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10 Inexpensive and Interesting Ways to Attract More Customers to Your Golf Course or Club and to your Golf Professional business
Written by Golf 4 Millions Jimmy Wright and Mark Slipp
How do golf courses make money? It’s simple; they sell rounds of golf, lessons and products or services to people (customers) at a profit. No matter how great your golf course or club is in your mind, your business will not make any money unless customers are willing to buy. No customers, no business. Period! Many golf courses and clubs are experiencing hard times and some fail, not because customers do not want to buy their services and rounds of golf, but because customers don’t even know their products/services exist in the first place. I have lived in Metro Toronto for more than 25 years and every year I hear about new golf courses in the area I had not heard of before, this summer I played 3 I had never heard of, they were all great value and great experiences two of which I have recommended to several people, all of them have been around for more than 10 years, yet I had not heard of them! For many golf courses and clubs marketing and advertising is a huge problem. Here we will look at 10 inexpensive and interesting ways that golf courses can market and advertise their rounds of golf. If this has been a challenge for your business, you will certainly learn a lot from this article.
Marketing and Advertising is a Huge Problem for Many Golf courses...
For many golf courses, cost is a major barrier when it comes to marketing and advertising. Many of the popular methods we know (like radio, TV, magazines and newspapers) are often too expensive for golf courses. In a world where a short advertising slot on radio and television can cost hundreds of dollars, and thousands to make; it’s difficult for golf courses to cope. Big companies with advertising and marketing budgets that run into millions of dollars dominate the billboards, newspapers, magazines, radio and television. Because most golf courses cannot find the customers they need to remain in business, many golf courses starve and die because they cannot sell enough rounds of golf.
Despite these difficulties, how come there are still many golf courses who have just started (Bandon Dunes!) but are able to attract enough customers to remain in business? Our research has shown that these smart golf courses and entrepreneurs use several taken-for-granted methods that many of us have learned to overlook. Some of them are amazingly simple and will cost you nothing. Some of the others will cost you a little, but not enough to burn your cash flow.
Thanks to the internet, there are now more free, cheap and interesting advertising options for golf courses. Although some of the methods we will share with you shortly may work very well when used alone, we recommend that you combine different methods to get the best results. Here are the top ten ways to find new and more customers for your golf course.
[In a separate article we will provide a step by step tutorial on how to set up your first account and manage and measure the results]
G4M > 1 – Word-of-mouth always works! [Please visit our page on Golf 4 Millions drives referrals: https://www.golf4millions.com/about-us/our-services ]
This is definitely the oldest form of marketing and advertising used by golf courses since the world began. While it may bring slower results than radio or television, it still works very well. Because people are becoming increasingly suspicious of paid advertising, I still think word-of-mouth remains one of the most trusted methods in the world today. When a customer is happy and satisfied with a product or service, it’s a natural human tendency that they are likely to share this experience with people in their circle of trust and influence - family, friends, colleagues, neighbours and sometimes, strangers.
How to attract customers; A satisfied customer is one of the most effective marketing and advertising tools a golf course can ever have. Satisfied customers become foot soldiers, evangelists and advocates for your business. It is amazing how many of them will go to great lengths to promote, convince, protect and defend your golf course. Word-of-mouth is so effective and powerful that many successful clubs rely solely on this method to advertise and market their rounds of golf.
So, how exactly can your golf course grow an army of passionate customers who will use word-of-mouth advertising to your advantage? Well, I have a couple of ideas.
The first and most important step is to engage and deliver and provide great value to anybody who plays. If your team from pro shop to greens superintendent delivers on your promise and does more than you say, your a winner! Most people buy a round of golf to satisfy a need, price, playing group proximity. Nothing will make a customer happier and more satisfied than getting a little recognition! This is where Golf 4 Millions competition delivers most. We make a very challenging problem go away. When they come back into the pro shop after their round to share their distance from the pin on each par 3, you staff has an opportunity to ask them about their round, their experience, ask for referrals and collect their contact information and let them know how they stand in the competition. When you let them know they were closest for the week they’ll scream your name from the mountain tops to all of their friends.
Great customer experience. Most times, it doesn’t really matter how large or deep-pocketed your competition is. You can grow a successful business on great customer service. People like to buy rounds of golf from golf courses that treat them with respect. People love to be given attention and treated well and will always return to enjoy that beautiful experience again. For people who are spending their hard-earned money on your course, don’t you think they deserve a big “Thank you’ with a wide smile on your face? People hardly forget a great customer experience and will happily tell other people about it.
Give your customers a reason to advertise and market your business. Sometimes, word-of-mouth advertising doesn’t come automatically; you have to encourage, motivate or incentivize your customers to do it for you. Start a referral or reward program (Golf 4 Millions provides this at no cost to you!) for your existing customers. The more people they refer to you, the more free products, services and discounts they will enjoy. The reward should be large enough to trigger their interest and make them take action. It’s a win-win method that always works.
