Coming up with creative marketing ideas to market your Golf club can be a tricky thing to tackle. Not only do golf club owners and marketers have to figure out how to reach potential clientele at the right time but staying in touch with existing club members can take quite a bit of work as well. Plus, promoting events and venue space are also things that golf club owners need to consider.
If you’re unsure about how to approach new marketing strategies for golf courses, don’t worry. We’ve put together thirty-five excellent and practical golf course marketing ideas that you can add to your marketing strategy.
1. Be smart about your creative marketing ideas and promotions.
It’s certainly easy to send out tee time promos via one’s website, a newsletter, or an email. But if you aren’t actively tracking how those promotions are doing, you could be investing in a specific promotion that merely isn’t performing well.
It’s so important to know whether you’re getting a good ROI on promotion and which members are using different promotions. There are a ton of great tools to use for analytics and reporting, as well as business intelligence tools that can help you determine the right time and price to use for your promos.
2. Include SEO strategies in your marketing plan.
Search engine optimization or SEO refers to practices and processes that help boost a website’s ranking in search engine results pages. SEO practices are used to make sure your golf club’s website comes up on the first page of a relevant Google search, preferably as close to the top of the page as possible. Making it to the first page can result in more qualified leads, so it wouldn’t be wise to skip out on SEO. For golf clubs, SEO can be even more powerful. Most potential members will do a Google search for local golf clubs in their area when they are ready to find a new club, so it’s especially important to be included in those relevant searches.
3. Start a giveaway to pull in more email contacts.
Offer something small yet valuable, like a free round of golf for one’s birthday or a free monthly giveaway that non-members can enter. Who doesn’t love anything labeled “free?” Giveaways can be one of the quickest and most efficient ways to build your email database. Make sure that you’re promoting your giveaways on your website and social media regularly. To enter, ask for a name, email, birthday, and phone number. Make the process of signing up for the giveaway as simple as possible, preferably with only one click.
4. Offer add-ons when new members book a tee time.
At most golf clubs, staff members will ask each member checking in whether they’d like to buy an add-on for their visit, such as additional time. This can be a great tactic, but it can also be an excellent idea to let members choose add-ons when they book online. Depending on the booking engine you use, this may or may not be possible.
However, if add-ons are integrated into your booking engine, take advantage of them! Members like to see what bells and whistles they can purchase to make their stay at your club even more enjoyable, and being able to plan when booking adds significant value to your golf club in terms of hospitality and convenience.
5. Make sure your golf club website is responsive.
As a rule, if your website isn’t easy to navigate, users will abandon the ship. A high bounce rate can be detrimental to pulling in leads, so ensure that your website is responsive, modern, functional, and mobile-friendly. A responsive website will be adaptable across all devices. And in an era where smartphone usage is at an all-time high, your website must be easy to navigate on mobile phones and tablets. It may be worth investing in a web designer or developer to ensure that your website is the best it can be.
6. Launch family-friendly events.
Back in the day, golfers could be seen working through the week and then spending the weekend on the golf course. Many golfers out there can’t make it to their favorite golf club as often as they’d like because they have family commitments. However, a family-friendly event can provide a valuable opportunity for golfer parents to get their spouses and children involved, all while enjoying some relaxing tee time. Parent and child tournaments are one excellent way to dothis and can also introduce children to a potential new sport. You can even get sponsors involved and implement other fun activities for children and adults alike.
7. Make sure your emails are well-designed.
It’s not enough to get the point across with great copy in your emails and newsletters. The style choices you make when it comes to designing your emails also matter. Not investing in good design can make your emails seem sloppy, which could turn off potential members. Email marketing is an essential part of any marketing campaign, so you want to ensure that your emails are looking their best. Make sure to use easy-to-read fonts, include excellent photos and graphics, and make your call-to-action extremely clear. It’s also a good idea to use a template across all your emails for added consistency.
8. Invest in creating video at your golf club.
Did you know YouTube is the third largest search engine after Google and Facebook? Online video is becoming an increasingly viable marketing tactic for all industries, and that includes the golf industry. Mobile users consume quite a bit of video. Video consumption on smart devices has surprised desktop video consumption for many different demographic groups. Investing in video footage for your marketing efforts doesn’t have to be an expensive or complex process, either. Golf club owners can start by taking footage via drone of their facilities, events, and golfers in action. Testimonials of happy clients can also be a great source of footage for video ads as well.
