My Central Florida Family is an online database dedicated to providing resources and information about upcoming events, special deals, and other opportunities to families living and working in the Central Florida region. My Central Family Florida was created with the intention of alleviating some of the stress and chaos parents and guardians face daily by bringing the community together and making important family decisions easier to manage. The My Central Family Florida team compiles this information from sources like detailed calendars, directories, news feeds, and social media. Today, My Central Family Florida is working in conjunction with the Florida Kids and Family Expo to produce the largest event for children and families in Central Florida. The annual expo will take place in August, and has several features including but not limited to 150 exhibitors, activities for all ages, and interactive live entertainment.
My Central Florida Family is targeted towards parents and guardians with adolescents. Although several of the events and activities listed on the website are appropriate for individuals of all ages, the majority of listing are geared towards children and young adults. Additionally, the target audience lives in or around the central Florida region, as that is where these events are taking place.
Strengths: My Central Florida Family has compiled an expansive database of information. The site showcases several events and activities taking place every day, as well as a comprehensive daily calendar that outlines each and every event of the day. Additionally, the extensive business directory available on the website provides information regarding everything from local camps, to schools, to doctors, and allows other parents and guardians using the site to leave public reviews and testimonials.
Weaknesses: My Central Florida Family as a brand or an organization seems scattered and without a well-defined objective. The website provides information on such a large scale, that the content appears cluttered and difficult to navigate. Offering such a wide range of different resources has its benefits, but when there is too much data and it is not properly organized, visitors may have a difficult time accessing the information they need.
Opportunities: Orlando is an enormous metropolis located in Central Florida, and is home to countless conventions, expositions, and events each year. My Central Florida Family is putting on the Florida Kids and Family Expo, but there are several other events in the area targeted to families that the company could partner up with. Both the 6th annual Children’s Expo and the Daddy & Family Expo are taking place in the area, and working together would expand awareness and draw in more guests.
Threats: While My Central Florida Family provides a database of events, activities, and other resources to the families in the community, there are other established organizations in the area that already do just that. Orlando Family Magazine is a free publication that offers essentially the same resources My Central Family Florida does, including calendars of events, news, and directories. Additionally, local news outlets like WFTV and the Orlando Sentinel also provide information regarding upcoming events in the local area.
Why use an IMC strategy?
Utilizing an Integrated Marketing Communication, or IMC, strategy is the most effective way for a small business to optimize the effectiveness of their marketing efforts. An IMC approach integrates traditional marketing tools like advertising and social media to reinforce a company’s promotional message. The Houston Chronicle’s article, The Importance of Integrated Marketing Communications, details the benefits of this tactic, which include lower costs, ensuring a clear, consistent message, and customer satisfaction.
My Central Florida Family’s website is overwhelmingly cluttered. The site’s homepage does not utilize any sort of visual hierarchy, so there is no central focal point, and several large graphics and texts compete with one another. The advertisements are not organized and are occasionally placed in distracting locations, like in the middle of an article. Several of the webpages are repetitive and confusing to navigate.
That being said, the site is very consistent with logos and brand messaging throughout the website, and several IMC tactics are employed. For starters, the banner at the top of every webpage on the site features a real-time countdown to the Kids and Family Expo and provides a link to the site-embedded Eventbrite page to purchase tickets. Additionally, most pages on the site prominently asks visitors to “Follow us” on the upper-right side of the page above advertisements. This item provides social share buttons to the company’s Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, in addition to a button that links visitors to e-mail subscription window. Also, the bottom of each webpage contains what can be described as mini versions of the company’s Facebook and Twitter feed. These posts are up-to-date and also include buttons to follow or like the accounts. The featured articles on the site, which provide information regarding events and activities, all have tags associated with them and display a banner above the article soliciting visitors to like My Central Florida Family on Facebook. Beneath each article is a request that reads: “Share this article:” which provides social share buttons to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.
