Most golfers start their search for a tee time on a search engine, namely Google. While this is
useful information the question remains, how does your golf club reach those golfers?
Lightbulb moment = digital marketing.
There is no doubt the 3rd parties in the golf market place are superb at digital marketing and it could be argued they do a good job of getting a golfer off the couch and onto a golf course, and with their near seamless booking process, abundance of choice, and some of the best priced tee times in the market there is no wonder 3rd parties book c.1 million rounds of golf in the UK a year.
One of the main reasons for their success is there ability to sit at the top of a Google search when a golfer types 'tee times at....', the best prices and booking process wouldn’t matter if a golfer never saw the website.
If you can use your digital marketing strategy to get the attention of these golfers, the golf club will benefit. This brings us back to the question; how do you create a digital marketing strategy that 'hooks' golfers in and doesn’t let them 'fade' off to other websites (see what we did there). Here are a few tips to get you are started... and continuing with the golf puns...
Set some targets (Bushnell), measure them (Scorecard), then iron out the problems (lesson from the PGA Pro):
Can you imagine Tiger Woods getting to the first tee and not knowing which direction to hit the ball, what club to hit and what the tournament was? It would be a nightmare not to have an end goal and a rough idea of how to get there, and it’s the same if you have no goal(s) for your digital marketing.
Knowing how much you have to spend is vital if you want to make sure you’re putting the right amount of time, effort, and money into the right marketing activities. For example, if you’re running Facebook Ads to attract new golfers to your booking engine, can you track how many of them convert into bookings/enquiries so you can understand the ROI. It could well be that Google Ads is a far more lucrative platform to advertise on and therefore you should invest more (time, effort and money) in this than Facebook.
For golf clubs, seasonal campaigns are a must, in the UK there is little point advertising membership at the end of the season (unless your course drains extremely well), this is where you should focus your attention on group bookings for next year, plus scoop up the remaining tee time business if the weather is still favourable. It is also worth considering that you may need to spend more at the start of a campaign as you will be trying to prospect a new audience, but once engagement starts you can ease off the budget a little.
Make sure you figure your KPI's out at the start. Going back to Tiger, he will know virtually every statistic of his game, both instinctively and from a detailed analysis of his round. He will know how many fairways he's hit and how many putts he's taken etc. You should know the same for your digital campaigns, for example, in the tee time world how many impressions does it take to get a click (Click Through Rate), how many clicks does it take to get a booking and what is the value of that booking (Conversion) and which platform/medium is therefore most likely to convert are just a few of the stats we look at here at The Revenue Club.
It is important to look at past data, alot of website providers will have likely installed a Google Analytics code for you from the start. The data contained in this is invaluable and can help you determine what activities have worked in the past! It is also important to monitor performance and you should set out how often you intend on doing this to allow the marketing campaigns they need to influence the market. The key is to use every avenue you can to make the connection, this will help the golfer remember you if they see your golf club in an email, they then visit a certain page or section on your website and are then re-targeted with a specific advert relating to the pages they visitied on social media and within the Google Display network.
Monitoring and then improving each campaign is all about how you can best optimise the activity, it's important to remember you can change more than the campaign itself. Items such as the landing page, overall website and of course the price which will affect conversion!
in summary, there is undoubtedly a growing amount of golf being booked online, not to mention the society and membership enquiries. At The Revenue Club we see some of our partner clubs receive over 50% of their casual green fee revenue online. It has always been important to be in the place where the customers wants to buy, 15 years ago it was by the telephone ready to answer it, now it's important your golf club is on social media, Google, third parties or indeed any other digital platform golfers access if you don’t want to miss out.