A day at the zoo is an annual ritual for families and animal lovers across the country. Few entertainment options offer the educational opportunities and wholesome fun that a trip to the zoo provides. But the pandemic has caused the turnstiles to go quiet over the past year-plus, as customers grapple with situations that are scarier than standing close to lions, tigers, and bears (oh my) these days.
How can local aquariums, zoos, and the like encourage people to brave the outside world and return to their properties more effectively as regulations lessen and the world returns to some semblance of normalcy? It all comes down to your zoo marketing campaigns. The discussions you have and the relationships you build on social media platforms and through engaging video content are great places to prioritize.
Creative Zoo Marketing Ideas
You have an advantage when it comes to crafting compelling content for your zoo marketing plan — the experiences that visitors have typically make for great storytelling, which is the foundation for a successful marketing campaign. Spending the day at the zoo is an adventure, one that lends itself perfectly to video testimonials and social media snippets. Did the polar bear recently have a baby? Have you redesigned the monkey house for a better user experience? Show (and tell) those details in video form, which is how an increasing number of customers prefer to consume digital content.
As any zoo will confirm, visitors are instrumental in keeping the gates open. Governments provide some funding to help with operational costs, but the donations received by community members and businesses are what truly keep a zoo afloat. People who have memorable, enriching experiences become a zoo's biggest advocates, and their satisfaction results in the positive reviews and glowing word-of-mouth marketing of your zoo that inspires others in their spheres of influence to schedule some family time at the property. Done correctly, digital marketing helps a zoo feed itself.
When you decide to utilize video and social media in your zoo marketing strategy to promote your business and tell its stories, you want to do everything you can to make that content engaging. You want people to consume the material and feel inspired to act by the end of it, and we've found over years that unskippable content is four things — actionable, interesting, relatable, and relevant.
In a digital world where online users have nearly infinite entertainment options, people tend to seek out their passions. These are folks who care deeply about animals and conservation efforts or simply want budget-friendly options for family outings and summer fun. Production value doesn't usually matter, either: If the messaging is strong and compelling in your creative zoo marketing campaigns, more often than not the viewer will validate your efforts with a purchase (or at least a plan to visit soon).
Woodland Park Zoo: Marketing Done Right
The Woodland Park Zoo is a popular, industry-leading wildlife conservation organization in Seattle's Phinney Ridge neighborhood, and it partnered with CMG Local Solutions to help boost attendance and ticket sales. The client needed to "drive gate" and relay important safety messages about COVID-related attendance rules and behavior expectations. The algorithm we developed for Woodland Park Zoo included email marketing, display ads, and an over-the-top (OTT) video series to build brand awareness and push internet users to the zoo's website.
The results? Nearly 25,000 clicks were generated across multiple tactics to outperform the benchmarks for each. We created an eight-part OTT series that lived on demand on a local television station's (KIRO7) app. The series is called "Wildlife: A look inside the Woodland Park Zoo" and helped bring awareness to its internal programs.
It also deepened CMG Local Solutions' relationship with one of the region's top attractions — no small feat in a year where the zoo's gates were shuttered until July due to pandemic closures. We had to work closely with the client to revise the budget multiple times until we were able to fully launch the campaign.
"This series was one of the best highlights of this year. To make this fantastic series happen in the middle of the pandemic was an incredible effort," says Alejandro Grajal, CEO of Woodland Park Zoo. "Please send my heartfelt thank you to our friends at KIRO and to everyone that participated in this and all other episodes!"
The bottom line? Woodland Park Zoo ended the year in far better shape financially than many of the zoos across the country. If you have similar needs and require real marketing expertise that leads to verifiable results, partnering with CMG Local Solutions as your zoo marketing agency is the perfect choice. There's no better way to tell your stories, get noticed, and drive traffic to your site (digital and physical).
Don't delay — the time to act is now. Let's grow your business and unleash your full earning potential. Connect with CMG Local Solutions today!