Saturday, December 17, 2011

Please don't tell me 98.4% of your marketing is your website?

Let’s be honest, your website stinks!

You want me to prove it to you?  Well, statistically speaking I can’t because if your like 97% of the Private and Public clubs in America, you don’t track daily, weekly, or even monthly web hits.  Equally worse, you have no idea what specific areas potential members are viewing within your website.  Ugh!

Aesthetically, I can tell you...your landing page is boooooooooooooooring, confusing, disjointed, and the stock template the youngster you traded out a membership for to create your site is sadly past its prime.

Relevant information about your club?  Hard to find or non-existent.

And the pictures taken in 01’ with the clubs 2.1 megapixel camera...looks like they were taken in 2001 with a 2.1 megapixel camera.

When you take into consideration most clubs website is their marketing program, glaring items like the ones pointed out above aren’t sad, they are fatal.

Potential members are looking for a home away from home, and just like the poorly marketed personal residence, if it isn’t presented in the best light, no one will request a showing.  

What should you add immediately to spruce up your site?

1.  A Facebook Button - This simple, free, and powerful medium is your key to the fifty and under crowd (if utilized properly).  When people “click” your Facebook button, they become a “fan” of your club and automatically get live feeds of information you create about your club.  You want to create a lot of buzz and excitement?  This is the perfect tool.  

2.  A Course Tour - I am constantly no longer amazed by the number of clubs that are in horrible financial shape, yet focus on the clubs financial loser, the Restaurant over the financial star, the Golf course.  Are you one of the guilty ones with pictures of your Restaurant, a few more shots of the dishes you serve, and a beautiful rendition of your breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu on a downloadable pdf, but few of your course?  If so, why? People don’t join a Restaurant club with a Golf course.  If your course is truly the star, then let it shine with a shot by shot tour of each hole (bonus points if you ask for an email address to view it).

3.  Your Newsletters - By now, most clubs have probably converted to a downloadable monthly Newsletter, but few clubs actually post them on their website?  Outside of an active Facebook account, nothing puts more personality into your club for the prospective member than a well-written, interesting, and informative newsletter.    

4.  Scrolling pictures of “Hot Buttons” - Can you imagine a television commercial featuring one immovable image with thirty seconds of dialogue playing in the background?  Of course not, but many clubs landing page does that very thing making the users first impression drab.  You want to draw the prospective member in on multiple fronts and I bet your pictures could tell a powerful story if you added this simple feature to your site.

5.  A Summation Statement of Why A Person Should Join Your Club -Can you boast of consistent three to four hour rounds?  A host of weekly events that any handicap can participate in?  A famous design/architectural pedigree you would like to feature, i.e., Ross, Tillinghast, Raynor, or Maxwell?  Do you have a great junior program?  Why not bullet-point all of these “features and benefits” in one place on the off-chance the husband can’t convince his wife simply because he likes the golf course.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Brutally Uncomfortable Question #6

If your restaurant loses money every year, but your golf course makes money...then why does your website have more pictures of the loser than the winner?

Monday, October 10, 2011

It’s all about Sales and Marketing (right?)

A lot of businesses talk about Sales and Marketing.  They speak about how they need to increase it, cut it, make it work better, hire new people to run it...but before making the needed change they say they need, I wonder if they understand how these two functions should work together?

Marketing (my definition) is anything you do on purpose to drive traffic into your business.

Sales is converting traffic into dollars for your business.

In the traditional world of selling, you often hear the term “features and benefits” thrown around, a lot.  Features and benefits are cozy, often bullet-pointed phrases that make people that create them feel good after putting them on a brochure, spreadsheet-style.

Guess what?  

They don’t work.

Members and potential members buy two things:  Increased pleasure and the avoidance of pain.

Pleasure is a predictable pace of play (under four hours).  Pain is slow play (five plus hours).

Pleasure is a culture that respects the course and the game.  Pain is one where you constantly putt over untouched ball-marks and hear obscenities flying from two holes away.

As these relate to Sales and Marketing specifically:

You market your conditioning, you sell putts that hold their line properly over the local muni.

You market your reputation, you sell a membership base that loves and respects the game just like you.

You market a sparsely populated course because play is limited only to members, you sell the speed of the round. 

You market the ease of finding a game with other members, you sell an interactive community.

“This all sounds great, but how do I translate all of this into picking up new members when they visit”?

Great question.

What is the first thing vehicle sales trainees learn?


Nothing is more valuable than a positive experience.  

How does your club treat potential member visits when they come to your “showroom”? 

Do you hand them a shiny brochure with pictures of some of your best holes...or do you take a cart and show them your best holes?

Do you hand them a membership packet...or do you arrange for them to meet and play with similar, demographically selected members who you know will speak highly of the club?

Do you tell them about how you have the “best greens in the area”...or do you walk them out to a few of your greens with a putter and ask them to roll a few balls and let them decide if they are truly the best greens in the area?

Do you brag about how good your restaurant is and hand them a menu...or do you schedule a lunch with the potential member to let them decide for themselves if the food is as good as you say it is?

You wouldn’t buy a car without a test drive, but clubs throughout the country (somehow) expect potential members to join because they played once a few years ago, have a “great reputation” (does anyone ever say they have a bad one), or have it priced right with the latest membership special.

Potential members are looking for an experience that transcends the things written on your brochure or member packet, it is your choice whether you give them a memorable one.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Bane of Poorly Run Clubs

With all of the recent talk of banning or keeping belly/long-putters, (I say ban them, nerves are part of the game) I began wondering...why can’t we get more people playing our great game?

Access?  Nope.  The last two decades have produced more new golf courses than at any time in the games history.

Cost?  Are you kidding me?  Clubs no longer charge initiation fees.  Public golf courses are subsidized by taxpayers and is single-handedly “Wal-marting” privately owned, public access courses.  

Pace?  Ding-ding-ding!  Nothing is worse than showing up on a Saturday or Sunday and finding your 9:00 a.m. tee time is now 9:22 a.m., and everyone within an R11 is moving at a snails pace.  Worse?  When the course allows groups of five ahead of you, “because if we didn’t, they’d play somewhere else and we need the revenue”.  At least that was the explanation a public golf course told my wife and I a few weeks ago when we complained about all of the fivesomes playing on a Saturday morning?

“But we play at a Private club, that never happens”.

Ha!  Think I was told recently (on a busy Friday), “I don’t know why they are playing as fivesomes?  I guess they just teed off how they wanted?”  


When I pressed further about the two fivesomes ahead of me and spoke to the General Manager he said, “who is it” (?) and then said, “Oh, he spends a lot of money at the club”?

Oh.  Got it!  

Me:  “So...should we be allowing fivesomes at all?  Is it o.k. if it is course is less than full or the players are low handicappers, or if they spend enough money, it sounds like they can do whatever they want”?  

G.M.:  “Why don’t you try the back nine”?

What is your clubs policy on fivesomes?

How do you think they would have handled the situation?

Do you think fivesomes under certain circumstances are fine or do you think they make your club look like “Chop Hills”?

I would love to hear your opinions on the topic.