7 Creative Golf Marketing Ideas to Make Your Club Stand Out

Everywhere we turn lately, we come across tips for how to execute creative golf marketing ideas this year. So we’ve collected a short list of our favorite tips.

Here are seven ideas for giving your marketing efforts a boost:

1. Ask your Members how to reach out. When is the last time you actually asked your members about how they’d like to interact with your club? There’s really no excuse when you can run instant polls on your Facebook page or club website.

2. Triggered emails. Do you send members an email that makes additional offers after they’ve made a reservation or tee-time on your website? If not, you’re missing a great opportunity to keep your name in front of a member who’s planning to visit the club. Private Club Marketing can assist you with setting this up with your existing website/email platform.

3. Text marketing. Find out what members want by texting them a question. Then, send them a coupon for a discount on that item. This one’s particularly useful for those Gen-X and -Y customers, many of whom don’t seem to use email anymore.

4. What your competition isn’t doing. Analyze what creative golf marketing methods your competitors are using, and look for the holes. Be somewhere they’re not — maybe on the local chamber of commerce, Instagram or even bringing back the printed club newsletter.

5. Don’t just network — host an event. Hosting an event is a powerful way to get known by a lot of people at once. Why? Everybody comes over to thank the host.

6. Referral rewards. This one’s an oldie but goodie that’s still around because it works. Let members know you’ll reward them if they send you a prospective member, and turn your members into your marketing team on the cheap.

7. Simplify. Remember that too many marketing messages confuse members, especially as you spread them across various marketing channels. Try to pare down to three choices in all aspects of your marketing, from how many fonts you use to how many times you follow up.

Tips for Creating a Successful Private Club Membership Marketing Plan

Want to realize membership strategies to market your private club more effectively? Here are a few tips for creating a successful membership marketing plan

Why would I need a membership marketing plan?

Whether you run a small, single club, a medium sized one, or a large management company, whether your club is newly founded or well-tried, there are certain daily challenges that you, as a club marketer, must inevitably face. These include driving member referrals, satisfying member demands, and achieving business goals. Such business goals should not come into being randomly or just by gut feelings. Rather, your marketing plan should be the basis of your corporate agitation. The process you should follow, in creating your marketing strategy, will be outlined for you in this article.

Make sure your membership marketing plan doesn’t become a monster, but rather is constructive and focused on the most important elements. There is no point in investing hours and hours of work into a plan just to disregard it in the end. In order to achieve your personal business goals, the membership marketing plan you devise should be something you can use in your daily operations. There are several things you should pay attention to when composing it. This means that full concentration and sufficient time are required when you sit down to devise this plan. However, the act of creating the plan alone is of course not sufficient. Your membership marketing plan should at the very least be updated regularly (say once a year) and be coherent with the general business strategy. This brief article should give you a rough understanding of how to create a private club membership marketing plan, and eventually serve you as a tool to sustain your position within the harshly competitive private club business.

Preconditions for a membership marketing plan

In order to determine precise marketing goals, you should already have formulated a clear business strategy. To do so, it is important to observe your club from a bird’s-eye view and to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who are our members and target audiences?
  • Why should prospective members join out club verse our competitors? What advantages do we offer our members?
  • Who are our competitors?
  • What are we specialized in? How are we differentiating ourselves from our competitors? In which departments and amenities are we better?
  • What are our products and services – and for which of them did we receive positive or negative feedback?
  • What are some weaknesses of our club?
  • What is our philosophy / our vision?

You should have convincing answers at hand for these questions. Only then can you begin drafting precise goals for your marketing strategy, defining concrete demands to be achieved over a specific period. Those goals must be formulated in such a way that they are verifiable and controllable. Maybe you want to increase membership inquiries from your website by 5%, or you want to strengthen your presence on social networks. By choosing specific targets, you can later measure your performance. Do not forget to define and include budgets for marketing measures into your calculation. In the end, it’s all about making those measures worthwhile for you and your club.

Create specific marketing measures

You have taken an important first step by doing a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis as well as defining a business strategy. By now, you are getting ready to actually start working on your membership marketing plan. That includes developing certain measures for the following categories – the so-called four P’s.

