How do I get more repeat visitors to my RV Park?

I know this isn’t an article for RVers, but it is for RV Park owners. If you are an RVer, you certainly can help a friend by showing them this video or transcript. Also if you are an RVer, maybe the content might help you too.

Anyway, check it out:

Transcript:

Hello. Welcome. The topic of this webinar is Getting RV Customers to Come
Back, and the key of thought there on this is getting them to come back,
even when last visit was a long time ago. In fact, the real idea behind
this webinar is that that’s the real goal, because these customers know
you. OK, who am I, and why am I even qualified to even talk about this? My
name is Marlin Winter. You see a picture of my mascot, Fiddy, on the left,
and my site is rv52.com, and I have a really good following now. My site is
successful. I have a lot of traffic. I have an e-mail newsletter. I do an
awful lot, and I run into quite a few RV park owners that, you know, have
questions. How do they get more business? And I also run into camp sites
that are not just RV Parks and RV campsites, but they’re just straight
campsites as well. But they all have this question, how do they get more
business? And there’s a few of them that a full, but most want to know,
“How do I grow my business? How do I make it bigger? What’s some simple
things that I can do?” I can help. And particularly, I can help when it
comes to modern web marketing techniques. So that’s who I am, and I’ll show
you some statistics later from something I do that I think that if you see
that, you’ll say, “Yeah, he might be an OK guy. I might just listen to
him,” but for now I’m just asking you to sit back, relax, keep an open
mind, and give me 40 minutes of your time, and I thank you so much for
giving me your time, and I want to respect it, so I think you’re going to
learn something by the end of this.

My first question is, what do you like better? Let’s just say you’re a park
owner, do you want to park on the left or do you want the park on the
right? Now in this picture, the one on the left is a little more pretty,
but what I’m talking about is how full they are. When you own an RV Park
and you own land, and you might have a note, and you’ve done all this work,
you’ve got to have campers and RVs in the park, or you’re on a fast track
to being broke. So, my guess is, you want the park on the right. Now here’s
a whole jumble of numbers, and let me just play with these just a little
bit, so just stick with me just for a little bit.

Now if you’re a Texas Park, and you weren’t too fancy of a park but just a
midrange park, you might charge $400 for a monthly, maybe $25.00 for a
daily, and fully booked 100% everyday of the year, you’re going to range
between $4800 to $9000 of revenue per site. Now here’s the scoop, if you
had a note on that site, you might be spending $2000 a month on interest,
that calculates back out to about $166 a day, and now if you book that site
at $400 for the month, you’ll make $234.00 over your interests, so that’s
kind of a magic number. So every month you keep the site booked at the
monthly rate, which is your best rate, you’re going to make $234 over your
interest. So, wouldn’t you be willing to spend $230, $500 to get a few
extra sites rented per month? And I think you would. I think the point here
is not spending $50,000, but if you spent $500, or $1000 or $300 and that
bumps your occupancy, you’re making money. That was a good expense. And so
if you’re out there thinking, “man I don’t want to spend even $5.00 to
advertise or whatever,” I’m not sure you’re looking at economics the right
way. So anyway, I’m just putting this out here just to let you know that
you can get upside down real quick, and spend a little money to make sure
you get extra months rented is a good thing. And so, if I can cover my
interest in my note rate, and I make more, even better.

So let’s switch gears a little bit. What is it that drives your profit? You
all know, but I’ve just got to say it out loud. So it’s real simple. It’s
your revenue minus your costs, and your revenue is driven by two things,
your rate which is sort of controlled by your competitors and you together
in concert, and occupancy. And I’m to argue occupancy is fully under your
control, 100% under your control, and since that is the one variable you
have maximal control over, it’s also the one variable I personally hope
that you’re measuring. Forget about me. Forget about this webinar, but if
you are in the business of RV parks, campgrounds, campsites and all of
that, you’ve got to know your occupancy numbers. What’s the length of an
average day? When is your best season? What’s your occupancy rate by day,
by season, and I would think you would know that forwards, backwards, and
upside down, because really the techniques I want to talk about, how would
you know they’re working if you don’t measure them? So I think it’s very
important that you’re measuring these results. If you’re not, you’re flying
blind, and even worse, if you do spend money, and you are spending money
right now of promotional techniques, and promotional efforts and
literature, and all of these things, you might not know if they’re
effective, and that would scare me.