I once helped a friend of mine create a loyalty and referral program for her business. The way it works is simple. All existing customers were registered and given a unique code. Whenever they spend money in the shop, it increases the total amount they have spent to date. If this total reaches a certain level, they are awarded certain discounts for all the services they pay for. There were four levels (Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum) with increasing rewardsThe results were amazing! Almost every customer was referring their family, friends, neighbours and total strangers to spend money under their code thereby increasing their totals and making them reach the Gold and Platinum levels faster.
G4M > 2 – ‘Free’ works like magic!
Everybody loves free stuff. Giving away some of your rounds of golf for free does three very positive and interesting things for your golf course. First, it lets people out there know that you exist. Second, it gives you a chance to prove the value of your course and show that it is really great. Third, it provides some of your future customers with a risk-free way to try out your club or course without spending any money. And if customers find value and a positive experience, they will be willing to pay money for it.
Let’s say Ernie wants to build a golf course in his neighbourhood and is looking for a simple, cheap and effective way to advertise and kickstart his new golf course. He decides to put up a sign in front of his course that reads: ‘Free Lessons or Free Rounds. First 20 People Only’. This reads like a sign that will definitely catch a lot of attention. That is the power of free! Anybody who walks into his pro shop for a free lesson and loves it will happily return next time to pay for it and will likely tell his friends, colleagues and neighbours about the ‘cool’ new golf course down the road.
Most people have a weakness for the word ‘free’. In their minds, it’s another opportunity to enjoy or use something without spending any money. Customers love free because they have nothing to lose; they just sit back, relax and enjoy the service or product without any risk. By drawing them into your business, you give them a chance to see and experience something that would have been totally hidden from them if you didn’t open your door. However, you must make sure that the free stuff will not last forever. From the outset, determine the number of people who will enjoy the free stuff or how many days the promo will last. Not everybody should get free stuff; that’s what makes it very appealing.
G4M > 3 - Offer discounts and deals How to attract customers; (Please visit our page on Golf 4 Millions drives engagement; https://www.golf4millions.com/about-us/our-services
Just like free stuff, discounts and deals work well too. They are another creative and low cost way to attract more customers to your business. People often see discounts and deals as a huge opportunity to save money and enjoy a round of golf or a lesson for a whole lot less. In fact, discounts and deals usually influence customers to buy more products or services than they initially planned. They love to ‘take the opportunity’ because the same products may not be so cheap tomorrow.
Offering deals and discounts are also a powerful way to publicize your brand.
G4M 4 - Start a Contest Competition! ( This is Golf 4 Millions sweet spot, we take all of the work out of it for you and we run our contest competition with rewards for your members and guests all year every year, providing tremendous recognition and prizes )
Everybody loves to win. It’s not just always about the prize you win, it’s the thrill of getting lucky or beating other people. Call it ego or whatever you like but it always works. Let’s say you’re in the golf business and sell rounds of golf, you start a competition where there are weekly prizes, daily and weekly recognition for participants and tens of thousands of dollars in local prizes and hundreds of thousands of dollars in national prizes. To enter for this contest, all they will have to do is play a round of golf at your club and sign up for the $1 participation in the Closest to Pin Competition!
Can you imagine the kind of buzz this could create for your golf course? To spread the word about the contest, you could use word of mouth and social media like Facebook (we’ll talk about this a little later). Potential golfers will start to talk about the contest and create free attention and buzz for you. Even though many of them will not win the grand prize, they will still be interested in finding out more about your rounds of golf.
G4M > 5 - Do You Have A Website Yet?
How to attract customers
Yes, you’re right. Golf courses need websites too, even if it has just a single page. As a result of the huge influence of the internet, our world is now more connected than ever before. Most people simply use the internet nowadays when they want to find a product or service. With the spread of mobile phones across the world, it is easier and more effective to search Google for information rather than ask the nearest human being. Let’s say you are between site or do not have the budget today Golf 4 Millions has you covered, you can create a club page now on our site in 5 minutes or less; https://www.golf4millions.com/club-page/add we are continuously working to make sure the most relevant information about your course is published and all controlled by you.
Owning your own website is no longer a luxury that only big companies enjoy. The internet has now made it possible for everybody to enjoy the opportunity of getting found. You can get a website for free nowadays and www.blogger.com is a good place to start. With a Google email account, you can set up a single web page with a brief description of your business, rounds of golf. More importantly, you should include your contact information (physical address, telephone and email). A website is like your own billboard or newspaper advert. Get your golf course represented on the internet. It costs nothing and will benefit you a lot. Start with a page at Golf 4 Millions, if you already have a pretty good site then enhance it by building a page on Golf 4 Millions which will drive referrals to your website.