  • Product
  • Price
  • Promotion
  • Place

It is highly recommended that you do some sort of brainstorming with different managers from respective departments of your club. Hear everyone’s opinion, let them speak, and be open and even eager for new ideas. Afterward, you can – either on your own or with your team – make a cost-benefit analysis of the various ideas. Those measures that show great promise for your budget can then be included in your membership marketing plan. Concrete examples of frequently used elements could be:

  • Club logo / business cards
  • Direct mailing / Club Newsletter
  • Presence on social networks
  • Online Advertisements

Concrete measures must be formulated precisely and be achievable within a certain time frame. Do not hesitate to be ambitious here, but do stay down-to-earth. Often, multiple small steps are necessary if one wants to achieve a single, bigger goal. Always keep your target audience in mind and set up a logical agenda, coherent with your business strategy. Share your membership marketing plan with all of your employees, letting them know that they are a part of this plan and have contributed to its development.

This process also has the advantage of giving different departments the chance to better understand the work of their colleagues, as they search to include everyone into a general business strategy.

Performance review

Your membership marketing plan should be your guide into the future. As such, you should constantly challenge the goals determined within. In the fast-shifting club business, a correct analysis of the situation and the related goals one day can be outdated and irrelevant overnight. Internal changes can have an impact on a club and its marketing efforts, of course, but so can shifts in the social, political and economic environment your club is attached to. Keeping your plan up to date doesn’t mean that you need to hire economic and political experts, but you should pay attention to external events and be ready to adapt when necessary.

A performance review offers valuable clues as to the effectiveness and profitability of your business strategies and marketing efforts.

Somewhere between the constant optimization and adjustment of your strategies and the necessary patience to let your ideas come into being, you might find the secret to an effective membership marketing plan. Control your success regularly by looking at numbers and stats, as well as by organizing team meetings. It is the only way to ensure that you achieve the goals as you’ve set them out in your membership marketing plan.

Final words

A membership marketing plan supports you and your club in different ways. Not only does it help you gain new prospects and turn one-time guests into new members, it also helps you embed unclear and indefinite business goals into concrete frameworks, and eventually to implement them with well thought out measures.

As a first step, it is important to develop and formulate a general business strategy, essential for your club to position itself properly. In due course, you and some handpicked coworkers should also determine some clear business objectives, from which you can deduce certain marketing measures.

From there, things get more elaborate as you have to put your – to this point still purely theoretical – membership marketing plan into practice. From here you need to be patient, as well as vigilant of how your strategies will fit your day in, day out work processes. Ideally, you want to create an action plan for and with your employees to describe how exactly you want your ideas to be applied.

Once you’ve managed to successfully implement the membership marketing plan into your daily workflows, you must not forget to carefully observe the impact of your measures. Not until your strategies bring about real improvements, your employees work together to realize objectives, and you’ve managed to prove a profit, can you consider the implementation of your membership marketing plan completed successfully. Until that happens, be critical, do not hesitate to challenge formulated goals and adapt them to altered circumstances. This is the only way for you to guarantee – whether you happen to run a small single club, a medium sized one or a large management company – that you have done everything in your power to tap into the full potential of your club and membership.

5 Takeaways from the Florida Membership Marketing Summit

For anyone working in membership sales and club marketing, there was no better place to be this May than the Inaugural Florida Membership Marketing Summit. Held in Naples, Fl the event was an opportunity to learn and share with other membership thought leaders and practitioners working to promote membership at over 80 resort, golf, yacht and country clubs. This year, it was encouraging to see five different presentations that featured customer service, social selling, and marketing technologies. The summit also served as a great opportunity to learn about some of the challenges and opportunities in the private club industry, specific to Florida.

Here are five quick takeaways from the Summit:

Customer Service is a Contact Sport
Getting your club staff to recognize that they are part of the membership sales and retention process. From remembering names to preferences, to a simple smile. Here are the 5-E’s to improve your customer experience.

Club’s Need a Multi-Faceted Marketing Strategy
Susan Green from the Oaks Club put together a panel of experts on club marketing. From social media to curated content in print, web, and video all need to be part of your marketing strategy moving forward. When establishing a marketing plan be sure to include ways to show ROI for every dollar spent. If you cannot give definitive ROI and tracking, move on. Here are some great ways Private Club Marketing can assist your club to execute its marketing strategy.