Let’s talk a little bit more about occupancy. In particular, who’s going to
occupy your park? Well, first thing is customers are kind of snowflakes.
There are no two identical customers, not at all. But you can put them in
classes. Just like you can snowflakes, you’ve got heavy snow, light snow,
hale, sleet, etc., et cetera, et cetera. In occupancy, you can have a class
of customers called new customers, and you can have repeat customers. All
right? So, when you think about new customers and when you think about
repeat customers, and you want them to come to your park, you have to tell
them about the park, you have to inform them, “This is my product. This is
what I’m offering to you. Here’s the expectations you should have.” And
then, in addition to informing them, the question is, how do you reach
them? What’s the best technique to talk to these two classes of customers?
Repeat customers, you can kind of guess about that but new customers? Who
is the new customer? Who should it be? Should you advertise in Canada?
Should you advertise in Texas? Should you advertise in Florida? Should you
advertise in Vancouver? It just goes on. How do you reach them? Who is that
customer base? How do you narrow in and target? Should you go for families
or should you go for just couples?

So there are a lot of questions on how do you reach these customers? And
those are important, important questions. And I have a theory. It imbedded
in this talk. So if you don’t agree with this, you’re going to struggle to
buy into what I’m saying, and that’s OK, but I’m going to argue that
because repeat customers are way easier to reach, and I’m going to tell you
one way I believe is a great way to reach them. They’re way more
profitable. So the acquisition, that’s a MBA word, the acquisition of these
customers, for new customers is super hard, super expensive. They’re the
most expensive customer under the sun, whereas repeat customers are very
economical. They’re one of the most economical, most profitable customers
under the sun, because as you completely eliminate acquisition costs. You
just got to get them back, and you know what? There’s another thing about
repeat customers that I’m not really going to talk about. It’s in there.
They repeat, because they had a good experience, and they want to repeat
that experience. And in particular, if you have a great area with lots of
attractions and things to do in the area, being a safe, good place to stay,
that meets their expectations, they’ll stay with you year after year. They
get their differing vacation and travel experience from the area, and the
different things they visited in the area, but they have a safe, repeatable
experience in your park. And so this is kind of the symbol, and I think it
makes sense, when they say a cycle, reduced, reuse, I don’t think you
should reduce, but let’s recycle these customers. By the way, recycling
customers is earth friendly because it costs us money, resources, efforts
to reach the new ones. So we’re only going to focus the rest of this
discussion on repeat customers. This is not about new customer acquisition.

So what I’m going to talk about is a real simple idea in MBA circles and
marketing circles, it’s called, “Top of Mind Marketing. You might also hear
it called Drip Marketing, but the kind that we’re talking about is a lot
like putting a string on somebody’s finger as a reminder. Remember the
crazy uncle in that Jimmy Stewart movie they always play at Christmas? He
had a string go on every finger, but we’re going to put strings on your
customers’ fingers to help them kind of remember your park, that’s the
concept. That concept is so foundational to what I’m talking about here,
I’m actually going to put it in text form, OK? And I’m going to read it and
show it, which is a little boring, but I think it’ll help you get the idea
of how important it is. So staying in contact with previous customers while
they are away from your park will increase your repeat visits. Now again,
the only way to prove it is going to be to run measurements. It’s going to
be over season-to-season measurements. So this is not a one-time, “I’m
going to do it for two weeks” effort, this is a program. This is the entire
premise, staying in contact while they are away, will help them to remember
you and come back, alright?

Now, let’s just stop for a little bit and think of life of the typical
RVer, because we have to do a couple of things here, a little bit of
housekeeping, before we get into a major theme here or my major premise and
take that premise as far as it needs to go. Here is the life of a typical
RVer. These are the things they do. They decide to search and contact. They
stay. They move on, and then allow their situation to repeat and come back.
Sometimes they can do it every other year in the area are they’re doing a
loop, who knows? Maybe they got sick one year, and they didn’t come down or
up, depending upon what season you’re going for. The point is, they do all
of this, but one of their primary things isn’t just to find a great place
to go visit, but it’s also to reduce the risk of a bad experience, and once
you really think about that, reducing the risk of a bad experience, then
you’ll sort of realize that once they’ve had a reasonable experience, your
chance of getting them back, if their coming back in the area, is very,
very good.

