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A new year is upon us, which means it’s time for New Year’s Resolutions. But I’m not talking about the typical kind of resolution like eating less and moving more, although these are fine goals. Rather, I’m talking about a professional development resolution of deploying one new marketing tactic to elevate your online marketing in 2020.

Regardless of what kind of membership sales your club experienced in 2019, adding new tools to your tool chest will not only elevate the success for your club, but it will differentiate YOU as a professional in the market as well.

Try One New Tool

As we all know, the digital landscape of marketing any product -- including private clubs -- has evolved faster than we can wrap our brains around. And trying to keep up with the latest technology is daunting!

Did you know that there are more than 2.2 million apps on the market? One of the newest, a video sharing social media app called TikTok, has already hit the 1 billion user mark! Does that mean you should be on TikTok? Or LinkedIn? Or Instagram? With so many options, it can feel overwhelming to know which digital marketing tools you need to incorporate in your marketing plan.

So, break it down to its simplest components. Instead of getting stressed out, just challenge yourself in 2020 to try at least one new marketing tool you have never tried before.

Making Time to Improve

I know what you’re thinking…"I don’t have time,” Right?

Wrong. You have to make time. With your online presence more crucial than ever and competition more intense, doing what you have always done will not give you the edge you need to exceed your targets and convert more next generation members.

But like any resolution, it has to be realistic, achievable, and you have to commit to it. Here are some ideas to get you started.

6 Tactics to Give Your Membership Marketing a Boost

  1. Check Out Website Grader: If you want to get a reality check on the effectiveness of your website as it’s positioned to connect with new prospects, then take a minute to run your website through a free online tool that will give you a personalized report that grades your site against key metrics like performance, mobile readiness, SEO, and security. This tool will also give you actionable steps to help you improve your website’s performance. Why is this important? 25% of website visitors will abandon their search and never return if it takes longer than 4 seconds for your page to load.
  2. Personalize Your Content: In the era of non-stop digital spam, the most effective marketing delivers a more personalized experience and ensures that you build trust with your prospects. If you are sending a series of emails to a group of prospects, keep in mind the following best practices: Personalize the email to an individual -- not a crowd -- and segment your communications by interest level (for example, send social prospects different information than golf prospects). Before you hit send, think about the content through your prospects’ lens. What problem are you trying to help them solve?
  3. Launch a Blog: Content is still king in 2020. Not only does the right content help your prospects get to know you, it also gives your website an SEO boost. In addition, your blog content can support several parts of your communications and marketing goals. A blog is the perfect place to house your clubs’ stories, and those stories make for an ideal post on Facebook or Instagram.

    Stories connect with prospects, so sharing your blogs as part of your email strategy is a surefire way to give your email marketing a giant boost. Looking for content to fuel your newsletter? When creating your content calendar of blog topics, you can earmark certain blog posts to be included in your monthly newsletter. An added bonus: Every blog you publish will positively impact your search rankings for years to come. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. (Some of our most-read blog posts were published 5 years ago!)
  4. Add Marketing Automation: Membership and marketing directors are challenged with wearing many hats. But using marketing automation software is like adding another team member to help you get the job done. Marketing technology automates marketing actions and repetitive tasks to better nurture leads and ultimately close more prospects.

    With marketing automation, you can simplify everyday activities like scheduling social media posts across multiple channels, significantly reducing the amount of posting time. When it comes to email marketing, the software will help you automate your follow-up communications to better engage your leads and prospects. As an added bonus, you can also significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to run prospect reports!
  5. Use Live Chat and Bots: Today’s prospects want information, they want it now, and they want it on the channels that work best for them. Your prospects don’t always want to pick up the phone to talk to you and oftentimes would rather get their questions answered through a live chat window on your home page. This functionality enables you to establish meaningful connections with your prospects in real time, creating unique and memorable interactions based on your prospects’ communications preferences. If you are not able to staff the live chat, you can use automated chatbots. These are ideal for answering your prospects’ frequently asked questions. Did I mention that both of these tools are free?
  6. Monitor Google Analytics and Social Metrics: If you don’t have Google Analytics connected to your website or haven’t taken the time to use the insights that Facebook and other social media platforms provides, stop what you’re doing and start looking at the data. You will be surprised how much you can learn from these free tools. You may feel overwhelmed by it -- and that’s OK. Take your time to dig in and understand the metrics being measured. Once you have a better understanding of your traffic flow, your online marketing needs and strategies will make more sense.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your marketing proficiency be. Be patient, be creative, and don’t forget to pay attention to the analytics. Here’s to making 2020 memorable!

Essential Digital Marketing Guide for Private Clubs