Let’s agree on a few things as it relates to the way we connect as people. We have become a very impatient society -- And when we are making any kind of substantial buying decision, we like to call the shots.
Specifically, we as buyers want to access information that helps us answer questions and relate to shared experiences, (which is why reviews and testimonials are so helpful), and we want all of this information on our terms.
As it relates to your prospects, when they're online, they're trying to get their questions answered about your club! Questions like “justifying the cost of a private membership” or “busting the myths of a private membership”. And your website and content need to be able to facilitate the sales process even when you are not there.
What Are Prospective Members Looking For?
Studies consistently show, with the influx of technology and access to information, your prospects are doing research before they are ready to connect with you or come in for a tour. In fact, more than 70% of the time, they are “just looking”.
“Prospective golf members rank their important factors to the decision process that focus on socializing, fun, spirit, etc.”
Unfortunately, private club website visitors often come up empty-handed. While the beautiful imagery of manicured fairways surrounded by majestic woods can be breathtaking and photographs of the newly remodeled clubhouse are impressive, studies show when it comes to understanding the motivations of your buyers, private clubs are missing the mark.
According to the most recent Golf Life Navigator research, “Consumer Buying Trends Report” the leading motivations for joining a private club are not things like the financial investment in quality of the club. Rather, what's topping the motivational charts are “Social Interaction” and “Friendly Culture”. In other words, prospective golf members rank their important factors to the decision process that focus on socializing, fun, spirit, etc.
Source: Golf Life Navigator
Meet Buyers Where They’re At
So what does this data have to do with your digital marketing? Everything. If you want your website and online presence to serve your club by attracting and connecting with prospects differently, then you need to start giving your prospects more of what they are looking for… people!
They need to see videos and imagery of your members “experiencing” your club. Your prospects are looking to create a connection with you before they are interested in speaking with you -- So you need to be prepared. This hidden gem of information (aggregated from more than 20,000 respondents!) paints a clear picture of how authentic and engaging marketing starts with people.
Create Connections With Your Prospects
Here are 3 ways to create connections with your prospects to increase member conversion.
- Invest in Video: The majority of clubs have not gotten on the video marketing bandwagon yet and are contemplating investing in a “hole by hole” aerial shoot. Not that this is a bad idea, but if the only video you have is of your golf course, your next video shoot should focus on your members. If you only have one video, we recommend creating a video that gives your viewer an overall flavor of your club that includes golf and people. We refer to these as “about us” or “culture” or “intro" videos. Regardless of what you call it, the goal is to tell your story; to make your viewers want to know more about you. If you already have a club overview video, think about creating some member testimonial videos. There’s no better advocate for your club than hearing from an existing member sharing the many reasons they chose to join or a bride effusive about her wedding!
- Start a Blog: Most clubs are challenged today by the limitations of their website and the ability to add new content easily. A great workaround to this limitation is adding a blog. This is an extension of your external website that can be updated as often as you like with information that is relevant and timely. A blog is where you can house all of the great stories that take place both on and off the course with your members and your staff. Your blog can (and should) be the centerpiece of your club’s culture. It has tremendous benefits to your entire marketing strategy; it serves as great content to support your email marketing strategy, it can be a great way to help populate your monthly newsletter, and it’s an ideal social media post that can be shared by your members as well. Member profiles make great blogs to help create instant connections with your readers.
- Get More Social: Social media platforms are a tailor-made platforms to share your stories. Stories are what create connections and connections are why people join clubs (remember the top motivators?). There’s a tremendous amount of confusion in the industry as to what clubs can and cannot share on social media to protect their 501 © 7 status… (The restrictions around advertising relate solely to “non-member revenue” not exceeding 15%) Sharing your club stories and culture as a way to create connections with both current and future members does not violate your club status in any way. Taking social up a notch by promoting your stories on platforms with great geo-targeting like Facebook, is an ideal way for you to gain the attention of targeted audiences.
Today’s marketing success is highly dependent upon prospective members seeing, engaging and sharing content with their trusted networks. The benefit to having the kind of data provided by Golf Life Navigator is the insights it offers to strategically know how to invest your marketing resources; creating more content, whether written or video, about people. Clubs have unbelievable stories… it’s time to start telling them.