Loyalty is a Two Way Street

I have repeatedly seen businesses large and small ignore their existing customer base and market to the new customer. There is an age old adage that 80% of your business is going to come from 20% of your customers.

Loyalty is a Two Way Street

Don’t ignore rewarding your loyal customers when you are rewarding your new customers.

Do you ever put marketing campaigns together that look something like, “Stay with us for 3 nights and get 50% off of your first nights stay” or “Like our Facebook page and get 50% off,”

First time visitors are the target of these campaigns. But what about the person that has been coming to see you repeatedly and has already posted a Facebook “Like”?   What are you doing for that person?

Don’t get me wrong. I can understand why you would want to run a marketing campaign like this; I just don’t understand why you wouldn’t set up a campaign just for your existing clients. Why risk them feeling ignored and unappreciated?

It takes surprisingly little to change the perception from an underappreciated to a valued customer. Simple things like a thank you note when a repeat customer has returned, a note to say we have a special coming up just for our repeat customers, or a repeat customer’s event goes a long way towards making your customers feel special. And a customer that feels special will be a customer that spreads your Word of Mouth advertising, recommends you to their family and friends, and returns to your business repeatedly.

Rewarding loyalty doesn’t need to cost a lot and the benefits are huge. Need some more ideas?

  • Create a Loyalty Club that rewards your repeat customers. This needn’t be complex but you do need to make the reward valuable in the eyes of the customer. Give them a free night’s stay after they have stayed a predetermined number of nights with you. How about a seminar on handling normal repairs that is only available to your Loyalty Club?

Just make sure that whatever you offer, it is unique and special to the Loyalty Club and market it as such.

  • When a repeat guest checks in, recognize them at the front desk with a friendly hello and reward them with a free bundle of firewood, a free bag of ice, or no charge for the extra people for the first night.
  • Create a special forum for your repeat guests where they can stay in touch with each other when they aren’t in the park. As we all know, we love belonging to an elite club.
  • Have an end of year or start of the season weekend event and invite your repeat customers to join you. Have a BBQ, a Hawaiian luau, or a plain old picnic to thank them for being such loyal guests. This can be open to everyone in the park, just give the repeat guests special tickets so that they aren’t charged anything. Make those special tickets stand out from the rest by giving them a bright, vibrant color. Now people are going to be asking why the ticket is different from theirs, giving your repeat customers the perfect opportunity to spread the Word of Mouth about the Loyalty Club.
  • Send out holiday cards with a coupon for their next stay with you. Give them an extra 5% off of their stay.
  • Make your repeat visitors a part of your “Advisory Board.” The advisory board will help with things like deciding on new activities, colors for signs, marketing efforts, etc. They will be a part of your email list that you send surveys to on any issues that you need advice on.

Repeat guests are one of your best marketing programs. They will share your name with the people they work with, other family members and friends and neighbors giving you great Word of Mouth advertising.   They will also share the fact that you value their business and that you recognize that they have choices out there.

When the next conversation turns to the latest deal that the phone company is offering to new customers, your loyal visitor will likely mention that they received a special offer from your park because they had visited it often.

Rewarding your loyal guests shouldn’t cost a great deal and the return on that investment is going to be much larger than you expect. Plan your program out. Identify the rules for becoming a loyal guest member, create a calendar to schedule your mailings, and tweak your system until you find the right mix for your park.

What works for you in bringing people back after their first visit?

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5 Reasons You May Need to Consider Outsourcing

When you have a small business every dollar counts, which means that you do more with less than the corporation down the road. It also means that wearing that many hats prevent you from being truly effective at any of them.

5 Reasons You May Need to Consider Outsourcing

You aren’t qualified to do everything. Find people to help and watch your profits soar.

Some things can be outsourced rather easily. Things like housekeeping, bookkeeping and maintenance activities to name a few. Others take a lot more consideration before you hire someone.

The first thing to consider is what you truly enjoy doing. Is it the landscaping/gardening part of the job? How about the accounting efforts fro the business?

