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Online Park Marketers Urged to Take a Survey

July 9, 2013 by · Comments Off on Online Park Marketers Urged to Take a Survey 

Editor’s Note: The following news release comes from Evanne Schmarder, principal of Roadabode Productions.

If you market your park online via social media, e-newsletters, customer reviews, or any other method of digital marketing, your insight is requested.

The 1st Annual Digital Marketing Benchmark Study for Outdoor Hospitality (https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DMBenchmarkStudy-Roadabode) will be closing soon and we’d like to hear from you. Park owners, operators and those working at a property in a marketing capacity are urged to complete the survey.

“We’ve seen surveys report on occupancy, activities and staffing but never digital marketing,” said Evanne Schmarder of Roadabode Productions. “Industry members will soon have a unique opportunity to compare their online marketing results against their peers. While we’ve had robust interest and input I want even more data before I close the survey. That’s why I’m asking all park owners, operators, and marketers that utilize online marketing channels — regardless of the extent of their programs — to complete the survey as well as pass along the link, encouraging peers and colleagues to participate.”

This short survey will take less than 10 minutes to complete and all responses are anonymous. Participants will receive a complimentary copy of the study report. All questions or comments may be directed to Schmarder at evanne@roadabode.com or (702) 460-9863. The survey can be accessed via a secure Internet connection here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DMBenchmarkStudy-Roadabode.

Please lend your voice to our industry’s strength and future … take the survey today and spread the word. Data can and does make a difference.

Vine: 6 Seconds of Life; 13 Ways to Use It

March 12, 2013 by · Comments Off on Vine: 6 Seconds of Life; 13 Ways to Use It 

Jeff Loper

Editor’s Note: The following story first appeared on Jeff Loper’s Campgrounds Connect’s website. To read this or other articles by Loper, visit www.campgroundsconnect.com.

Vine is yet another social media tool. I know what you’re thinking…”aren’t there enough already?!?” In this post I’ll explain exactly what Vine is and 13 ways you can use it in your campground marketing.

What is Vine?

Vine launched earlier this year is a video sharing app and it’s currently only available for the iPhone and iPad. The app itself was made by Twitter and therefore integrates seamlessly with your Twitter account, meaning whatever you post to Vine automatically posts to your Twitter account. It’s also more fun and I can see where campgrounds and RV parks can get a lot of use out of it. If you’re using Twitter, you know that you must focus on short, concise updates of 140 characters or less. Well, Vine isn’t much different in that you can only film and share six seconds of video. So, you have to be creative in using it. Once the video is posted, it loops continuously like the videos shared in this post.

How to Use Vine

Using Vine is pretty self-explanatory, but there is a cool feature I want to point out. Quite simply, by clicking on the little video camera icon in the upper right-hand corner of the app you will be able to film short video clips. Upon clicking it a screen will open showing what your are about to film, just like when using your camera app. To actually begin recording you touch the screen. When filming the video you have two options:

  • Continuous Filming: Keep your finger on the screen and film a continuous six seconds, or…
  • Stop Motion Filming: This is the cool feature. While filming release your finger from the screen and the video stops recording. You can then touch the screen again and filming resumes. This is great for stop motion videos. An example would be using this stop-and-start technique to create a series of six, one-second clips showing a pop-up camper as it’s being set up in one of your best, most scenic sites. Or, if you’re creative you can film a clever stop motion video like the one here.

13 Ways to Use Vine in Campground Marketing

While you may be wondering how on earth will six seconds of video help your campground or RV park in your marketing efforts, there are ways. If you’re using Twitter, you probably thought the same thing about 140 characters. Here are 13 suggestions to get you started.

