Global Edition

Grow the bottom line using social media

11.12am 6th January 2016 - Opinion - This story was updated on Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

Sale Golf Club
Sale Golf Club

How Sale Golf Club generated 15 new members and a 1088% ROI in less than two months using social media and email marketing…

James Wilkinson, Founder and CEO Albatross Digital Golf, writes about golf clubs using social media and email marketing


“Since working with Albatross we have been able to attract a new online audience that previously we were struggling to reach out to” says Sam Poole, manager at Sale Golf Club.

“Running online activities was far too time consuming for me so it’s great to set a plan with Albatross at the beginning of each month and have full confidence that they can deliver the results.

“In the couple of months that we have been working with Albatross our social media numbers have gone up considerably, we have built a database of around 1,000 local golfers, found 15 new members and are now turning this audience into green fee payers and society bookings. I would have no hesitation in recommending Albatross to my peers.”

In September 2015, golf digital marketing agency Albatross Digital Golf started working with Sale Golf Club to help them find new customers and raise awareness online about one of Manchester’s finest courses.

We were handed the keys to Sale GC’s social media accounts and email database and immediately took management of all posting across Facebook and Twitter. Our first task was to grow the Followers and Likes on the accounts to gain ‘social proof’ and get golfers engaging with the social media pages whilst highlighting some exclusive online offers.

Sale GC 2

But social media isn’t just about Facebook Likes and Twitter Followers. For a golf course like Sale, it is about building a relationship with a local audience, creating and posting content, generating an experience that people want to talk about and share with their fellow golfers and creating a community that golfers will constantly engage with.

In October we were tasked with a membership drive to find local golfers looking to join a new club. We created a competition that ran throughout the month to Win A Pair Of Winter Memberships to Sale Golf Club. Our graphic designer at Albatross designed all the competition artwork using beautiful high-res images of the golf course and the competition was run across Facebook, Twitter and to the existing email database.

Sale GC 3

The main goal of this competition was to gain as many entries as we possibly could, collecting the email addresses of the entrants so we could market to them the 3 Free Months Membership Offer Sale were running in November. A high value prize like free membership is the easiest way to quickly collect email data. With an advertising budget of just £100 we served daily adverts on Facebook. When Tweeting the competition daily we also asked users to ‘RT and Click to Enter’, again dramatically increasing our organic free reach. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

Sale GC 4

With seemingly endless demographics, behaviours, and interests, the most powerful feature of Facebook’s advertising platform is by far its targeting capabilities which allowed us to put adverts in front of thousands of local golfers. For instance, there are 6500 golfers on Facebook within a 10km radius of Sale Golf Club that like ‘Tiger Woods’ or ‘Rory McIlroy’ or an astonishing 31,000 Facebookers who like ‘Golf’. Dig deeper and you can serve ads to company CEO’s, COO’s and FD’s, lawyers, doctors or sales directors and a host of other demographics.

Sale GC 5a


The Results

An advertising budget of just £100 allowed us to collect the email addresses of over 700 local golfers. A cost of just 14p per acquisition. We also asked the local driving range and other local businesses to email the competition to their databases and share on their social media pages. They were more than happy to do this because it’s an offer their customers will enjoy hearing about and the competition won’t cannibalise any of their sales.

In November, we drew the winner for the competition who was able to choose a friend and join Sale for the winter. When announcing the winner to the new database and commiserating with those who didn’t win we also announced the fact that they could still join Sale Golf Club and pay nothing until February 2016.  However, this offer was only open to the first 20 golfers to apply – It’s a proven fact limited availability and time limited offers create scarcity and urgency and encourage people to make decisions quicker.

By using the subject line ‘And the winner is…” we achieved an astonishing 73.5% open rate! According to MailChimp the benchmark for sports related emails is 26.1%.

To ensure that we weren’t flooding our database with the membership offer we were careful to highlight the other green fee and society bookings Sale had to offer as well as other updates about the club. When creating the emails we only focused on one main theme ie membership, green fee, society – writing them to one person, our ideal customer, rather than a large group of people and personalising them with the customers first name.

Within the first week there was over 20 enquiries about the membership offer and 8 take ups. With some regular follow up emails this number increased to 15 new members by the end of November.


There are thousands of online golfers on Facebook and Twitter waiting to hear from your golf club. The courses that move first with social media and digital marketing, building their databases and regularly promoting their offers are the ones that will reap the rewards and win these customers.

Social media is here to stay. Businesses that don’t adapt and adopt social media marketing, improve their websites and email more regularly will be left behind.

Stay on top, find local golfers looking to join a new club, get golfers talking about your golf course and its offers and grow you bottom line.

If you don’t it’s just a matter of time before your competitors do.

Quick tips

  • Try for 3 months – there is no quick win with online marketing however when executed correctly you will see a significant ROI
  • If you are going to run in house be sure to dedicate a member of staff a significant amount of time to execute
  • Create landing pages for your website to direct traffic to and capture potential customers email data. Our competition landing page was built for just $10 / month
  • Make sure all your online platforms are optimised for mobile. 47% of Facebook users only login on a mobile device. As a general rule of thumb mobile ads can convert 3x cheaper than desktop
  • Advertising is pivotal – You will only reach local golfers by putting some budget towards Facebook advertising. We spent only £300 pound on advertising for Sale GC from September – November to achieve these results but without that budget we would have not have come close to achieving this
  • Try to post at least daily. The more Facebook sees users engaging with your posts the more likely Facebook is to show these users your future posts
  • Get local businesses and personalities to share your competition and promotional posts and emails to their databases for free exposure
  • Be sure to capture your customers email data
  • Don’t forget to run the competition in your courses pro shop and clubhouse
  • Don’t be afraid to ask people to share the post and tag a friend in the comments section before clicking to enter. This drastically increases your organic unpaid reach and means your posts will be seen by thousands more social media users for free
  • When advertising on Facebook don’t forget to split test your ads between mobile and desktop and then run with the advert that is performing best

Key Stats

  • 700 email addresses collected
  • 14p per email address
  • £100 advertising budget
  • 350 new Facebook Likes
  • 15 new members
  • 1088% Return on Investment

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.

100% Guarantee

We only work with courses we are completely sure we can help. That’s why we are offering a 100% guarantee that if you are not satisfied with our service within the first month we will offer you a full no questions asked return.

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

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