Whatever you truly enjoy you should probably keep doing yourself. Those items that require more knowledge than you have or more time and effort than you can give should be the first on your list for outsourcing.

Here are some things to consider:

1.)       You need a real strategy for increasing your business

 It is easy for the business to slow down without it being immediately noticed. Hiring a consultant for a short period of time and brainstorming how you can get more customers can be a smart move.

A consultant is going to bring fresh eyes to your situation and a good consultant will work with you to create a series of tactics that can be easily implemented. Until you find a way to change how your ideal guest views you and your business, your competition is going to remain strong and your marketing efforts are going to continue to stagnate.

2.)       You need fewer goals and objectives

 Goals and objectives need to be obtainable. If your goal is to be the best business out there, you have a goal that is going to be hard to reach. It is too broad and too lofty.

Goals and objectives need to be established with a smaller number identified in order to assure that they are attainable.

Look for the goal and objective that has the highest payoff and that can be reached with in a year, in three years and in five years. Next week isn’t on the timeline.

3.)       You aren’t qualified to do everything

 No one is able to do it all and do it effectively. Yes you can create your own website, write your own marketing plan and do your own taxes. The question becomes how professional is any of that going to be?

There is a reason that people specialize in distinct areas of business. It’s because specializing allows you to concentrate on all of the detail needed.

I can’t tell you how many ads I have seen that have cost a lot of money but don’t tell the reader where the business is located, or doesn’t give them a phone number to call.

When you try to do it all, you end up doing it all poorly. It costs you in time, in money and in your sanity

4.)      Your Focus is scattered

There are so many points to be touched on and delved into in order to run your business that you need someone accountable to cover the detail and keep you abreast of the changes.

If you spend all week working on the landscaping, you will know which areas need fertilizer, which trees need to be trimmed or which plants should be transplanted.

Of course to know all of that, you need to be working on the landscaping every day which means that you aren’t working on your marketing efforts or your research into the latest products for the store.

Start thinking of yourself as the CEO and let the workers (whether they are employees, consultants or interns) do their job.

Your job is to focus on the overall health of the company and make sure that those attainable goals and objectives are on their way to being realized.

5.)       You haven’t established metrics

 Unless you have established a way to tie metrics to each and every main part of your business, you are going to end another year not knowing if you are truly on the road to achieving all that you have set out to accomplish.

When you get started with your renewed enthusiasm for your business, make sure that you have measurable goals and objectives, review them frequently with your consultant and you will find that you are happier with where you are headed and with what you have done.

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12 Months of Marketing Resolutions

As we close out 2014 and look forward to 2015, we need to take a hard look at our marketing plan and see if we are on track or if we need to make changes.

12 Months of Marketing Resolutions for 2015

Make this the year that you take small bites out of your marketing resolutions.

January

Redesign the website. I have a serious “the cobbler has no shoes” problem. In case you haven’t heard of it, here is the definition. The cobbler is so busy making shoes for all of his customers that he doesn’t have time to make shoes for himself.

This month I am going to redesign my website to get it updated and more in line with what my customers are looking for.

While this is going to take a chunk out of my marketing budget, it is going to be worth it as I expect to see a big jump in traffic and, by default, in new clients.

February

Layout the schedule and create the emails for this year’s marketing campaigns.

The emails will consist of 140 characters. This will make it easy to schedule posts on Social Media.

The added benefit is that 140 characters will demand that the email is concise and to the point.

Create a spreadsheet for all advertising that shows cost and that tracks results.

March

Review the marketing plan for the second quarter 2015 and decide whether the plan is more of the same or if it can be spiced up.

So many of our marketing efforts remain the same year after year that they become boring and expected. It is time to change them up.

Add at least one new and different campaign to each quarter’s plans. Along with that new and different campaign is, of course, a means of measuring how successful it really is.

April

Tax time. Not a fun time of the year but it really gives insight to how successful last year was.

Once the taxes are done, review them to determine the ratio of expenditures and compare that to the budget. Make adjustments where needed and look harder at where the advertising dollars are going.

Compare this information to the first quarter plan to see how successful the plan was.

