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4 online sales principles most golf courses get wrong

1.06pm 20th May 2016 - Opinion - This story was updated on Sunday, December 31st, 2017

Four online sales principles


In today’s world of digital marketing and advertising, it often seems impossible to get a clear understanding of what works, what doesn’t work and most importantly how to get real results and sales for the money you spend, writes James Wilkinson, Founder and CEO, Albatross Digital Golf

Online marketing becomes even more confusing from all of the noise and never ending updates that seem to take place every day. Whether we’re talking about social media, search engines or smart phones and tablets, keeping up can be overwhelming.

In this article we’re going to simplify everything and discuss the power of digital marketing in 2016 and how it will bring in more members, societies and green fees for your golf course.

Let’s start by focusing on the obvious. Things have changed. Few people are looking in magazines or local newspapers for a golf course to play this weekend or to become a member of, leaflet distribution is extremely costly and can be difficult to track an ROI and radio or TV even more so.

The landscape of how people purchase services has shifted entirely. The internet has made business very transparent for customers. This is especially true when it comes to local golf courses. This is not a bad thing.

The shift in technology has simply allowed customers to get a better insight into the quality of your golf course and the service you provide. Instead of looking in a phone book and dialling a phone customers are now thoroughly researching your business.

Along with this change comes the need for a shift in your marketing strategy. For example, 85 percent of your consumers now use the internet to find local businesses. This statistic alone proves the power behind online marketing. However, it doesn’t end there. More than 50 percent of all local service searches now come from a mobile device and this number is expected to grow to well over 70 percent in the coming months and year.

It’s pretty clear than people are now using their laptops and phones to find your business and call you, but this leaves you with many different options. The four steps below outline the most common online strategies for generating new customers. Everything else you hear about is just noise and secondary to those steps.

Getting results

So what’s the most cost effective online marketing strategy that will bring results that we’ve found? The biggest misconception with digital marketing is that it needs to be complicated and complex. In fact, following a simple strategy that’s tailored to a customer’s typical buying process will always bring the best results.

Here I outline the main principles:

Best for awareness – People need to be reminded that your course is out there and given a reason for them to come and play. Facebook advertising is perfect for these types of awareness campaigns as it is the most targeted advertising platform in the world today. Put your course right in front of the thousands of local golfers within a 10km radius of your club (like the 15,000 golf fans we targeted in a 10km radius of Sale Golf Club in Manchester that helped us generate Sale £23,358 in new sales in the past 9 months).

Sale Distribution

Best for search – Paid Search Advertising (Pay-Per-Click) is the most effective means to drive interested traffic to your website and Google AdWords is the perfect partner for any golf business. It is possible to dominate a market online with a well built and managed AdWords account. If people are looking for a golf course to play in your local area then there’s a 90% chance they’ll be searching on Google. Adwords lets you put your course as the number one course in the search results for the keywords such as “best + golf + course + city” and you’ll be getting highly relevant clicks from people looking to purchase through to your website.

BONUS:  Fancy a trial? drop me an email and I will send you a link that will give you £75 extra credit when you spend £25 in the first month on Google Adwords™:

Best free – Email marketing is completely free (other than a very small charge for services like MailChimp etc) and when done right can be your most effective sales tool and a replacement for third party tee time venders. According to Fortune magazine the average adult receives 147 emails per day and in order to stand out from the rest you need a

solid plan. Don’t fire out a cold email blast with 5 different offers every few weeks. Make your emails personalised and more regular, use software that allows you to address the recipient by their first name, only have one offer (maximum two per email), come up with creative subjects and spend time automating and scheduling emails.

Just a handful of the emails Sale GC received from sending out personalised emails to their database of 1500 golfers:

Albatros emails


Best for selling – Ultimately your website is your brand, it sells your course and your business. It takes less than two-tenths of a second for an online visitor to form a first opinion of your brand when visiting your company’s website.

Upon arrival, customers won’t give your golf course a fair chance with a poorly-designed or outdated website after the initial glance. Your potential customers digital experience is the face of your business and a great website suggests to them that you are a great course and an old outdated website that’s not regularly updated. You guessed it….

These days you can build cost-effective, mobile and tablet optimised, stunning visual websites at a fraction of the price of 10 or even 5 years ago so there really is no excuse anymore.

Here’s a website we’re just about to launch for Boyce Hill Golf Club in Essex that was built in WordPress

Boyce Hill website


These exact 4 online principles have helped us generate over £23,000 in new revenue for Sale Golf Club in just 9 months from new members, societies and green fees. To download a case study on how we achieved these amazing results please visit our website:


Or if you would like to learn how to create Facebook adverts, how to get email open rates of over 75% and much more, join myself and Sale Golf Club manager Sam Poole as we go over the exact end to end process of setting up a membership acquisition campaign like the one we ran for Sale Golf Club in our live online webinar.

To book your seat click here:

Read more Opinion pieces by our guest writers

Albatross Digital Golf is a golf digital marketing agency specifically serving the golf industry. We work with a host of golf businesses including the London Golf Show to increase their ROI through a number of different online services including social media, website builds and email marketing. There is a real need for golf courses to embrace all means of digital in order to stay ahead of the competition and we are helping our customers to do this.

James Wilkinson, Founder and CEO, Albatross Digital Golf e – t – +44 7966 072952


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