9. Respond to reviews of your golf club online.
There is a specific way to take this marketing tactic. You should only ever respond to positive reviews with gratitude, and you should only ever respond to negative reviews with an offer to remedy the situation and possibly an apology. You should never respond to a negative review with an argumentative, aggressive stance. About 80% of consumers read online reviews before they decide to make a purchase or invest in a brand. This is no different for golf courses. If a potential member sees a negative review but a heartfelt, genuine comment from the golf club owner to remedy the situation, they might decide to give your course a shot. But if they see an extremely negative review with a very defensive response, they’ll likely bounce right away and look for a club elsewhere.
10. Make sure your online registration is stress-free.
We’ve mentioned it before, but if your website isn’t easy to navigate, potential leads will abandon it. This is also relevant to online registration for golfers to schedule their tee times. Members want a convenient, fast experience, and there’s really no reason to not offer it to them. And if you don’t currently offer online registration for scheduling tee times, then you’re significantly behind on the times. When setting up online registration on your website, ensure that the process only takes a few clicks to complete and that the form you use is relatively minimal.
11. Invest in automation for your email marketing.
If you decide to focus on email marketing for your golf club heavily, you’re going to get overwhelmed very quickly without some form of automation in place. Plus, implementing untargeted email blasts can be a waste of time and resources, as some members just aren’t as likely to click on a promotional email as others might be.
There are a significant number of tools out there dedicate to drafting emails, scheduling them, and sending different emails or campaigns to different types of clients. For example, email marketing software can automate the process of sending a happy birthday message to a client, or possibly a reminder email to a member who hasn’t been to the club in a month.
12. Invest in Facebook Ads.
This is old news, but many golf club owners don’t take advantage of Facebook Ads the way that they should be. Facebook Ads are incredibly inexpensive and can be an excellent way to pull in new member leads. The process of setting up a Facebook Ads account is also quite easy to do. Once you’ve launched your ad campaign, you can use Facebook’s user-friendly Ad dashboard to track analytics and see how well different ads are performing. Being able to track ad performance is essential, and Facebook Ads make the process much easier to do without investing a big chunk of your budget.
13. Partner with local hospitality brands.
Golf club owners understand how beneficial the relationship between a club and nearby hotels or conference centers can be. Partnering with a hotel or event center is a mutually beneficial thing. Golf clubs can offer special rates when consumers are booking a hotel stay. Just as well, a specific event or golf tournament is an excellent opportunity to partner with hotels to offer discounted ticket prices or hotel rooms. The goal is to create a flow of new guests that moves through both the hotel and the golf facility. Just make sure that you’re clear about all the terms of the partnership via a contract and to have an adequate marketing plan in place.
14. Use a remarketing pixel on your club’s website.
Have you ever visited a website before and suddenly noticed that ads for that website were everywhere? That’s due to the website’s remarketing pixel. A pixel can capture a visitor’s data and automatically put them on a remarketing list. This can be helpful in getting the attention of a lead who left your site without signing up. You can easily capture information with a pixel, and significant ad platforms like Google Ads will provide step-by-step instructions for doing so.
15. Take advantage of paid advertising.
We’ve mentioned that Facebook Ads are worth the investment, but other paid advertising options are also precious. Pay-per-click ads can be great for grabbing the attention of golfers who are already looking for a new course. Google Ads is one excellent option. This platform will show ads to individuals who are actively looking for the services that your golf club offers, so the leads you pull to your website through these ads are highly valuable. Pay-per-click can also be economical as well since you’ll only pay for the clicks your ads receive.
16. Create a member loyalty program.
Loyalty programs are great because they give back to longstanding members and offer more of an incentive to stay with one’s golf club. In the golf industry, a rewards points system can give members more incentive to spend money on different club amenities. To implement a rewards program, give your customers a specific goal to inch toward that will provide them with the incentive to purchase products, check-in at the club more often, or sign up for tee time during specific timeframes. B2B companies like Brand Movers and GetGlue.co offer automated loyalty program software that can be quite helpful in launching a new loyalty program.