May

Summer is on its way. Along with adding to the wardrobe, add to the marketing materials that are the same as they have been for the past 4 years.

Add more fun things to the printed materials. Add a game to the brochure that is fun to play but also keeps my brand in front of potential customers minds.

Create printed materials that are fun to read.

June

Take the time to review the first six months of 2015.   Take a look at the demographics for the last six months.

Has the customer changed? Are my efforts to attract my future customer working? Is my future customer different than what I was expecting?

Create a drop file to keep ideas for future marketing campaigns.

July

Start looking at and planning for any trade shows that I want to attend.

Begin the decision making process by checking on the demographics that the show attracts, cost per potential new customer, expected return on the investment.

Review my trade show materials, display, and schedule both the application for the show and the travel arrangements.

August

Take a look at continuing education classes that will benefit my company, including any online classes.

Look for classes that will revitalize creativity as well as knowledge.

September

Become active in the local Chamber of Commerce and the state organizations.

Reach out to others and create a quarterly online meeting new ideas and approaches are discussed.

October

Create a rough draft of the marketing plan for 2016.

Review the tickler file for future campaigns and begin laying out the success requirements that the campaigns will have.

Do another analysis of who the current customer is and who the future customer will be.

November

Begin the review of the ROI for the 2014 marketing efforts.

Take a new look at the advertising spreadsheet and determine where the dollars are performing and where they are languishing. Schedule the cancellation for those advertising venues that are not giving a return on the investment.

December

Finalize the 2016 marketing plan.

Begin creating the 2016 email campaign content.

Create new content for the website.

Look back on the most successful marketing year to date and promise to make 2016 even better.

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Time for a Website Review!

So many times, our websites were the first thing that we did and after a short time, we moved on to working with our customers and pretty much forgot about the website. After all, we spent good money on getting it set up when we opened business, so we take the Ron Popeil mantra of “Set it and Forget it” and turn that into “Create it and Forget it.”

Time for a Website Review

If you want your website to work for you, you can’t “Create it and Forget it.”

The problem is that, like any of our marketing materials, after a while a website begins to look stale. I know because I have that exact problem. I had my website designed a few years ago and had a blog added to it about 9 months after the website went live. Since then, I have posted the blog fairly regularly but have done nothing with the rest of the website.

I recently took an honest look at the site and realized that while the site is the same, my client demographics are different. It’s time to redesign the website. If I had been reviewing my site on a regular basis, I would have realized this much sooner. Now my question is, “How many customers have I turned off because of my website?”

Here are my quarterly website review tasks that I have added to my calendar:

  • Check all the links on the website. One of the most frustrating things for any user is to run into a link that is bad. This is especially true if the name of the website isn’t obvious which means there isn’t an easy way to find the site.

 

Broken links are not unusual. People change the platforms their website operates on, the hosting companies they are using or other internet issues arise. Be sure to check all your links. Those in your headers, footers, sidebars, and in your content.

 

  • Test your drop down menus. This will make sure that your navigation for your website is going to work correctly and that all the tabs you have on your site are in place. Make sure you cover any and all menus.

 

  • Send yourself an email. If you have any type of contact form (reservation request, support request, information request) make sure you fill it out completely to ensure that it is working properly. Even more important is making sure that the emails are being delivered to the correct address. Shortly after my website went live, I discovered that the emails were going to an incorrect address which meant that I wasn’t answering my customer’s call.

 

  • Use all of your Social Media buttons. We all got on the bandwagon and added buttons for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and the entire myriad other Social Media sites out there, but the real question is, do they work? Does the Facebook button actually take you to your Facebook page?

 

  • Look at each of your pages and decide if they are still representing who you are. Using myself as an example again, I recently found that some of my blog posts were actually returning “Page Not Found” (aka 404) errors.

 

  • Check for technical errors. While your web designer should be doing this on a regular basis, it doesn’t hurt to have a second person checking. You will need to register your site with Google Webmaster Tool and then run the tests. While you may not understand everything the test is telling you, you will know if you need to get in touch with your web designer to correct maintenance issues.   This is essential to your SEO efforts.

