Occupancy. For some, this word brings to mind images of bustling clubhouses, happy customers, and tee times booked weeks in advance. For others, it summons pictures of vacant greens, empty bars, and grumpy players. Whatever the image that is seen, every course manager must at some point in their career get golfers on the course. It may come easy to some, but for the rest of us who wonder at times what to do to get more players on the course, this book has the answers.
To take the stress off out of occupancy, we made an ebook that shows how some simple marketing moves can help fill your tee times. Covering topics from social media strategy to SEO (search engine optimization), this book will take your club or course to a whole new level.
For the next 2 weeks, we'll release 2 chapters from the ebook per week on our blog. When its done, we'll release the full thing so you can download it and apply its ideas at your course!
Ready to go? We sure hope you are, because what you’ll find inside is the accumulation of years of marketing experience, all customized for you. Let’s begin!
Three lies (and truths) about reaching new players
We tell ourselves stories every day, and while many of them are true, some lies tend to creep in to our minds every once in a while. This chapter takes a look at some of the most prevalent lies about reaching new customers, and the simple truth that will refute that negative thinking.
The lie: We can’t reach new customers because marketing is hard.
The truth: Marketing can be simple.
Often, when people think of marketing, they often think of detailed strategies, high-quality content, and mystifying digital tools. For many course managers, this kind of depth seems unattainable in their busy lives. They are up to their neck in the day-to-day happenings and the thousand little problems that arise at their course, and at the end of the day, they want to get home and relax, not sit down, think about a marketing strategy, and create content.
And while it does take an expert to make a campaign, in today’s technology-soaked world, there are thousands of options for the average person to become a successful marketer. From email automation to loyalty rewards, many seasoned marketing experts have put their time and effort into creating simple, affordable, and accessible apps and software that takes a huge load off managers’ shoulders in terms of reaching new customers. While it may still be necessary to create a strategy about how to reach customers, the content and execution of that strategy can be completely automated.
The lie: Figuring out social media is impossible.
The truth: Anyone can manage social media.
Social media connects our world like never before, and the golf world is no exception. From general services like Facebook and Instagram to golf-specific ones like 18Birdies, golfers are getting online in ever-increasing numbers. These platforms present golf courses an incredible opportunity to market themselves in non-threatening ways, but the plethora of platforms and seemingly endless options for messaging can be confusing and frustrating.
Fortunately, there are a few simple guidelines that you can follow to maximize your online presence and make social marketing wildly effective. We’ll talk more about that in chapter 3, but for now know that it is possible and simple to manage your courses online persona.
The lie: Our course just isn’t well-designed.
The truth: Experience design is better than course design.
Prestigious courses often tout the fame of their designer, plastering their name on every promotion, playing card, and plaque possible. But the truth is that as great an experience it is to be on those courses, not every golfer lives next to Torrey Pines or Bethpage, nor can afford to go there all the time. Affordable courses provide a great service to all those who want to get some rounds in without paying an arm and a leg (which makes it very hard to golf anyway).
But one thing that makes customers loyal to a course more than where the bunker is on hole 10 is their experience with the course. In one study, researchers found that after one negative experience, 51% of customers will never do business with that company again, and other studies suggest it’s as high as 90%. The same study found that after having a positive experience with a company, 77% of customers would recommend it to a friend, and most recommend it to 5-6 friends. Creating an incredible customer experience is an indispensable investment, because rather than having to go out and get new customers, you simply keep the ones you have.
Though there are definitely more misconceptions about reaching new customers and boosting occupancy, these ones are among the most common, and dealing with them will allow you to begin your ideal marketing strategy and rest easy at night.
Come back next week for Chapter 2!
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