customers!

NEW: Introducing Instagram Shop

Tip #3 Use Instagram Stories With Tagged Products

Using shopping stickers on Instagram Stories is a feature for business should be using. With shopping stickers, small businesses with under 10,000 followers can drive traffic to their products! Tagging your products in Instagram Stories is a more organic way for your followers to learn more about the product and ultimately, make a purchase.

Create an Instagram strategy that drives more sales. We like this blog post from Later

Tip #4 Prepare Your Social Media Ads

If you’re looking to reach a new audience to learn about your brand, social media advertising can be the quickest way to achieve this. Not only can you build a following and get website clicks, but you can drive sales for your brand.

To help you get started, read this step by step guide to driving more sales: How to Use Facebook Ads Manager

Tip #5: Reach Out To Your Ideal Influencers

Influencer Marketing has quickly become one of the best strategies for businesses to reach new audiences and drive more sales. When there’s an authentic alignment between yourself and your Influencer partner, you can reach an engaged audience who would be interested in your products. 

If you want to run a successful Influencer Marketing campaign over the holidays, try sticking to Influencers who are relevant to your audience and brand. Some questions to ask yourself include: do they match your target audience and brand? Do their audience seem like people who would be interested in your products if they knew about your business?

Want to know more about working with Influencers? Check out this complete guide to get you started.

Tip #6: Get Set Up With E-Commerce

Now more than ever, it’s important for businesses to be set up with e-commerce on their website. During the early days of the pandemic, e-commerce tripled! It’s expected that this holiday season will bring another increase for e-commerce businesses.

Learn everything you need and more to start an e-commerce website from scratch with Shopify – an all-in-one e-commerce solution for website creation and shopping cart software. Our Masterclass will be starting November 24th, sign up for FREE training that includes Q&A sessions with a live Shopify rep.

Bonus Tip: If you want to get started now, this self-paced program from Shopify called ‘Compass’ will help you gain the insights needed to bring your business online.

Tip #7: Measure Your Results

In order to run a successful campaign (think: Social Media ads, Influencer Marketing campaigns) you have to first have a clear idea of what a successful campaign means to you in order to measure it. 

You can then use Google UTM parameters to track your success. A UTM parameter is a tag that you add to your URL. When this link is clicked, the tags are tracked by your Google Analytics. UTM parameters will help you answer some questions about your website traffic and which social media post attributed to sales. 

Need help tracking your social media campaign using UTM parameters? Check out this guide on tracking e-commerce sales with Google Analytics

Now that you have all of the tips and resources, we have no doubt that you’ll be prepared for this holiday season. Leading up to the season with a small investment now can mean a bigger reward later on! Ka-ching!

Ready to kick off your holiday strategy? Sign up for our FREE e-commerce Masterclasses.