 

  • If you also have a mobile site, you need to perform the same tasks there. While you are testing, pay close attention to how your site is operating. Does it require a lot of scrolling? Is it easy to read? Is it easy to navigate?

 

  • Schedule a regular review of your analytics. If you don’t have an analytic system set up, get it NOW!! Google Analytics is free and gives you some great insight into who is clicking on your site, where they are going, and how long they are staying there.

 

  • Make sure that you have your WebMaster Tools set up and check it on a regular basis. This will give you a lot of information but one of the most important ones is what pages are returning a Not Found 404 Error.

 

Now that you have reviewed your site for its functionality, made the changes you needed and corrected the errors you found, you are ready to check the rest of your marketing materials to make sure that they are doing their job.

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10 People You Need in Your Corner

I’ve written a lot about how to market your business, how to make things more efficient in your office and how to put together your policies and procedures manuals. These are all things that I write about from experience. I just realized that the one thing I haven’t told you about is how to build a network of invaluable contacts that will help you to succeed.

10 People You Need in Your Corner

Add these people to your corner to achieve success

While you are thinking of who you should get to fill these spots, be thinking of what you have to offer in exchange for their help. We all have our specialties, those things that get us excited about work.

Here is my list of must haves for my network:

1.) I don’t know what I would do without my Tech Support friends. They keep me sane when things are going haywire. I have someone that I can contact when I have problems with my website, someone for hardware problems, and someone for software problems. Don’t try to find one person to answer all of your questions. Rather find people who specialize in their area and can answer your questions in depth.

2.) An numbers person is a must. This is really different than the accountant that you send your files to once a quarter for filing taxes. This is a person who can give you a good idea of whether your idea is worth pursuing.

3.) A Marketing guru. This is the person that you can bounce your marketing ideas off of to see if you are wasting your time and money on a campaign. While experience in the industry is great, it isn’t necessarily required. Find someone who asks the right questions to get to the core of your issue and then has suggestions that make sense to you.

4.) Someone who is the Salesperson you wish you were. This isn’t the same person as the Marketing guru. Find that person that can sell anybody anything at any time. Learn all you can from them. How to close the deal is critical whether you are selling RV spaces or a million dollar RV.

5.) Everyone needs a “handy-person” that they can call when things fall apart. This is the person you talk to when you are considering a major expenditure for maintenance. Whether it is in your office, in the RV park or in your home, it helps to have someone who can tell you “yeah, that sounds right” or “they want how much for a simple job?”

When you go looking for these people to add to your network, don’t limit yourself to those close to home. In fact, distance can be a great advantage as you will get a broader view of what is being done elsewhere. The business person that I rely on for sales advice is actually located 1,000 miles away from me. I can count on him to tell me exactly where I went wrong with a potential client and what I need to do the next time.

My software support person has helped me move to the Cloud so that I don’t have to depend on being able to access my laptop. If you are still not sure about the Cloud, let me give you a quick reason for getting sure of it. I recently damaged the screen on my laptop. While I could still access my files, I couldn’t see what I was doing on the screen. Since I had moved to the Cloud, I could get to most of my files with my tablet while the laptop is in for repairs.

Take a look at the people in the groups you belong to on LinkedIn, Facebook or any other organization that you may belong to. Find the ones that you would like to have in your support network. Build your network with care and make sure that you reciprocate the help that you receive by recommending them and their business whenever you can as well as offering your expertise when they need it.

 

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Seven Tools To Look Into the Mirror With

There was a time not too long ago when you could only guess at what your image was among your potential customers. The Internet has changed a lot of that. Now, word of mouth has been transformed into words on the net. People don’t hesitate to write their opinions on forums, review sites, facebook and twitter.

Seven Tools to Look Into the Mirror With

Checking your online image should be a habit. Do it now!

The good news is that you can trace those opinions and determine what your image is on the web. It will take a bit of work on your part for the initial setup and then you need to schedule time on a weekly basis as a minimum to review the information. It would be better if you could do your reviews on a daily basis in order to stay on top of any negative information and respond in a positive way.

