It’s unlikely that you will have a bottomless marketing budget to dip into when you are in the early stages of welcoming guests back.
What is likley, however, is that you'll need to rethink your marketing plan in light of phased opening approaches and ever-changing guidelines. It will be important for your facility to create a strategic communication and marketing approach that will drive key guest behavior. That’s why we’ve put together these five steps to help you get started.
No. 1: Start with data.
Hopefully, you’ve found some time to dig into your data while you were closed or operating at a reduced capacity. It will be essential to use that data to inform your marketing efforts as you begin to ramp up and reopen. Use key data points such as customer zip code, age ranges, birthdays, last visit, loyalty program membership status, specific items purchased, and per capita spending to understand your customer base. This will give you important insights into where you should focus your efforts, help inform your program development, your pricing strategy, and help you brainstorm ideas for creating compelling personalized offers.
No. 2: Segment larger lists into smaller, more targeted groups.
Use the insights you gathered to segment your customer database and then export those targeted segments to create mailing lists, text campaigns, and social media marketing posts and ads to engage with your audience more personally and meaningfully. In addition to lists of missed springtime birthdays that we discussed in part 4, what other groups could you create special messaging for?
Or think about how excited your top tier loyalty program members would be to get a “we miss you” message inviting them to visit your facility again, perhaps even for an exclusive afternoon or evening just for them, which delivers the feeling of special treatment rather than just a focus on reduced attendance due to social distancing.
Sending more targeted messaging at different times to unique groups can help you test new marketing strategies and message content, as well as help you manage traffic flow if you’re not sending the same message out to the masses.
No. 3: Craft the right message.
Every week, some email subject lines work while others fall off consumers’ radar and out of their Inbox. Companies like Worldata publish email marketing statistics that explore what words in subject lines increase and decrease open rates, and they even provide free guidance on your email subject lines at subjectline.com. Keep up to date on trends, but as always, the most important advice to heed is to be thoughtful and true to your brand’s voice as you engage with your audience.
No. 4: Drive new guest behaviors.
Every message you send to your audience should include a way for guests to take action by a certain point in time - and according to Dan Pink’s book on human behavior, When, as it pertains to time, the shorter the turnaround, the better. Include several clickable links or buttons in your messages so that guests can go online to book their reserved play session, event, or admissions ticket. Remember that links can be shared to public offerings on your online store, or to private specialty products available only to those with a link via hidden web store links.
No. 5: Track progress.
It’s important to track progress so you know which marketing efforts are most effective. You can track ROI in several ways. Unique products that you created and offered only to different marketing lists will appear in Sales by Product reports and Product Sales CenterEdge Business Intelligence insights. Or consider including a single or multi-use barcode or promo code (with a defined source code) on special offers to be redeemed in your online store or scanned at your facility, and then track redemption in your source code and discount reports.
And, of course, vanity metrics such as email open and click-through rates can give you a sense of what messages are effective. For anecdotal data, you can also simply implement a survey at the point of sale capturing guests' zip codes or “how’d you hear about us?” types of questions to further inform where you should be focusing efforts.
With a thoughtful approach to your marketing strategy, you’ll be well on your way to engaging with, and welcoming back, your guests in no time.
Need help getting data from your CenterEdge database to use in your marketing approach? We’re here for you. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 336.598.5934, Option 2.