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 Digital Marketing Strategies for 2019 that Private Clubs & Golf Resort Brands Should Invest In

Digital marketing for private clubs and golf resorts is a complex operation because, if done correctly, it relies on multiple strategies running in sync to achieve a common goal. When the focus is on the golf and hospitality industry, this becomes even more challenging because digital marketing must improve internal goals like ADR to improve a club or resort’s GOP.

So why is club marketing in 2019 any different? Remember that more than 90% of your members and guests go to Google in search of their ideal club or golf course property. Meaning your content must appease Google’s best practices while remaining highly relevant in targeting your ideal members and guests.

In 2018 there were several Google algorithm updates that impact how clubs and golf resort properties appear in the search engine today. On top of this, your target audiences no longer inquire on a whim; they engage in tons of online research before that first call is made. From reading review sites to downloading golf guides on luxury resorts, to reading blogs and engaging current and past guests on social media platforms, your ideal customer invests a great deal of time and energy into making a final decision. This is why partnering with a club focused digital marketing agency that has the technology and experience to run a comprehensive growth marketing strategy is paramount to achieving goals and improving your clubs membership and revenue goals.

With more than 15 years of club marketing industry experience, we decided to share some of the strategies we use to help our club partners achieve their goals. This article is meant to assist private clubs and their executive teams in recognizing the value in working with a club marketing team, while also sharing some of our strategies and approaches for those who want to try these tactics internally. These hacks and tips can be powerful weapons for private clubs in 2019, seeking to dominate their industry and outperform their competitors.

Utilizing Facebook in an SEO Strategy, the Right Way

The way SEO and Facebook will work together in 2019 has changed from previous years. In an attempt to limit commercial content from Facebook’s news feed, Zuckerberg came forward in January 2018 stating that reducing the amount of this content would be a main focus in order to increase content shared by friends and family.

When commercial content gets shared, liked, and clicked, powerful social signals are sent to Google, letting the search engine know that people favor the content. As a result, the website’s domain authority goes up, as well as ranking for keywords and terms in general. This means old strategies won’t be as efficient. Not to say that SEO has no place working alongside Facebook. On the contrary, there are tons of leads and bookings that can be generated from a SEO Facebook hybrid strategy. The logic behind the strategy and its working points need to be reset to work in line with the way Google’s algorithm has evolved, and how Facebook’s filter has changed.

So what does this mean for club marketing? This: generating clicks from user-shared content as opposed to the automation of commercial content (though automating content on Facebook still holds value) is the better play for 2019 IF organic search optimization is part of the overarching strategy. When executing an SEO / Facebook club marketing campaign, the best digital marketing agencies create Facebook user profiles that mirror their client’s ideal member persona. Hospitality marketers use these and participate in social groups that focus on the golf, club and hospitality industry where conversational strategies are initiated to extract data to help improve content marketing and audience targeting tactics. In addition such strategies also engage users while sharing content in a natural manner that advocates the precise club property targeting ideal people likely to convert. A conversation strategy is laid out to work with any personality type that might engage in the conversation, and a goal exists to either convert that person into a lead, a booked guest, or an advocate of the property. By sharing target content, SEO can improve, as can direct bookings. This can have a profound impact and proven return on your investment, and is worth running within the parameters of 2019 SEO considerations and Facebook’s newly enhanced filter on commercial content.

Define the Right Budget Necessary for Achieving Growth Marketing Goal

The marketing budget must be allocated within the arena of an agile environment that can weather the usual and unexpected storms that naturally come in a competitive space. In the last few years most clubs have made big shifts in their budget from offline channels like print advertising to more measurable online marketing channels. But with all the various digital marketing channels comes the challenge of knowing which ones will best reach your audiences, how to leverage them with other strategies and tools, and how to weave them into the overall strategy while on pace to get a healthy ROI. Without a logic-forward framework and the ability to select and align the right marketing channels, chaos can erupt wasting time and dollars.

Private club digital marketing agencies prove to be extremely valuable in helping hospitality brands overcome the challenges of budget allocation across channels. Unless your club has a limitless budget, this won’t be a challenge. But the reality is that any serious club has a budget even if to track their growth and the pace to hit goals while always remaining cognizant that budget dilution across digital marketing channels causes multiple internal issues.