17. Take the time to spruce up your Instagram.
Golf is a highly visual sport. It makes sense why many golf club marketers will use a highly visual platform like Instagram for marketing purposes. Your Instagram feed will need to be full of high-quality eye-catching photos. The goal is to make your club look like an enjoyable place for golf, and that can be done with great photography and video footage. Creating stunning images isn’t all that difficult either– most smartphones have high-quality cameras that make snapping Insta-worthy photos a breeze.
18. Always share the high-quality content you can find consistently.
Content is extremely valuable when it comes to marketing, no matter what industry or niche you’re in. Through sharing high-quality content via social media channels, your target audience can discover your brand. Sharing content that is helpful or solves a problem can establish a sense of trust from your target audience as well. To take advantage of this trend, make sure that you are curating relevant golf-related content and taking the time to draft original golf-related content via your golf course’s website or blog.
19. Work with your club’s professional golfers on social media.
If your club is fortunate enough to be the home club of a professional golfer or two, it may be worth trying to leverage that partnership on social media. Your pro golfers have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to golf tips and tricks. See if you can work out a working relationship with these golfers to film how-to videos for your social media marketing. By creating an influencer persona within your golf club, you can create excitement about what your brand is doing and can establish your club’s social media account as an authority on golf-related guides.
20. Draft and send a press release.
Press releases are useful little documents that detail an upcoming event or update that could be considered newsworthy. Golf club owners could write press releases about new updates to their course, a clubhouse renovation, or an upcoming tournament. Once a press release is finished and properly formatted, it can then be sent to different publications, news outlets, journalists, magazines, and popular golf websites. Local media outlets are constantly looking for content that consumers will like, so don’t feel as if you’re bothering publications or individuals by submitting a press release. Look through different websites’ “About Us” or “Contact Us” page for contact information.
21. Encourage your members to leave a testimonial on Golf Advisor.
If a member has raved about your club in the past, encourage them to rate your golf course via Golf Advisor. This website is a popular spot for golfers to search for reputable golf clubs to join, so getting a great rating can provide some leverage over competitors in your area. Consider offering an incentive to get your happy members to leave a review. For example, a personalized email offering 15% club merchandise for an honest review on Golf Advisor could be a great strategy. If you can provide something in return for a review, members will be much more likely to act.
22. Create a unique landing page for a specific event.
Do you have a tournament coming up, or perhaps a large family-friendly event? If so, you should create a unique, separate landing page for that specific event. This landing page should detail everything about the event, from where to sign up to what the event will detail to when it is launched. By creating a unique landing page, you can use that piece of content to market across social media and search engine results pages.
23. Be active on social media.
Golf clubs are known for being a great place to build a community, so it only makes sense if your club has a social media presence that showcases that community. In addition to sharing helpful and engaging content on your social accounts, take the time to post polls, ask your members questions, make announcements, post reviews, and respond to posts that mention your club. Social media marketing is great because it’s cheap and takes little effort to set up, so there is no reason to not include it in your overall marketing strategy.
24. Provide an opportunity for people to snap photos.
We’ve mentioned how important using video and photo is for marketing on social media. It can also be a smart move to provide photo opportunities for your members to share on social media as well. It’s virtually free marketing! Your members can help you reach new users through social media easily. If you happen to have beautiful landscaping or some other eye-catching nature surrounding your course, put up signs or even small picture frames. These will catch the attention of members and provide an excellent opportunity to take photos.
25. Implement social selling into your marketing strategy.
Social selling is another trend in the marketing world that is gaining popularity quite quickly. This marketing strategy involves engaging with potential club members via social media platforms. It’s a useful method for attracting new leads and building up existing customer loyalty. Think of it this way: Every time someone follows your club’s account, likes one of your posts or interacts with your club in some way via social media, you have an opportunity to start a conversation or answer their questions. This, in turn, shows potential members that your club is helpful, worthy of trust, and run by professionals. You really can’t skip on social selling!
26. Create a brand culture and show it off.
Believe it or not, the culture you cultivate with your golf club staff can be a great marketing opportunity. If you’ve created a workspace that people feel safe in and share a mission that people believe in, you’re creating a work culture that then creates employee ambassadors.
