How to Stand Out in Your Customer’s Inbox

How many emails do you get per day? And of those tens/hundreds/thousands you get in your personal inbox, work inbox, and more, what makes you open one but not another? It’s probably a combination of factors – who’s sending it, the time of day you receive it, the subject line, and the type of content.

Now let’s look at email from the other side – when you’re the sender. If you use email as a marketing tool to promote your upcoming recreation programs, it’s important to understand and optimize all of the factors so that your emails stand out to your customers. Here are four ways to do that:

1. Collect data about your customers

With so many recreation activities for the public to choose from, it’s important for your community organization to get creative to increase participation. Get started by taking a closer look at your customer data. You can uncover trends and identify ways to increase registrations. After that, take that information and use it to create targeted marketing campaigns and offers.

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2. Understand the statistics

Last week, I attended HubSpot’s webinar, The Science of Email Marketing. Known as the Social Media Scientist, Dan Zarrella compiled the statistics and  presented the webinar. It was one of the more useful webinars I’ve attended because it gave hard evidence rather less-than-concrete theories. These 14 statistics will help you get more opens and clicks. 

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3. Improve the content

Email is an inexpensive and effective way to communicate with members of your community. Most (or all) of you probably use email marketing to spread the word about your events, classes, programs, and news. However, do you have a strategy in place? In this article, we’ll cover eight necessary steps you should take to ensure that your email marketing is on track for success.

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4. Play with enticing subject lines

We need subject lines that pull inbox scanners from their numbed slumber in which most emails are unceremoniously deleted. If our email is to be read, our subject lines must save our recipients from mindless autonomy.

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Take these four steps/resources and improve your emails. You’ll improve open rates, clicks, and ultimately revenue. What else has worked for your effective email campaigns? Comment below.

Fireside Chat with San Diego Business Journal’s HR Pro of the Year, Sheryl Roland

Congrats to our Executive VP of Human Resources, Sheryl Roland, for recently winning the San Diego Business Journal HR Professional of the Year Award!

Sheryl joined ACTIVE four years ago in a newly created role designed to take the company’s HR department to the next level.  Since joining, ACTIVE has experienced explosive global growth, from 1,000 to more than 3,000 employees. Sheryl aims to create programs that are creative and forward-thinking, so I sat down with Sheryl after the awards ceremony to dig a little deeper into some of these game changers.

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5 Old-Fashioned Ways to Increase Online Registrations

On this blog, we talk a lot about increasing online registrations through marketing, social media, your website, and more. We do this because online registration has benefits for staff and customers. Staff members can focus on other projects than in-person signups and customers can save time and register when is convenient for them. Most of the time, we discuss tactics like improving your calls to action or using Facebook apps, but today we’re going to take it old school. As ironic as it sounds, even your online registration numbers can be increased with these throw-back ideas:   Continue reading

Get ACTIVE In The Great Outdoors With New Recreation.Gov Site

Alongside one of our largest customers, we recently launched a newly redesigned website that enables you to find your ACTIVE in the great outdoors! – the online destination for federal recreation powered by ACTIVE Network – has more than 7 million unique visitors and over 1.5 million transactions annually.

Now, visitors can more easily plan trips, find outdoor adventures, and explore America’s most cherished national parks, lands, waters, and historic and cultural sites.

The launch was announced yesterday by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Salazar as part of President Obama’s initiative to fuel the economy and create jobs by promoting travel and tourism. Check out the new website and some of the updated content –, Explore Trip Ideas, and Go Lists – aimed at getting people ACTIVE.

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5 (More) Recreation Apps to Get You Thinking Mobile

RS16427_160646835-scrLast month, I wrote this article about mobile recreation apps:

“In 2011, the number of smartphones sold exceeded the number of PCs sold. With the internet, email, and apps right in their pockets, people access the world from the palms of their hands. That’s why cities, parks and recreation departments, and other community organizations have built mobile apps to connect with visitors and customers and inspire activity. Here are ten mobile apps that will help you with some ideas when you develop a great app for your organization:”

Click here to read the full article.

I shared the article in some LinkedIn groups and people posted other great apps that were out there. Today, I want to highlight five more mobile apps that inspire activity – from historical sites to parks and even pocket trainers. Check out these five apps when considering launching a mobile strategy for your own organization:   Continue reading

Free Online Tools to Improve Your Website

Building a website isn’t like assembling a coffee table – you can’t just throw together a few screws and let it sit for years. A website takes constant updating to keep up with your own changes and news but also to stay on top of effective internet trends. But updating your website with proven techniques can be easier than you think. So if you and your web visitors are pulling out hair when it comes to your site, use these free tools to make sure your website isn’t holding you back:   Continue reading

Find Your ACTIVE On The Go

We’ve updated the mobile application so that you can find your ACTIVE from the palm of your hand!

Get health and fitness articles, daily deals or register for events based on your interests. Whether it’s cycling, fitness, baseball or running, you can now find it easily on the free 2.0 app.

The app will also send you notifications when events are open for registration, when the event will increase in price and when the event you registered for is less than a week away.

Love Schwaggle deals? For the first time, our mobile users can also access fitness and health deals on-the-go via the 2.0 app.

Check it out for yourself, here, and let us know what you think!

6 Steps to Manage a Successful Event

Do you organize events for your community? From a 5K fun run to a conference, some events get tricky when it comes to the details. For those events where you need to gather customized information about each attendee, an online event management system makes life easy for the organizer. Our proven technology has been used by thousands of organizations and we’re now offering it to parks and recreation, campus recreation, non-profit, and community organizations.

Here are seven ways to successfully plan and run your next event with software: Continue reading

Vote for us! The Walking Dead Escape: From Print to Reality

We’re in the running to present at next year’s SXSW conference and we need YOUR help!

We partnered with our customer, Ruckus Sports, to present on the phenomenol success of The Walking Dead Escape, its leap from the pages of a comic book to a zombie infested event hosted at the recent Comi-Con convention, and how we are seeing participation in activities change.

Originating as a comic series, The Walking Dead brand has been successfully extended to TV and now its latest venture—participatory events. The Walking Dead Escape lets fans “live the apocalypse,” immersing them in the experience, and respective storyline, as survivors, zombies or spectators.

In this session, Liam Brenner, producer of The Walking Dead Escape, and Dave Alberga, CEO of ACTIVE Network, will use the race’s popularity to discuss how the combination of mass participatory events and media can be utilized by other brands, and the implications of this trend for the changing way people participate in activities.

The Walking Dead Escape isn’t timed and doesn’t have a start arch; rather, participants are attracted because of the desire for a shared experience. Drawing on the success of this race, Liam and Dave will highlight how other brands can license an existing media property to take advantage of this burgeoning interest in social sports, and gain new fans in the process.

Visit the SXSW PanelPicker site, sign up and cast your vote.