Budget dilution occurs when marketers allocate small amounts of a budget across a wide number of channels as opposed to taking a higher chunk of the budget and using it in a more impactful manner through a carefully selected, customized singular strategy that lives in a multi-channel approach where various strategies leverage one another–something the best club digital marketing agencies are known for controlling.Budget dilution occurs when marketers allocate small amounts of a budget across a wide number of channels as opposed to taking a higher chunk of the budget and using it in a more impactful manner through a carefully selected, customized singular strategy that lives in a multi-channel approach where various strategies leverage one another–something the best club digital marketing agencies are known for controlling.

Creating Owned Assets

Your marketing strategy should work to not only attract and convert the right audiences, but bring in data that helps create and grow owned assets used to ensure audience targeting is always relevant thus enabling a strategy that continues to target the needs of your guests. The goal isn’t to create content and tactics that are entirely evergreen, as the club industry and its buyers evolve too quickly. However, most buyer-needs remain consistent and this is where owned assets can add a ton of value to your marketing investment.

Email databases are one of the most valuable owned assets in the world of hospitality marketing. In order to create high-quality email lists that can be segmented into unique cohorts each having their own lead nurturing workflow, customer insights must first be extrapolated in order to create the right kind of content that generates leads. For example, high-quality blogs paired with the right technology and topic-specific downloadable content can capture information on people and convert them into high-quality leads that already reveal topics they care about along with their perceived expectations. These insights will allow for segmentation thus giving your email database more value.

Email Marketing, with Automation Technology, Can Be a Powerful Tool

Email has a bad reputation as being an over-used marketing tool. But if done correctly so not to spam recipients, it is known to be one of the most powerful tools in club marketing. The more bad emails clubs send out, the lower the open rate is. It’s simply the consequence of poorly-thought, rushed email blasts that fail to resonate with potential guests.

We already talked about how owned assets, such as valuable email lists, are crucial for private clubs. In order to execute a winning email marketing strategy, you need a high-quality list with content going out that your leads care about. But keep in mind your best email contacts are likely contacts in several competitor databases. This means creating the right content within a workflow with an effective cadence that targets the right groups is key, and something that club marketing agencies offering growth stacks do extremely well thanks to the advanced competitor insight technology they are known for offering their clients.

We recently worked with a luxury development group in the midwest to help them pinpoint data that matters to get a more focused sense of their customers and the solutions they are looking for when researching 2nd home private club properties. Real estate firms and clubs can acquire tons of data, but most of it falls through the cracks due to poorly trained internal teams, and a lack of technology (common pain point).

Our process involved implementing a powerful CRM and analytics tracking tool that recorded and mapped out all the digital touch-points guests went through while exploring the website, as well as the journey they went through to find the website. There was an immediate impact once the data was farmed, analyzed, and used to optimize the website all while the Growth Stack worked to create personalized content strategies, then fueled by automation. The volume of customer data more than tripled in a matter of weeks, and logic-based content addressing newly discovered buyer pain points saw an increase in website traffic, and more importantly, leads that converted to real sales. In addition, being able to pinpoint direct revenue from individual strategies and channels helped improve the marketing budget’s effectiveness.

Club Digital Marketing Growth Stacks

We have briefly touched on how using a multi-channel approach for attracting and converting guests is a core part of any club marketing strategy. And this is exactly what a club digital marketing Growth Stack entails (as well as the other strategies covered in this article). Keep in mind that a Growth Stack is a customized set of tools and strategies designed to run in synch to achieve a common goal (or set of goals). Private Club Marketing’s Growth Stack uses a logic grounded in understanding how your customers engage with your club property’s content, and any content related to your industry. Then, using a multi-channel approach, club marketing agencies attract, educate, and convert leads in a timely manner while staying within budget.

While your competitors are likely investing in paid media, SEO and social media strategies there is likely zero communication from one strategy to the other. And when multiple strategies don’t talk to one another, lead quality and flow often takes a dip. This is where clubs that partner with savvy digital marketing agencies can soar above the competition by capitalizing on their weakness. Remember, Growth Stacks empower private clubs to maximize every arm of their marketing strategy while leveraging others all within the same approach. As a result, time is saved, investment is kept within budget, and valuable data can be harvested and used to continue the process thus ensuring the strategy remains relevant and hyper focused to resonate with your ideal guests.

