Editor’s note: Jeff Beyer is CEO of Big Rig Media, a leading expert in developing comprehensive and integrated branding, website development and digital marketing platforms. Founded in 2000, the company has focused on retaining dedicated team members in each of the key disciplines of a technologically savvy digital marketing program, setting the company apart from others. For more information visit www.BigRigMedia.com.
Thanks to the rise of technology, it doesn’t matter what field you work in, we’re living in a digital age and digital marketing is essential for any business. This means that those who do not have a digital strategy in place because they have been paying attention to their RV property, residents and visitors – which is all very well and good – would have even more visitors to attend to if they gave priority to their online marketing efforts, and who wouldn’t like that?
When you realize the value of a few very simple digital marketing tools that have the ability to pack your park, you’ll wonder why you didn’t jump into this new realm of marketing before. Many times, park operators don’t know where to start and the options can be intimidating and misunderstood. I’d like to share a few simple tools that can get your park thriving in 2021. There aren’t too many elements, but they should work harmoniously together for the best return.
Now, I think we can all agree it is a must to have a website in today’s online world. However, not every site is created equal. In the past, flashy and expensive sites were the norm, but now people want simplicity. The great news is having a professional, intuitive, and well-functioning site is easier than ever before and highly affordable, so there is no excuse to not have one. You’ll want to have a mobile-friendly, fast-loading and secure site with a modern design that is SEO-friendly and built to maximize conversion, and importantly is ADA and GDPR compliant. For the best protection against hackers, malware and viruses, you’ll have the most security when having your website hosted on a proprietary server, and secure socket layer encryption (SSL) not to be an afterthought.
With your website up and running, it’s nice to get visitors but the ultimate goal is to convert those visitors into booking a reservation, right? First, how to get more visitors there. We cannot say it loud enough: by using Google Ads! This could very well be the best decision you make for your park. Google Ads can allow you to advertise and promote your park when users search-relevant keywords. It has the potential to turbo-charge leads when done right. While there are several Google Ad campaign options, we recommend you at least start with search ads and display ads in the Google Ad network.
When someone does a Google search on an RV resort in your area, the first few results they see are from those parks that are running Google Search Ads. These ads are incredibly cheap and if you aren’t embracing them, you show up after the other players who are embracing them. Potentially 60% below the top of the page! If you want to be near the top of the search and possibly at the top, deploy a Google Search Ad campaign.
Unlike ads that show up in Google’s search network, display ads show up on other websites based on targeting options that you can control. These multi-format ads are flexible in terms of style and show up on websites across the internet in the form of banner ads, native ads, and video. Google partners with more than two million websites and indicates a reach of more than 90% of all Internet users. If you’re careful about where you’re putting your ads, the Google Display Network is a great place to be to garner leads.
Last but certainly not least, let’s take a look at Google Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising. With PPC you bid on keywords that you want your ad to show up for, and when a user’s search includes your keyword, your ad is at the top of the search results. At that point, if a user clicks on your ad, you pay for that click. In other words, you don’t pay for ad space — only for the results.
Plus, unlike traditional advertising, with digital advertising you can track every penny you are spending because of the digital footprint. If you have the right resources in place you can see where every lead comes from, and if it converted into revenue, which enables you to see what is effective and what might need adjustment.
Other online marketing tools important in today’s digital media landscape include social media, review sites, and consistent email communications. It’s important to have an active social media presence, the keyword being ‘active,’ whereby you are engaging followers. People will check your social sites to see what is happening at your property, what people are commenting on, and reading reviews that post there.
In addition, monitor and reply to reviews on the various review sites such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, Bing, Campground, Google My Business and others. These sites are heavily trafficked and future guests will check out the experiences of previous guests.