Intelligence on getting more traffic, more often!

First, let us say this is an amazing infographic we first saw via a WOMMA email that linked to www.Mashable.com:

Don't be afraid of the future!

Don’t be afraid of the future—click to see full infographic!

Is it that they value meaningful work ever-so-slightly over pay? Is it that they care about what your fun center policies are about social media (and you don’t really have any—yet), or is it that 52% have over 300 Facebook friends and they’ve probably already checked out your fun center online…and talked about it!

This is a new era in hiring young people for your center. Is this something you embrace, or do you wish we were back in the day when kids just wanted a paycheck and didn’t have their own phone?

Please tell us what you think in the comments…

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Some recent research from Common Sense Media (March, 2012) notes that

Nearly half of 13- to 17-year-old respondents said their favorite way to communicate with friends was in person. Texting was a close second, though, with one-third saying they preferred it.

Favorite way for teens to communicate according to research

Click image to read full article on eMarketer.com

Note the word “favorite.” If you ask your teen what his or her favorite meal is, he or she might say “hamburgers.” That doesn’t mean he or she is eating hamburgers every day—they are actually eating what their parents put in front of them (at least, for the 13–17 year olds who still live and eat at home!)

One look around the local mall, the beach, or your fun center will tell you—teens use their phones, even when they’re face-to-face with a group of friends.

What do you think—are these findings matching what you see happening in your center?

Last Tuesday, Marketing Sherpa released a research study of 1,915 marketers. It asked them to rank the degree of difficulty combined with the effectiveness of the various marketing channels they use. Here is the resulting graph:

What channels do YOU use to reach your fun center guests?

Click the chart to read the full article over on Marketing Sherpa.

While trade shows still ranked fairly high, it’s interesting that most of the other channels are online. Also of note, trade shows are ranked highest on the difficulty scale, which seems strange compared to content marketing and optimization—two much newer avenues of marketing that are more complicated to this writer than participating in a trade show.

The larger the circle, the more respondents use that channel. Therefore, while many respondents use social media, they find it middle-of-the-road for difficulty, and not very effective. It would be interesting to know if the group of 1,915 were made up of mostly business-to-businesses respondents. However this chart also underscores what a big win email marketing is for these businesses—highly effective and relatively easy.

The final point we can take away is also made in the article:

When your targets receive the same message from you via multiple channels, you create a consistent and engaging experience.

Tell us if you agree or disagree with this graph, as it relates to your fun center—please leave a comment.

We know moms are important to reach. Quite often they decide on the weekend family outings, and they most definitely play a huge role in planning birthday parties.

There was a recent blog post by CrowdScience.com that shared an interesting infographic with some mom stats:

Mom statistics from Crowd Science

Click to go to the full graphic and article

So how can your fun center connect with moms? Based on the full infographic (click it to see it all) here are some ideas:

  • Reach out to moms who are blogging in your town. Offer them a family pass and/or tokens in exchange for an article about their experience. The key is you can’t ask them how to write it, just hope they have an awesome time.
  • Make sure your website is smartphone friendly. If 1 out of 10 moms have the latest gadgets, they’re probably already using smartphones, which aren’t new. Test your site on a smartphone and see how user-friendly the experience is.
  • Interact on Facebook. The graphic states 50% of moms are friends their children on Facebook. If you can engage them on your Facebook Page, moms posts are going to register on their children’s newsfeed…and get commented on for a nice trickle-down effect from friend to friend. Make sure you’ve posted your Facebook Page web address and a call to action that says more than “Like us on Facebook!” throughout your fun center. Next, posts mom-focused updates that ask interesting questions. Finally, reply to every comment.

What has been your most successful technique to reach moms?

Fun-center-cause-marketing-101

Find a cause that aligns with your brand, your business and your available resources.

Wikipiedia Definition: cause-related marketing refers to a type of marketing involving the cooperative efforts of a “for profit” business and a non-profit organization for mutual benefit. Cause marketing differs from corporate giving (philanthropy) as the latter generally involves a specific donation that is tax deductible, while cause marketing is a marketing relationship not necessarily based on a donation.

Any company can champion a cause and support it through volunteer efforts, event sponsorship, or pure financial donations. As a community-based business, your fun centre is in a unique position to make a meaningful contribution to a local cause that can come full circle and reward you.

Benefits of cause marketing

CauseRelatedMarketing.blogspot.ca highlighted 6 benefits your business can experience by diversifying your marketing to include a cause-related strategy:
1. Cause-related marketing can directly enhance sponsor sales and brand.
2. Cause-related marketing is a respected and accepted business practice.
3. Cause-related marketing can heighten customer loyalty.
4. Cause-related marketing can boost a company’s public image and help distinguish it from the competition. It can also give whoever does your PR a new story to tell.
5. Cause-related marketing can help build employee morale and loyalty.
6. Cause-related marketing can improve employee productivity, skills and teamwork.

To read more about cause-related marketing from an expert, visit Paul Jones’ blog.