As technology advances, so too does the way your ideal guests search for private clubs and golf resort properties. These are the five main strategies Private Club Marketing generally utilizes in a customized approach for every client running them together to empower business growth for exceptional clubs and resorts. But based on your unique goals and customers, other tactics can be added for maximum results and ROI. In order to stay competitive, clubs must be up to date in their methods for attracting and converting leads, and the Growth Stack is the ideal master strategy that offers measurable results.

12 Creative Golf Influencers Accounts You Should Be Following

As more and more people and companies in the golfing space have started making noise about Instagram, we at Private Club Marketing have curated a list of accounts you should be following.

With golf looking for more ways to attract a younger demographic Instagram’s platform is perfect for getting your message out to the loyal young followers of your club and course.

Naturally, we decided to jump on and find out what the fuss was all about.

It’s fun, simple, visual and addictive. What’s more, it’s unlike any other social platform. It is unrehearsed and offers behind the scenes insight into the daily lives of golfers that the other platforms can’t replicate.

It feels very private and in the moment. This is what makes it so good. It’s also what makes it hard to find decent accounts to follow. Instagram is not designed to be a viral platform. Unless you know who to follow, it will be a ghost town for you.

Here’s a list of the best we’ve found make sure you check them out, and let us know if we should add anyone to the list.

Rory McIlroy

@

I hit a little white ball around a field sometimes!

 
 
 
 
 
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The Ultimate Preppy College Books

Our top 10 preppy must read books that have been inspired up throughout the ages from the hallowed wings of the campuses of America’s elite, Ivy League universities.

 

 

THIS SIDE OF PARADISE F. SCOTT FITZGERALD: PRINCETON

In the novel that shot Fitzgerald to the limelight, he fictionalises his Princeton youth with the social-climbing misadventures of Amory Blaine, a greedy undergraduate who strongly desires to live in the fast lane. Come for the novel’s august reputation, but stay for the prose—this is Fitzgerald at his lyrical best. (Amazon $6.99)

 

 

BRIDESHEAD REVISITED BY EVELYN WAUGH: OXFORD

In the post-war swan song written to the English aristocracy by Waugh, architectural student Charles Ryder falls totally in love with the blue-blooded Flyte family during a debauched, illusion-shattering summer. What started just as a two Oxford co-eds degrades into a thorny web of Catholic guilt. Before everything goes sour, things were very sweet. (Amazon $10.94)

 

 

ON BEAUTY BY ZADIE SMITH: HARVARD

With a charming setting like Harvard, On Beauty is a modern opus of family dysfunction, tenure war and class war at its finest. In pulling and pushing the Belsey family, Smith explores hallmark classroom themes—generational change, multiculturalism and how identity and love are subject to the passage of time. (Amazon $10.31)

 

 

 

WONDER BOYS BY MICHAEL CHABON: UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH

Underneath a haze of pot, Chabon an American dreamer and satire explores how youthful promise and artistic ambitions grow amiss with age. Expect to fall in love with this novel’s trio of wonder boys: a student obsessed with Hollywood self-destruction, a professor entrapped by his interminable second book and his randy editor. (Amazon $33)

 

 

THE GROVES OF ACADEME BY MARY MCCARTHY: BARD

At McCarthy’s Jocelyn College (a reinterpretation of Bard), The College Groves sees literature lecturer Henry Mulcahy run off the rails upon the termination of his tenure. Only a handful of writers have refashioned the obscure trappings of university faculty quite as faithfully as McCarthy, who skillfully crafts an interdepartmental witch hunt like no other. (Amazon $23.95)

 

 

SMALL BLESSINGS BY MARTHA WOODROOF: SOUTHERN LIBERAL ARTS SCHOOL

Veteran essayist Martha Woodroof in her first novel focusses her attention to a lonesome literature professor charged with the care of his withdrawn mother-in-law. When his friendship with the new-in-town bookstore clerk brought about life-changing news, Woodroof cleverly steers, penetrating narrative about life’s changing directions. (Amazon $7.99)

 

THE BROOM OF THE SYSTEM BY DAVID FOSTER WALLACE: AMHERST

If you don’t like novels with Infinite Jest plot, Wallace’s seminal doorstopper, takes on The Broom of the System first. Written as an undergraduate thesis at Amherst, where the novel intermittently dallies, Wallace tackles talking cockatiels, disappearing nursing home residents and American society on a rampage. What could be more collegiate? (Amazon $12.19)

 

 

THE SECRET HISTORY BY DONNA TARTT: BENNINGTON

As an undergraduate, if you like your fiction bloody and intoxicating, you’ll like Donna’s cerebral page-turner about a cultish group of classics students who break with conventional morality under the influence of their smooth-talking professor. While following the students’ example by taking up Greek if you like, we advise you steer clear of murder. (Amazon $13.39)

 

 

Business Women Are Missing Out By Skipping The Golf Course

Jhaneel Lockhart

As more women move up to senior positions in the workplace, they might need to start spending some time on the golf course. 

