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Archive for December, 2009

One of the most important aspects of my consulting services with golf courses is to assist with improving the marketing of client golf facilities. Through the years I have often found that golf courses tend not to market their services the way other businesses market, thinking that the “golf course will market itself.” However, in this ultra-competitive golf industry environment, golf course marketing has become a critical element in the success (or failure) of golf facilities nationwide. As I work with golf facilities in 2009 I am finding that the most successful marketing / promotion programs that are genuinely driving customers to golf courses are email campaigns, and not necessarily campaigns that offer discounts!

One of the things I like to do when working with golf course clients is sign up to the facility’s email list. This way I can see what the club is sending to its customers and prospects. What I am finding is many very clever ideas used to drive both new and repeat customers to the golf facility, for BOTH golf and other services (i.e. merchandise, F & B, lessons, etc.). In today’s world, it Is clear that email is the most effective way to stay in touch with customers and let them know what is going on at your facility (events, tournaments, etc.) and when you are offering specials and discounts (for golf and merchandise / F&B promotions). After a while I get conditioned to seeing the emails, and they also function as kind of a “newsletter” about what is going on at the course.

The most successful campaigns I have seen this year typically fall into two categories: The food and beverage campaigns and specials that involve the attraction of a new party to the facility. For example one of my golf course clients did a successful promotion this summer offering a free round of golf to any customer on the club’s email list that brought three other new customers not on the email list. This way the course was able to attract three new paying customers and add three names to the email list. Then these three new customers brought in three friends of their own and the cycle just kept going. This client was able to add over 200 new email addresses to its list during the course of the promotion.

In general, I tend to like promotions that offer discounts for new customers who are not presently on your email list. This way you get the revenue from the new customer, plus capture some record information so as to stay in communication with that new customer. The best part of all is that this form of advertising can be done with minimal expense. Compare that to the “phone book” ad so many golf courses continue to pay for.

So as you contemplate ways to drive more customers to your golf course this year, don’t forget about email. If you do not yet have a formal email program, think about adding one. If you are already capturing email addresses think about ways to expand the list and reach many new customers. It is almost 2010! Email and internet advertising is where the successful golf courses will be this year.

Thanks for your attention. I sincerely hope the information is useful. In the next postings we will continue our discussion of golf facility marketing with a review of some examples from the best golf course websites I have seen this year.

See you down the road.

Richard Singer

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