I just finished listening to a podcast that I truly wish ever Dallas nudist landed club owner or manager would listen to. The podcast, an episode of "The Naturist Living Show" was produced by Stéphane Deschênes of Bare Oaks Family Naturist Park, Toronto, Canada. The subject of the show is marketing naturism.
Of course any club owner or manager interested in marketing naturism can simply click on the link and listen to the podcast but I didn't decide to review the show just for the benefit of nudist club owners. I also want to look at this topic from the perspective of my readers, the consumers if you will of the product that the area clubs are offering.
As you read this article, I hope you will think about how you feel about some of the ideas discussed from your own perspective. Think about how you feel about a particular strategy and whether anything you read about might serve to encourage you to connect with one of the local landed clubs on a deeper level if a club incorporated some of the things discussed.
You may find a lot of things you agree would be an improvement and I hope you do. In fact if you happen to be a member of one of the local landed clubs I'd really like it if you would send a link to this article to the owner or manager so that hopefully they might give the podcast a listen. I am convinced that they could benefit from doing so.
Here is a good place to say that I really like the landed clubs here in the Dallas area. There are some good folks running them, you can meet some really nice people and there are in my opinion lots of things to enjoy when visiting one of them. But all the clubs could do a better job of attracting more members. As I listened to "The Naturist Living Show" podcast, I could immediately see how incorporating this idea or that idea would really help local clubs improve and become attractive to a more diverse group of people.
The first topic that was covered was having an online presence. Regular contributor to the "The Naturist Living Show", Felicity Jones of Young Naturists America did an excellent job covering that topic. She emphasized the importance of using an online presence to make a good first impression on website visitors and to attract new business and new members, especially new young adult members. But more importantly Felicity pointed out a very common deficiency where it comes to effective marketing through an online presence that I think every local landed club is guilty of.
Yes, every club in the area has a website that has essential bits of information like hours of operation, location, fee information and the like. All of that is good and it's necessary but as Felicity pointed out once a site is put up that seems to be an end of it. Sites are never updated - some don't appear to have had any changes made to them since the 1990s.
An obviously outdated site is almost as bad as not having a site at all. In this age of instant gratification, people simply aren't going to spend time on a clunky, cumbersome, unappealing website. The federal healthcare exchange website should be adequate evidence of that.
In this digital world, things change almost within the blink of an eye. A web design that may have been state of the art a couple of years ago just doesn't cut it today. Failing to update a website gives people a poor impression from the start. It also tosses away the chance to connect with potential new members when connecting with people is exactly the purpose a website should be serving.
I think the Bare Oaks website is an excellent model to use. It has a minimalist look to it which makes it very clean, it is well organized, easy to navigate and has all the essential information; club policies and rules, location, hours of operation, fee information and directions. In addition there are lots of concise informative articles on everything from first visits to the park to general information about naturism that would be especially helpful to those who are considering a visit to Bare Oaks but haven't quite made the decision to do so.
Felicity also mentioned the importance of incorporating social media into the mix to further enhance an online presence. It's a good deal easier to connect with potential members and provide up to the minute information on upcoming club events through Facebook and Twitter than it is to spend time putting updates on club websites. Out of all the local clubs, landed and non-landed only one has a Twitter account and that is the extent of the effort at engaging potential members with social media marketing.
Using Bare Oaks again as an example, the web presence of that club alone makes me want to visit it even though I'd have travel to Toronto to do so. They have an attractive, informative, easy to use website and are plugged into every available social media platform; Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pininterest, Google+ and more. The site screams "we are modern, hip and a fun place to visit."
Not everyone who owns or operates a landed club is a web management or social media marketing expert. Some may already be too busy managing a club to devote time to things like social media and website updates. But there might be an existing web savvy staff or even club member who could possibly fill those rolls. If not, a professional could be hired. If that isn't realistic from a budgetary standpoint, a club might acquire the services of a competent person in exchange for a free club annual membership or free day passes. The services of such a person would be far more valuable than the costs of such freebies.
One last suggestion from the podcast was a weblog presence by clubs. Blogs are actually free, easy to build and far easier to update than a static website. This would be a great place to post useful articles on general naturist topics, provide upcoming event information and it is yet another way to connect to potential members. If a club doesn't have anyone to write and post articles and maintain a blog, contract freelance writers can be hired quite inexpensively to do the job.
Beyond the online strategies, the naturist marketing podcast has a wealth of good solid information on marketing, advertising and public relations in general that I think every landed club owner and manager would find both informative and useful. I'll discuss some of those other aspects in future reviews.
"The Naturist Living Show - Marketing Naturism"
Where: Internet podcast
When: On demand at "The Naturist Living Show" website
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