Before we get to the details, let’s talk about how to respond to bad reviews…and responding is a must. Once someone types your name into a comment, it will live for a long, long time. Your only hope to combat a bad impression is to respond, but you need to respond in such a way that you don’t start an internet war.

How many of you heard about the war of words between Steve Jobs and a college journalism student asking for a response to a problem she had with Apple’s PR department? After several emails back and forth, Jobs finally basically told the student to “Leave Us Alone.” To make a long story short, this all happened last fall and instead of dying down and disappearing, it is still out there on the web as a case study of what not to do.

When you respond, be sure that you stay positive, try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes, and be as tactful as you can possibly be. Start off by acknowledging that the person had an issue with your park. Then begin stating your side of the story in a positive manner. Whatever you do, don’t give in to the impulse to say things like “Jerks like you…”, “Why are you such a Liar…” or “Dealing with idiots like you…” We have all been there but keep those thoughts in your mind and not on the keyboard.

To find out what your image is on the web, take the following steps:

  • Set up Google Alerts for your park name. While I am at it I also set up an alert for my competition. It never hurts to find out what people are saying about them.   Go to google.com/alerts to get started. Once you are set up, you will receive an email anytime Google picks up your specific keywords.
  • Check out the park review sites on a regular basis. RVparkreviews.com, www.rvbuddies.com, etc. for any comments regarding your park. If there is a particularly nasty review, email the webmaster asking if you can reply. There is currently a push to make review sites more responsive to posting the business answer. Whatever you do, don’t engage in posting bad reviews about the competition even if they have done it about you. This definitely won’t help your position or your image because you will be found out and then the world will know.
  • There are a number of programs that aggregate monitoring Social Media. Some are free but most are pay sites. I would suggest starting out with a free program until you determine what you want to see and how much information you need. Be sure to check on what the program covers
  • Facebook is more difficult to monitor than other programs. Facebook users are able to limit their openness to the rest of the world. That means that you will only be able to monitor those users who have opened up their pages to more than family and friends. When you sign in to Facebook, enter your business name into the search bar and look for results from all public profiles.
  • If you have a blog, you need to register with Technorati. Once you have registered, Technorati will track any blog reactions or blogs that link to you. While we are at it, make sure that your blog accepts comments from your readers. Once again, the information you can gather will be invaluable.

For Twitter, you have a wealth of sites that will gather information for you. FriendFeed will find all instances where your search words have been mentioned. You can use HooteSuite and TweetDeck for the same purpose. The last two have the added advantage of allowing you to schedule your tweets as well as a number of other features.

  • Do regular Google searches for your name. When you put the name into the search field use a quotation mark before and after the name. This will help to limit the number of references that are actually linked to the individual words in your name and will return results for your full name only.
  • Don’t forget to watch Workamper News forums to see what workampers are saying about working for you. Listen to the comments and use them as constructive criticism. It can be hard not to take the comments personally, but unless you look at the comments objectively you won’t be able to use the information to your advantage.

This list should at least get you started on determining what people are saying about you. Once you know what is being said, you can determine how you want to react. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to track what is being said about you on the web. The internet has become a way of life for us and it is only going to get more important to your guests as time goes on.

If this is overwhelming, don’t give up…give me a call. Let’s talk about what you need right now and what can wait till later.

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Like It Or Not, It’s Here to Stay

I’m sure by now everyone has heard about the new Apple iPhone 6 and all of its bells and whistles. But did you also pay attention to the announcement about Apple Pay?

Like it or Not, It's Here to Stay

Like it or not, accepting payment from a smartphone is here to stay.

The concept behind Apple Pay is not new. NFC (Near Field Communications) has been around for quite a while. What makes it worth noting is that Apple has linked it to their products and is marketing it in such a way as to make it attractive to us consumers.

The reason I am bringing this subject up is that I believe that the writing is on the wall. It won’t be long before your customers are going to expect to be able to pay using NFC. If you aren’t ready for that day, what is going to happen to your business?

