We’ve joined forces with 1-2-1 Marketing to list the best practices of optimizing a website and keeping app engagement high. 1-2-1 Marketing provides website and marketing solutions for golf facilities around the world, helping them sell rounds and memberships. Kent Ashby, Director of Digital Marketing at 1-2-1, breaks down his top tips on how to keep your site performance strong!
The website continues to play one of the largest roles when it comes to marketing a golf facility. Websites act as the cornerstone of marketing efforts. Email blasts, Facebook Ads, search engines, and other digital campaigns direct customers to the website in most instances. Because of this, ongoing maintenance and optimizations need to take place in order to keep up with the changing demands of golfers. After all, it’s not 1998 anymore. A lot has changed. Here are some helpful tips and best practices for improving your website’s performance this season.
More than Just Good Looks
While we pride ourselves on providing golf courses with websites that make great first impressions, functionality and accessibility trump all in 2018 and beyond. It’s important to ensure your website not only looks good on all devices, but functions just as well.
These days, users expect lightning-fast website experiences with quick and easy navigation. Your website should have a simple design with clear calls-to-action like “Book a Tee Time” and a contact number that’s prominently above the fold. This is especially true on mobile. Let’s use the screenshot below as an example. At first glance, there are really only two options a user sees; call the course or book a tee time. By simplifying the mobile version of the website to highlight only one or two actions, you save users the time and make their overall experience more pleasant. The smaller percentage of users looking for other information can utilize the menu to navigate to the appropriate place.
A major topic in the golf industry recently is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In an effort to make the web more accessible for the disabled, ADA regulations now apply to some business websites, including golf courses. To make websites more accessible for the vision or hearing impaired, features such as closed captioning, contrast ratios, meta data, and navigation all need to be adjusted for use in conjunction with accessibility software. With ADA compliance being a point of legal turmoil for several golf courses in recent months, it may be time to take a closer look at website accessibility.
Have Fresh, Fun Content
Golf courses typically have a lot more going on than their website shows. Often times, website content can go stale, with years going by between updates. Start leveraging your website as if it’s a message board for everything exciting that’s happening at your facility! Leveraging things like the online Event Calendar and a blog can help keep customers in the know, potentially leading to more participation at the course.
Also, content should be fun! Don’t be afraid to show your personality in your content. People appreciate businesses that remind them that there’s an actual person on the other side of the keyboard. It’s okay to be witty, sarcastic, or silly, especially in the more informal setting of the blog format. Using your favorite GIFs or memes is a perfect way to connect with your customers on a less professional, but more meaningful way.
Capture Customer Data
People aren’t as willing to give up their personal information as they once were. In order for your website to be a data-capturing machine, you need to offer something golfers can’t refuse. Here are a few offers we’ve seen on websites that have helped with data capture:
· A free round of golf for your birthday month
· Free online golf instruction series / practice drills
· Free appetizer with purchase of entrée
· Free bucket of range balls
When you provide a strong incentive for users to give you their data, you’ll be surprised at how many more people will take you up on it. This can help build your email database significantly and works well on users that typically wouldn’t provide their contact information.
Tracking and Measuring Website Activity
Most golf course operators are at least familiar with the standard website metrics, like visits, users, time on site, and pageviews. While these metrics are important to take note of, there is a whole host of other tracking possibilities that will allow you to attribute value to your marketing efforts.
While Google Analytics in its standard form is a powerful tool, there are hundreds of other ways you can use it to track website activity. With a more advanced implementation of Google Analytics, you can track the source of tee time bookings, form submissions, purchases, phone calls and more. You can even see which of your marketing efforts are producing the most revenue! This is valuable information that can assist you in designing the most profitable marketing mix possible for your golf course.
Make Sure You’re Being Found for Local Searches
Just because a website is SEO friendly doesn’t mean people are finding you on search engines. For golf courses, local search results provide the most value. These local search listings can be managed through Google My Business. Google My Business (GMB) allows business owners and operators to manage information such as hours of operation, imagery, and business categories. GMB also let’s golf course operators respond to reviews quickly and easily. Common mistakes we see with Google My Business listings are 1.) the course hasn’t claimed their listing, or 2.) the listing is incomplete. All things equal, an unverified or incomplete GMB listing will underperform, taking a backseat to businesses that tend to their listings regularly.
Often times the Gallus Golf on-course technology, such as golf GPS and scoring get a majority of the attention on tools to utilize. However, when utilized effectively it is our marketing tools that generate the most return to our partnered clubs. In this blog, you will learn how to get the most out of these tools and what the best practices are to ensure your customer connection remains strong!
Mobile App Tips from Gallus Golf Marketing Manager,
Keep App Content Up To Date
Your branded club app should be viewed as a hub of information for your customers to find: tee times bookings, club events, league information, junior golf, and general information. Fortunately, our tools are designed to reflect your website in a mobile-friendly view, so whenever an update is made on your site, it’s displayed in your app. The only place you will need to remember to update is News Items and buttons that may be seasonal. If you have new monthly events or specials, set a reminder to update that as often as needed. Your app users will appreciate seeing fresh content and will keep them engaged.
Create A Loyalty Program
Whether your Club App is five years old or launching this 2019 season, one thing to consider is including is a loyalty program. By having an exclusive in-app rewards program, you can create more value and give additional incentive for customers to download your app. The beauty of having a loyalty program in your Club app is that rewards are easily tracked and customers can always be aware of how close they are to earning a reward.
If you do not want to commit to a long-term program, one-time rewards are a great option. Our Offer Locker was released earlier this year and is essential a digital coupon that is sent to users directly in the app. Offers can be flexible to fit your club’s needs and sent to the full database or targeted segments. Targeted messaging is a marketing technique that customers are showing appreciation for with 44% of customers saying they would be willing to provide their name, address, email address and more in order to receive relevant offers.
Communication Is Key
Push Notifications are efficient in setting up and quickly delivering a message to your audience. Use push notifications to broadcast your club promotions, upcoming events, and even course conditions.
Tips To Remember With Push Notifications:
Schedule a push notification once a week. App users who receive one or more push notifications in their first 90-days have 190% higher average retention rates than those who don’t receive any push notifications.
Use Emojis! In a recent study with over 2.6 push notifications, data showed that emojis drive push notification opens by 85% and conversion by 9% 😃.
Use Geofence Messages
Timing is key for reaching users in a meaningful way. It’s impactful when a customer receives a notification showcasing deals in the pro shop and restaurant when they arrive in the parking lot. Research from a recent study shows 36% of people who shop using apps said a mobile location-based push notification influenced an in-store purchase they made.
Promote merchandise specials, new food menu items, or events to sign up for in the golf shop. By promoting these offerings to customers who are physically at your location, your chances of closing that sale are much greater.
When it comes to email marketing, we know promoting greens fee specials will get your golfers to your course, but often times, food & beverage or merchandise specials are not as strong of an appeal. With geofence technology, you can create a custom message for your golfers as they arrive at your club with all new specials and offerings available. 90% of US mobile users keep their location services turned on, and because your customers will be in the vicinity of these offerings, the likelihood of purchase is much stronger.
We hope you found these tips helpful in how to maintain a valuable online presence to your customers. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to your Account Manager or
contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.