As a park owner, you’ve probably been affected by the recent economic shutdown and had a little time to consider how you can increase traffic into your park in order to help make up for the damage done to your company’s revenue. Without question, the recent unraveling of the economy has been painful for most small businesses across the nation. However, as the old saying goes, “This too shall pass.” The economy will slowly but surely pick back up and most importantly, people will continue to book camping reservations.
My two children and I are also avid campers. We are always looking forward to our next adventure whether it be floating the Guadalupe, doing a little hiking in the Hill Country or nestled in the pines of East Texas.
I became involved with digital marketing when I opened my own bridal shop in 2009 and soon after began handling the marketing for my family’s 3 companies, including a local RV Resort. Flash forward 11 years, a divorce and a couple marketing positions later. I am now 2 years into self-employment again in the field I’m most enthusiastic about - assisting fellow small businesses with their digital marketing and social media needs.
It’s this combination of my recreational love and professional passion that fuels my desire to help you, my fellow small business owners the best way I know how. I want to see you overcome this recent economic hit and continue to flourish for years to come!
I’m sharing the magic touch I use to help my clients increase their digital footprint in order to be seen by more campers and travelers.
Now is the absolute PERFECT time to be proactive in making your RV park or campground more “Googleable”. (It’s a word. I looked it up… on Google.)
I know you are probably trying to cover from a pretty hard gut punch right now. Therefore, I want to share with you all the secrets that will get your park seen by not just more people, but the right campers. The ones who want to find you, too!
I often have owners call me saying, “I want more people to find me on Google.”
My first response: We can absolutely make it happen but understand there isn’t a quick fix to enhance your Search Engine Optimization.
There are a lot of factors to consider when improving your SEO. Below, I’m sharing with you a few of the areas I specifically assess when a client wants to boost their Google-ability.
Are you ready?
Behold the magic of becoming more Googleable!
If you don't have a Google Business listing... Get one!
I can’t express enough how important it is to have your park listed on Google. If you’re not on that map, people aren’t finding you. According to sagapixel.com 86% of people look up the location of a business on Google Maps.
Setting up a Google Business listing for your company is fairly simple. You'll just need a Gmail account if you don't already have one. To confirm your park, Google will send you a post card with a confirmation code to the address you enter. When that comes in, go back to your Google Business listing, enter the code and presto! You’re park is now verified!
To begin setting yours up, head over to this link: https://www.google.com/business/
If you already have a listing… Enhance it.
Make sure you have the following areas of your listing filled out with the proper/current information about your company to ensure your listing is being found when potential customer key in specific key terms that are associated with your business.
- Contact information and physical address
- Office Hours
- Website and phone number – I suggest proving the link to your reservation page.
- Business Category
- Park description - including amenities, types of sites, events in the community, attractions in the surrounding area, main roads or highways that lead to your park.
- Quality photos & videos – including company logo and a cover image.
- Service Area
Content is King!
One of the main purposes of your website is so you can be found. It's your digital billboard. But customers have to know it's there for it to be effective.
The wording used in your website is extremely important in increasing your SEO. When creating content, use industry specific keywords. Casually sprinkle in terms which people are typing into the search engines to find parks like yours. Be descriptive about your business, the city or area you are located in. Mention major highways or interstates. Mention other local attractions or events. This will alert the Google “spiders” which creep the web for keywords that your park is associated with those key terms.
- ie: If you are a campground in Waco, Texas it would be wise to casually mention such things as Magnolia Market Silos, Heart of Texas Fair & Rodeo, Baylor University, I-35 and so forth.
Host with the Most
Okay. So this really isn't a DIY type thing, but I’m just going to say it… If there is anything you let a professional handle, my advice is to hire an experienced web designer to oversee your website. (This doesn’t mean your sweet nephew Kyle, who took a few web design courses in college.)
A professional has the tools, team and capabilities required to let your website be seen by search engines. I could go on and on about hosting, meta tags, algorithms, crashes, updates and so forth until your head begins to spin, but the bottom line is that there are a lot of moving parts on the back end of an excellent website. These things are better left to be handled by someone with experience in creating and maintaining quality and effective websites.
Web Designer, Sarah Patschke of Innovative Solutions says, "A successful website is one that grabs the attention of its visitors, includes helpful, informative information, and provides a user-friendly experience. To accomplish this, your website must be tastefully designed with graphics, rich content, dynamic pages, and simple directed flow for customer-friendly browsing."
In the 21 Century, it’s just essential for companies to be present on social media in order to be competitive. At minimum, I suggest you have a Facebook business page but other platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter are great, too.
It’s not enough just to have a page and be stagnant. You gotta post! Being active on social platforms not only helps your SEO, but it builds a connection with your audience as well as keeps you at the forefront of their minds.
Here are a couple bonus items you might find helpful with your social media presence.
Paid Ads Pay Off
No, not the traditional ad you use to run in the Yellow Pages. I’m talking about something way better! I’m talking social media ads. Running ads on Facebook is pure marketing awesomeness. There are 1.69 BILLION users on Facebook. Your campers are on there! Paid advertising is an excellent way to put your brand in front of the right people. The great about this is you won’t be wasting money on viewers who aren’t campers. Another great perk of paid ads is the tracking. You can see the reach, impressions, click throughs and so much more about your ad campaigns.
Whether it’s website for National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds, Texas Association of Campground Owners, or Good Sam, if you are affiliated with any membership sites or other campground directories be sure your information is listed and up to date. This information needs to be consistent throughout all digital sources. You don’t want search engines to pick up an old phone number or dead website. This could result in travelers moving on to book at another location.
And there you have it! Those are my secret ingredients for increasing your presence across search engines.
I know this can kinda feel like information overload. You might feel overwhelmed, but that’s okay. You’re a total rock star at what you do so it’s not expected that you be able to master SEO, websites and social media all on your own.
Look at it this way. When you need a root canal done or need surgery, you’re (hopefully) not going to do it yourself or have a family member handle the procedure. No! You would consult with a trusted, educated and experienced professional.
The same logic applies to your company’s digital marketing. It’s your job to take care of your business. Entrust your branding, web presence and social presence to a skilled marketer and be assured one of the most important aspects of your company is being taken care.
If you’re committed to enhancing the search-ability of your park or campground, or if you have any questions about any of the above-mentioned key points, feel free to reach out to me directly. I love helping fellow entrepreneurs and happy to assist any way I can.
Heather Dudley of Marketing Bonfire has been assisting small to mid-size businesses handle the planning and execution of the various strategies that most effectively find your audience, engage them and ultimately turning them into valuable customers. Get the voice of your brand and your key message out to the right audience.