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Planning Private Club Marketing During Times of Plenty

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For many private clubs and golf communities, the pandemic accelerated national interest in the sport, in memberships and in residential golf club communities. As a matter of fact, according to Club Benchmarking, spring 2021 reports showed that 24% of clubs had a waitlist! While memberships were steady, the inability to host events and weddings has taken a bite out of non-dues revenues. All of this to say now is the perfect time to put your foot on the marketing accelerator. 

Why put marketing strategies in place now if the membership pipeline is solid? Because as we have seen many times in the past, it doesn’t always stay that way. When you are in a financially stable place, that’s the best time to focus your strategic energy on establishing a predictable process for attracting new members and booking more weddings and events. Planning ahead while you are in a time of plenty eliminates commonly used white-knuckle marketing tactics like reduced initiation fees if (and when) your pipeline dries up unexpectedly. 

Greystone MembershipBecause Greystone Golf & Country Club in Birmingham, Alabama, had deployed strategic digital marketing strategies and invested in marketing technology prior to the pandemic, they were prepared to seamlessly usher in twice as many new members in the first half of the year as brought in during all of 2020. This growth in membership has enabled them to increase their initiation fees for the first time in years, as well as invest in significant capital improvements.

Here are 5 marketing strategies to replicate that kind of staggering success and to usher 2022 in with a bang!

Download Marketing and Sales Software: Your club relies on operational software to run the day-day-day operations, and marketing and sales software are equally important. If you are still using spreadsheets and sticky notes to organize and systemize your prospect interactions, download the free HubSpot software. It will give you the ability to manage your pipeline, log sales activities and store contact data in one place. It can be set up in minutes and no contract is needed. 

Start a Blog: As the saying goes, content is king! Your blog is an ideal place to house all of the club “happenings”s, and a terrific way to share your member and staff stories. Your social media strategy and your club newsletter are dependent on high-quality content. So create once and repurpose many! Feature your stories in your monthly newsletter, on all of your social media channels, and enrich your email marketing with feature blog posts. Here’s a one-page content marketing template to get you on your way. 

Give your Website a Refresh: If the pandemic taught us one thing, it’s how important your online presence is to today’s curious consumer. Your prospects are busy, they are impatient, and they want information when it’s convenient for them. Your website needs to connect with your prospects 24/7 and tell your story even when you are not available and when they are not interested yet, in having a conversation. A website redesign does not have to be time-consuming and expensive. Our clients appreciate that our team does the heavy lifting; the design, writing the copy, creating the lead conversion strategies, and turning it around in less than 8 weeks. A simple hyperlink connects the prospect-facing website with the member-facing website. 

The Year of Video: If a website refresh is not in the cards next year, there are steps that you can take that will bring your club one step closer to making a connection with your prospects. Add video to your website and include it in other areas of your club communications; your newsletter, your blog, your emails, your social media, etc. You only need to stretch your mind, not your budget. With proper planning, you can shoot a club overview video, member and staff testimonials, and even your event space in a one-day shoot! Edit your videos down further into short-form video content and you have the ideal way to increase brand awareness on platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

Get More Social (Instagram): If you are a club that relies on wedding and event revenue to hit your financial goals, Instagram is worth its weight in gold. It’s a cost-efficient way to show off the beauty and wedding planning process of your venue. Brides flock to Instagram more than any other social media platform for inspiration, behind-the-scenes access, user-generated content, third-party endorsements for photography and flowers. In case you’re wondering if your future couple is on Instagram, it’s worth noting that 71% of the billion monthly active users on the app are under the age of 35. A bride once told me that she will decide in the first 10 images on a wedding venue’s Instagram page if they will be considered for her venue. Insta is where it’s at if weddings are a priority. 

While it’s important to celebrate success and congratulate yourself on a productive year, times of plenty are the best times to use your excess time, energy, and resources to prepare yourself for twists and turns in the future. As we all know from the tumultuous past few years, the future can hold many surprises. Don’t let yourself be caught unprepared. Have fun and don’t hesitate to reach out if we can be of any assistance!

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