How to get started

You’ll have the most impact if you choose a cause that fits

• your personal values
• your business’s brand
• your available resources

Personal values

What is nearest and dearest to your heart? If you have 10 or fewer employees, you’ll be leading the charge in this respect and if you can pick something that truly matters to you, you’ll work harder and longer to help your cause achieve real value. If your fun center has over 10 employees, consider involving them in the selection. Challenge them to think of a community group that could use some help, and schedule a staff meeting so they can make their case.

Business brand

Look at what your fun centre offers your community. Does it lean towards 12 and under children? Perhaps your local hospital is fundraising for its children’s wing. Is it more sports oriented than gaming related? Perhaps align with an under-privileged teen outreach program, and focus on sports activities. Are you well-known for a pre-school mom and me program? Maybe a local Community Center could use help with its early childhood learning program. When you choose a cause that is aligned with your brand, the public will more easily link those two elements, and look at you with a higher regard.

Available resources

Sit down with the non-profit and review what they need in a year, and where you can contribute. Ideally you want to be involved for the long haul, as this will have the most benefit to the non-profit and to your business. Think beyond money—your time and your insights (especially for small or new non-profits) are the most valuable contributions you can make.

Some contributions you can make are

• Giving staff members a paid half day to participate at your cause’s car wash.
• Hosting a fundraiser at your fun center, with percentage of tokens purchased going to the charity.
• Offer to pay for the non-profit’s event advertising materials such as posters, flyers or hand-outs.
• Ask your staff to help out with the event by using their personal networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) to promote the event.
• Consider offering to sit on the board at some point in time, and reach out to your other community business partners to participate in some way as well.

Do you have a cause marketing strategy?

The IAAO Blog has been quiet these last several weeks as I accompanied my 77-year-old mom through the aftermath of a heart attack and resulting open-heart surgery. She is doing very well now, but as we were going through that lengthy process of moving from illness to good health, living in a medical setting which we were essentially doing led to some realizations that could be applicable to your fun center business.

Any medical condition that brings you to a hospital’s emergency ward is scary. Once you’re there, your brain tells you you should feel reassured being in an environment surrounded by high-tech equipment and highly trained personnel all working towards analyzing, stabilizing and improving your loved one’s health. But not only are you emotionally vulnerable, you also feel overwhelmed by the immense machine that is a hospital and a health issue of which the average person doesn’t have a deep understanding.

Guests coming to your fun center are on the opposite side of this spectrum, but there are three things I learned from my hospital experience that will keep your guests returning, enjoying and telling others about their great experiences.

1. Give clear directions

Most people—whether they under emotional stress or not—get frustrated when they’re not sure where to go. Or where to park, or where to line up, or where to get tokens. Clear signage, explicit facility maps if needed, all go a long way to bringing business to your door and keeping them happy. If billboards are part of your marketing mix, make sure any visual map is simple and easy to read at a distance. Website navigation should be easy to understand and follow as well.

2. Speak, and repeat

It’s really important that everyone communicates slowly. Your fun center is a loud and bright environment, which means most people are already distracted from hearing you properly. Follow these steps to make sure any explanations you or your staff give to guests are heard and understood:

  • Speak slowly—This doesn’t need to be an exaggerated slowness, just not the hyper speed most people speak today
  • Speak clearly—Enunciate your words
  • Make eye contact—Looking someone in the eye has the effect of “forcing” them to pay closer attention. It has the side benefit of showing them you care they understand, and everyone wants to be cared about in some way.

3. Get everyone on board with messaging

My experience talking to cardiologists and nurses taught me that many people have different ways of saying the same thing. This can be confusing and frustrating, especially when they may use lingo I don’t understand. For example, a few nurses talked about my mom’s “cabbage”. I found out later she was saying CABG, which is an acronym for coronary artery bypass graft. Use one description for food service, games, hours or other processes at your fun center, and make sure your staff do the same. You might call your food and beverages services F&B, but your guests will hear it as “effin’ Bea” and will wonder what Bea did wrong 😉

Part of the guest experience is efficient and clear communication—if you can succeed here, you’ll easily have guests returning and bringing others along to your entertainment center.

In a recent chart on MarketingSherpa.com, researchers uncovered what 1,500 Internet search marketers considered their top SEO tactics for getting website:

Top SEO tactics you can use for your fun center—click for larger version

Top SEO tactics you can use for your fun center—click for larger version

Content creation is a term to refer to digital content, such as audio podcasts, videos, blog posts, graphics, or images. The more fresh content you can create on your website, the more easily your website will be found when users search for what you offer.

In the full article, Marketing Sherpa’s Senior Research Analyst, Kaci Bower, says:

Unique and well-written content gives search engine spiders something to index, and supports the search engine’s goal of providing the most relevant results in response to a query.

We’ve always been a fan of blogging, as it’s one form of content that is fresh and ranks well in Google searches. This chart shows differently, however, in the opinion of a large group of SEO marketers—people who get paid for knowing how to “get websites found.”

This chart shows that search engines love more interactive content, such as video and audio which makes total sense when you think of how popular YouTube and iTunes are. Not only is it a good idea to produce simple but regular videos of your fun center and post them to YouTube, you might also want to expand your strategy by creating accounts on Vimeo, Viddler, Blip and a few other video sharing platforms.

What have you found to be your most successful tactic for boosting website traffic?

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