We have all experienced going into a small Mom and Pop store to buy something only to find out that they don’t accept credit cards or out of state checks. That brings you to cash only purchase and you may not have had enough cash to cover the cost. While it makes for a great story, do you consider going back to that Mom and Pop store or do you make sure that you have everything you need before you get to that location?

I make sure that I don’t have to go back to that Mom and Pop store because, for me, it is an inconvenience. I expect the businesses I frequent to accept credit cards/debit cards.

So now, looking ahead, have you made any plans for accepting things like Apple Pay in the future? Have you talked to your credit card company about what this means? Even if you aren’t ready for NFC payments, have you considered using the credit card readers that attach to your phone or iPad for those purchases that a customer wants to make but you aren’t at the register?

I can see this technology being a great benefit for the RV park side of the house. Just think, you can send someone out with a load of firewood on the back of the cart and sell the wood right at the campsite without having to set up a large cash envelope for the worker.

You can accept Day Use payments in the driveway instead of making the customer come into the office.

You can set up reservations at the trade show or make seasonal sales.

Sounds good doesn’t it?

Here is the other side of the coin. If you haven’t kept up with technology, you are going to have a steep learning curve. You are going to need new equipment, new procedures and new training for your staff. If you start now you might be able to lay out your conversion plans and make this as painless as possible.

Put together a plan that answers the following:

  • What do you want to do?
  • Who is going to do it?
  • When are you going to convert?
  • Where are you going to use your new methodology?
  • How are you going to get the staff trained?
  • How much are you going to budget for the process?

When you are answering question #1, don’t limit yourself to one thing. Try to think ahead and plan for changes in the future.

Now that you have your plan laid out, start talking to your bank, your credit card processor and your customers to let them know what you have in the planning stage.

Finally, get ready to execute the plan. You are going to be miles ahead of your competition and it is going to show through customer appreciation.

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Joining the Social Media Frenzy

Everyone is talking about it, some people are doing it, you haven’t quite decided whether you want to jump in or not, so what is a business owner to do?

Joining the Social Media Frenzy

Social Media can be confusing if you don’t have a plan

It seems that Social Media is on everyone’s mind these days.  It is quickly reaching the point where you are expected to have a presence in Social Media if you are a modern, viable business.  If you have any guests in the 34 to 54 age range, they are already using Social Media as a part of their day to day lives.  If you have guests in the 55 and up range, you will be interested to know that this is the fastest growing population on Face Book.

There is no way around the fact that setting up your Social Media campaign is going to take some time and effort.  Maybe you even have someone who wants to take care of setting it up for you.  But before you say yes, take some time to decide what you really want and expect from running a SM campaign.

It’s easy enough to create accounts on the various sites.  The hard part is to present cohesive, well thought out campaign.  We have all seen the websites that are put up just to be able to say “We have a website” and the fact that it was done with very little planning leaves you with questions as to how trustworthy the business is.

Take some time out and answer these five questions before you jump in.

1.)  What is your objective?  Do you just want to stay in touch with your current guests?  Are you expecting to attract new guests?  Make a list of your goals and objectives.  Some may be quite doable while others may require so much time and effort to achieve that they aren’t reasonable at this time, but you will at least have a better idea of what you are looking to achieve.

2.)  Who is your audience?  Take a look at your demographics.  Are your guests overnight only?  Full timers?  Families?  Decide if you have different guest profiles depending on the season.  You may need to adjust your campaign to fit the season.  Clearly define who you are going to be talking to.

3.)  If your campaign is successful, what will your guests learn?  Maybe you want them to know of your plan to enlarge your laundry room, or that you are adding sites.  One thing you definitely want to impart is the personality of your park.  Just by virtue of being involved in SM, you are going to be viewed as a modern, up to date business.

4.)  What tactics are you going to utilize?  Now we get to the meat of the problem.  There are huge numbers of SM sites out there…YouTube, Twitter and Facebook to name just a few.  It’s time to take a look at each area and decide what each one can do for you.  I would suggest that you consider creating a blog that gets posted on a monthly basis.  If you are currently publishing a newsletter, you can easily use the articles from it to post to your blog.  From the blog you can post to your FaceBook page without having to do a lot more work.  From the FaceBook page you can post to Twitter telling everyone that you have a new Blog post.  And so you complete the circle, sending your followers back to learn more about your campground.