In terms of improving the website, My Central Florida Family could start by streamlining the site to make it more user-friendly. This could be achieved by carefully organizing their advertisements and distinctly separating them from featured events. Additionally, they could eliminate duplicate links that could be confusing, such as the two “Contact Us” buttons that are inches away from each other. My Central Florida Family should also consider moving their newsletter signup and business directory features from the bottom of each webpage to the top. These are useful resources, and most visitors probably would not know they existed buried under so many ads. Also, the different listings in the business directory should link to that business or organization’s website and social media websites. Overall, My Central Florida Family should consider streamlining its website so that the format on each webpage and article is consistent and void of any unnecessary or irrelevant information. This will make it easier for visitors to navigate the site and find what they are looking for.
To help promote My Central Florida Family’s Florida Kids and Family Expo, the organization should tag all of their posts relating to the event with keywords that will help boost their SEO efforts and overall search engine results. Searching the popularity and interest of various keywords on Google Trends, My Central Florida Family would likely benefit from tagging Kids and Family Expo posts with words and phrases such as: family, “expo,” “family fun,” “Orlando,” and “kids.”
My Central Florida Family’s website does not link to an official blog, but the site’s “News” tab does have blog-like features. For starters, the posts are organized from newest to oldest. Each post features a title, an accompanying photo, and brief description. Most of these posts are brief and concise, many of which detail upcoming events. Visitors are given the option to change the size of the text and print the document. My Central Florida Family appears to be adequately utilizing IMC, as each post has tags and keywords assigned to the article, and there are social sha
re buttons for visitors at the bottom of each page.
My Central Florida Family could improve this page by including keywords in their image ALT tags in addition to their image file names. There is some inconsistency with the photos complementing the blog posts. Some images link to source websites, or sites with relevant information, while others are merely dead links or do not link to anything.
Content: Mock Blog Post
The social media sites that My Central Florida Family links to on their website are Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. The company’s Facebook page has just over 3,000 likes, and they post to the platform several times a day. Popular posting tool, Buffer, suggests posting a maximum of two times per day, as any additional posts begin to lose engagement. The majority of My Central Florida Family’s posts are not receiving a great deal of likes, comments, or shares, so this could be the cause. My Central Florida Family’s Twitter page has just over 700 followers, and the company posts three or more times per day. The content of these posts is similar to that of their Facebook, and generally contains information and provides a link about events and activities listed on the site. The majority of these posts receive no engagement. The company could do more to interact with followers as well as the sponsors and event holders they mention. My Central Florida Family’s Pinterest page has a good amount of content. The page contains 237 pins that are organized into 22 boards, with categories such as Kid’s Fashion, Summertime Fun, and Science Activities. That being said, the page only has 28 followers.
My Central Florida Family should consider creating an Instagram account. Instagram is a very popular platform, especially in their target demographic. The company could use their Instagram account to showcase and highlight events and information like they do on their other social media channels, but they can also share pictures of various events and the community’s involvement. These photos could be shared across platforms to further boost the organization’s IMC efforts.
The following are mock social media posts for the week of August 23rd – August 29th, the week prior to My Central Florida Family’s annual Florida Kids and Family Expo. The event commences on the last day of posts, August 29th. The hashtags used in these posts, #MyCFF and #FLKidsFamExpo, were created by and previously used by My Central Florida Family. Note that if the tweets below were to actually be posted, they would include shortened URLs that would not exceed Twitter’s 140-character limit.
My Central Family Florida is hosting the Florida Kids and Family Expo August 29th and 30th, 2015. The expo will be taking place at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, and will feature exhibits and activities from approximately 150 kid and family friendly companies. This event is a great opportunity for My Central Family Florida to bring awareness to their site and display their passion and expertise for bringing the community together for family-friendly events and activities. My Central Florida Family has a comprehensive website that could be invaluable to local families, but their social media presence lacks engagement. This event provides an opportunity for the company to gain exposure and cross promote their website and various social media channels.
The following IMC plan will utilize multiple channels to promote My Central Florida Family, specifically the Florida Kids and Family Expo.
- Establish a promotional opportunity that asks individuals to subscribe to the site’s email newsletter in exchange for discounted event tickets. The company’s website provides an opportunity for visitors to purchase tickets to the event directly through the site with an embedded Eventbrite page. On every page of the website that includes the social share and email signup buttons, add a pop-up that invites visitors to signup for the newsletter to receive a coupon code to use on the Eventbrite ticket purchasing page. Additionally, promote this opportunity across social media platforms, including My Central Florida Family’s newly established Instagram page. This promotion should take place within the two weeks prior to the expo, August 16th through August 28th.
