Digital Marketing 101: An Intro for Golf Courses

It wasn’t long ago that a good website or a focused email campaign was all you needed to attract new customers and share information with your existing clientele. Digital marketing has since become much broader than these two highly-successful strategies.

In fact, today’s diverse digital world presents many innovative opportunities to get your message out to the masses, which is great news for your course. You can reach customers via your website, email blasts, social media, push notifications, SMS texts and video content creation.

Golf facility operators should absolutely be using digital marketing methods to reach their target market. In this article, we explain the most popular and effective digital marketing methods that you can use for your golf course.

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Explore the benefits of social media

You’d be hard-pressed to find a golf facility in North America that doesn’t have a social media presence. After all, it’s cost effective, can be done whenever and wherever, and often by whomever.

Consider McGolf Driving Range in Dedham, Massachusetts. PGA Professional Eric McInerney has a lot to promote-a driving range, short game area, mini golf, instruction, club fitting, club repair, technology, cafe and ice cream bar-and his websitedoes a great job of letting people know what they offer.

McGolf’s Instagram page, however, takes it a step further, highlighting the smiling faces of their customers, young kids and teens, families and happy golfers. Over time, McInerney has built a group of engaged followers who eagerly await his next post, which could be anything from a picture of a sunny day of golf, a snowy driving range or a golfer who couldn’t be happier to be at McGolf Driving Range.

Experts say that you don’t have to be on all social media platforms. A marketing strategy that incorporates all platforms would require more time than most golf professionals have in their day. Facilities with marketing professionals to handle these vital tasks have greater opportunity to take advantage of everything that social media has to offer.

Facebook, though sometimes considered antiquated compared to the likes of Instagram and TikTok, remains a viable option for golf facilities to engage customers. Just outside of Boston, PGA Professional Erik Sorensen opened Newbury Golf Center during the pandemic summer of 2020. With a stellar websiteand an engagingInstagram page, Sorensen started a private women’s golf Facebook group and has more than 150 members in the group with access to information on pertinent golf topics. It has helped grow his ladies programs, demonstrating the value of social media to existing customers, as well as potential new ones.


Share information via push notifications

Considered both easy and effective, push notifications engage members and customers right on their mobile device. When golf facilities create their own customized apps, individuals who have both downloaded the app and opted in to allow notifications can receive information and updates instantly.

Push notifications are most effective with private club members and tournament participants who need to be in the know with information on the spot. Inclement weather, delayed tee time, events postponed-push notifications most reflect the expediency available in disseminating information to a group of people. Information is key at a private club, and today’s more savvy golfer will appreciate all that an app has to offer.

Push notifications sent to a private club membership drives tournament participation, golf shop sales, food and beverage revenue and increased attendance at special club events. Private golf facilities have a captive audience of individuals who have not only joined the club, but they’ve downloaded the app. They’re all in and are expecting your notification.

To illustrate the power of push notifications, when PGA Professional Matt Taken, of Tuckaway Country Club in Wisconsin, received some Milwaukee Bucks hats and shirts in his golf shop last year, he informed his members through their app. He says it wasn’t long before five members came through the doors to gear up for the game they were attending that night.


SMS marketing/text messages are fast and easy

SMS, or short message service, marketing is a personal and effectiveway to reach your customers. Using text messages instead of emails, this is another method, like push notifications, of communicating with members wherever they happen to be.

There’s a drink special tonight and the course is full of golfers? Text them. New merchandise arrived in the golf shop today? Text them. A member is looking for a game? Send that text and see the responses come in. Like emails, SMS texts can be geared to a specific group of people, allowing you to tailor your messages to resonate with the right crowds.

The main benefit of sending texts is that they get your messages across immediately. There are no barriers, either-you don’t need to open a specific social media app or email account. Most impressive about this form of communication is the open rate of 98 percent. In comparison, studies show that email open rates currently linger at barely over 20 percent.

Links sent via text also have a higher click through rate than emails. These numbers don’t lie, and neither will the increased revenues across your facility as a result of the diverse marketing strategies you’ve implemented online.

In order to send marketing messages through text, however, you’ll need software that automates the process. Tools like ChronoPitch from Lightspeed can help you send messages to those who have opted in to receive marketing communications from you.


Video creation lets you show off

When it comes to creating engaging videosfor YouTube or other social media platforms, golf instructors are leading the way. Posting instructional tips promotes the teaching business of that individual, as well as the facility itself.

Usually recorded on the pristine golf course or massive practice facility, golf facilities are using video to show off their most prized amenities. As is the case with other digital marketing methods, posting videos is very cost effective and is easy to share via one of the other communication means already discussed.


Websites remain a reliable marketing tool

An effective website is one that is user-friendly, informational, easy to navigate, attractive and interactive. By implementing proper Search Engine Optimization (SEO) methods and tools, you can draw people to your websiteby highlighting the most sought after information. You can be the first option that Google offers when someone is searching for a golf course in your area.

If you need assistance with building or optimizing your website, Lightspeed offers a white glove website building serviceand marketing management specifically for golf courses.


Stay current and drive revenue with the right tools

Even through the renaissancethat the game is experiencing, marketing remains a vital aspect of your golf business. With so many facets to a golf facility, there is much to promote. Whether you’re a private club with an older membership or a fun and vibrant driving range with technology and music and young people hanging out, there is a marketing strategy that can help you bring in more business.

Lightspeed’s one-stop golf course management platform lets you save time when it comes to sales, marketing and more. Talk to one of our expertsto learn more about how Lightspeed Golf can transform your course’s marketing and operations.


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