For years your primary contact with patrons was limited, but it worked.
Maybe you sent a mailer or a flyer, then they reached out to you. Maybe they mailed in registration or called (or called at the last minute asking if it was too late), or physically walked into the office. You had few opportunities to connect with more than a fraction of your patrons at any one time. The change started quickly, but now it’s completely flipped. Right now it’s a two-way street, where you can connect with anyone, at any time – as long as you’re at least 6 feet away.
Technology has made these connections possible. All of a sudden your community outreach programs are starting to look like marketing. And your patrons’ expectations and channels are increasing, which means relying on what worked yesterday isn’t going to meet expectations or lead you forward. That’s why we created a Marketing Toolkit to help you better connect with patrons.
Increase Your Engagement Without Increasing Your Workload
The great thing about technology is that it enables you to do more with less. That applies especially to all of the communication tools you now have readily available. The hardest part – knowing your audience – you should have a good grip on. All that’s left for you to do is to develop and execute a plan that taps into your audience to find the right channels to engage them at the right time.
The Journey Map
A great way to get started is to outline the steps for a specific process that would deliver a great experience for the patron and desired results for your department. We call this process their journey, and it’s something that we can plot or map and replicate. Look for communication points to ensure that the community is aware of what you’re doing, but also to remind them and facilitate their attendance or completion of the event. This is especially critical in our current climate. For example consider this possible flow for golf course tee times.
Tee Time Journey Map Example
- 5 Days Before Booking: Send email to promote tee time availability and encourage booking through website or mobile device
- 1 Day Out: Promote court availability on website and community Facebook page
- 1 Minute After Mobile Booking: Deliver email receipt
- 8 Hours Out: Process court reservation and POS transaction
- 1 Day Before Tee Time: Send SMS reminder of tee time
- 1 Minute After Reservation: Email barcode receipt
- 1 Hour Before Tee Time: Send SMS with check-in reminder
- At The Course: Create mobile check-in, and process locker rental and food order with POS solution
- 1 Day After: Email score posting reminder for any unposted rounds and promote golf pass offers
You’ll notice that this outline offers numerous touchpoints to enhance the experience but without the requirement of physical contact or proximity. You’ll also increase your knowledge about patrons based on their response rates, times, etc. enabling you to fine-tune your efforts going forward. (You can find more examples of journey mapping in the marketing tool kit here.)
The challenges before everyone are great, but communications and connecting shouldn’t be one of them. For more ways to improve your overall connections and success, download the
Want to learn more about how Vermont Systems and make parks and recreation management a walk in the park? Schedule a consultation today.