The path to creating excitement for your center has been changing lately. Are you keeping up? Here are five things your FEC should have in place to embrace the new promotional landscape:
- Modernize your website. Websites were never intended to be created and ignored. Are you keeping the content on your site fresh? Consider moving to a “CMS” or Content Management System. Having a CMS site allows you to login through the administrative panel and manage the site’s content, pictures and other features. There are many good programs out there, but three “Open Source” (or free) programs are WordPress, Drupal and Joomla!. CMSs make managing your site easier, so you’re more likely to update it more often.
- Facebook page. This is a no brainer. With 800-plus million users, and the average United States account holder spending 27-plus hours a month participating, Facebook dominates the way we discuss our lives. How much time is your staff committing to Facebook? Just like any tool, you get out of it what you put into it. Learn how to use your page, incorporate it into your website and see sales results.
- Maximize review sites. Savvy out-of-home entertainment seekers no longer trust your advertising. They need feedback, and increasingly they look to four sources for this feedback. Update your center’s “Google Places,” “Yelp,” “Urban Spoon” and “Trip Advisor” listings with current hours, photos, menus and links. You should also be encouraging guests to leave reviews in your email, Facebook and face-to-face conversations. The case has been made that businesses with good reviews benefit greatly. Lots of good reviews also diminish the harm that bad reviews can have on your word of mouth. The best part? The review sites are free for basic listings.
- Establish Clear “Check-In” listings. Active people with smart phones love to tell their friends what they are doing at any given time. They do this via FourSquare and Facebook “Check-In.” Make sure your center is accurately listed, and link your location to your customized listing. Every time someone does a “Check-In” it’s a free promotion to their friends about you.
- Capture guest’s emails. A website is increasingly important as a “virtual brochure” but once a guest has visited, tools like email and Facebook help you maintain the relationship. What are you doing to capture your guests while they are in the facility? Most card systems have a way to store email addresses, and the new touchinkiosks.com opt-in device can also help automate the process. Think of each email you have on your list being worth $5. How much money walks out the door everyday because you aren’t taking active steps to get customers into your database?
(Peter Starkel of Traverse City, Mich., is a partner at Brand Champion/Fun Advisors, with clients nationwide.)