Many of our clients have their own websites, but they also market in other ways as well. In the RV Park community many businesses list with “Directory Services” such as Good Sam, Woodalls, Passport America, and a few others. The big question given today’s technology is whether or not these services are worth it.
Who is sending you website traffic?
One of the great features of every website we build has to be the online statistics. Every site we deploy has an easily accessed statistics section. Our clients can actually pop on to their website and see who is sending them referrals. And the traffic stats might surprise clients at first.
Many of the directory services out there today have been around for a while. Before mobile internet travelers would roll around the country with a book or two that listed member parks. Good Sam is one of the most well known especially in the RV community. But with more and more travelers using the Internet to find parks, are these companies delivering via the net?
No. They’re not, especially for the prices they’re charging the parks.
Looking at our client parks, the directory services they pay each year send them anywhere from 6% of the web traffic to 13% max for one specific park. On average we can say about 8% of a park’s website traffic comes in due to a directory service listing. Is that great, terrible, or just a shoulder shrug?
In January of 2015 we rebuilt the website for Point of Rocks Campground in Prescott Arizona. We’re going to use them as an example. Each year they spend $6500 listing with one of the RV directory services. Between January and August of 2015 their site has had 20,909 unique visitors & 92,795 page views in total. Of those 20,909 visitors, 6% were sent by the directory service they work with. In total, nearly 1500 page views were generated.
Each year they spend $6500 to list with their directory service. So, those 1500 links in cost $4.33. $6,500/1500 refers to date. If we give them the benefit of the doubt and suggest that by the year’s end they’ll double to 3000 refers we’re look at $2.16 per refer.
That’s a really expensive pay per click, don’t you think? Google’s Pay Per Click listings are much cheaper!
Focus on your website and presence
Rather than relying on outdated directory services, how about focusing on your own web presence to advertise yourself. Every single RV Park client we have worked with sees more traffic coming in from the FREE search engines. Google, Yahoo, yes even Bing, outperform the numbers that pay for services give you. Bottom line? You’re throwing away money.
What’s the solution? Build a nice, mobile friendly website for your park. Do some Search Engine Optimization to get yourself found. Offer news updates about upcoming events in your area, and let readers subscribe to keep up with the latest announcements from your park. If you do all of this you will find yourself on Google Page 1 (search for city name rv park and you’re there).
Take a look at the image to the right. A simple search, like searches I conduct when traveling. “Prescott RV Park.” Our client comes up first on the map listing, and comes up right blow RV Park Reviews as well. The directory company they work with shows up as number 6 on Google page one for the search. So, their own website is out performing their paid listing. Does that sound like money well spent?
Good site, good design, and good things
If you’re a destination business that relies on traffic coming in from outside your local community, a good website is a must. And if you work with a team that really understands what your business model is, the site will be designed to not only maximize your visitors’ experience, but also makes sure that people can find you easily.
Tech keeps rolling ahead. Have you seen a pay phone around lately? Nope. They’re history due to mobile phones. When you search for a business do you break open a Yellow Pages, or do you do a web search? The directory services out there can no longer compete, and if you build a good Internet presence for your own business, those directory services won’t even be able to compete with you. So, why throw away your precious income on listing with them?