Recognizing the need to stand out from the competition, Sea Isle City is ramping up its marketing campaign, “The Forecast is Fun.”
In 2019, there will be more reasons to visit Sea Isle tourism’s Facebook page, city officials said. While it will continue to highlight events offered year-round, there will be added videos and photos.
The new year will continue an aggressive marketing approach with various avenues to advertise, including billboards, digital, print publications such as visitor guides and other tools to set Sea Isle aside in the fierce competition for tourism.
Mickey Coskey, owner of Seven Mile Publishing, the marketing consultant for the Sea Isle Tourism Commission, outlined objectives for both the 2019 winter and spring seasons, which officially kick off Feb. 1. She also summed up the 2018 statistics during a commission meeting Thursday.
In the short term, they are already looking toward the holidays so that as people begin to plan their vacations for next summer, they are already thinking about Sea Isle.
One big reminder will be a billboard prominently located on the Walt Whitman Bridge in Philadelphia.
“We will plan for the 2019 start of the season with the billboard on the Walt Whitman Bridge,” Coskey said.
She noted the billboard will retain Sea Isle’s “The Forecast is Fun” campaign, but will also urge motorists to “Make your New Year’s Eve resolution to spend more time in Sea Isle.”
Another vital aspect of the campaign for 2019 is sprucing up the tourism commission’s website www.visitsicnj.com. It will add more features to highlight attractions on the island and will feature videos.
“We are working on a home page redesign with more searchable key words and we will add videos and photos,” Coskey said.
She described the 2018 summer tourism season as “off,” and attributed it to the weather.
She said that the most visited pages on the website were the calendar of events, things to do and weekly summer events. However, pages with information about the beaches and beach tags were not viewed as often.
Coskey said the social media platforms showed good growth this season. Facebook followers is more than 11,000, which she attributed to ensuring there were enticing things for visitors to see on the page.
“We continued our “Forecast is Fun” campaign on Facebook. We posted scenic photos and information about Sea Isle,” she said. “The videos were very important. We did the short videos.”
47 more days…Rumor has it things will be warming up by the weekend. Our fingers are crossed!#ForecastIsFun #VISITSICNJ
Posted by Sea Isle City NJ on Wednesday, April 11, 2018
At the beginning of the season, Coskey displayed 30-second spots or commercials to attract tourists. One was of people on paddle boards coasting along on a serene bay. Another was of a family playing on the beach and hopping in the ocean. One of the most popular videos was an aerial view of Sea Isle done by a drone. There were also plenty of photos depicting the sunrises and sunsets.
In addition to detailing what was offered on the website this season and on Facebook, Coskey also did a breakdown of where people came from who viewed the sites.
People visit the Sea Isle website most often from four places: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, District of Columbia and New York.
She also detailed how people get their information about Sea Isle. In 2018, 56.69 percent of the people who accessed the tourism website used their mobile devices to do so. Approximately 33.36 percent of the web visitors used their desktop computers and 9.95 percent used their tablets.
Sea Isle continues to work on drawing a younger crowd of 25 to 34, to the island with many family-friendly activities, Coskey said, adding that the statistic is up.
Overall, Coskey said, “We have a nice cross-section of age groups. The age we market to, we are hitting.”
Lisa Iannone, a new tourism commission member, is co-owner of Sands Department Store in Sea Isle.
She noted at the end of the meeting that the summer may have been “off” due to the weather, but overall, it was a good season. She also said she noticed more people coming into the store around the 25-34 age group.
Tourism Commission member William Kehner Jr. said he thinks he knows why. The same people who visited Sea Isle as children, grew up, had their own families and want to bring them back to a place they love and remembered as children.
With a little less than $100,000 in the 2019 marketing budget, commission members and Coskey will have to continue to be creative.
The funds come from mercantile licenses and rentals. If rentals are down, the commission receives less money. That happens to be the case in Sea Isle currently, and other shore towns in the area.
Tourism Commission Chairman James Bennett remarked that the commission and Coskey do a wonderful job with the resources they have to get out the word about Sea Isle.
“I don’t know how you do it,” he said.
Diane Merson, the city’s tourism representative, said the commission, along with Coskey, work well together to do as much as they can to market Sea Isle on their budget.