Meeting their expectations and giving them a good experience is
fundamental. None of this works without that. Now this doesn’t mean that it
has to be resort. You don’t have to be like a bungalow over the water and
Bora Bora with crystal blue water. No, you simply have to meet their
expectations. And part of this is you set their expectations before they
come. You show them pictures of your site. They see lists of your
amenities. You talk about what the weather’s like. You’re accurate in what
you tell them, and you don’t oversell or undersell. You just tell them this
is what we are and when they come there, and if you’re kind to them, and
you’re reasonable, and you have good manners, guess what? Results meet
expectations, they’re going to stay. They’re going to enjoy your place, and
sometimes you might not have any amenities, but you offer them a great
view, wonderful peace and serenity, and that’s all they needed. So don’t
get too hung up on how fancy your park needs to be, get hung up on meeting
people’s expectations. You may have to set the expectations ahead of time,
but that’s OK.

So now they came, they stayed, and the party’s over. This is when my idea,
it’s not totally my idea, it’s my idea for you. It’s the idea that I want
to purpose, takes over. This is one we begin. This is one where rubber
meets the road. The party’s over. The question is, they had a good
experience. How do you get them back? I want them to come back. You want
them to come back. You’ve earned the right to come back. It’s in your
rights. You deserve it because you delivered exactly what you said you
would do, and they said so, alright?

Where do you start? This is where we begin. How do you keep in contact with
them when they’re far, far away? Now I listed some ideas. These are all
valid techniques to stay in touch with your customers when they are a long
ways away. Each one of these has pluses and minuses, telephone, OK, you’ve
got to have somebody who will do it. People don’t like telemarketing. It’s
very instantaneous. It’s very interruptive. It gets right in their face,
but it does, if they’ll accept you call, allow you to have a one-on-one
conversation. Not a bad way to do it. It’s a way, not the way that I want
to talk about, but it’s a way.

Facebook and Twitter, if you can figure out Twitter better than I have,
great. Right now I’m still learning this sucker, and trying to figure it
out. I don’t see it. I just don’t see it. Face book? Face book has got some
promise, but getting the users on Face book and making it so Facebook just
doesn’t completely suck your time, that’s not easy either. And finally,
Facebook and Twitter are passive, which means you’re depending upon them to
go look at your stuff you put on Face book and Twitter. You’re dependent,
very dependent, and by the way, Facebook actually have a thing called Edge
Rank, and even if you put the stuff on, and even if your customer wants to
see your stuff, if you fail on the Edge Rank, your stuff won’t be seen by a
Facebook user. That is serious, and that would seriously make me question
whether or not I wanted to use Facebook as a way.

We’ve got mail, and what I mean by mail is you’ve got postcards and
letters, like that, those are great, but they’re expensive. I’m not going
to lie to you. You’ve got to pay for postage. You’ve got to pay for paper.
You’ve got to put them together. You’ve got to get envelopes, and there are
other techniques I’m sure I haven’t named, but I’m going to purpose one
that is active. By active, I mean that it goes to your customer. They can
see it. They have to actively either engage in it or get rid of it. It’s
low cost, pretty low effort, although it’s going to require a little work,
but more importantly, it’s 100% under your control. Just because Facebook
changes how Facebook works, you don’t lose control of it. Here it is, it’s
email.

Email is not going away. Email is not dead. I get email all of the time. I
use it all of the time. My friends do. A lot of people do, and so, you know
what? Email is still important. I believe email is still a killer app. It’s
universally used by all ages, and it’s measurable. You can send emails, and
you can find out this is working, that’s huge, OK. So let’s get into it.
Let’s say up until now you say, “Marlin, I agree with all of it. I see how
email can work. I get an idea. I like to do that. It totally makes sense.
Where do I start?”

