Golf Business International member Richard Netherclift is managing director at Insignia Creative Ltd, a creative marketing agency. Golf Business News sat down with Richard and gathered his dos and don’ts for golf clubs.
Everybody is aware of the need to have an online and social media presence, but, generally, how good is the golf industry in using these media?
There is very much a mix of social media activity happening within the golf industry, as there is across most industries. Some golf clubs are utilising the social media platforms very well, while others are very lacklustre or not engaging their viewers at all.
Quite often, what we see is a very sporadic approach to social media posting with no thought process or planning. Activity is normally reactive, rather than proactive, and often spread across a multitude of platforms.
For social media to work there should be consideration to the platform(s) best for your business and then concentration on these, rather than spreading yourself too thinly across them all.
A good social media posting calendar should be created to plan out your key events throughout the year. Prepare posts in advance and schedule them using either in-built scheduling or a third-party social media posting platform, such as Hootsuite.
Then look at more generic, industry-specific posts, to fill in between scheduled posts while also monitoring current events to enable you to post anything relevant that is happening.
Monitor your interactions and find out which posts are getting the most views, clicks or shares and start adapting. Always include a photo – or photos – with posts and, if possible, video footage, as these types of posts get far more interaction than text alone
And we can ask the same question about brand identity; all golf clubs, for example, will have a club badge, but do they use it in the right way to establish ‘brand identity’?
Brand identity often gets mixed up and people consider their logo their brand identity; brand identity is far more than just your logo – it is the colours you use, fonts, imagery, layout of promotional material, such as print advertising, and right through to the tone of voice you use on your website and social media … all of these factors combine to create your brand.
We often see inconsistency in brand with the most common mistakes being inconsistent use of colours and fonts.
With the ever-growing multitude of online platforms and other ‘touch-points’ where someone may see your brand – from printed adverts, corporate stationery to signage and vehicle liveries – it is important to keep consistency so people can recognise your brand no matter what form of promotional material they may be looking at.
And one of the biggest mistakes is having a domain name and then using a generic email such as Google, Hotmail or Outlook for you contact emails – please do not do this!
What would you say were the essential elements of a website specifically for a golf club?
With there being strong competition for all golf clubs, portraying your club’s best assets immediately and quickly is key to gaining people’s interaction on your website.
You need to grab your viewers’ attention within the first three seconds of them arriving on your website and then keep them interested for around 20 seconds, otherwise they will be off looking at other sites.
People will not read lots of text and they react far better to photos, videos and graphics, so it is key to utilise these media to retain interest and drive them through to a contact or booking page.
We often describe websites as having three levels:
- Primary level: Showcasing great photography and graphics, with strong, clear headline text quickly telling the viewer about the website or that particular section – these are the important home pages, or landing pages, that need to grab your viewer’s attention within the critical three-second window.
- Secondary level: Strong headlines with simple bullet point text or short paragraphs, again with good photography or graphics and obvious contact points, such as telephone number, email or contact forms. Plus, strong links driving people through to the next level if they want to read more.
- Tertiary level: This is where you place your longer paragraphs but, as before, break the text up into shorter paragraphs and allow for obvious headings and sub-headings to help with readability.
It is very important to have text content on your website, as it is good for search-engine recognition, but careful thought should be placed on the styling and layout of your text pages and where the text is placed in the page hierarchy.
How important is data capture for golf clubs and are they sufficiently proactive in gathering it?
Data capture and the correct segmentation of that data is a key marketing element all golf clubs should be utilising.
Customers are being bombarded with both spam emails and, increasingly, text messaging – and, if you have not segmented your data correctly, then any marketing is a waste of time as your message will get lost.
If your golf club has other facilities – such as a gym, restaurant, bar, spa etc – then your audience should be segmented appropriately so you can target offers and messages to the correct people.
These segments can then be further split into sub categories; for example, a spa may have members and non-members; perhaps you have spa treatments and maybe a steam room … knowing each customer’s particular interest makes your targeting better and any marketing far more successful.
Be warned though: you can get carried away, so don’t over-segment otherwise you may end up with a complete mix of groups and nobody in them.
Golf Business International – a ‘preferred partner’ of England Golf – is unique in its ability to make available a team of highly respected and experienced golf industry professionals to deal with any aspect of the business of golf through from conception to end. Golf Business International members can offer specialist skills in any number of aspects of golf operations, including buying, selling and financing golf developments; golf marketing and media relations; designing and building golf courses and driving ranges; environmental golf development; golf market research; and much more.