  • Post Status Updates: Rather than posting to Twitter using text, use Vine to make it a little more interesting with video. Plus, it gives your account more personality.
  • Introduce Staff: Have each of your staff members say their name and what they do. It puts a face with the name, so-to-speak.
  • Show Activities: Film clips of activities taking place at your campground so people can see all the fun your place offers.
  • Show Improvements: Just finished adding a new feature or making an improvement? Show it off.
  • Show Campers: Quite simply, just show your campers enjoying themselves.
  • Capture Things to Do at Your Campground: Whether it’s a pool, miniature golf course, fishing hole, hiking trail, or game room, share the many things people can do at your place.
  • Capture Things to Do Near Your Campground: Film area attractions and events so campers know all that your area has to offer.
  • Share a Quick Tip: Have a quick tip about camping, your campground, campground cooking, etc? Post it.
  • Create a Funny Video: Humor is always great in the social media space.
  • Camper Interview: Ask campers a question and ask them to answer it on film. This makes for great little testimonials about your campground.
  • Share Trivia: Whether it’s about your campground or the surrounding area, share interesting facts that campers would want to know.
  • An Inside Look at Your Business: Believe it or not, people are interested in what you do. Share clips showing some of your day-to-day operations and how you handle them. Greeting campers, filling propane, cleaning fire pits, mowing the property, etc. This not only gives people an inside look, but it’s an opportunity to show off your customer service attitude, the services you offer, and how you care for your park.
  • Promote a Special or Contest: Use Vine to get word going about an upcoming special or contest.

Vine can be a great opportunity to show off your campground or RV park’s personality in a way your website, photos, and text can’t. Quite often nothing says it better than video. Will you give it a try?

 

 

 

Modern Marketing: Social Media Revisited

December 13, 2012 by · Comments Off on Modern Marketing: Social Media Revisited 

Evanne Schmarder

Evanne Schmarder is the principal at Roadabode Productions, a firm specializing in digital marketing strategy, consulting, and education for the outdoor recreation industry. She is the co-author of “Unconventional Wisdom Works.” She’s also the host and producer of the RV Cooking Show. Evanne gets great satisfaction out of helping business owners maximize their marketing potential and can be reached at evanne@roadabode.com or (702) 460-9863. This column appears in the December issue of Woodall’s Campground Management.

As a park owner/operator, chances are you have an overabundance of items on your daily to-do list. While you may always be on the lookout for effective marketing methods, I think I heard a collective cry of exasperation when you learned that successful social media marketing requires frequent and consistent platform participation. Sorry about that.

Wholesale studies show that the ratio of relationship/information to sales type of content should be around 5:1. This means for every promotional or sales-y post you release, you should have five non-promotional posts. Certainly, the frequency of posts is unique to every business but as a rule, successful Facebook pages post from one to four times a week, parks utilizing Twitter report success with two to three tweets weekly.

Let’s face it, sparks of creativity and insight come and go. One moment you may have a hundred ideas on what you want to post, the next, nothing comes to you. If you’ve chosen to market on these or similar platforms, eventually the question becomes “what the heck am I going to say?”

Developing a Social Media Content Plan

Just like you wouldn’t expect to come up with print ad copy without great consideration, study and forethought, creating frequent social media content on the fly that represents your brand is not only impossible for many of us, it’s stressful. Take the time, upfront, to develop a social media content plan. This process will take the guesswork out of this piece of your marketing plan and help you stay on message.

If you have not already done so, determine the frequency, platforms and days/times of the week you’ll be posting.

Sit down with a monthly calendar and a pad of paper. Begin by jotting down special dates of interest on your notepad. This might be your opening and closing dates or your park’s anniversary. Add your theme or holiday celebration dates to the list. Next, think about industry occasions including Great Outdoors Month happenings – National Trails Day, National Marina Day, Great Backyard Campout, National Park fee-free days, even rallies or RV shows in your area. Lastly, consider any other popular events or happenings that may be of interest to your followers. This might include National S’more Day or other wacky celebrations that fit with our industry and your park’s demographics. Transfer this information onto your calendar. You’ll then have the bones of a social media content strategy.