Well here’s the scoop. If you look at this, you buy into everything that
you see, there’s only one thing I’m going to do out of this. I’m going to
take an action out of this webinar Marlin. I’m going to do something.
You’ve encouraged me to take an action that I didn’t take before. Let’s say
you’re not going to implement an e-mail program, but you want to take one
action, here it is. You may have a reservation program. You may have some
informal mechanisms. You may have different ways to have this list, but I’m
going to say that if there is nothing you have done on this, the first,
simplest and most easy thing you can do, is put out a simple 8 1/2 x 11 sheet
of paper. Make sure you got an ink pen next to it and get them to write
down their name and e-mail address, right at the front counter.

Now the words across the top, you have to tell them that when they put
their name down, you are going to contact them. They gave you permission to
contact them, that’s required to actually abide by the law, believe that
are not that gets past this thing called Can anti-spam law. So you do need
to do that. This is where you get the permission by putting their name on
the list, they gave you permission, you can get their name and e-mail
address, and honestly, if you can get their birthday, their anniversary, or
something neat like that, go ahead and do it, but at a minimum, get their
name, get this email address–absolutely critical. And you just fill this
signup sheet up, and just put another one out, put another out, and just
collect their name and email address, So right there, just do it. Tell your
cashiers, your clerks, or yourself, or whoever is at that front desk, get
it written down. So if you only do one thing, do this, because if you do
this, if you decide to do what I’m talking about later, implement the full
enchilada, the full program, then you have the basic information. This is
really easy, and having a front desk, having a physical connection to them,
you are better positioned than almost any other business in the world to
actually grab their emails. So this is it. This is the first and most
important thing that you do.

Now, let’s say you did that and you’d like to go a little bit further. And
so you say, “OK Marlin, what’s the next step? What’s the next step? Well,
the next step is, and I’m going to be honest with you, get you an email
management program, OK? Now I listed the logos of four here. I use the two
on the left, MailChimp and Any Webber. I like MailChimp a little bit
better. It’s a little easier to use. The ones on the left are larger and
more cumbersome. These are not toys. It takes a little bit to use. And the
reason I say get these programs because if you just thing you’re going to
use Outlook, Outlook Express, Apple Mail, I think you really… that’s not
the right way to do what I’m talking about. These tools give you so many
advantages that, if you think you’re just going to send out an email from
your personal email…

And I’m not going to go into all the things that could go wrong, but I’ll
tell you one. One thing that could go wrong is who you send it to and who
you’re sending it from, let’s say you have a yahoo address, or even off of
your RV Parks domain, and you send out, that can actually get your domain
marked as a spam sender. So you need to be really smart and really careful
about how you do that, and I’m going to argue that you can’t. These other
people have A Webber has, Office Auto Pilot has, MailChimp, they’ve taken
care of this. They’re working on the internet to make sure their domains
are known good senders so they don’t get marked as spam, and so that’s
huge, OK?

So once you have this tool, you take the list from before you entered those
names into these email management tools. This is the second step, OK? Now
you’re running down the path here and you’re on step two. And now I have
them in the tool. You have a list of names. Now what? Here’s the next thing
you need to do is what would you send them? Well, you don’t have to send an
email that says, “Hey, how are you doing? Come on back.” You can’t do that.
You’ve got to give them something. For one, you’ve got to make them want to
open your email. You want to make them glad that they heard from you. You
want to make the experience received in your email something that make
their lives a little bit better after opening it and reading it than
before.

So you’ve got to think, what am I doing to make this interesting, engaging?
And by engaging, do they want to do something based on what you said. I
think that’s important, useful. Send out a Hints from Heloise, where you
tell them, “Here’s how to get stuff off of your wall. Here’s how to fix
something on your RV. Here’s something neat in the area, maybe make it
sticky.” Let’s say you’re the best mystery writer on the planet and you run
an RV park, write a chapter or a half-chapter, or a section of a mystery
book and say, “Stay tuned for next month to find out what’s going to
happen.” You can do a little local news. You can talk about local
attractions. Goodness gracious, if you run a RV park in Orlando, think of
all the things you talk about there. So, tell them a funny story with a
local twist. But give them a reason to open that newsletter. So you’re
creating a piece of content, and you’re going to send, now, an email that’s
super interesting.