Automated Chatbots are an Asset to Signing New Business
Setting up automated chatbots to answer simple questions like “when is Taco Tuesday? Or, what’s the Dress Code?” can drastically improve member and guest communication and free your membership and admin team up from these daunting questions that members constantly reach out to ask you. In addition, a non-automated chatbot can allow you to connect with more website visitors looking for membership and event information. Check out Private Club Marketing’s website for an example of how Chatbot’s work. CLICK HERE

Your Club Should be on Social Media (Regardless of non-profit status)
Whether you like it or not, most of your members are already on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Fish where the fish are! Try to limit advertising all the time on your posts (especially if your a not-for-profit club). Members want to see what’s coming up and been happening at your club – share those and watch your social media engagement grow. Here’s our Social Media Tips for Private Clubs.

Elevate your PR Strategy
Have new and exciting things coming up at your club that you want the local paper to write about? Be sure it’s newsworthy to the public and not just your members. Start fostering relationships with your favorite writers, bloggers, and photographers sooner than later (recommend before you start a major renovation or announcement). When submitting news to your local paper it’s best practices to have a press release already written and completed for the paper’s editorial team. That way they have most of the work done and may just need to follow up on a quote or 2 from your press release.

10 Creative Club Marketing Ideas for November

November is upon us, and what better way to kick off a new month than with a list of great creative club marketing ideas? Here are some ways to boost your marketing efforts for the month of November!

1. Movember/No Shave November

Movember or No Shave November is a movement for men’s health issues. Participants can sign up here and are encouraged to grow a mustache for November to bring awareness and raise donations for men’s health and cancers. Some clubs host Movember competitions among members and outside guests. Movember is a fun way to host contests or showcase your facial hair for men’s health on social media. Get involved with the many millennials who participate on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Palos Verdes Golf Club will play host venue for South Bay Mo Bros golf tournament on Movember 13th.

2. Veteran’s Day (November 11)

Vereran’s Day is November 11 and comes up fast! Schools may have off, and many workplaces close. This is an excellent time for your club to make a push on social media thanking veterans for their hard work and sacrifice for our country. If you have a veteran who works for you, showcase them on your website. A simple “Thank You” goes a long way and lets members know that you care about people, not just sales.

3. America Recycles Day (November 15)

November 15 is America Recycles Day and a great day for showing that your club cares about the environment. Does your club recycle? Include some facts on your social media or suggestions on your website on how to recycle. If you don’t already, now is a great time to start! Get a recycling bin out on the golf course or tennis courts and let members know that you’re taking steps to help improve the environment for everyone! Participate in America Recycles social media efforts (#AmericaRecyclesDay and #RecyclingSelfie) to showoff your recycling efforts and encourage others to do the same!

4. Charity

Movember gets a lot of attention, but November is also host to other awareness efforts like lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and adoption awareness. Have your club members been affected by any of these issues or do they feel strongly about these causes? Make a difference and help raise awareness this November using social media. Some club marketing ideas have taken on the Great American Smokeout where people pledge to quit smoking. Help support someone you know who is trying to quit!

5. Sports

November is a time when the NFL, NHL, and NBA are in full swing! Show off your team spirit by dressing up in team jerseys or decorating your club on game nights with team colors. Know of members to the game? Ask them to tweet about it or share pictures from a game. Showing personality and friendly competition is a great way to market your club!

The Charlotte City Club has a unique amenity called the Gridiron Club, where former NFL players (including Superbowl champions) form a panel to discuss the games every Monday during the season.

6. Be Thankful

November is the month of Thanksgiving so don’t forget to give thanks. Post what you’re thankful for on social media and ask members to participate–make sure thank your members for their support!

7. Holiday Buying Guides

December will come soon enough, and members are starting to shop for the holidays. Now is the time to start marketing with gift guides, either in written or video form on your blog, to help members shop for the special people in their lives.

