TOURISM MARKETING RFP ISSUED BY AUGUSTA, VIRGINIA

The Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail (a program of the Greater Augusta Regional Tourism Board (GART)) is seeking proposals from qualified firms to provide digital marketing and social media services. The purpose of the proposal is to increase awareness of the Shenandoah Valley (defined as the Beerwerks Trail footprint which is currently: the cities of Harrisonburg, Staunton, Waynesboro, Lexington, Buena Vista and the Counties of Augusta and Rockbridge) as a visitor destination in our target markets, stimulate overnight stays, promote our partner destinations, increase visitor spending and have a substantial economic impact for the Shenandoah Valley. The Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail uses our 15 and growing craft brewery footprint to pull in visitors to enjoy our craft beer AND outdoor recreation, food, attractions, arts & culture, shopping, scenery, etc.

Background:

By the early 1700s, the population along the eastern seaboard of America was growing steadily, so it was no surprise when people began casting their eyes westward — to the backcountry as it was then called. The western frontier at the time was the Shenandoah Valley, territory that had hardly been explored by European settlers. In the 1720s immigrants were technically settling in Orange County, which today is east of the Blue Ridge. As the numbers of settlers increased, it became apparent to legislators that new counties needed to be formed. On Nov. 1, 1738 an act was passed that carved two Shenandoah Valley counties out of Orange. They were Frederick, named for the Prince of Wales, and Augusta, named for the Princess of Wales. The description of Augusta included the phrase “to the utmost limits of Virginia.” At that time the British Crown claimed all the territory to the Mississippi so that meant Augusta stretched to that river. Technically, of course, there were very few English settlers in the far reaches of Augusta.

The territory of Augusta eventually had seven states carved from it: West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and part of Pennsylvania. For the first seven years of Augusta county’s existence, residents had to conduct business in Orange County which was quite a hindrance. Once the Augusta population increased enough, however, a courthouse was established in 1745 at Beverley’s Mill Place, which is present day, Staunton. From the beginning Staunton has been the county seat of Augusta. County officials had to be elected and an Anglican minister and vestry had to be chosen before the government was operating smoothly. John Lewis who is given the title of first European settler in the Staunton area. Before the century closed, the county fathers created a seal, which can be seen today over the doorway at the Verona government center, and had written a county motto: Nec debunt quamvis redeant in aurum Tempora priscum. The motto is a reference to Emperor Augustus and his golden age of simplicity and happiness. Roughly translated, it means “Let the ages return to the first golden period.”

Scope of Work:

Specific Requirements A. Serve as Shenandoah Beerwerks’ Trail digital marketing agency: The successful contractor or contractors will work in conjunction with the Beerwerks Trail to conduct a digital marketing program to attract potential visitors from our primary target markets of, but not limited to, Washington, DC, Northern Virginia, Richmond, Norfolk, and Hampton Roads. Other markets include Harrisburg/Central Western Pennsylvania, Raleigh/Durham, Winston-Salem, Eastern Maryland and Chicago. Contractor shall develop and execute creative concepts based on strategic analysis and research and input from the Beerwerks Trail. These services shall include, but are not limited to, the following:

1. Analyze local, regional, and national research to recommend the best strategies and promotions and target markets.

2. Provide advice, counsel, and assistance on matters pertaining to digital marketing to ensure the Beerwerks Trail benefits to the fullest extent possible.

Social Media Campaigns 

Set up and manage Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns using the following delivery methods to test ad variations:

1. Facebook newsfeed ads testing unique combinations of images, headlines, copy, and link to each of the landing pages produced by contractor(s).

2. Instagram photo ads using eye-catching visuals to boost awareness, increase social following and engagement, and drive website visits.

3. Instagram Stories ads to reach audiences with full-screen branded photos and/or video in their Story Feed.

4. Required conversion should include social media engagement (likes, shares, comments, post saves), newsletter sign-ups, website usage and increased traffic to tourism partners.

5. Submit necessary paperwork required for VTC co-op reimbursement

Social Media Maintenance

Manage all social media pages

1. Write and share agreed-upon number of posts and/or stories on each social media channel to include Facebook and Instagram

2. Provide daily interaction with users including likes, commenting, and monitoring comments

3. Provide engaging, thoughtful posts that include photos, blog posts, third-party content, etc. that ultimately drives users to website and convert users to followers

4. Required conversion should include social media engagement (likes, shares, comments, post saves), newsletter sign-ups, website usage and increased traffic to tourism partners.

Campaign Optimization: 

Optimization campaigns on a regular basis to continually increase performance and marketing Return on Investment (ROI).

1. Bid Optimization: monitor and adjust keyword bids to attract visitors who are more likely to convert.

2. Budget Allocation: analyze performance of the various campaigns to pull budget from low performers and increase budget for campaigns that provide the greatest ROI.

3. Ad Testing: Test ad creativity to discover what variables (e.g. headlines, images, descriptions, display URLs, sitelink extensions, and call-outs) prove most effective in attracting high quality visitors to the beerwerkstrail.com website. 

4. Audience Targeting: Test and optimize ad messaging and/or images shown to targeted audiences to serve the most relevant and compelling ads based on known interests, demographics, and likely decision-making criteria.

Landing Page Designs & Development:

1. Design and develop campaign landing pages on the existing website, www.beerwerkstrail.com, for use with the digital campaigns.

2. Content review & recommendations based on page copy, outlines, and images provided by Beerwerks Trail.

3. Mobile responsive dynamic CSS styles that change layouts depending on the device and screen size.

4. Browser Compatibility: the website will work on the latest stable version of all modern browsers that account for the vast majority of US web traffic: Internet Explorer 11, Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari, iOS & Android browsers.

Analytics tracking Set Up:

1.       Build onto the existing Google Tag Manager installation and set-up key goals and conversion events to quantify user engagement and compare the quantitative and qualitative value of visitors from each advertising source. Final tracking parameters will depend on the back-end flexibility of the current website’s content management system (CMS). Deliverable will include documentation of new goals and conceptual analytics-based visitation funnel.

Video Campaign(s)

               1. Create social ads to promote existing video content, run and optimize ad campaigns.

2. Edit and repackage video content to maximize video and produce additional content.

Google Adwords:

1.       Create, run and optimize Google AdWords.

Retargeting 

1. Create ads for retargeting. 

2. Deploy retargeting campaign to reach previous website visitors who have not resulted in conversions.

Performance Reports: Produce monthly reports summarizing campaign performance and key insights including:

1. Overview of KPIs like spend, clicks, CPC, CTR, and CPA (where applicable)

2. Highlights of top performance areas of campaign will be included

3. Overall analytics of performance with key insights and major action items (as needed)

Purchase Media per Campaign(s) including but not limited to: Google, Facebook and Instagram as part of the agreed upon strategy and target markets.

Due Date:

March 21

Address:

Elana Sorrell, VCA, Purchasing Assistant

County of Augusta, Finance Department

18 Government Center Lane

Verona, VA. 24482

Agencies worth considering include Magrino PR and Hunter PR.