5.)  How are you going to measure your success?  This is going to be a fluid part of your whole campaign.  As you getter better with SM, you will probably find new ways to define your success or failure.  To start, look for visits to the blog, likes on FaceBook, and retweets on Twitter.

6.)  Is it really wise to turn over your SM Campaign to someone who doesn’t know you or the RV industry?  There are plenty of people out there who will be happy to give you a boilerplate campaign, but don’t expect it to look like anything except a boilerplate campaign.  If you decide to hire someone, ask them to tell you how they would approach the job.  If they don’t ask who your audience is or what your expectations are, chances are that you are going to be disappointed.
7.) Which site are you going to start with? The elephants in the room are Facebook and Twitter. The big thing to remember, though, is that they are very different elephants. Twitter is like passing someone in the hall and giving them a heads up on your way; Facebook is like sitting down in the break room and having a discussion with each other. Find out where your audience goes on Social Media before you decide which one to start with.
Now that you have a plan you are ready to begin laying out your identity on the various sites.  Remember that this is your brand.  You want to present yourself and your RV business in the best light.  Keep your campaign coordinated, and the look similar.  It won’t take long for people to recognize that they have seen something about you somewhere else.  And that is really the point, isn’t it?

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Market with a Thank You

I started my Monday off this week with my usual routine.  Turn on the computer, check my calendar for the week and begin reviewing my email.

Change up your Thank You to change up your Marketing

Much to my surprise, I had an email from a person that I have not met but we are members of the same group on LinkedIn.  His email was just to say that he enjoyed my comments in the group discussions and wanted to say thank you.  He followed that with the statement that the Internet is a very thankless place.

Not only did his email brighten my day, but it also got me to thinking about how we don’t say thank you with any true meaning behind it enough.  We all say thank you as the customer walks out the door but is it just a reflex, that’s what you are supposed to do kind of thank you or do we say it with feeling?

Here is your challenge.  Choose one of the following Thank You’s each week for the next 5 weeks.  Concentrate on that Thank You and incorporate it into your regular routine.

1.)            Replace thank you.  Instead of thanking the customer try changing it up for every customer today.  Try saying, “We are so glad you stopped by” or “We are so happy you chose us.”  Surprise your customer with a real thank you.

2.)            Send emails to everyone that stopped in this week and tell them how much you enjoyed their visit.  Ask them for any suggestions or recommendations.  You’ll be surprised at what the response will be.  And don’t worry about the negative comments.  You are going to hear a lot more positive than negative.

3.)            Send out a Thank You coupon that can be used anytime over the next year.  Please don’t make this the standard 10% off coupon that gets thrown into the trash because it isn’t worth that much to the customer.  Make it a true Thank You coupon.

4.)            Plan a Thank You party.  Invite all of your customers.  Not everyone will show up but you can have someone at the party posting to your Facebook page during the party to make those customers who can’t come to the party feel like they are there.  While you are at it, make a nice give away gift.  This doesn’t have to be expensive but it does need to remind everyone of your business.  If you have an RV park, make a video of the season and give a copy to all of your guests.  Give the video a title of “What We Did For Our Summer Vacation” or “How We Spent Our Winter.”  Just remember that the focus of the video should be your customers and not your business.

5.)            Instead of a Birthday Club, start a First Visit Club.  You already have the information on when a person first visited your business.  Use this date to send out a First Visit card that thanks the individual for choosing to visit your business.

At the start of the sixth week, take a look back.  What has been your customer’s reaction?  How do you feel about saying Thank You?  Has it had an impact on your bottom line?

Now rinse and repeat.  After a second round you should see real impact on how you feel about you, how your customers feel about you and how your bottom line is improving.

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7 Low Cost Marketing Campaigns Plus a Bonus

Are you guilty of thinking of marketing as buying an ad for a year and then forgetting about it?  Or maybe along with that ad, you put out a few brochures and consider yourself done.   