8. Food Drives

It’s easy to get caught up in planning for Thanksgiving but don’t forget those who aren’t as fortunate. Hosting a food drive is a great thing to do to help others enjoy the holiday who are struggling to make ends meet. Encourage members to donate canned or non-perishable food. A few more club marketing ideas include; offering a discount on a service to members who bring in a bag of food. Host a contest where each can of food gives participants a chance to win. Donate the food to a local food pantry, church, or charitable organization and give back to the community. See Orange County membership and catering managers at local soup kitchen.

The Eagle Rock Yacht Club is hosting it’s 5th annual Food Drive in collaboration with the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank to collect 300lbs of canned foods for those in need.

9. Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is the holiday star of November and a great chance to showcase some of your club marketing ideas. Offer specials in your restaurant or cooking classes for great Thanksgiving side dishes or how to use leftovers after the holiday. If your club has a fitness center, your club can host or participate in Thanksgiving races or an after-Thanksgiving boot camp class! The content opportunities for Thanksgiving are plentiful! Here are some creative posters we’ve created for other clubs >> Click Here

10. Small Business Saturday (November 25)

Small Business Saturday is November 25, if your club offers outside play or dining reservations this is a great way to get your business recognized. Register your business HERE and make a push on social media and your website for supporting small businesses!

You also might like:

7 Creative Golf Marketing Ideas to Make your Club Stand Out

Wimbledon Tennis Party Season

The British tennis season is upon us, with the Wimbledon tournament finally under-way. Dust off your tennis whites and host a get-together complete with tennis-themed party games, smashing food and plenty of strawberries and cream, inspired by the All-England Club. Private Club Marketing can assist you with membership event ideas & creative marketing to drive member usage.

See samples below and reach out to us, for more information by clicking HERE!

5 Steps to Start Marketing Your Summer Pipeline

I had two membership director conversations already this week reminding them to ensure they are focused on building their summer membership and marketing pipeline. In one case, the club was excited about the event they just completed and the opportunities they found, yet they had no events scheduled for May or June!

It is the job of sales leadership to have a 90-day and beyond vision into pipeline marketing and membership sales planning. Now is the time to make sure there are extra efforts in your membership and marketing plans to increase your visibility.

What kinds of programs or activity are you launching in the next 60- 90 days to make sure your summer is busy?

I have simply built a list to help you think through your options, and I would like our readers to certainly add their thoughts and ideas as well. Let’s all work together to ensure mutual success.

1. Hunt your existing membership base: hold Member Appreciation events, make sure you have a plan to contact each new member and offer to get them connected into the club and to bring a non-member friend along.

2. Ask your vendors for idea’s and find out what other organizations are using to increase activity.

3. Schedule outreach (prospecting) events for regional access; if you cover a large area or even a single city, schedule morning events in two separate areas, one day apart. One might be on the North side of your city, the second in the South (as an example). As you prospect, make sure prospects (and your membership committee) know of both events – this will make it easy for them to attend or pass along a referral. Example; We had a club cater an open house and had the realtor invite her most recent ten client couples to visit. The next night we hosted a prospective member open house at the Club.

4. Buy a new database and create a fun mailing and use oversized postcards. ***Private Club Marketing can help with this***

5. Have your Membership Director block a minimum of two hours a week to prospect new opportunities. Great examples: museum openings, chamber of commerce meetings and important non-profit marketing committee meetings (many of your members sit on these boards – just ask).

These are just a few to start the dialogue; the key is to make it happen-Now!

What are your ideas?

7 Special Suggestions for Mothers Day Marketing Ideas

If you’re still working on ideas for marketing your club and promoting specific events or services for Mother’s Day, this list of seven marketing ideas for Mother’s Day can help you put the finishing touches on your plan.

In the U.S., Mother’s Day falls on the second Sunday of May each year. A successful Mother’s Day marketing plan can drive inquiries for membership that successfully attracts prospects who are looking to join a private club – your personalized, thoughtful or unique Mother’s Day offerings might be exactly what they’ve been looking for.

1. A Beverage-Based Bevy of Beautiful Babes

From tea parties to coffee klatches to wine tastings – it’s often more about who you are with than what you are doing. Host a ladies or family-friendly event to honor one or many moms in May.

2. Suggest Something Simply Chic

It’s likely that many of your Members would love to get something truly unique for their mom, wife, grandmother, aunt – any of the women they want to honor on Mother’s Day – but they simply can’t think of anything that fits the bill.

