Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Budget For It

(1:10) Last week I wrote about the top 5 things you can do to increase boater reviews. There was actually a 6th item but I ran out of time. I only have a minute after all. But I also felt this item was important enough to take a minute just for it.

(1:03) 6. Put it in your marketing budget.
I'm often asked by our Partner marinas how they can spend more money with ActiveCaptain. It's a flattering question, however, I have to tell them there's no more to spend, at least not with us. What marinas are really wanting is a way to spend the rest of their marketing budget that is as effective as ActiveCaptain.

(0:52) I believe we are effective because we have chosen a new more impactful way of reaching out to boaters. My suggestion is to take what you might currently be spending on outdated media and use it in new and innovative ways as well.

(0:46) You need to have a marketing budget item for Boater Reviews. Doing this does more than simply provide you with revenue to accomplish this goal. It gives this important asset the prominence it deserves.

(0:40) Too often budgets are set based on what was done last year or for the past 10 years. Successful businesses budget for what is needed today. Now is the time to stop throwing money away on outdated advertising and put it towards the things that will actually bring in more business.

(0:32) And absolutely nothing has more impact on new business today than a myriad of positive reviews. The statistics are overwhelming.

(0:29) There are a variety of ways you can use your Boater Review budget. Modify your website with an easy link to your ActiveCaptain marker. Instructions for creating that link are here:

(0:25) Consider having your Partner Review Reminder Card printed professionally. Include the card in your Welcome Packet, have it available where boaters check out. Make sure your staff has access to cards to hand out when a boater gives a compliment.

(0:18) If your staff is uncomfortable with asking for a review, invest in some training. Make sure that everyone who interacts with your customers understands the importance of asking for reviews. Do some role playing, so they feel more comfortable.

(0:12) Consider an incentive plan. I know of marinas who give staff bonuses when a certain number of reviews are reached. Another, gives a reward to any employee who is mentioned positively in a review. One with multiple locations is running a contest between them to see who can get the most reviews.

(0:05) Be creative and do what makes sense for your business. I can think of no better use of your marketing dollars than to increase boater reviews.

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

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Ask For It

(1:12) Nothing has a bigger impact on your business than boater reviews. In today's world, consumers turn to online reviews for most any purchase, both big and small.

(1:07) 90% of survey participants stated that information in reviews impacted their buying decisions, according to Zendesk. If you are not actively working to bring in positive boater reviews, you are missing a big opportunity.

(1:01) Many of the questions I receive from marinas are about boater reviews. And the most common one is how to get more reviews. Here is my list of the top 5 ways to increase boater reviews.

(0:56) 5. Say thank you.
Every boater who writes a review deserves a Thank You. Yes, everyone, even the negative reviews. Each has value and is an opportunity for you to learn about the customer experience you are delivering. Let the boater know you are listening and appreciate his feedback.

(0:48) 4. Handle the negatives.
Increasing the number of reviews will also increase the likelihood of getting a negative review. That's true for even the best marinas. A rare negative review will not hurt your business, unless it is mishandled. Boaters will often pay more attention to your response than to the original negative review.

(0:39) 3. Be open.
Don't shy away from asking a boater for a review. Reviews have become a part of every consumer's experience. A candid comment about the importance of reviews to the success of your business will be understood. It shows confidence in your service and a desire to listen. Of course, never be pushy or aggressive.

(0:30) 2. Make it simple.
The easier it is for boaters to leave you a review, the more likely they will be to do it. Include a direct link on your website, in emails, in newsletters, and any other digital communications you have with boaters.

(0:19) 1. Ask for it.
The surest way to increase your reviews is to ask. Many happy customers will be more than happy to help you. Make it a part of employee training that they understand the importance of good reviews for business. Train them how and when to ask for a review. Any time a boater compliments your marina, ask if he would be willing to write a review and give him your Review Card.

(0:08) Nothing beats offering exceptional service when looking for more positive reviews. If you've worked hard to offer that to boaters, there's no reason not to remind them of the importance of reviews and to ask for one.

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

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Do Hard Things

(0:55) Whenever discussing a difficult issue with ActiveCaptain, my husband is fond of saying, "If it were easy, everyone would do it." And he's right, but please don't tell him I said that.

(0:51) All around us are people who are looking for the easy path to success. The good news is, that creates great opportunities for those who are willing to tackle the hard tasks. You can be one of those people.

(0:46) To give you a little inspiration, here are some of my favorite quotes about hard work.

(0:44) “A year from now you will wish you had started today,” Karen Lamb.

(0:42) "There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure," Colin Powell.

(0:39) “Nobody trips over mountains. It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble. Pass all the pebbles in your path, and you will find you have crossed the mountain,” Author Unknown.

(0:35) “Courage is not the absence of fear. It is rather not letting your fear control your actions”, Alex and Brett Harris.

(0:32) "I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it," Thomas Jefferson.

(0:30) “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up,” Thomas Edison.

(0:27) "It's hard to beat a person who never gives up," Babe Ruth.

(0:25) "Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work," Stephen King.

(0:21 "Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work," Peter Drucker.

(0:18) “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow," Mary Anne Radmacher.

(0:14) "You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well," Jeff Bezos.

(0:12) “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right," Henry Ford.

(0:09) And my favorite: “Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think,” Christopher Robin to Pooh, A.A. Milne.

(0:04) If you want success, choose to do the hard things.

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

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

What's to Hide?

(0:59) Occasionally, I hear from a marina that wants certain pieces of information removed from their ActiveCaptain marker. More often than not, it's pricing data. They have a variety of reasons from, "We want them to call so we can sell them," to "We don't want them to know." Yes, I've heard the second one a lot.

(0:50) Unfortunately for those marinas, it is 2016. Those old-school tactics no longer work, if they ever did. Today's customers expect, even demand, that they have access to information anywhere, and at any time. If you're not willing to provide it, then rest assured one of your savvy competitors will. Nowhere is this more true than in boating where I might not even be able to phone or email due to poor communications.

(0:37) But you don't have to take my word for it. I covered Google's revolutionary concept Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) in a series of Minutes several years ago. You can find the first one here:

(0:32) Boaters, like all consumers today, expect to have ready access to the information they need to make their buying decisions. They want it fast, they want it easy, they want it accurate, and they want it up-to-date. Choose to ignore this and you not only risk losing to competitors who are willing to provide it, you risk creating an atmosphere of skepticism. I immediately wonder why you are not providing the information. What do you have to hide?

(0:19) Imagine a store with no prices. You bring your items to the cashier and he magically rings up a price. Who of us wouldn't wonder, "Am I paying the same as the customer behind me?"

(0:14) Never use "Call for pricing." And avoid using "Contact us for more information," unless absolutely necessary. Frankly, the more transparent you are, the more trust you will build.

(0:09) Make it easy for me to have all the information I need to choose your marina when I need it. Show confidence that what you have to offer provides me with good value. I'll then be more likely to select your marina and that's good for business.

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