Using the information penciled on your monthly calendar, create a weekly release schedule for this content. Expand the calendar by adding pre and post content. At this point, you should have a good portion of your content ideas noted on your release schedule.

You’re Getting Close

Using the treasure–trove of information you’ve collected and recorded, take the time to actually write out your Facebook posts and/or Twitter tweets. By doing so, you will have cut and paste content that can be scheduled in advance and will alleviate any day-to-day stress about what to say to your tribe.

Remember, your audience is different on Facebook than it is on Twitter. Adjust your message accordingly.

Filling In the Blanks

Even after completing the exercise above, you’ll still have holes in your content plan. It’s wise to attend to these blanks on a monthly basis to be able to share current news, ideas and goings-on. You can go about filling in the blanks a couple of ways. The first is to set aside an hour or two at the beginning of each month to scour the Internet, searching for hot, timely, interesting topics to post about and filling in your content calendar with the information you find. Or, you might create a running content idea document to record post ideas as you come across them throughout the month, adding them to your calendar on a regular basis.

Either way you choose to go in this step, you’ll want to follow through by again, writing out your post, making it ready to release at a moment’s notice.

Don’t Forget It’s SOCIAL Media

As well planned out and executed as your social media content plan may be, remember, it’s social media. This marketing tool is about conversations and relationships. Unlike outbound marketing, where you place an ad or other creative to push your message out, social media is inbound marketing, requiring your participation if you are privileged enough to have that opportunity with your followers. Schedule not only your posts but time to interact, respond and reply to post comments or questions. Even the best content plan loses its luster if you don’t act like a human being.

So What’s Your Plan?

There’s no question about it, this process requires a sizable chunk of upfront time. You may be tempted to skip developing a thorough plan and instead take an on the fly approach to these digital marketing tools, but I wouldn’t advise it. Instead, I urge you to take a hard look at the costs and benefits of these platforms and go all in or all out. Anything in between and everyone will be disappointed.

 

Social Media Marketer Red Rover Eyes Debut

November 14, 2012 by · Comments Off on Social Media Marketer Red Rover Eyes Debut 

A new company has emerged that promises to provide campground operators with a new social media marketing tool and travel planning website to help fill their campsites with new customers.

Red Rover will make its official debut at ARVC’s National Outdoor Hospitality Conference & Expo in Las Vegas.

“Red Rover not only provides lead generation, but also customer delivery. We work the leads and we deliver the guest,” said Ben Carr, whose title is “Top Dog” at the Southern Pines, N.C.-based firm.

Red Rover, he said, provides “a very aggressive form of marketing that makes the highest and best use of the social media tools and website positioning technologies that are out there. A subsidiary of Trident Marketing, Red Rover incorporates a variety of social media marketing tools that Trident has successfully used to generate sales leads for the nation’s second largest reseller of DIRECTV satellite television service as well as for ADT and Hughs Net.

Trident, which is also the parent company of Travel Resorts of America, believes it can successfully apply the same technology skill sets to build business for privately owned and operated campgrounds, RV parks and resorts. Red Rover was created by campground operators from the owner/operator perspective.

Carr said Red Rover is a performance-based service, meaning parks will pay a fee only when Red Rover delivers new customers to them. The company will operate through a website portal, similar to an Orbitz or Travelocity, which consumers can use to search for campgrounds and make their reservations online.

Red Rover’s marketing efforts will be designed to drive customers to that site, which will be announced at the Outdoor Hospitality Conference and Expo.

“Ultimately, we’re working to put people in parks we know they will be happy at,” Carr said, adding that Red Rover has designed a performance-based retrieval system. “Instead of going out and saying ‘Sign up for our service,’ we’re saying, ‘Sign up, but don’t pay us until we find campers to fill your campground.’”

Carr also said he believes Red Rover can complement any park’s marketing efforts. “I don’t care if you’re big or small, there is room for Red Rover in your marketing program.”

More information is available at www.redrovercamping.com.

 

 

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