“Golf is a great way to build relationships with clients, prospective clients, people within your company,” says Adrienne Wax, co-author of Even Par: How Golf helps Women Gain The Upper Hand In Business. “If you can talk about golf, all of the sudden, you have a reason to talk to the CEO or your boss two levels above you ( via The Glass Hammer).” 

Despite the fact that golfing can increase your relationships and possibly help you get ahead, there’s a reason women aren’t rushing to golf courses en masse.

READ MORE

Private members’ clubs find favour with conscientious Millennials

In the cavernous, smoke-filled rooms of the gentlemen’s clubs of the late 1800s, men would gather after work under the light of gleaming chandeliers, surrounded by fine oriental rugs, wine-coloured Chesterfield sofas and plush wing-back chairs. Here, they could swill whisky, play billiards and relax with like-minded aristocrats.

But these stuffy, labyrinthine clubs have increasingly become monuments to the past as new and exciting players firmly establish themselves as a fixture in the Millennial routine.

In other words, standards are changing: while well-off Millennials still want the prestige and exclusivity offered by private clubs, they are also looking for a holistic lifestyle experience. This could include a technologically advanced workspace, a sophisticated spot in which to network and drink, or a dedicated area for fitness and wellness.

While legacy clubs still exist in dusty old buildings, young entrepreneurs are eschewing the cigars and pageantry in favour of airy, modernised townhouses where business and pleasure blend together seamlessly.

Continue Reading at European CEO

The Tennis Club at Newport Beach partners up with Private Club Marketing

We are pleased to announce Private Club Marketing has entered into a Club Management Partnership with The Tennis Club at Newport Beach, next to Fashion Island and Newport Beach Country Club.

Private Club Marketing will work with the existing ownership and management. Many new improvements are already underway including; resurfacing of tennis courts to US Open Tennis Championship’s quality (with US Open colored courts), addition of 12 Pickleball courts, match arranging, a new food and beverage partnership with Newport Beach Country Club and some great upcoming social member events.

Stay tuned for more exciting updates.

Private Members’ Clubs Give Up Armchairs for Workspaces

Ambience of unalloyed comfort gives way to challenge shared office market

Soon after the launch of London’s lavish private members’ club 12 Hay Hill, its boss Stephanos Issaias had to throw out all the sofas and chairs on one of the floors and replace them with less comfortable seating.

Unlike many traditional private clubs, 12 Hay Hill allows members to mix business and pleasure: laptops and smartphones are permitted in its lounges, luxury serviced offices are available to rent.  But some of its members, who today pay £3,800 a year for the privilege, had complained that the comfy sofas that were perfect for reclining with a drink or a book, were not appropriate “for holding meetings”, according to Mr Issaias.

Such are the dilemmas faced by a new type of club that is springing up in the UK capital. Dubbed “club-working” spaces, these offer the exclusivity and social networking of the City clubs of old, combined with the work-friendly environment of WeWork, the $20bn shared office provider.  The rising popularity of working in places other than traditional offices has been driven by IT that has made it ever easier, and the growing cost of space in London.

The trend is also catching on outside the UK. In the US, city clubs such as Jonathan Club in Los Angeles and New York’s The Union League Club “have been adding co-working areas into their interiors and updating their look to make it more modern” in a bid to attract millennial professionals, according to Zack Bates, chief executive of Private Club Marketing, which promotes clubs and hotels.

Read the full article on the Financial Times: https://www.ft.com/content/292f1f4c-a7aa-11e8-8ecf-a7ae1beff35b

Golf & Entrepreneur Magazine Podcast Interview

Ryan Walker, Publisher of Golf & Entrepreneurship Magazine sat down with Zack Bates for the G&E podcast to talk about how Zack got his start in the golf and club business, and how Private Club Marketing came to be one of the most influential membership advisory firms to Top 100 private clubs and luxury brands throughout the U.S.

Listen to the podcast at the link below, or check it out on iTunesSpotify, or Stitcher.

Click Here to Listen

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