That is what we call “lackluster advertising” and not marketing.  Marketing takes effort but it will definitely pay off.  Here are some simple ideas that you can put in place with a little effort and should     give you some real return in the way of sales.

1.)   Partnering

If you are an RV dealer, find a local RV park that you would be happy to promote to your customers, and of course the reverse is true for RV parks.  Maybe you don’t want to go to the expense of moving new units to the park and staffing them for people to walk through, but how about sending one of your experienced techs to the park for a couple of hours to answer any questions that people in the park may have?

2.)   “Selfie” Campaign

With digital cameras in phones, tablets or self-contained, people enjoy taking photos of themselves, their friends and families and then posting them on their social media sites.  Take advantage of this by putting together a quick campaign that allows people to upload photos of themselves enjoying their RV’s.  Post these prominently and even better, have them rotating on a TV screen in your reception area.

3.)   Create a scavenger hunt

Start a number of miles away from your business.  The hunt can be as easy as identifying unique landmarks on the way to your business or as complicated as having to bring in a scavenger token from the particular clue.

Either way, make sure that your prize at the end of the hunt is one that people want.  This is really no different than any other contest.  If your prize isn’t worth the effort, people won’t participate.

4.)   Create New Content

If you haven’t heard that content is king by now, you must not be listening.  Everyone is looking for new and interesting stories to tell about their business.  Let’s do a change-up.

Start the story off and then ask your customers to fill in the next paragraph.  For example, start the story with “As I was walking in the door at XYZ, I was relieved to see…..” then let the story go where it may.

You can continue this effort by taking the best of the first five submittals and using those to create the first line of the next paragraph.

You are going to get a lot of insight into what your customers truly think, what they are looking for from you and how they want to tell their friends about your business.

5.)   Create a Drip Campaign

If you don’t want to take the time to create a newsletter, consider using an email marketing program that sends out short and simple emails with links in them.

For instance, send out an email that links to a checklist for getting the RV ready for storage for the winter.  A link to a camera tips site or to a recipe for cooking outdoors works well also.  You want to give your customer information that they will hold onto and even send to friends and family.

6.)   Concierge Services

Put together a well organized area of things to do and see in the area.  Make sure any area brochures are current and get rid of the old ones.   Don’t limit yourself to just the immediate area; add in information for attractions that are a short drive from you.

7.)   Survey Your Customers

It is easy and inexpensive to create your own customer survey that you can send out in an email.  Most of the email marketing services give you the ability to create and receive responses to a custom survey.  Make the survey short, seven or less questions.  Make the last question a Net Promoter Score (NPS) question.

This is a very basic Yes/No question that simply asks, “Would you recommend us to your family and/or friends?”  Your survey should be anonymous so that people are willing to give you a truthful answer.  Your NPS will give you an idea of how healthy your word of mouth is.

8.) Bonus

While this isn’t a marketing campaign tactic, it is critical to achieving results that mean something.  Take the time to review your email list on a regular basis.  If an address hasn’t opened your last three emails, it’s time to send them a final email asking if they want to continue hearing from you.  If you don’t hear back, definitely take the address off of your list.  It is only serving to drive your costs up and your response rates down.

One last point you need to remember for these campaigns to be successful.  Make sure that you have a means of measuring how successful each campaign is.  Use a unique code for any special offers so that you can put numbers to the results and determine whether it is something worth doing again.

Hope this helps you get started thinking about quick and easy campaigns.  Give me a call at 800.478.0516 to brainstorm some other ideas that you can make your own.

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Still don’t know what you need to do?  Give me a call at 800-478-0516 and let’s talk about what would work for you.   Be sure to follow me on Twitter:  @RVStops and @FocusedWords and join my group on LinkedIn, “Social Media in the RV Industry” and “RV Park Management Software User’s Group”.   Check out my blog at www.FocusedWords.com/blog for more articles about doing business in the RV world.  Copyright by FocusedWords.  If you would like to reprint, please email pwright@FocusedWords.com with your request.

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