The golf club industry is turning a corner when it comes to digital marketing.

When I founded Albatross Digital Golf in early 2015, in the first 12 months I partnered with just two clubs.

Fast forward 3 years, and we now work with over 25 clubs ranging from World Top 100 Courses to some of the leading private members and proprietary clubs in the country.

Our goal by the end of 2018 is to be working with 80 clubs and we are well on target to reach this figure.

Whilst still in its infancy, I firmly believe it is just a matter of time before the vast majority of clubs move most or all of their advertising budget from traditional forms of marketing into online advertising as the world turns digital.

And as they do, the competition to stand out in a crowded marketplace will become harder and harder.

It’s exciting times ahead, and the clubs that are ahead of the curve are the ones most likely to win.

With that said, here are my 3 tips to look out for in 2018.

Tip No 1 – Own Your Local Market

Whilst some experts will tell you to focus on building your email list or spending all your advertising budget on Facebook ads, our most successful campaigns have come from using a multitude of channels like email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google Adwords in unison.

Just think about brands that own their market in their industries like Coca-Cola, Netflix and Nando’s. What do they have in common? You see them everywhere, on billboards, in magazines on TV and now on social media.

So when someone’s thirsty, hungry or wants to watch something they are the brands’ people choose.

It’s called being ‘omnipresent’ and it allows you to stand out from the crowd in an oversaturated marketplace.

In other words, being everywhere to your target market so you are in front of local golfers at the right time at the right place.

The golf clubs who invest their resources in being at the right time, in the right place with the right offer and with a high level of frequency with that offer will win.

And your competitors who don’t understand this are the ones who are going to be out of business in the next 10 years.

The long game is the only game.

Tip No 2 –  The Rise Of Facebook Video

In 2017, the growth of video on Facebook video was phenomenal and in the coming year, it will only get bigger as video becomes more prevalent on user’s newsfeeds.

We use video for every single one of our clients and here’s why.

1.    As the leading golf club digital marketing agency in the UK, we have to be ahead of game and by 2021 it is predicted 82 percent of all consumer traffic will be from video. So it makes sense to start now.

2.    Going back as far as 2016, Nicola Mendelsohn, the Vice President of EMEA at Facebook was quoted as saying that “Facebook will probably be all video in 5 years time” and it’s fair to say, she probably knows what she’s talking about.

3.    Facebook video garners triple the engagement and 1,200 % more shares than text and image posts combined.

Your audience is on Facebook on average 50 minutes per day… People are spending nearly an hour every day scrolling through Facebook, creating status updates, liking posts, or chatting on Messenger and the content they expect from businesses today is Video!!!

Tip No 3 –  Invest in Facebook advertising before it’s too late

The days of being able to grow a social network quickly and get ROI positive results, especially on Facebook, are long gone.

Organic reach, i.e. posting without paying for advertising is declining year on year which essentially means Facebook is now a pay-to-play platform.

Just like putting an advert in your local paper, running a radio campaign or putting up a billboard, Facebook expects you to pay to reach their audience.

It is the reason why Mark Zuckerberg is now the 5th richest person in the world and also the reason why most clubs don’t get results when they’re using Facebook.

There is good news though, because right now, advertising on Facebook is cheap in comparison to other platforms like Google Adwords, or even putting an ad in your local paper.

You can reach thousands of local golfers on Facebook, and target based on Age, Gender, Financial Status, Job Title, Facebook pages users ‘like’ (e.g. PGA Tour, European Tour, Rory McIlroy fans), location and much much more.

And all this combined makes Facebook the most powerful and targeted advertising platform in the world.

But the cost is rising, and dramatically…

As more and more businesses move their advertising budgets from the more traditional forms of advertising like TV and radio and plough it into Facebook ads the cost of advertising on the platform will rise, reaching local golfers will become more and more expensive and Mark Zuckerberg will become richer and richer.

So if you are looking to invest in Facebook advertising then the time is nigh because this time next year there’s one thing I can categorically, without question predict and that is that advertising on Facebook will be a LOT more expensive than it is today.

So what are your predictions for digital marketing in the golf industry in 2018?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.