By Victoria Gibson, Lead Designer & Social Media Coordinator for Monaghan Golf Group
Do you use digital marketing at your golf facility? You should be. In my experience in working in the golf industry, I have found the industry to be much slower to embrace this form of marketing than it should.
What is digital marketing? This essential branch of marketing employs a range of digital technologies using the Internet. Using media channels such as websites, email, search engines and social media, companies are able to connect directly with current and prospective customers to sell their product or service.
In the last few years, we have upgraded the design and content of our websites, accumulated numerous emails for our e-newsletters, posted monthly blogs and engaged hundreds of new followers on both Facebook and Instagram. Unsure of the value of this critical form of connecting with customers? Don’t be! Below I share some key points that will convince you why it’s so important to embrace digital marketing.
- Get Social - Using social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram may be daunting but they’re so simple to use and best of all they are FREE. The key is to stay active on them and regularly offer new content with engaging visuals like photographs, videos and the other creative options these platforms offer. Social media gives you the opportunity to connect directly with your market which increases brand awareness, improves brand loyalty and ideally, grows your bottom line. And did I mention it’s FREE?
- Update Your Website - I can’t stress this enough. So many golf facility websites are outdated from both the design and content perspective. Viewers want to find what they’re looking for right away, so don’t make them work for it. Golf offers the opportunity for incredible photos so USE those stunning visuals on your website. Keep your content current and make sure it is presented in an easily-digestible format. Readers’ eyes tend to scan the first few words of each paragraph until they find what they’re looking for. You’re probably doing this right now! Keep sentences short, punchy, and to the point.
- Take Advantage of Online Advertising - If you’re questioning whether online or print advertising is the way to go, go with online. With social media, you can set your own budget, target a location, specify an age range, and even narrow it down to your market’s interests. It can be as cheap as a few bucks to sky’s the limit - it's up to you. Consider Google Adwords and the range of advertising options they offer. With the global shift to an online life, I’d recommend saving a few (or more) dollars and advertising through your social channels or purchasing ad space on a popular website. If print is something you really feel is necessary, then it won’t break the bank because you can use all the money you saved with online advertising!
- E-blasts - Get into your audience’s inbox! Collecting emails will allow you to build a database of customers to whom you can direct market. Need to advertise a tournament? Advise of rate changes? Promote a soft goods sale? Your market may have missed the sign in the shop telling them about 40% off apparel but chances are they won’t miss the ding of their incoming email or notification screen. Be respectful of how often you send emails as you don’t want to lose subscribers by spamming them. Check out the different platforms that will help you do this for FREE (MailChimp is one of my favourites).
- Millennials - Okay, this isn’t technically about digital marketing but this is the demographic you should be targeting in this ageing golf population - and online is the way to do it. This generation (defined as those born between 1981-1996) will play the game but you have to tailor your marketing efforts to get our attention (yes, unfortunately, I’m a millennial!). We love having options, but we have a shorter attention span and we’re broke! Sell us on what you’ve got by offering a deal that makes golf affordable; consider a giveaway on social media. We live online, we’re always looking for the next best thing and if you have an engaging, beautiful curated social feed and advertisements, chances are we’ll give it a shot.
It is likely you have someone with a decent phone working in the Pro Shop. Have them take a few shots when they’re pulling out carts in the morning - sunrise photos are foolproof - and nicely lined up power carts are oddly satisfying to look at. Other ideas? Animals on the course (because who doesn’t love seeing that?), repost tagged photos (this adds to your engagement), utilize the ‘story’ options, have a fun and engaging voice, but most importantly - keep it fresh! Check out your competitors and see what they’re getting up to for inspiration. Digital marketing is the easiest way to direct market, it’s free and fairly low maintenance, so it’s time for you to get on it!