Create a list of simply chic unique or one-of-a-kind Mother’s Day gift ideas from your business and promote during the weeks leading up to May 14 on your website, lobby displays, social networks and email marketing.

3. Feature Future Finds

Promote your newest pro shop products or spa services for Mother’s Day to support launch efforts. Nothing new? Read on, and use old things in new colors to boost member interest this May.

4. Tempt and Tantalize with Tinted Trends

Whether you have new promotions, services or products, the chances are that you can create Mother’s Day promotions around events that come in the freshest trend colors for spring and summer 2017. Create colorful, eye-catching displays in your club lobby and online to get the attention of your members.

5. Embrace Entrepreneurial Expansion

This could be the perfect time to expand your retail with new point of sale displays, accessories and other impulse buy items that can boost average ticket sales and provide you with perfect gift ideas for moms.

6. Provide Products that are – or can be – Personalized to Perfection

Few moms fail to appreciate gifts that are personalized with their kids names or photos; and these days, just about anything can be personalized! Even gift and greeting cards can be personalized to convey the message that someone went the extra mile when choosing this year’s Mother’s Day gift.

7. Design a Delightful Dalliance

Whether it’s a relaxing experience for mom by herself or for a special mom along with her kids, spouse or another loved one, designing an experience that can be sold as a Mother’s Day gift makes perfect sense.

6 Ways to Attract More Members Through Cross-Promotion this Easter

To stand out to your Members in a crowded advertising marketplace this Easter, cross-promotions have the potential for a big payoff both for increased usage by your Club, and member satisfaction by your Membership. Cross-promotions can gain an inexpensive and credible introduction to your Members more efficiently than traditional “solo” methods of advertising, or PR.

Here are some low-risk and high-opportunity ways to jump-start your first cross-promotion.

  1. Print joint promotional messages on your receipts.
  2. Offer a reduced price, special service, or convenience if Members make reservations at certain events, or buy products from you pro shop or fitness center.
  3. Hang signs or posters promoting your featured upcoming event, but also include a “save the date” section.
  4. Drop 5×7 postcard promotions in kid’s Easter Baskets.
  5. Send featured reminder emails about Easter Sunday, with 2 of your next events and promotions included below the feature.
  6. Encourage your staff to mention your upcoming events and ask Members if they are planning to attend.

Best Practices for Private Club Membership and Marketing

The near and long-term rewards to taking the following steps are much more rewarding best practices for club marketing and memberships.

If you Google “best practices” for practically any form of private club marketing or membership campaign—print, e-mail, or social media—the word “relevance” is sure to come up. Simply put, your messages need to resonate with your audiences. Sounds obvious enough, but how do you execute these best practices for club marketing?

The answer is not as easy as, say, mailing out a general membership e-mail to 1,000 members, past members and prospects to diminishing effect. But the near- and long-term rewards to taking the following steps are much. much more rewarding.

Relevance should be the primary goal of your private club marketing and membership engagement strategies. Everything else (including response and donation levels) can only happen if the message is interesting enough to open and the reader is sticking around for the story.

We like to think of relevance as the hub of a wheel with 8 spokes that are critical to keeping your campaigns rolling. If any of the spokes are weak or missing, your marketing won’t be as effective.

The 8 Spokes on the Wheel of Relevance:

  1. Segments – Hopefully, you are segmenting your members into lists (active members, past members, prospects, etc.). Have you gone beyond the basics to see if you can create sub-segments? The more you can personalize your message, the better the response will be. For example, can you identify members who constantly visit the club but rarely spend and those that come less frequent but spend more and tailor your messaging accordingly?
  2. Offer – The other advantage to defining and refining your segments is that you can fine-tune your offer to resonate more fully with each audience. Maybe you can incentivize those non-use members to bring a guest with them by providing premium benefits. These might include an invitation to a special cocktail party or acknowledgment for their support over the years.
  3. Story – If you had 8 seconds to get your members’ attention and tell them why they should refer a friend to join, or attend an event, what would you say? The best place to start a private club marketing appeal is with a compelling headline that draws the reader in. Follow your headline up by telling a story that describes the campaign, establish why the recipient should want to participate (appeals to their emotions). Your club may be focused on many initiatives, but resist the urge to try to share them all—you’ll only turn off the recipient. Make sure every single word is focused on the campaign at hand.
  4. Proof – What are your clubs latest triumphs? Sharing them is an excellent way to keep active members engaged and help prospects or past members get involved. Do you have statistics or testimonials that help prove the effectiveness of your program? Create a sidebar or graph to shine a spotlight on your success. People scan e-mails, blogs, and printed materials before they dig deeper. Make sure your proof points pop off the page.
  5. Call to Action – The biggest mistake many clubs makes is not making it clear why people should join or refer their friends to your club—NOW. Create a sense of urgency. You are competing not only against your recipient’s leisure dollar, but every other form of advertising they are being subjected to on a given day. You need to encourage them to act when you have their attention. This also means repeating your call to action several times in the same communication—particularly in your e-mails and on your website. The more buttons and text links the better. Take a page out of the best of breed consumer marketing playbook. Look at e-mails you receive from retailers. They weave many ways for the customer to buy throughout their promotions. You should do the same.
  6. Measurement – How do you measure success? The number of new members? The number of referrals? A combination of the two? Do you have a system in place for measuring results and tracking them over time? If you don’t, your campaigns will be run more on intuition than fact. That doesn’t bode well for the longevity of any organization.
  7. Post Mortem – When the campaign is over, how do you share what worked and what didn’t and who gets to contribute to the discussion? It’s a shame that many people with institutional knowledge aren’t given the opportunity to help make things better by participating in a post mortem. There’s nothing like a “shut the phones off, 3-hour honest assessment while the data is fresh” meeting to generate ideas and get the team fired up about the next promotion. Distribute the notes from this session, so you can:
  8. Implement Learnings – Your campaigns should continually evolve to take advantage of your recent learnings and fine tune your messages to each of your membership segments. Doing more of what works and less of what doesn’t is the best way to achieve success and maximize your return on investment.

Content Marketing for Private Clubs

Content Marketing for Private Clubs: Why Private Clubs Must Resort to Creating Content Like Media Companies

Creating compelling content that engages and entertains consumers has stayed a top priority for businesses for years. That’s why every business, including private clubs, must treat their brand like a media firm and develop interesting content that keeps consumers engaged. But with tastes and trends constantly changing, it can be difficult to determine the definition of content. This is a key question for clubs and hotels, which use valuable time and resources to create the kinds of content that can retain current customers and reach prospective guests. Hospitalitynet.org shared why hotel brands should create content that captures consumers’ attention; we’ve edited to be club specific.

Arriving at Content for Millennials, Mobile Users, and Modern Members

Today, content is viewed as a means to connections. It’s all about helping consumers feel connected to a brand, a lifestyle, a status, and other like-minded members. It’s about expressing the ways a brand reflects a member’s interests and views through its offerings, experiences, value, and convenience. And now more than ever, all of a club’s content must be designed to connect on both broad and personal levels.

But with so many forms of content competing for people’s attention, how can a club make its content stand out? By developing content marketing, that’s engaging and entertaining.

Some club management companies like ClubCorp are achieving these goals through traditional media like Private Clubs Magazine filled with interesting articles. And Marriott International is opting to use new media sources, such as its Digital Content Studio filled with feature films, along with Snapchat campaigns and blogs.

Keys to Developing Content Marketing for Private Clubs Like a Media Company

Media companies know that content must be compelling, continual, and consistent to connect with consumers. All this takes is creativity and surprisingly little expense or effort. The best content comes across as authentic and natural, so try to film on the property and convey the experience at each destination. Consider these savvy sources of content for your hospitality marketing:

•   Post candid club snapshots on Instagram.

•   Produce “insider” videos of club operations, with mobile devices.

•   Film interviews with staff members who can offer great golf, dining, wine, etiquette or fashion tips.

•   List must-attend events recommended menu items or cocktails to attract and inform your members and prospects.

•   Livestream live entertainment and events using Periscope or Facebook Live.

•   Profile each hotel department to offer behind-the-scenes secrets.

•   Spotlight favorite staff members to make them familiar to members.

•   Ask followers for feedback on the kinds of content they want to see.

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