Why should golf clubs be engaging with digital marketing?

Put simply, for a vast majority of your potential customers, the only place to get your golf club in front of them is by using digital media like Facebook, email marketing or text messaging services.

Despite widely regarded as a young person’s social network, there are 31 million active Facebook users in the UK, roughly half the population. And by far the largest demographic of Facebook’s users are 25 –34 year olds followed by 35 – 44 year olds.

This means there are literally thousands of online golfers local to you waiting to hear about the benefits of playing your golf club over the other local competition.

And the best part, very few clubs use digital marketing right so the first to move on this opportunity will give you that first mover advantage.

Is social media right for every golf club?

Whether you are a local municipal course or a Top 100 Golf Club, your potential customers are on social media.

For clubs that are just looking to get their course in front of local golfers within a 10 – 20mile radius they can use Facebook’s highly targeted advertising platform to put their offers in front of fans of the PGA Tour, American Golf, TaylorMade Golf or Rory McIlroy.

For clubs that have a larger catchment area they can use social media to reach people further afield and upsell country membership packages or golf schools and coaching packages.


Which digital platform is the best for an “ordinary” golf club?

There is no right or wrong platform when it comes to digital marketing. The best platform is the one that generates you the most return on investment and the only way to find out is by testing.

What I can say is that at Albatross we generally only really concentrate on Facebook and the reason is because of Facebook’s advertising platform which is the most targeted platform in the world.

You can target people based on age, gender, geographical location, interests, financial status and so much more.


How much can you do “for free” on digital platforms?

It is becoming harder and harder to achieve results for free today without dedicating significant time and resources.

The days of being able to grow a Facebook page or email databases from scratch without any budget are numbered or will take you a long time to achieve quantifiable results. What this essentially means is that platforms like Facebook are pay-to-play services, in the same way that you have to pay to put an advert on the radio or in a newspaper. There is a reason why Facebook is worth $435 billion and that reason is because advertising.

There is good news though. Currently, the cost of Facebook advertising is so cheap that you reach 1000 local golfers for as low as £1.26! We are currently running an advert that has been seen 14,686 times by 7,823 golfers on Facebook that are fans of the European Tour, Rory McIlroy etc for just £18.34. When done right, there is no more effective form of advertising at this price.

When done right email marketing is free (excluding hosting / providers costs etc) and can be highly effective and there are thousands of free courses you can find on Google or YouTube and following along to.

There are other free methods you can use like like installing pop ups on your website to capture customer data like email addresses or building your Twitter or Instagram Followers but there is no hard and fast route to success using these methods and they will take time to see results.


How can clubs turn digital traffic into real income?

You need to put the right offer in the front of the right person at the right time to generate new sales using digital marketing.

Despite being behind a computer or smartphone it is important to remember that the user on the other end is a human being and as a general rule of thumb people do not like being sold to. Just think about how annoying the endless cold calls you receive on a daily basis are.

The same rule goes for social media and digital marketing. The best way to sell on social is by not selling at all but by educating, entertaining, informing and inspiring. A good way to to go about this is by using the 90:10 rule. Make 90% of your content engaging and 10% sales.

The most important thing to remember is if you’ve tried using social media, especially Facebook advertising or email marketing, and it isn’t working at your club then 9 times out of 10, it is down to you not having the right offer for your audience, not because the platform ‘Doesn’t work’. If it doesn’t work, come up with a new offer and keep trying until you find the magic formula. Selling online is not rocket science, but at the time time, it’s not easy because if it was we’d all be doing it right.


How powerful can social media be for golf clubs?

If you have a golf club that will keep customers coming back and an offer that is right for your audience, when done right, social media and especially Facebook advertising has the ability to transform a golf club in a matter of months by getting new customers through the door.


How can I prove the concept of social media marketing to my committee?

The quickest way to achieve ROI positive results is by running a specific campaign. Create an offer that is only available through social media, ask users to download a voucher or say a code in order to take the offer up and then monitor the results over a sustained period of time. Calculate how much you have spent, be it on advertising or man hours, against how many people have taken your offer up. If you track the results you will be able to easily calculate a return on investment and create a 1-page report to take to your committee.