Hayward Lakes

Hayward Lakes #sledsawyer2020 Campaign Recognized with Destinations Wisconsin Trailblazer Award

Who better to show off your Destination Tourism’s best assets than your biggest fans? And what better way to drive user-generated engagement than a social media contest!

Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau received a 2020 tourism grant to promote snowmobiling in Sawyer County, which was officially designated a Snowmobile Friendly Community. Sawyer County sits in Northwestern Wisconsin with approximately 600 miles of managed snow trails and frequently sees more snowmobiles than vehicles.

The goal for the grant funding was to promote winter tourism in the snowmobile community, and with the lack of in-person sport shows to attend the destination marketing organization decided to focus on social media and email marketing.

The #sledsawyer2020 promotion Signalfire helped Hayward Lakes execute during the 2020/21 snowmobile season received a Wisconsin Tourism Trailblazer award during the Destinations Wisconsin Fall Tourism Conference.

Hayward Lakes reached out to Signalfire in the fall of 2020 with their goals for the promotion, and a request to put together an email marketing plan as well as a social media contest.

“Snowmobile recreation has had little promotion over the years; yet snowmobiling has a significant local following. Our goal for this project was to expand awareness of the Sawyer County trail system, bring new visitors to enjoy the trails and encourage those that have previously visited to return,” Hayward Lakes said in their grant evaluation.

Expanding the #sledsawyer2020 Promotion

After virtually meeting with Hayward Lakes, Signalfire put together a plan to send out three email blasts targeting an audience interested in snowmobiles and snowmobiling who lived in the Madison and Eau Claire areas of Wisconsin and the Minneapolis and St. Paul areas of Minnesota.

Hayward Lakes expanded efforts with Signalfire by hosting a social media contest on their Facebook and Instagram accounts to drive excitement around their snowmobile trails and engagement with their social media pages.

Signalfire researched and created #sledsawyer2020 to promote the contest and together, Signalfire and Hayward Lakes came up with a three-month period to promote the contest, as well as guidelines that required users to take a selfie with one of the many Snowmobile Friendly County signs throughout the Hayward Lakes area and post that selfie on Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag #sledsawyer2020.

“Signalfire came up with the hashtag #sledsawyer2020, Hannah created the calendar and kept me on point,” said Sherry Beckman, Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau Executive Director.

Multi-Platform Social Media Contest Featured User Generated Content

Signalfire promoted the #sledsawyer2020 social media contest via the email newsletters as well as on social media before the snowmobile trails opened in Hayward and throughout the contest.

Signalfire built a social media calendar laying out how often and when they’d be posting about the contest. Signalfire also worked with Hayward Lakes to determine a social media audience to target with social media ads and advised on which posts to put advertising money behind as well as how much.

During the contest, Signalfire posted several times per week starting with photos provided by Hayward Lakes and then eventually shared user-generated content that had been received and entered into the contest. Signalfire collected and catalogued all the entries received via social media direct message and hashtag tracking.

“Signalfire made this promotion so fun and kept me accountable with dates,” Sherry said. “Working with the staff was easy and Hannah quickly became like family!”

At the end of the contest, Signalfire facilitated the organization of the submissions and the selection of the first-place winner as well as the two randomly chosen second and third place winners.

Results Included Significant Engagement and Real World Connections

northwoods social media contest results

Signalfire’s work with Hayward Lakes helped their accounts reach 194,000 unique users on social media, receive 255 requests for snowmobile maps (up 62% compared to the previous season), get 341 new followers on their Facebook page, and receive 81 #sledsawyer2020 contest submissions.

According to Hayward Lakes’ business impact survey, 88% of their businesses saw in increase in 2020-2021 winter season, with 55% reporting a direct benefit from the snowmobile promotion and 55% reported that their guests were first time visitors to the Sawyer County trails.

“The communication between the HLVCB and Signalfire contributed to the success of the campaign,” Sherry said. “Signalfire had great ideas, and we shared the same vision. Hannah was a great listener and understood what our goals were and helped us achieve them.”

Receiving Wisconsin Tourism Trailblazer Award

Destinations Wisconsin established the Wisconsin Tourism Trailblazer Awards to recognize state destination marketing organizations for their outstanding marketing and partnership efforts.

At the Destinations Wisconsin Fall Tourism Conference, Hayward Lakes was presented with the Trailblazer Award.

“Hayward Lakes VCB is honored to receive this award!” Sherry said. “The second year of Snap a Sled Selfie Contest will start at the end of December.”

What’s Next with Hayward Lakes?

Signalfire and Hayward Lakes didn’t slow down after the successful #SledSawyer2020 campaign. Summertime brought a similar social media selfie contest that continued to produce fantastic results.

Facebook Live Interviews

Very soon after the conclusion of the winter program, Sherry hired Signalfire to create a series of Facebook Live interviews promoting summer activities. Each of the monthly Facebook Live interviews featured local authorities on ATV trail riding, musky fishing, and other leading activities.

Tourism Marketing Audit

Seeing the value Signalfire brought through various marketing campaigns, Hayward Lakes hired the team to conduct a tourism marketing audit called a MAP (Marketing Assessment and Plan). Signalfire conducted a review of Hayward Lakes’ website, social media, and other marketing efforts to assemble feedback and recommendations.

Based on those recommendations, Signalfire was contracted to develop a new website for Hayward Lakes. Look for the new website in the first half of 2022.

Looking for a Successful Tourism Marketing Campaign?

Are you looking for something fresh out of your travel or tourism marketing? Want a fresh vision for promoting your community? Signalfire can help.

Signalfire has been successfully marketing communities and tourism related businesses since 2006 with:

  • Marketing strategy
  • Branding or logo design
  • Website design or support
  • Social media management
  • Content development that includes writing, photography, and video
  • Paid digital advertising (Google Ads, etc.)
  • Marketing performance tracking and data reporting

Let’s discover how Signalfire can bring something new to your destination marketing plans. Book a free consultation with us and find out how we can bring fresh ideas to you.