These are employees that love their job and will go above and beyond to promote your golf club on social media. And because they’re employees, potential members will trust them a little bit more than, say, a random testimonial on your website. This organic form of marketing comes down to how you run your business and how you treat your employees. Look at where your culture can improve and put the work in to make your employees happy.
27. Reward the members who spend the most.
In addition to referral programs and loyalty programs, you can also reward your biggest spenders with a VIP program. Customers who continuously book a tee time, host events, or otherwise use your facilities and purchase your products are considered valuable customers. Consider creating an extra program to reward them for their patronage. Such a program can involve regular rewards for members who maintain a specific high loyalty point balance. Plus, a VIP program can help you collect valuable data that will help you identify what kind of people are becoming VIPs and how to best appeal to them when looking for new members. Just as well, this data can also help you nurture your VIP members now.
28. Run occasional social media contests.
It’s no secret that social media marketing is useful, but golf club owners can take it a step further and use their platform of choice to run contests. This is a great strategy for increasing interest in your golf course. Just make sure you encourage your target audience to like, share, and comment as part of the contest to increase engagement. The content strategy is sorely overlooked, but it can be a great way to establish your brand online and generate interest in your club. Plus, launching a contest is quite easy to do.
29. Offer business packages.
If you tend to look for and market to businesses that want to host company events, offering a unique business package could be an excellent marketing tactic. When it comes to business events, many companies opt for golf clubs because they’re relaxing and a popular sport among white-collar professionals.
Stand out from your competitors by offering a highly competitive, benefit-rich business package. You could include things like free amenities and other add-ons to appeal to business professionals. It would also be wise to ensure that signing up and making reservations for a business package can be done via your club’s website with little work involved.
30. Personalize your content.
The last thing you want is for your potential members to see you as “just another golf club.” Take the time to evaluate what makes your club different than others, particularly on a local scale. From there, look at how the content you’re putting out via social media and email reflects the unique aspects of your business. Are you well known for your live events, or possibly your putting greens? Make sure that your target audience can see what makes you stand out through your content and ads.
31. Answer important questions with Google Analytics.
Golf club marketers need to dive into this platform more often. Google Analytics can answer some important questions, such as where your new members are coming from and what the ROI is on your promotions and other marketing investments. It can also tell you where purchases or sign-ups are being abandoned. A quick look at your club’s GA account can provide enough information to help you identify weak points in your current marketing strategies. If you’re willing to put in the work, upgrading from a standard GA account to a more advanced setup can provide even more insight into your golf club and target audience.
32. Don’t be afraid to host more fun tournaments.
High-class golf clubs don’t invest in tournaments as much as they should. Tournaments are incredibly fun to attend, and the turnout could be substantial if marketed properly. You’ll get more revenue per attendee, the chance to entice new members, and kick up your course occupancy. Facebook is an excellent social media platform to promote tournaments. Try investing in a small Facebook Ad and draft some email blasts for a few weeks before your tournament takes place, and you’ll likely get a great ROI on a small marketing expense.
33. Host charity events.
Supporting important causes isn’t just an admirable thing to do. It’s always a way of showing your community that you care about them, all while pulling in leads and engaging with your existing members. Charity events provide an opportunity to help a cause and promote your club at the same time. The charity you choose can be relevant to golf or something completely different, but we recommend looking into local charities that cater to your local community.
34. Invest in a referral campaign.
Like loyalty reward programs, referral programs give your existing members some incentive to perform a task that benefits your golf club. For referral campaigns, that task is encouraging their friends or family to join your club. This is one of the oldest (and least expensive) marketing tricks out there because you’re merely putting your members in charge of providing “free” marketing. Word of mouth is influential in the golf world. Implement a referral program that offers something of value in exchange for referring a new member, such as a large discount, a free month of golfing, or access to exclusive benefits.
35. Don’t treat your prospects like just another number.
Nobody wants to feel like they’re just another number to add to a member base. If potential members are seeing content from your club that could be meant for literally anyone, they won’t feel important. And they certainly won’t want to join your club. Personalizing your content by using information that relates to each specific lead can make all the difference. Such information can include their name, where they signed up for your emails, etc. Also, make sure that your email marketing campaign for your existing members is similarly unique and informative.
How was our list of the best creative marketing ideas for promoting your golf club? Leave a comment below and let us know which ideas you’ve found success with.