Indoor trampoline parks are springing up around the country, and their marketing strategies should be of interest to anyone trying to improve their rankings and reach in local markets in the U.S.
Sky Zone is one of the major franchises in this vertical, with about 145 parks around the world. It ran into some common setbacks when opening its 76th park in Lexington, Kentucky about two years ago. As part of its guidance from headquarters, Sky Zone started using its marketing budget on billboards in hopes of building local awareness, but realized quickly that billboards were ineffective and expensive. Part of the problem was that the franchise was not well-known in the Lexington area, so better branding was paramount.
Sky Zone then decided to branch out with digital marketing and tapped RevLocal (personalized digital marketing platform), which helped them develop creative mobile marketing ideas and build a local strategy and contacts. The strategy included:
- Supplementing the corporate Web strategy with a local search marketing strategy.
- Increasing their local search presence, helping the park be found by more local consumers.
- Implementing a review strategy to showcase the service of the park while helping to validate local consumers' decisions to buy jump passes and schedule birthday parties.
- Rolling out mobile-specific ads on Google and Facebook.
- Making video an important part of the mobile strategy as well.
This holistic approach has helped to reach local consumers where they are.
"In the end, the blended strategy of utilizing RevLocal's markting platform with a strategist who did the work for them was the key to the program's success," said RevLocal President Aaron Boggs. "It's critical for franchises and local businesses, like Sky Zone, to implement a residual strategy that reacts to analytics and works to continuously improve the influence in the customer journey."
Chad Pannunzio, owner of Sky Zone Lexington, says the reason him and his wife jumped on board with RevLocal about a year ago was because of how much they educated them before selling their services.
"Their approach was to provide us with information so we understood some of the basic ins and outs of a digital marketing campaign," said Pannunzio. "So before we officially became partners with RevLocal we understood the reach capabilities of digital, the segmentation abilities of digital and the creative flexibility of digital. We knew at that point that we were trying to 'out kick our coverage' by doing things in-house on our own.
"Partnering with RevLocal has been great in that working hand-in-hand with our own strategist helps us really put a true game plan together. Frequent strategy calls with Revlocal help us understand the impact we are making through Google and Facebook, and we have the ability to adjust on the fly to offer special promotions and/or new revenue generating initiatives."
Whether it's a trampoline park or a tree-removal brand, executing an effective brand strategy across local markets continues to be a challenge.
What are some important considerations corporations have to make about each local market they serve?
"Place page optimization, listing management, review strategy and local content marketing are time consuming tasks that many corporate teams don't have the bandwidth to manage," said Boggs. "Additionally, each location has a unique identity. Telling those local stories while communicating brand messages is a major challenge."
In order to implement effective digital marketing campaigns, corporate and franchise brands must focus on six key areas to succeed, according to Boggs:
2. Compliance (legal and branding)
3. Consistent measurable data
4. Location and relationship retention
5. Development and implementation of strategy
6. Making sure the franchise serves as the eyes and ears for the corporate marketing department
Whether a brand is opening in a new area for the first time or looking to reach more people within the communities they already serve, they should know that the major benefit of a local digital marketing strategy, says Boggs, is the abundance of data available to corporate marketing teams.
"We are able to quickly gather location-specific data, across platforms, to gauge competition, awareness and opportunities," said Boggs. "While there will certainly be similarities, no two markets are the same. An optimized local strategy will integrate local market opportunities with brand standards to maximize local reach."
Local paid advertising through Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, Yelp or even an industry-specific site like HomeAdvisors will allow you to see the volume of search by service or product need in geographical settings. RevLocal takes it a step further by providing insight into where the competition is spending locally online.
"The best thing a corporation can do is start to ensure they are showing up on high probability searches so they can capitalize on their highest potential customers," said Boggs.