Stephanie Heffer, Director of Programs and Operations, gave a Marketing presentation at the Hot Springs Village POA 2021 Board Retreat on May 12, 2021.
Stephanie said she is not going to spend much time on the target audience or our brand.
“John [Paul] said earlier that we can take credit a lot for some good results based on COVID and relocation and people fleeing cities and all that. That is very, very true.
Digital Marketing – One of the main areas that we focus our attention in our marketing is when people do search for places to relocate, search for golf communities in the south, we need to be at the top of the Google search. We never have been. We’ve been virtually invisible for a very, very long time. So really, the big money that we spend is trying to improve our search engine optimization and paid search,” Stephanie. We have spent very little on print ads.
The print ad venues we use are:
- ideal-LIVING Magazine
- Hot Springs Village Voice
Everything else we do is digital.
Focused on marketing to touch states
We spend almost $22,000 on print marketing with ideal-LIVING. We are in three publications a year. This magazine focuses on relocation.
PrivateCommunities.com is a digital website focused on relocation.
We spend $112,000 on paid search. “Paid search is a form of digital marketing where search engines such as Google and Bing allow advertisers to show ads on their search engine results pages (SERPs). Paid search works on a pay-per-click model, meaning you do exactly that – until someone clicks on your ad, you don’t pay.”
Social media is also used for advertising:
- Facebook – Five month campaign where $56,900 will be spent
Stephanie also said they are focused on improving the video and photo library. A video shoot/photo shoot is coming up within the week where the focus will be the RV Park. The RV Park is proving to be a strong driver. Many of the Discovery Packages are for the RV Park.
States Where the POA Advertises
Stephanie shared that people tell them they need to advertise in California. The problem is that it is expensive to saturate California with advertising. “We are trying to hit a very small area of Orange County, right now. It is a test to see if we are going to get any traction…” The results will be monitored. Unless you have a big advertising budget, it is tough to advertise in California.
Florida is a market we can touch, we just haven’t yet. Missouri and Oklahoma are not performing well.
In 2015 we had 33 new home permits. Last year (2020) was our best year in a decade with 93 new home permits. This year (2021), so far we have 51 new home permits. We are projected to hit 150 new home permits this year.
This number is significantly lower compared to 2019. The reason for this is because there are not many homes on the market.
Under Construction Today
We have 86 homes under construction today.
Heffer said, “internally, what Kevin [Sexton] and I are selling in the office to builders, etc., we are standing at 36 year-to-date and 23 lots have been sold in the Real Estate Partner Program.”
The goals are simple. They are looking for people to relocate and build a house. “All of our call-to-action is, hit our website, leave us your name and let us contact you back,” explained Heffer.
We’ve been able to funnel a lot of leads to our real estate partners. “They seem to be really happy with the results right now,” stated Stephanie
The website traffic spikes up when advertising dollars are spent.
In 2018 we booked 37. Through 2021 (to date) we have booked 68. “We are most proud of our conversion rate…We are converting about 15 percent of every package booked and our partners are telling us that is phenomenal,” said Stephanie.
In 2019, we had 7,251 rounds booked in our Golf Package Program. In 2020, the numbers were a little less because of COVID-19. In 2021, already we have 6,252 rounds booked out.
Director Jones asked if we can tell who is a “unique” visitor or who is a return visitor. Stephanie said she didn’t know the answer to that. “We are working with Village Villas and the people who do our lodging to get a informational pamphlet in the hands of golfers who come on a golf package. This is often booked by one person and we don’t have the names of the whole group.
The Digest is an email communication to the Villagers but is not about marketing. We notice who opens the email and how much time they spend on the email. “We consistently get about a 48% open rate,” said Heffer. The Digest goes to 11,700 people.
Stephanie feels the Digest is very stale right now and one of the goals this year is to revamp and improve the Digest.
By Cheryl Dowden, May 18, 2021
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