Unfortunately, the golf season isn’t a twelve month a year venture for many of us. Courses in hotter locations may see a slow down in the summer while those in “seasonal” spots (like us here in Canada) have to shut down for months at a time. It some cases there are opportunities for off-season revenue generation with the help of some savvy digital strategies.
We recently had an email from Bulrush Golf Club in beautiful Rush City, Minnesota. Despite the cold and snowy weather, they’re looking for ways to generate income through their golf simulators…
How can we get more golfers here in the winter time with our winter golf simulators? How can we promote business in the winter time?
Let’s take a look at a few ways digital marketing can help promote a golf course in the winter.
The Power of the E-Newsletter
Although they’re not as “sexy” as social media, e-newsletters, in my opinion, are still some one of the most effective forms of communication out there. The big caveat here is that you need a list. Depending on what information you’ve collected from members and customers (assuming they’ve given you permission to contact them), you might have a nice list to work with. You could look at specials for those that receive your e-newsletter as a way of building the list.
Plan of attack – If you’ve got an e-news list already developed, offer off-season specials to subscribers. These people signed up for golf course related news, so make sure your messaging stays on target.
Have you ever been on a website, then leave the website, only to be followed by the company through advertising? That’s called remarketing. And it’s fantastic… if you do it right. With a bit of planning and know-how, it would not be difficult to create a remarketing campaign targeting people that visit your website. Imagine if someone that visits your website is served ads specific to your golf course simulators as they go about their daily browsing on other sites. That’s a simple way to stay top of mind.
Plan of attack – Set up remarketing tags on your website and start building your lists. Use remarketing to encourage those that have visited your website in the past (perhaps during golf season) to return and learn more about what you offer in the off-season.
Think Outside Golf and Focus on Other Audiences
Think of all the different non-golf reasons people may be interested in your golf course. Are there opportunities for facility rentals? Catering? Food and beverage service? Recreation services? People steer clear of golf courses in the off-season so you need to come up with reasons for them to come and spend money. Once you’ve come up with some ideas, you’ll need to get creative on the digital side to get the word out. Targeted advertising and social media are two ways to reach niche groups of people with specific messaging.
Could your clubhouse host a Christmas craft sale or company party? Could you groom some cross country ski trails on the course? These all cater to non-golfers. You just need to let these people know that these opportunities exist.
Plan of attack – List out a few non-golf revenue opportunities and determine which groups of people would appreciate them. Use targeted ads through Facebook and Google to reach specific audience groups with specific and relevant ads. Don’t use online ads as a blanket marketing tool.
Social Media Training Academy
Golfers are thirsty for knowledge. Especially when that knowledge has the potential to improve their game. Sites like Facebook and Twitter (via Periscope) allow content creators to “go live” – live stream video on their page or profile. Having your pro go live for an hour in the simulator and answer golfer questions in real-time would be a really cool way to show off your off-season facilities. Social media often requires a more passive approach when it comes to marketing. Audiences want content and knowledge.. not push messaging. A pro that provides value through live-streaming drills will catch the attention of the audience and the added exposure of the simulators becomes a byproduct.
Plan of attack – Get you pro in the simulator, flip on your camera and let him/her take it from there. Give people value and entertainment and you stand a much better chance of grabbing their attention.
Here are a few more simulator promotion ideas we came up with in our brainstorming session. You can work digital marketing into promoting pretty much all of these:
- Team up with local schools and offer free simulator golf for kids when accompanied by a paying adult. This could help grow your junior membership base.
- Look at developing a “longest day of golf” event where teams play simulator golf for an extended period of time. This could be a good fundraiser. It also helps with local exposure.
- Build lesson packages specifically for the simulators. If you don’t have a pro at the club, rent simulator time to other pros.
- Market the simulators as a beginner golf opportunity. Maybe beginners can get an hour or two of simulator time, a meal and some rental clubs for a single price. Learning on a screen is probably a little less stressful than on a course with groups waiting behind you.
See an idea but don’t know how to get started? We’re here to help. Let Strong Coffee create a golf marketing plan that fits your needs.