G4M > 6 - Get Listed on Popular Local Directories
In the old days, long before we had mobile telephones, there were these very large books known as ‘the Yellow Pages’. Every person and business usually had their telephone numbers (and sometimes addresses) listed in the Yellow Pages. Because there were fewer telephones back then (known as landlines) it was easy to get everybody’s names and numbers in one book. Today, with more than a billions people with mobile telephones and personal privacy concerns, it would be impossible to do that.
Thanks to the internet, golf courses can be listed for free on local directories. When a golf course is registered on a local directory, people around the world can find it on the map and view its contact information. The best part is, you don’t have to pay anything to become registered on these directories. Some of the most popular ones out there are Google Places, Yahoo Local and Bing Places. As you can see, all of these directories are run by the big global internet search giants. Get onboard today to claim your place! Once you have listed your course on these big directories begin to look for popular local directories in your community and get listed there too.
G4M > 7 - Are you on Social media? How to attract customers Social media is changing the way business is done in today’s world. Although there are now several social media platforms across the world, Facebook leads the pack as the world’s largest social community with over 1.1 billion registered users worldwide. That’s more than 15 percent of the world’s total population. This is where your target customers hang out and it makes perfect sense that you register your Golf Course on Facebook too as well as Google Plus, Linkedin and of course Golf 4 Millions.
For a step by step guide on how to start your Golf 4 Millions Course page follow this link: https://www.golf4millions.com/
G4M > 8 - Online advertising is the way to go!
More people now depend on the internet for information nowadays. More people are watching YouTube than watch television. More people read news websites and online magazines instead of the paper versions. Even big companies have recognized this shift and are now investing more in online advertising over the traditional ones. Since more people now spend more time on the internet, it only makes sense that you follow them there.
There are different forms of online advertising but one of the most popular remains Google’s Adwords Program. Google is by far the largest search engine on the internet and millions of people around the world depend on it everyday for information.
With a small daily budget of $10 to $20 per day, golf courses can attract thousands of potential customers to buy rounds of golf. However, it is important you know that online advertising will work best for your business if you have a website for your business. The short video below describes how the internet’s biggest advertising program (Google Adwords) works. http://youtu.be/uFzoM59bIQ8
Of course there are many alternatives to Google Ad Words and many can be more efficient at a lower cost. Our next article will deal with choosing you online advertising partners.
G4M > 9 – Print and Distribute Flyers
How to attract customers Flyers remain a simple but very effective way to publicize and advertise your golf club. They usually work best for golf courses that target customers within a particular area (such as university campuses, residential estates, offices and industrial areas). To try out this method of advertising, you don’t need to invest in very colourful and expensive flyers. If you have limited funds, it’s best you focus more on the message you want to deliver and not on the pictures, graphics or colours . In fact, you can design a simple one for yourself using any of the free templates in PowerPoint or Keynote on your computer.
You can distribute these fliers by yourself or hire some help to work with you. Putting the flyers on parked cars and house entry doors usually work well. You may also encounter some interested people who may want to know more about your course or lessons and ask questions. That would be a great time to apply some word-of-mouth advertising to the mix.
G4M > 10 – Get Involved In Volunteer Work
Doing volunteer work is often an overlooked opportunity to enjoy free publicity. Get involved in volunteer work in your community. Sponsor an event or offer rounds or lessons for free. Have you ever wondered why big companies invented ‘CSR’, the common acronym for Corporate Social Responsibility? Customers love to support golf courses that give something back to the society in some way. Most times, all that is required may be your time, effort and encouragement. If you plan to use this method of advertising, remember to make sure that all donations, sponsorships and support are done in the name of your business and not yours.
Have you been having problems advertising and marketing your business?
How to attract customers We have discussed quite a couple of simple, cheap, interesting and creative ways to spread the word about your golf courses. While some methods may not work for every golf course or golf professional, you will not lose anything by trying them out to see which ones work best for you. Like we mentioned before, the best marketing and advertising strategy is to combine several of these methods to increase the number of customers you can attract to your course. More customers mean more sales. More sales mean more profits. And profits are always good news for any golf course!
Have you been having any difficulties with advertising and marketing your rounds of golf? Have you tried any of the methods mentioned above? What was the result? No matter the outcome, good or bad, we would love to hear from you and share your experience. You never know, it may help somebody out there.
If you found this article useful, we would appreciate that you share it with your friends using the Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus buttons below and of course invite your friends from your Golf 4 Millions Profile page, join more than 2000 Golf Professionals who are already members. You never know, you could inspire somebody today.
10 Low or no cost and Interesting Ways to Attract More Customers to Your Golf Club
10 Cheap Ways to Attract More Customers to Your Golf Professional Staff, Academy, Group Lessons or for catering and weddings at your clubhouse. Mark Slipp and Jimmy Wright Golf 4 Millions Events Inc. For additional Information please contact Mark or Jimmy at 647.793.0908 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Sign up today at https://www.golf4millions.com
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