NAMBA Propwash Web October

PROPWASH 22 October 2022 District 20’s Social Media Advertising Program (Continued from page 21) bring in new members. The results have been astounding, to say the least. We have grown our district of 60 members to over 70 members just this summer. That is 16% growth in a very short time. That is not even the whole story, as these are just members who have signed up. Additionally, we have had probably 25 or 30 people who have expressed interest in joining but have just not acted on that yet. So with this success, I wanted to share what we are doing, and hopefully this will inspire others to try as well. Initially I set out to understand the problem. Why does interest in RC car racing, drone racing, and plane racing seem to be growing, where model boating is struggling? I believe this comes down to visibility and accessibility. Because we are limited to running model boats at specific ponds, a lot of the time we are out of view of the general public. The second reason we are struggling attracting new members is accessibility to the sport. Even if someone sees us and is interested in model boating, most everything we run is custom and it requires a knowledge of the hobby to select, acquire and build a boat. A lot of buying in the hobby space is impulsive, and let’s face it, we have become an instant gratification society. The answer is to get folks engaged at the pond. We need to get them out there where they can see and touch the boats and we can guide them on what and where to buy. Reaching way back and dusting off some of that sales training I haven’t had to use in years proved to be a little easier than I expected. As I started working on the problem, a trove of forgotten experience came back in to focus and I began to make notes. A selling system is comprised of marketing to find prospective customers, qualifying your leads and planning to close your business. I recall one of my mentors saying that sales and marketing was a machine that must have the input continually tuned to generate the desired output. Marketing is really about finding prospective customers (members) through advertising. This is tricky, as advertising can be expensive and oftentimes investments we make in advertising fall flat. This can really hurt if it is expensive advertising, and more so if you have limited fiscal resources for doing advertising. Enter social media advertising. While I have been interested in social media advertising in the past, I have not really spent the time to understand how it works and how it can be applied. So in January of this year I spent some time reading to understand how to use social media as a primary advertising tool and I was surprised on how accessible this is and how easy it is to set up. Here are some of the things I learned:  Social media derives its power through collection of information about you. Everything you click, like/react, and share collects information about your interests, likes and dislikes.  Posting to Facebook and Instagram to generate “organic” interests is not advertising and will never work as real advertising. In order to harness the power of Facebook and Instagram you must PAY for advertising to unlock the selling engine.  Advertising is accomplished by creating a demographic profile (demo) which has keywords, sites, age groups, geographic location, etc. This is how you target your advertising.  Based on your demo, Facebook posts to people’s profiles who meet your demographic. So as a prospect scrolls through their timeline, they will see your ad.  What you message (post) is everything, so you must create ads that encourage the reader to act, whether it is to follow links to a boating site, an invitation to a Fun Run or race, or some other activity. This is called engagement. If you create an ad that looks like you are selling something, then folks may be inclined to scroll past it. If it looks more interesting, you are more likely to get engagement.  Success happens with a suite of ads with various type of messages designed to pitch or interest people in what you are doing. Remember you are paying to be posted to people’s timelines so this is your chance to interest them in model boating.  Finally, you have to have a consistent program of advertising. People are not always ready to buy or act the first or second time they see something they are interested in. A continual effort to market to someone is needed until they are ready to buy. Apply this to your own interests. How many times have you seen something that interests you and you think about coming back to it later, then you don’t? We have to keep putting it in front of them until they act. The next most important part of this is that we have to have something to offer them. General posts about model boating is not nearly enough. You have to create opportunities for them to take that next step in engaging a potential interest. Here in D20 we created a series of Fun Runs or “Arrive and Drives” where we invited people out to see our boats and even drive one. This is where we have really seen the fruits of our efforts. At the beginning of the year, we had just a couple people show up to participate. With each consecutive Fun Run and race we have gotten more people COME OUT to see us. When asked how they found out about it they confirm it was from Facebook. At our last Fun Run we had over seven new people come out for that event. The following race we had another seven people that came out to see the race. The other notable attribute of the people we have reached and are coming out is that they are highly qualified prospects. Most of them are former or current RC car racers who are looking for something different. This means they are comfortable with a transmitter in a racing posture. The last leg of this process is to close the deal. Many of these people will come out to see the boats. We have made a conscious effort to have boats built and for sale at our events. This helps with that tendency towards instant gratification, but more importantly it allows them to engage immediately while their interest is piqued. We immediately offer to help them get their NAMBA membership and we have even gone as far as offering NAMBA memberships paid by the clubs when they purchase certain boats at their local hobby store. For those who come out but are not quite ready to buy a boat, we stay in contact to include them in what we are doing. There is a cost associated with the Facebook advertising. However, with targeted marketing you can generate some pretty amazing results with as little as $500. We in D20 have spent somewhere around $750 this year on Facebook advertising, and I estimate that we will get somewhere around 20 members by next year for that investment. That works out to be about $38 per new member. Keep in mind that I made a lot of mistakes while starting up this program, so some of this money we spent was probably not as effective as it could have been. You can still see that the return on investment in membership and race fees is fairly quick. To summarize, Facebook/Instagram social media marketing has been very successful this year for bringing in new members and prospective members rather quickly. In order to be successful, you have to have a system that includes ads and events to mine and harvest new members. Your efforts have to be consistent and on-going because there is a cumulative effect, and