Now here’s a kind of a magical piece I’m going to give you next, and in my
case, I’m showing you a picture of my website on the right. But you should
have something in your newsletter that makes a connection to your site and
that does a number of things. It gets them used to coming to your site. It
gets them use to doing a little something based on your newsletter, but you
can also, because they come to your site, you can measure if your
newsletter is effective. You can start figuring things out. You can see
whose reading, and depending upon what they’re doing when they come to your
site, now you can start to really building your business. For example, you
can have them pre-register for sites. There are a lot of things you can do,
but something on your newsletter should connect to something on your
website, which sort of brings me to another topic, which is a slight
diversion, but then we’ll go on.

A website is really important, and why I’m bringing this up is I have over
22,000 RV parks in my database at RV52, and I am continually amazed at how
many parks don’t actually have their own website. It makes them hard to
find. It means the information is out of their control. They’re so many
things bad about that, but what I’m showing on the picture is even more,
more bad. There’s my great English. They’re probably not going to call, and
they’re not going to look in the Yellow Pages because the Yellow Pages is
local and they’re by definition someplace else. Now, they’re going to do
their research on their iPad, on their computers, and they’re going to
learn about you on the Web.

Learn more here

So if you don’t have much of a Web presence, man, you are leaving so much
money on the table. I mean, just spending a little money on a website just,
it could be huge. And so I’m not really in the business of helping RV Parks
build RV Park websites. I have on my site, made a very simple link, it’s
rv52.com/easyweb, which will take you to a training, and it’s going to be
less than $500. It’s going to teach you step-by-step how to make your own
website, put yourself in control. Don’t outsource this. Look, you only need
five or six pages of pictures, right? Rates, maps, contact information, and
maybe the ability to click and go to a registration system. It’s maybe a
day’s work tops, but look, this is how they’re going to find you, so you
really need to do this. And then, as you saw earlier, part of my whole
strategy is you make this newsletter, it’s got to interact with your
website. If you don’t have a place for that newsletter to interact with, I
would really feel bad for you. Now you’ve got to have a website, so check
it out, rv52.com/easyweb. Just remember that, easyweb. Go to Marlin’s
website, easyweb. Just remember that, OK? All right, let’s get back on
track.

Now you made your newsletter. It interacts with your website. You have a
list of names in the email management tool, and they’ve been collected
legally, and they know you’re going to contact them, send it out. You put
your newsletter, may be typed in Word, that’s probably the usual suspect
for Pages if you’re on the Mac. Take that newsletter, get it in the e-mail
management tool. Again that’s a little bit of work something I can show you
how to do. Figure out when to send it, and a lot of people are going to
tell you a lot of different things. I read the statistics that are out on
the web, and everyone says weekends are best. I send my e-mail newsletters
on the weekends, and I’ll be honest with you the particular newsletter that
I sent bombed. It was terrible. It had a 30% open rate, which means only
one out of three people looked at it, and I even worked pretty hard on the
headline to get them to open it. That newsletter bombed. I find that the
best time for me seems to be a Thursday morning, maybe when they’re at work
or whatever. Well they’re probably not at work, they’re RVers, who knows, I
guess one message I’m sending is you’re going to send multiple newsletters,
play with this a little bit. Don’t just always say you’re going to always
do that, try Friday, try a Thursday, try a Monday, try different things, do
that two or three times, get an eyeball on it, on statistics, and say to
yourself, “Did that work? Is that a good time?” Now that you know what time
you’re going to do it, you’re going to punch in the e-mail tool, you’ll say
send at this time. These things take care of it, press the Go button and
let it rip. It’s all on the way and now you’re starting to remind the
people who you are in that they came and visited you.

Now what you’re seeing here is what happens after this goes out. So I’ll
send a newsletter out on Thursday, and by Monday or Tuesday, it’s all done.
The newsletters are pretty instantaneous. They read it. They decide what
they’re going to do with it, and they get it out of their inbox. So you’ll
know in about three days how effective it was. These are my stats. This is
partly why I think I kind of know what I’m doing. I don’t want that to
sound braggy, but there’s talk and there’s evidence, and in my industry,
which is travel and tourism, there’s 17% of the people open the newsletter.
That’s not even one in five. On mine, I have 49 percent who opened my last
newsletter, that’s almost one in two so I’m nearly three times better than
the industry in getting people to open my newsletter. I got some ideas
around that. I’m not going to go into that here, because that’s from our in-
depth training that you can get for me, but the point is, I’m doing
something right, and I can teach that. Unopen is just the opposite of open,
that’s silly that that’s even a stat but on the next one we have clicks.

