It’s a new year, time to throw out that old calendar and get the new one set for 2020. The Golf Shop already has a calendar that has all of its major golf tournaments on it. The Golf Course Superintendent knows exactly when he will aerate the greens, and what fertilizers he will put down and when. The Food and Beverage department has a calendar with Easter Brunch, Mother’s Day and the Club’s Fourth of July Celebration, but the two most important calendars I want to talk about may not exist at your club.
The first calendar that your club probably doesn’t have, but desperately needs, is the marketing calendar. When planning this calendar, the first thing you need to know is your marketing budget for the year. A recent Forbes article stated that marketing budgets for most industries fall somewhere between 6-11% of revenue. Now I’m not naïve enough to believe that most clubs have nearly that much budgeted for marketing, but I think it’s very important to recognize the correlation between poor membership sales performance at many private clubs, and a lack of a marketing budget. Once you’ve identified your marketing budget, you can begin to make decisions on where and what types of marketing channels you may choose to spend your marketing budget on, although most of my discussion will focus on low cost marketing methods.
The marketing calendar at one club is going to vary wildly from the calendar at another, but there are several important points I want to make regarding the marketing calendar. First, the most important thing you do to market your club is NOT designing your spring membership offering. Rather it should be how you communicate with your members and how to keep them engaged in the membership process and help them to understand their role as owners of the club. The marketing calendar reinforces this message and helps to organize the club’s marketing strategies. Having the General Manager, Club President and Membership Director simply mention it each month in their portion of the monthly newsletter is not enough.
Your marketing calendar should always have a few things. First, is consistent communication to the members, through whichever channel is most effective (usually email), each with a call to action providing a reason for them to bring their friends to the club. Every club has these events; it might be the 4th of July party with the best fireworks show in town, or it could be the Havana Nights pool party or weekly music on the patio during the summer months. The key is to communicate with your members far in advance, reminding them how great these events are and that you want them to bring candidates for membership to come experience the club at its best - provide the ideas and make it easy for them!
The next thing that should be put on your marketing calendar, several times a year, is a referral request from current members. This can easily be accomplished through a “Forward to a Friend” email. You should send electronic copies of the marketing documents that explain the membership offering and send it out to all members requesting that they forward it to a friend. The best practice here is to utilize a landing page to capture lead information so that club staff can follow up appropriately to try and close any leads. By following this schedule, you will be constantly reinforcing the importance of membership referral.
The last and most important thing that should be on each of your marketing calendars is an end date to the membership offering! This allows all the messaging to change as you come to the conclusion of the prime season so that you can leverage the dreaded fear of missing out. Properly leveraging this common human emotion results in huge surges as the opportunity comes to a close.
Now let’s discuss the other calendar that you might not have, but goes hand in hand with your marketing calendar: your social media content calendar. While creating another calendar for your club might seem like a lot of work, it will actually make your life much easier. Having your posting schedule pre-planned will save you a lot of time in the long run.
A good social media representation will often require work from more than one person, or departments, and the calendar will help lower the stress level on your team members related to creating this content. If your club utilizes any of the available online tools like Hootsuite, you can also create your posts in advance and schedule them to go out automatically when you want them to. Tools like this allow you to focus your attention on social media to create several posts in a row, and keep the process organized and timely instead of forgetting a post you have on the calendar and then having to create it last minute in a panic.
A good social media content calendar will also include consistent posting activity. This trains both your members and any candidates for membership, who follow your profile, to expect content on a regular basis which enhances their opportunity to engage and interact with the Club. This type of activity helps to increase the reach of your organic posts, so be sure to communicate with your members how you want them to interact with your social media profiles. Don’t forget, this may be the first place a prospective candidate goes to find out information about you, and we all know first impressions are everything!
If your club doesn’t already have them, it’s not too late to make 2020 the year that you create a marketing calendar and a social media content calendar. Successful sales organizations make use of these tools and private clubs should be no different.
Membership Marketing, Recruitment and Retention are what Creative Golf Marketing thrives on. If you need assistance in setting goals, developing a game plan, and executing it to achieve success, please Click here or call (800) 526-8794 and we can start planning today.