No budget destination marketing Damir Spanic on Unsplash

How can your digital destination marketing make an impact when you don’t have any money? The answer is to go to work on some key platforms that most others ignore. Photo via Damir Spanic on Unsplash.

(First post in a series. Second post is no budget marketing on Facebook and Twitter, and the third one is tourism marketing with no budget on LinkedIn and your blog.)

Sometimes, your digital destination marketing budget gets whacked, maybe even all the way down to zero.

No money for ads, no money for agency work, no money for nothin’.

Sure, social media itself is free, which is helpful, but it’s also why the competition there is so fierce. Everyone’s using the same platforms, and paying for ads is often the only way to get any traction with your online content. But let’s say there is no more ad money…

Where could you make some no budget destination marketing improvements that would result in more visitors, guests, or customers finding you?

Here are two places to start:

Your YouTube Channel – Improve SEO and Post More Often

Why people neglect the Number Two search engine in the world (which is owned by Google) is a mystery to me, but they do neglect it.

That is an opportunity for YOU. Make your YouTube channel work harder for you, and you’ll be way ahead of many other destinations, attractions, hotels, and tourism partner small businesses.

The key is SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to make your videos easier to find, both on regular Google – where there is less competition to rank with video than with text – and easier to find in searches on YouTube itself.

It costs you nothing to do these three things right away:

1.)  Make sure your YouTube channel itself is search engine optimized.

Make sure the channel itself is a complete picture of you and what you offer.

2.)  Do an SEO groom on each video you’ve already posted.

That means make sure it has a descriptive title with relevant keywords related to the video’s content, a full video description, and applicable tags.

Bonus: if you have a blog post or website page related to the video topic, put a link to it in the video description. It’s a nofollow link, but humans can click and follow it. Voilà – traffic to you.

Also make sure that each video has a compelling thumbnail image; it’s like a book cover in that it may be the only thing that convinces people to click and watch.

3.)  Post more videos!

You probably have at least a few that are already done that you’ve forgotten about.

Are there videos you’ve made for your blog or website that aren’t already on your YouTube channel? Are there videos floating around on your phone or staff phones or on staff computers that you’ve forgotten you shot? Do a search for .mp4 files, or .mov files on Apple devices.

Are there videos you’ve uploaded to your Facebook Page, including Facebook Live recordings? Go to Page Videos —-> Video Library —-> then click on the video you want. Look up to the “three dots” dropdown options, and select Download video.

One last thing BEFORE you upload those videos you found to your YouTube channel… make sure you change the file name to include keywords about what’s in the video. That helps your SEO, too. Uploading a video with the raw “20191006132536_MVI_0075.mp4” file name is not helping you as much as it should.

Your Pinterest Account – Improve SEO and Post More Often

Pinterest is not really a social network. It is a travel inspiration search engine for many of your prospective visitors, and boy, can it drive traffic to your website.

I’ll never understand the obsession with Instagram hits, which are a “flash in the pan” compared to the long-term work and evergreen traffic that Pinterest can help with in support of your marketing goals.

You may be surprised to learn who has already pinned items from your website.

Google this URL to see –, so, in the case of this blog,

It costs you nothing to do these two things right away:

1.)  Yep, you guessed it – do an SEO groom.

That means review your business account information, your Board names, and your Pin titles and descriptions.

If I’m looking for the biggest, smallest, tallest, and/or crookedest things in Iowa while planning a fun road trip, the Travel Iowa Pinterest pin about biggest, smallest, tallest, and crookedest should do the trick, but it has to have the right keywords when I search on Pinterest.

Think through the names for your Boards in particular, to help you organize where Pins will go.

If you’re stuck, begin with Boards that answer each of your top 5-10 visitor, guest, or customer FAQs, similar to our recommendation at Tourism Currents for how to kick-start a tourism blog.

Once you get categories or “topic buckets” set up, it’s easier to figure out what sort of Pins you need to support those topics/Boards.

2.)  Post more often on Pinterest.

Build out your Boards and Pins according to your marketing goals.

The standard advice is that vertical photos and photos with text overlay (use Canva) do best, because it is true.

Here are Pinterest’s best practices tips on the platform, and here are more good tips for Pinterest SEO.

Keep checking your website’s Google Analytics under Acquisition —-> Social —-> Network Referrals to track how much more traffic is coming to you now that you’ve powered up your YouTube channel and Pinterest account.

(If you like this post, please consider subscribing to the blog via RSS feed or by email – the email signup box is on the right sidebar near the Search box. Thanks!)