As a team of three with a limited budget, Discover Siskiyou rarely has any time—or money—to spare.
The young destination marketing organization, which was only established in August of 2017, is always challenged to do more with less, despite having a lot of ground to cover. Siskiyou, California’s northern-most region, is home to roughly four million acres of pristine wilderness dotted with historic small towns, and is a popular destination for adventure seekers, outdoors enthusiasts and spiritual pilgrimages.
The challenge: maximizing their budget and finding the right visuals to tell their story
“While we are landscape rich, we don't have as many properties; the budget is pretty small for a DMO,” explains Megan Peterson, Discover Siskiyou’s PR and Content Marketing Manager. “One of the biggest challenges is just trying to maximize the ROI on the dollars that we do have, and trying to carefully pick where that money goes.”
With a fluctuating operating budget, the team is constantly seeking ways to improve efficiency. According to Peterson, that’s one of the main reasons why the DMO signed up with CrowdRiff in the summer of 2019. “It just made things easy, so it was a good investment,” she says.
The solution: using CrowdRiff to improve their visual content and save hours of time sourcing imagery
Peterson explains that the platform has helped the organization improve its visual marketing content while improving its workflow, saving countless hours of manpower. Previously, Peterson would compose a piece of written content and send it over to the web design team, who would add visual content based on what they had available.
“They would look through their assets and pick photos that went with it, and a lot of times we'd send them back and say, ‘this isn't exactly what we're looking for, do you have a photo of this or do you have a photo of that?'. If they didn't, we were kind of stuck, or had to go out and shoot more,” she says.
CrowdRiff has helped the team improve communication and streamline how they work with their web designers
Peterson adds that images provided by the web designers didn’t always match the story in the content, and created an additional time burden of back-and-forth searching for something that was only just “usable.”
A CrowdRiff gallery embedded on Discover Siskiyou's "North Siskiyou" web page.
“With CrowdRiff, we have images of everything I could want, so it eliminates that back-and-forth, and they're not wasting time and energy trying to shoehorn something that wasn't exactly right either,” she says. “Now I just go into CrowdRiff, select images and send them an embed link. It makes their job a lot faster because they don’t have to search and it takes out the go-between.”
As a result, Peterson says she has a lot more time to focus on more important tasks, and she’s not alone.
Discover Siskiyou has seen an increase in engagement and conversions, and a decrease in time searching for visuals
“I post to our social accounts, and now I spend probably a quarter as much time as I used to finding content and getting permission,” explains Heather Dodds, Discover Siskiyou’s Digital Marketing Manager. “You're a better steward of stakeholder dollars when you're not spending an hour finding a photo; now we can do something productive.”
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Discover Siskiyou reposts UGC they find in CrowdRiff.
Since integrating CrowdRiff, Discover Siskiyou has seen a noticeable spike in overall website engagement as well as conversions, but perhaps the most significant improvement has come in the form of extra time.
“I probably spend half as much time doing what I was doing in the past,” says Dodds. “We can make the ROI argument just on staff efficiency alone.”
Up next: a refreshed website that puts UGC front and center
Now that Discover Siskiyou has the ability to do more with less, the team is working on a website redesign. The new and improved site will utilize more calls to action to help support Discover Siskiyou’s partners and stakeholders. It will also see user-generated content galleries elevated from their current position at the bottom of the page to the very top.
One of the most important changes, however, is the addition of individual pages for popular activities like fishing, hiking and mountain biking, something that would have been nearly impossible to accomplish previously.
“If we didn’t have Crowdriff, we’d have to talk to our team and be like ‘you need to look through your archives and find these or you have to go out and get them,’” says Dodds. “Now we can just say ‘here’s the link, copy it onto the page, we have all the photos we need,’ and it frees up our team to go do other stuff, rather than going to get something that already exists.”
“We have limited resources and limited staff, so every second and every dollar counts,” adds Peterson. “Streamlining the process just frees us up to do more in an hour than we could before.”