- Boost followers on social media by introducing another promotional opportunity exclusive to the platforms. Post information about the event and ask followers to share the post on Facebook, Retweet the post on Twitter, and like the post on Instagram. Individuals who complete all three tasks within a certain time period will be automatically entered to win free tickets to the expo for their family and themselves. During the time this promotion is taking place, My Central Florida Family will collect and keep track of all of the respondents, and then randomly select a winner. This promotion should take place two weeks before the expo, August 16th through August 22nd. The winner will be announced on all social media platforms on Sunday, August 23rd.
- Engage with followers as My Central Florida Family countdowns to the expo through their social media accounts. Pose questions relating to the event and communicate with followers as much as possible answering any and all questions and comments. This countdown should begin on Sunday, August 23rd, and continue for six days up until the day before the expo begins, August 28th.
During the Event:
- Establish a dedicated My Central Florida Family booth at the expo. At this booth, have information available about the website, as well as upcoming events and activities. Display the event’s social media hashtag, #FLKidsFamExpo, as well as the company’s, #MyCFF, prominently at the booth. Additionally, host a raffle opportunity for guests that include a variety of gifts from the various sponsors. To enter the raffle, guests are required to take a photo at the event, and post it to the social media platform of their choice using both of the hashtags. Once they show this to the individuals working the booth, they will be given a raffle ticket to write down their information. There will be two of these raffles during the event, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. The winners will be announced at the end of each day at the event and on social media channels.
- Following the event, thank all of the sponsors, vendors, and guests for their participation on all social media channels and through an email newsletter.
- Post multiple photos of the event on all social media channels.
- Retweet and Repost multiple photos and posts from guests at the events that tagged My Central Florida Family and/or used the event hashtags.
Overall, the suggestions presented above should greatly improve My Central Florida Family ‘s IMC efforts. That being said, if the budget permits, the other suggestions are as follows:
- Utilize guerilla-marketing tactics to promote the expo in the weeks before the event. My Central Florida Family showcases several local businesses and the events and activities they make available to the public. The company should contact the locations these activities take place and ask if they can graffiti about the expo. This graffiti could be non-permanent chalk, for example, and can provide the name of the event, applicable hashtags, and/or website information. This form of marketing could be useful to My Central Florida Family, as it is cost effective and works as a vehicle to generate interest and exposure to individuals who might not be familiar with the website or event.
- Introduce a My Central Florida Family mobile app. The app should include a calendar of events similar to the one on the company’s website. Additionally, the app should be interactive. Users should be able to RSVP to certain events and activities and view and connect with other families who have RSVP’d. The events on the app should provide an area where users can ask specific questions as well as options to share on social media. In regards to the Florida Kids and Family Expo, the app should dedicate a certain portion of the app exclusively to this event. This section of the app should have detailed information about the event, and a timeline of what’s going on at certain times. Users should be able to manage their tickets through the app, and also make reservations at high volume booths to avoid waiting.
All of the aforementioned IMC suggestions are easy to track and analyze, so doing so should not be very costly. All of the online recommendations, including those related to the company’s website and social media channels, can be tracked directly through those channels. Even the most basic analytics tools will be able to provide information regarding increased traffic to the website and clicks to the event page. Additionally, the company can track their social media engagement without any specific tool by simply monitoring the pages for an increase in likes, follows, comments, and other insights. Because My Central Florida Family is using Eventbrite as their online ticket distributor, they will be able to monitor exactly who bought tickets through the site and how they accessed it. Similarly, in regards to the newsletter promotion, the company will be able to observe who subscribed and who actually utilized the coupon code.
My Central Florida Family is a comprehensive and invaluable resource for families living in and around the Central Florida area. The hallmarks of their website, the calendar which offers detailed information regarding daily activities available to the public and the thorough business directory, prove the founders’ dedication and passion for uniting the local community. My Central Florida Family has several opportunities to grow and expand as a brand, and simple methods like streamlining the site, improving social media communications, and successfully executing the Florida Kids and Family Expo will vastly improve the company’s IMC efforts and catapult the brand into becoming a local household name.
All other sources used are accessible via hyperlinks in the body of this post. All images can be clicked to link to their source.