How to Market a City (Free 5-step plan)

If you are looking for a simple, effective way to market your city, you have come to the right place!

That’s because we are going to outline a great plan to attract more of the people you want to visit your city through marketing.

How do you market a city?
You can successfully market a city these 5 ways: 1) Identify your target audience, 2) Amplify the city’s uniqueness, 3) Partner with influencers, 4) Use and develop excellent digital campaigns, 5) Create a winning content plan that sells the benefits of your city.

Marketing a city or even marketing a country is far more complicated than marketing a business that has a built-in budget for sales and marketing. 

Cities don’t have sales targets to meet or quarterly earnings reports to report on.

Instead, they market themselves to attract people and investment capital, often to improve the quality of life for the people who live there and ensure that the city remains attractive to new residents and businesses. 

Similar to a local marketing plan, these five methods of marketing work because they focus on making the target audience want to visit a particular location, or live in the city, even if they don’t currently live there.

1. Identify your target audience to market your city

Before marketing a city, think about who might be interested in visiting your city and why. 

  • For example, if the city is immersed in history and culture, it will appeal to people are most interested in history and culture. This might be older people or people that have an emotional tie. 
  • Or, your city will appeal to a younger demographic if it’s modern, with a booming nightlife. 
  • Alternatively, if your city is a thriving business center, it will appeal to business people and corporate travelers. 

Identifying your target audience is undoubtedly the most important part of developing a successful city marketing plan.

This step will help you avoid random blanket advertising with no focused approach -- the fastest way to blow through your budget.  

When identifying your target audience, you’ll need to consider 3 things:

  1. Geographics – Where do the people in your target region live? It could be a specific city, county, region, state or country. 
  2. Demographics – Things to consider here include age, gender, education, language, profession, income, marital status, etc.        
  3. Psychographics – Things to consider here include lifestyles and personal traits of your target audience, such as buying habits, technology preferences, and innovation habits (monthly spending, frequency, e.t.c.)

2. Amplify the city’s unique traits for better marketing

Every city has its own unique story. 

Is it history and culture?

Is it local food? Is it a water feature? Building? Structure? Natural resources?

Every city has something. Even if you think it has nothing. You can find a unique breakthrough

Besides the well-known attractions, share its history and culture. This includes the city’s early settlers, origins, way of life, and culture. 

A picture (with great sales copy!) speaks a thousand words. So, make sure you have photos of these ancient sellers, their buildings and other treasures, and follow up with a detailed description of each. 

While architecture, landscape, infrastructure, shopping, events, food and culture (gastronomy) play a significant role in choosing a holiday destination, history and culture play an essential role.

3. Partner with influencers to help you communicate your message

Influencer marketing is a powerful marketing strategy in this internet age. It involves using influencers (People with a huge, established and dedicated following for their brands) to market a city. 

Influencers can be YouTubers, TikTokers, Instagram personalities, or bloggers. Influencers aren’t just a social media phenomenon, you can also use famous personalities that may resonate with your target market. Sports, motivation, older music stars, the options are almost endless and can be very budget friendly. 

You might hire the star of a sit-com TV show that aired in the 90’s to do a 1-day photo shoot that you can use in your advertisements and a few video testimonials.

To succeed with influencer marketing, find an influencer who is a good fit for your city. 

Find influencers who specialize in your niche. In this case, look for travel influencers. Then, check their blogs, websites and social media details like followers, engagement, gender, age group, interests, comment history, social listening and the language they speak. Also, look at their experience. Have they marketed any city? If so, did they achieve the desired goal? 

Also, consider their budget. Does it align with yours? Ideally, you should work with an influencer who knows what they are doing and can guarantee results.

An example of successful influencer marketing is Wolters World. With nearly 1 million subscribers, he tours different cities with his wife and kids giving potential visitors the Dos and Don’ts of the towns. 

4. Create exciting videos about the city to feature the main attractions

City marketing can greatly benefit from the use of video.

After all, Google, YouTube, Tik Tok and Facebook are the top visited websites with more than 150 billion visits per month. 

When you create great video content about your city, you can get some of this traffic, too.

Your videos should include the best attractions in the city. 

Video should also have locals giving insights into the best attractions they visited, the best photo opportunities potential visitors should take advantage of and tips on how to get around the city. Make great videos. 

Hire a video production company or professional with experience and expertise in the travel niche to do it for you.

5. Create compelling articles selling the benefits of your city

According to WebFX, 93% of all online searches start with search engines, with Google taking up the lion’s share. More people search for their travel destination using search engines than any other medium. So, creating compelling articles and blog posts can help drive potential visitors to your city website.

Also, use great images and videos and link to the hot spots in your city. 

A city’s reputation can make or break its chances of succeeding as a tourist destination and an economic force. So, getting your city in front of the right audiences in the right way is important to ensure they see what makes it so great. These five strategies can help you attract more visitors to your city and boost its economy.

As always, if you need assistance along the way, Your Strategic Marketing Partner is happy to help!

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