What began as a rundown horse camp for local children in 1983, the Harnish family transformed into Refreshing Mountain Retreat and Adventure Center, a thriving group retreat center in Lancaster, Pa. To further sustain and expand their retreats business segment, they knew they needed a forward-looking approach. By implementing internet marketing services, like website optimization, paid advertising, and content marketing, their web traffic, and qualified leads exponentially increased.
- 351 % improvement in traffic to the retreat section of the website
- 544 % improvement in new leads from the website
- 256% increase in qualified retreat inquiries
Refreshing Mountain grew in large part due to a strong foundation of positive word of mouth referrals. To remain viable and continue to grow, they knew they needed to diversify their marketing strategy. The retreats were suffering vacancies during the week and off-season. The company was losing a fair number of visits due to availability and price.
Refreshing Mountain needed to get better-qualified leads, increase their online market share, and improve their online conversation rate. While the company saw some successes with paid ads and website enhancements, their team wasn’t sure what to do next. In 2014, Refreshing Mountain decided to partner with Improve & Grow to execute internet marketing initiatives better and grow the retreats business segment.
Improve & Grow began by performing a full review of Refreshing Mountain and the company’s goals. We studied the industry, their website, target audience, and customer experience. We also evaluated the company’s performance history by looking at each marketing channel. Using all the data gathered, we developed a comprehensive digital marketing strategy. The strategy included paid advertising, additional website enhancements, and content marketing, focusing on blog, email, and social media content.
It took a multi-year process of developing, implementing plans, and continuous testing. Based on the data gathered, our team stopped what wasn’t working and refocused our efforts on what was working.
We redesigned critical landing pages for the retreats business segment and created supporting website content. Each web page received conversion tracking. The tracking allowed Refreshing Mountain to monitor contact form fills, phone call inquiries, and purchases. We developed new website features to improve usability and increase web searches:
- Dedicated retreat section of the website, detailing lodging information, meeting rooms, food, recreation, and on-site activities
- Designs for retreat specific web pages, including youth retreats, men’s retreats, women’s retreats, and family retreats
- Digital pricing tool, estimating the retreat cost based on group size and availability
- Availability calendar for large groups
Other well-received, targeted marketing efforts we implemented included:
- Email nurturing campaign with emails highlighting important factors in retreat planning
- Two retreat planning ebooks about planning and managing a retreat as a part-time volunteer
- Combined paid and organic search marketing, moving Refreshing Mountain to a top search competitor in their region and surrounding states
Over the last five years, Refreshing Mountain more than doubled growth and revenue for the retreats business segment. The new retreats section of the website saw a 351% improvement in traffic, meaning more people are finding the page through key search terms. There was a 544% increase in new website leads and a 256% increase in qualified retreat inquiries. The company also saw fewer issues due to pricing and filled most of the vacancies in the retreat schedule. At one point, Refreshing Mountain was a three-month-a-year business. Now, December is the only month they consider slow, and they have a long summer waiting list.
Here is what Harnish has to say about the success of the campaign:
I have worked with Improve & Grow over the past 4 years. Before that, I worked with 2 other SEOs that over-promised and under-delivered. Not so with Carl. He has taken the time to understand our goals, study our market, and guide us toward being well positioned in every respect.
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