10 - January 2019 Woodall’s Campground Management MODERN MARKETING Evanne Schmarder As a business owner, you understand theimportanceofdigitalmarketing.You also understand the costs — both time and money — associated with creating and conducting campaigns, as well as yourgeneralonlinepresence.Whatmay be more challenging to understand, however,istheeffectivenessofyourmar- ketingefforts.Sometimesitseemsfutile. You may wonder if your website, social media presence, email campaigns and moreareworththeenergyexpended.It’s here that the line between confidence and uncertainty is drawn. Adigitalmarketingprogram’ssuccess is based upon understanding your audience, setting clear, written goals, developing a regular measurement and review process, interpreting the chosen metrics and making adjustments as necessary. Start Here Whether your annual business plan- ning begins at the start of the year or you utilize fiscal-year planning, there’s no better time than now to get started. Begin with the basics. Schedule time away from the operation, perhaps at your favorite coffee shop. Sit down somewhere quiet with a notebook and a few sharp pencils or pens. If you’ve done any program measurement in the past, bring that information with you. In this instance, “basics” is not code for easy. This is a thought-provoking project that may need several sessions for you to come away with a firm plan. Askyourself,inspecifics,whatyouwant to accomplish with your digital market- ing efforts and how committed you are to the outcomes. Come armed with a budget. Jot down thoughts and ideas. Make lists. Doodle your observations. Draw a mind map to help guide your process. Once you have a clear vision, it’s time to begin planning the particulars. •Createalistofthepeopleassociated with your organization that you will rely upon to further your program. These may include a marketing manager or digital marketing partner/consultant, a webmaster, a digital ad specialist and content creators. • Develop customer avatars. It’s tempting, but don’t skip this step, get it in writing for you and your team’s bene- fit. Avatars identify the particulars of your ideal customer: age, income, education, distance traveled to your property,wheretheygettheirmarketing messages, what their passions are, why they love camping/RVing and more. Savvy marketers will develop multiple avatars,oneforeachcustomersegment: mom,dad,children,millennialcouples, retirees, etc. This baseline information will help you identify the most effective way to reach your audience. Lay the Groundwork Once you’ve completed the process ofclearlyidentifyingtheplayers—both teammembersandcustomergroups— it’s time to flesh out the heart of your online marketing program. • Determine the platforms you’ll use togaintheattentionofyourcurrentand potentialcustomers.Thesemayinclude a website, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, email or guest posts on popular sites or online consumer publications.Baseyourdecisionsonthe information you’ve gathered in the avatar step. • Establish an annual (or at least How to Create a Solid Marketing Measurement Program quarterly) content plan in regards to both subject and type. Do this by first considering any special events or hap- penings during the period. Briefly note the content topic, type of content (post, video, website promotion, etc.), plat- form, optimal date of release and team member responsible for the content. • Determine any productivity tools you’ll need/want to facilitate your program. Will you take advantage of automated post scheduling? Is content curation a useful tool? Could a chatbot efficiently serve those that have basic questions? Measure What Matters Up to this point you’ve developed a solid plan, identifying the actions necessary to advance your program. There’sonemorecrucialstep:measure- ment.Successismorethanagutfeeling — it’s quantifiable. • Determine the analytics you’ll use tomeasureyourprogram.Regardlessof how your digital marketing is allocated, Google Analytics can offer you a breadth of data in a manner that no other (free) tool can. Customize a dash- board for an at-a-glance look at website trafficacquisition,conversionmeasure- ment, organic keyword tracking, and more. TIP: Google Analytics offers a Solutions Gallery to help you create dashboards and reports without having to reinvent the wheel. • Social media platforms typically havetheirownbuilt-inanalytics.Withan overabundance of data, you’ll find that some stats are more worthwhile than others. Key performance indicators (KPIs) such as likes, follows and sub- scribers are “vanity metrics” — they might look good but, in the end, they don’tmovetheneedle.Instead,themost valuable data to measure are reach, the number of people seeing your message; engagement, the number of people interacting with your message; and sentiment, what people are saying or feeling about your business. It’s also in thisstepthatyouwilldeterminethebest times and days for posting content. •Emailserviceprovidersofferimpor- tant data to help you determine if your messaging is on target. These include open rates, how many recipients actu- ally opened your email; click-through rates, how many clicked a link; bounce rate, the number of emails that were undeliverable;andconversionrate,how many recipients followed through on requested actions. Keep Track Review your program, in writing, on a quarterly basis, in its totality. Measure individual platforms to identify the top performersandwheretospendmoreor fewer resources. • Produce worksheets for each plat- form or campaign you are measuring. Identify the KPIs that are most impor- tant to your business’ success and record your goals — what you consider top performance, as it relates to each marketing action. Include areas to record actual KPIs and accompanying notes. Create a notebook with your worksheets and supporting reports and data. Make it available to those that are tasked with measuring. You may go as deep as you wish or capture only basic statistics, but make no mistake, you must measure with an eyetowardadjustingasnecessary.Ifyou haven’t yet taken this vital step, get to it. There’s no better time than right now to setyoursightsonyourdigitalmarketing success. Like what you see in Modern Marketing? Stay abreast of the latest digital marketing trends for the out- door recreation industry by sub- scribing to Schmarder’s bi-weekly trend digest Digital Marketing for the Outdoor Recreation Industry at www.roadabode.com. Ask her about her digital marketing/social media diagnostics and tune-ups, content strategy and marketing plans, and more at [email protected] or 702-460-9863. WCM Manufacturers of Quality Recreation FUNniture www.ParkEquipment.com 1-800-376-7897 2061 Sulphur Springs Rd Morristown, TN 37813