To say that a lot has changed in the world of parks and recreation in the last 5-10 years is an understatement.
Now through recent events, it goes without saying that radical transformations are underway that will have a long-ranging impact.
For one thing, the usage of outdoor facilities is up and expected to continue as neighbors re-connect with their communities and environment in socially-safe outdoor settings. That’s a great thing. However, we also anticipate that funding and revenue from large events will be slow to rebound and affect the bottom line. So what’s that got to do with communicating and connecting with your patrons? A lot.
Collecting Drips of Patrons into Pools of Resources
As you enjoy the influx of patrons coming in at socially distant space and time and taking advantage of your services, it’s important to build strong community connections. But because you won’t have the advantages of big events, you’ll have to address many one-to-one connections that build your brand and deliver the value in ways that they expect and appreciate. Modern systems enable you to connect with patrons on their terms as you pool individuals and build your distributed audience. Here are some things to consider.
Deliver Value, Not Waste. Demonstrate your sustainability with digital platforms - new patrons are likely to be very aware of sustainable issues and the environment. Where possible limit the use of paper and other consumables. That quarterly magazine? Maps? Flyers? All great - but make sure there is a digital or online version and push its use.
Perfect You Timing. Context has everything to do with success. Reaching patrons when they are ready to take action is critical - that means your flyer at the beginning of the month is relying on them to remember later. Time your communication in a natural sequence by thinking like your audience. Or better yet, build out a customer journey and steps of communication that creates a clear path for them to take action.
Get Personal with One-to-One Communications. People have grown accustomed to having things their way. Everything from their news feed to what they watch on TV is filtered to their personal desires. They don’t have the desire or patience to wade through things they don’t want. Digital lets you segment and know who your audience is, enabling you to report results and build for the future.
Build Your Identity. The competition for eyeballs and attention has never been higher. In addition to drawing attention to your organization, you have to be recognizable in an instant. Professional templates and designs help you build a familiar identity. In addition, the repetition of a consistent design gives you a bigger presence and more bang for the buck.
Scaling Your Communications
Parks and recreation departments have always been known for their scrappy get-it-done-attitudes and doing more with less. That’s going to be put to the test in the near future, at the same time as patrons’ expectations for great user experience continue to grow. Being intentional with your time, leveraging available technology, and executing regular communication gameplans will be key to success.
To get started on your plan and take advantage of the current community interest, download the "Community Connector Toolkit."
Contact an expert from Vermont Systems to see how you can connect with your patrons now and in the future.