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“We now have a better picture of what is and what is not working from a marketing standpoint.”

Cara Bailey, Web & Content Specialist, YMCA San Antonio
Dedicated YMCA digital marketing specialist helps Y reach more participants.
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YMCA San Antonio was a long-time ACTIVE Network Class customer. When they decided to look for a new solution tailored to their specific needs, a top criteria was that the vendor be focused on growth.

In 2014, they joined a core group of YMCAs working with ACTIVE to create a YMCA-specific, common configuration of ACTIVENet membership management software.

Challenges of Digital Marketing

In 2016, Cara Bailey, Web and Content Specialist for the San Antonio Y, was asked to create an integrated Google AdWords campaign. Her team wanted more accurate insight into where transactions were being generated online and how people were finding them so they could better identify the most effective marketing platforms.

Though she has a background in web development, Cara felt overwhelmed. Google's constant updates meant that an entire interface could change overnight. There was no way she had time to stay on top of which reports mattered on a given day, how to track the metrics she was after, and what to do about the results.

Analyze, Identify and Prioritize

Cara reached out to ACTIVE's complimentary Digital Marketing Consultant team for help. She began working with an ACTIVE team member certified in Google Analytics.

Initially, they scheduled weekly, then biweekly calls.

The team member quickly identified the most important areas to improve first:

  • Transactions originating from the Y's unsecure website weren't passing tracking cookies into the secure environment of ACTIVE Net. They could see registrations but not their sources.
  • Optimizing ads using AdWords extensions and other tools.
  • A way to understand their SEO trends—how well they were getting found by bots and ranking for keywords.
  • Producing effective content.
  • Implementing mobilization.
  • Tracking data against industry benchmarks to compare with other YMCAs.

Cara's background allowed her to implement everything she learned without a lot of help. She stated that "the biggest benefit I received was triage—being steered by ACTIVE into prioritized actions and the highest value next step."

Eventually, call frequency decreased to quarterly business reviews, though ACTIVE's door is always open to impromptu questions from Cara.

Better Traffic

The ACTIVE digital marketing consultant stresses that data can be misleading. Their job entails educating clients that the value of digital marketing is not measured simply in reach and clicks, but in conversions and transaction amounts. The consultant was able to demonstrate that, despite a seemingly insignificant rise of only 1.34 percent in website visits in the first year, transactions and conversions rose significantly:

Quarter over Quarter

(Q4 2016 – Q1 2017)

After the first 2 full quarters of tracking, website visits were up 60 percent (exceeding other YMCA's seasonal traffic by 15 percent) and transactions were up 41 percent.

March 2017 Year over Year

  • Website visits up 1.34 percent from 2016 to 2017 (approx. 1100 more visits)
  • Transactions up 46 percent from 2016 to 2017 (approx. 350 more transactions)
  • Conversion Rate (ratio of site visits to actual transactions) up 45 percent from 2016 to 2017

“The conversion rate increase indicates that they’re driving more relevant traffic to their site,” the consultant says.

They state that the goal is to “Help my clients prioritize where to get the biggest bang for their buck, help them become self-sufficient in navigating Google changes, and give them the ability to validate ROI to their bosses."

Cara's final word on the subject?

"I don't know what I'd do without our [digital marketing consultant from ACTIVE]!"

They did it with ACTIVE Network
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