So are they engaging with your content? And are they going to your website.
Industry average is woeful. It’s less than 3%. I’m running almost 15, so
I’m five times better than the industry. So whatever I’m doing is
compelling people to want to at least click and go look. These are numbers
that I think are pretty amazing. I’m proud of that.

Now there are a couple of them that I have not shown you, Unsubscribes and
Complaints. I don’t want to get too wrapped up into that, but people get
all bent out, “Oh, people are unsubscribing. They’re unsubscribing from my
email list, but you know what, if they weren’t that interested, they just
weren’t that interested. Let them unsubscribe and go so those are the kinds
of stats you get, and see you will not get this data if you think you’re
going to do it off of Outlook Express, or you think you’re going to do that
off of the Mac mailing tool. So my advice is don’t do that. It’s the wrong
tool. There’s going to be so many things that will go wrong if you do that.
So I can’t stress that enough. I can’t stop people from doing that type of
thing, but there’s some really good ways to do this. This is the kind of
data you get, and I think you want to run a data-driven business.

So now, you’ve done it. And let’s say you’ve been doing this now for a
year. You’ve been sending out the steps I’ve outlined here. You’ve been
sending out the newsletter. I’m hoping you get this, but the question is
what did you get? You should be measuring reservations, who’s calling,
occupancy rate, length of occupancy rate, there’s phone calls coming in.
You should have an idea of how your business is growing. For example, what
if this is generating phone calls? What if your call volume doubled because
of your email newsletter, but you’re not converting in the reservations,
you’re not converting in the visitors? I think that tells you that the
program is effective, but that you need to look someplace else, and the
beauty of this is now you start to visualize the funnel, and you say,
“Wow, I made this big impact, but there’s something else wrong in my
business,” so you know to go look at that.

Learn More Here

So anyway, I took you all the way from the beginning. Why, How, I gave you
a whole bunch of information on what’s this is all about. And at the very
end, how do you know if you are successful? Now I would be remissed if I
didn’t say, “But wait. There’s more. Not only does it cut tomatoes, it cuts
tin cans.” Well, there is more. Once you have an email list, you can do
more with it than just stay top-line or just do the basics of getting them
to your park. You can actually sell product through it. You can use it to
pre-sell spaces. You can sell dinner packages to local restaurants. You can
sell entertainment packages. You could do tours. Really, the sky is the
limit. What if you could use this and you pre-sold 30 tours and got 50%
credit on that. They were $500, so 15 times 500, that’s $7500, simply
because you kept track of the list. That’s all of the extra money goes
straight to the bottom, and you helped your park, you helped a business
associate in your area, and you helped your customer. So this is not bad.
This is not evil stuff. It’s right stuff. It helps everybody get more out
of their business, more out of everything.

Where do we go from here? Let’s take this to the finish line and let’s wrap
this up. So, you can manage this email list by yourself. I’ll talk about
that in a little bit. If you want to manage the email list by yourself, and
write your newsletters and do that all by yourself, super. I’m going to
offer a course. You can see it in blue here, and you can go to
rv52.com/mopeeps for more people. Yeah, I’ll stop trying to be funny. But
mopeeps, more people, it’s a pre-order. I’m not done with it. I’m going to
offer the pre-order at 33% of the full price, so go there. Check it out.
Get your name on the list. See if the things I’m doing are correct. If you
want to offer suggestions, do it. I’m still working on this product. It’s
going to be a great product. It’s going to help you out. 100% money back
guarantee. You know what? If it doesn’t do what it needs to do for you,
send it back, but you do this course, it’ll help you do it yourself and be
successful. Let’s say you say, “Marlin, I love the idea, but I don’t really
want to do it.” Go to my contact page. Get a hold of me. Let’s see if I can
help you, OK?

Thanks. I am so thankful that you took a little time with me. My sincere
hope is that somehow I helped you, that I made a difference. I would be
just so thrilled if I helped you out and made a difference.

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