Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Timing is Everything

(1:02) So you've worked hard to develop the perfect promotional message. One that highlights your advantages while offering boaters the useful content that they desire. Maybe it's a killer discount to introduce your facility to new customers. Or a unique amenity only you can provide. Or simply presenting an inviting destination boaters won't be able to resist. That's a good start but you're not done yet.

(0:52) To truly succeed you need to get that message in front of boaters at the moment they are making their planning decisions. A message delivered too soon will fall on deaf ears. While one delivered too late is, well, too late.

(0:46) Old fashioned advertising relied heavily on repetition. Put the message in lots of places with the hope that one would reach the consumer at the right moment. That method no longer works. Your customers are bombarded with information. If your message is not relevant to me at the moment it is presented, I won't see it.

(0:38) As I've discussed in various Minutes in the past, the key is to reach boaters at the moment your message is relevant. It is this relevancy that makes the ActiveCaptain partnership with the third party marine navigation apps so important. Now your perfect message is appearing at the perfect moment: the moment I am planning and implementing my cruise. And with the Cross Promotion tool you even have a last-chance to attract a boater considering a competing facility.

(0:27) Cross-Promotion provides ActiveCaptain Sponsors with a brief, one line message that appears in the marker of nearby non-Sponsor marinas. It's your chance to present your special advantages as the boater is looking at your competitor. Perhaps you have great fuel prices for the area. Perhaps your hot tub is a big draw. Or just perhaps you know that your competitors have poor service and inexperienced dock hands. This is your chance to point out these differences.

(0:16) Cross-Promotion is about understanding your own business and where your advantages lie. Take out a sheet of paper and write down the 2-3 things that make your marina different from the others you compete with. The objective is to make a clear and honest assessment of your strengths.

(0:07) That list of 2-3 things becomes the basis for your single, small, Cross-Promotion message. Set it, measure the results, and modify it as needed.

(0:02) And that's the marina minute.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Measure Twice...

(0:52) I've written about trying new and unusual strategies, offering services boaters want, and other suggestions, all while not fearing failure along the way. Because if you want to move forward you'll sometimes be entering uncharted ground. Sometimes you'll succeed and sometimes you'll fail. It's critical to know when you've done each.

(0:44) Marinas contact me looking for my opinion on a new pricing structure, a new service, or a special, and I am happy to give my 2 cents. But it's more important to track actual results. Knowing what succeeded and what didn't can guide you moving forward.

(0:36) The only true way to know if you are making progress, staying stagnant, or falling behind is to measure the outcomes of the things you try. Too often a business will try a new promotion or service or discount and fail to determine if it had an impact on business.

(0:29) You need to develop criteria that is relevant to your success. You need to measure your business based on that criteria now and after a change. Your criteria can be as simple or elaborate as your needs, time, and resources allow. Over time you will refine and develop your measurement techniques.

(0:20) In doing this you can begin to determine what works and what doesn't. You can fine tune the timing for special discounts and know if the promotion or service you are paying for is delivering results.

(0:13) If you don't measure you're just guessing or hoping and neither makes for a wise marketing plan.

(0:09) So start now by tracking some measure of your business success, revenue generated, number of new boaters, boat feet per night, etc. Then when you make an adjustment you have a point of comparison. Keep adjusting and keep measuring and you will find success.

(0:02) And that's the marina minute.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

MM Classic - Don't Guess, Ask

This week is a Marina Minute Classic about what I believe is the most important marketing move you can make. It has been coming up frequently in my conversations with marinas in the past several weeks so I wanted to run it again.

(0:58) One of the biggest mistakes that businesses make is not knowing what brings customers in. They spend (waste?) their marketing dollars on poor performing or out-of-date marketing programs because they don't really know what works and are afraid to stop a promotion for fear that it's "the one".

(0:45) Let this be the last year you spend marketing dollars on dead campaigns and the year you find out what actually brings in boaters. How? Ask.

(0:39) Every boater that enters your marina must be asked what brought them there. This has to be a required part of every check in, phone inquiry, or request for information. Put it on the check in form with some selections and let the boater check off the one that brought them to you. Customers are happy to tell you and may even elaborate on their favorite source. Of course, sometimes it's easy, just look for the ActiveCaptain hat.

(0:23) Never stop asking. To ensure you are always making the best use of your resources you need to continue to ask the question. This is the only way you can stay on top of changes in the market. Print ads that worked 10 years ago have little impact in today's digital world. New players enter the market offering innovations that can make existing ones obsolete.

(0:10) Make sure you know what sources are bringing you revenue and which ones can be put to bed.

(0:06) Oh, and by the way, please let me know how you heard about The Marina Minute.

(0:02) And that's the marina minute.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

What the C-MAP App Means to You

(0:57) It's a good idea to follow the weekly ActiveCaptain newsletter because it tells you what we're telling boaters. Last week we made a news flash about the release of ActiveCaptain support in the Boeing/Jeppesen/C-MAP app Plan2Nav for Android. This is an app that will have a significant impact on your business. If you haven't read about it you can see last week's announcement by following the link below.

(0:48) Including ActiveCaptain support in this new release will greatly increase the number of boaters accessing ActiveCaptain data. We're already seeing a rise in new accounts. This means that more boaters will be seeing your marina details and reviews, your promotional messages, and your specials. Make sure you are taking full advantage of this new opportunity to attract boaters to your marina.

(0:37) Examine your marina marker today and make sure that the information presented is complete and up-to-date. If you carry fuel, did you receive and respond to yesterday's fuel update email? If you are not receiving the fuel update, please let me know and I will ensure that your contact information is current.

(0:29) Is your review strategy working? Ensure everyone at your facility is bringing in positive reviews. Need some help improving your ratings and receiving more boater reviews? Make sure your custom Sponsor review card is being included in your Welcome Packet. I sent PDF files to every ActiveCaptain Sponsor a few months ago. If you can't find yours let me know.

(0:20) Also check out the Marina Minute blog for more ideas. It contains all the past Marina Minutes, many of which offer tips and suggestions for obtaining positive reviews.

(0:15) It is now more important than ever to keep your data up-to-date and complete. Think back to the ZMOT discussion last summer and remember that today's consumer expects to find information anytime, anywhere, at the moment they want it. If you don't provide the information, they may move on to your competitor. Check out The Marina's Guide to ActiveCaptain for help:

(0:07) Don't pass up this opportunity to win more business. Tell the world what you have to offer. And if you have an Android/Droid phone or tablet, check out this new app in the Google Play store.

(0:02) And that's the marina minute.