Push Notifications

7 Ways The App Is A Lifesaver

 

“Running a business is all smooth sailing.”

- Said no one ever.

 

As much as we plan and prepare to make business operations seamless week to week, we are bound to occasionally hit a snag. In the golf industry, this can look like employee turnover, unpredictable weather, or last minute cancellations, among many other potential hiccups. When blindsided by these challenges, it can often lead to quick reactionary marketing decisions that may not be the best message to deliver to your customers.

In this blog, I’ve outlined a series of “trouble scenarios” and ways to get your golf club out of a bind using your app. By learning more about these slightly out of the box best practices, hopefully, you’ll feel more proactive communicating to your customer and maybe even find marketing opportunities when faced with similar challenges.


 

1. Last Minute Outing Cancelation - How To Fill Your Tee Sheet

Have you planned on having a packed course due to a scheduled outing and then the day before this planned event, the tournament organizer has to cancel? This can be a headache, especially because you probably spent that week turning golfers away, who wanted to play at your course. If in this position, sending a push notification to your app audience is a fast and effective way to fill your tee sheet. The message should direct users right to your booking engine to view and make tee times in the app within a couple clicks.

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2. Sunshine In February? Get More Out Of Your Golfers!

Ever been in the middle of your winter or off-season and out of nowhere you have a few days of clear skies and sunshine? This is typically great news, but it can involve scrambling to get the word out to fill an open tee sheet for the next day. Again, this is where in-app messaging is a reliable channel in immediately delivering that message to your audience. You can even set up an in-app deal featuring a golf package for up-sell opportunities since most likely your golfers are ill-equipped to play golf this time of year.

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3. Course Renovation or Update

Whether you are experiencing unpredictable weather or planned course renovation, it’s always a good idea to keep your golfers in the loop with any on-course updates for the day. When these scenarios come up abruptly it can be difficult to notify golfers of an update or to kindly abide to on-course change in play, such as cart path only due to heavy rains. This is when a geofence message over the course becomes a quick and seamless solution to notifying your golfers about course updates for the day. You may be thinking sending out an email to your whole database is just as easy and will be received by a larger audience. That is correct, however, broadcasting a message about your course being in a less desirable condition can have a lingering effect of keeping customers away from your course. By placing a location-based message over your clubhouse or parking lot, only golfers on site will be notified of the course update or instructions. Another useful messaging tool in this scenario is an on-course pop-up message. Using pop-ups allows you to add an image to the message, making your golfers aware of what to prepare for on a particular hole.

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4. On-Course Engagement

Engage with your golfers while they are on your course! Using pop-up notifications you can trigger messages based on which holes they are located at. This function can be applied in a number of ways to benefit your golf club. On hole 8, send a reminder to make an order at the turn or after their round, encourage them to “head to the clubhouse to enjoy a cold one”. Also, you can use pop-ups as a way to promote “digital hole sponsorships” during tournament play. Your club or tournament organizers can present a fee to local businesses for in-app advertising during the tournament day, making your course tournament experience stand out against your competition.

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5. Connect With New Tournament Players

Your course will be packed with players for an upcoming outing. Some of these players may frequent your course often, but others it’s their first time. You may think having manicured fairways and pristine greens will keep them coming back, but it’s not always that easy to keep your club top of mind. Take advantage of tournament days by promoting your app for live scoring, golf GPS, and tournament specific offers. This in-app deal can be anything from “Get $10 off a $50 spend” to “$1 off a sleeve of balls”. The key components are to make this deal exclusive and available for only one day to drive app downloads. This will not only provide a positive course experience but also the opportunity for you to market to these new customers post-tournament.

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6. Direct Foot Traffic To Your Operations Needing Help

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. You could send an email out on Thursday about daily happy hour specials and merchandise sales and by the time it’s Saturday and those golfers are at your club, they have already forgotten what deals are available to them. 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.

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7. Driving Range Golf GPS

This spring we launched our Golf GPS feature for driving range facilities. This feature is easy to set up and allows for your golfers to have accurate yardage to range targets no matter what their location is on the driving range. No longer will your staff need to post grass tee yardages on a daily or weekly basis.

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9 Reasons Why Golf Courses Win With A Mobile App

One the biggest trends we are seeing in the golf industry right now is the growing popularity of mobile golf apps. Hundreds of golf courses are using them to streamline online booking, shopping, score tracking, and social communities within their member and customer bases.

So, why is it so useful for golf courses to make use of a mobile app? The main reason is that mobile apps represent an incredibly powerful marketing platform for selling tee times, pro shop items, and even food & beverage.

While it's great that so many golf courses are adopting this new technology, it’s important that golf operators understand how to get maximum value out of the wide range of marketing benefits that apps provide. Mobile apps are proven to have a high rate engagement rate because Americans spend 89% of their time in an app while using their phones. So, if golf courses want to benefit from the mobile revolution they need to have an app. These days, almost no one will use a mobile browser to book their tee time or engage with their club.

Golf course apps include two powerful marketing tools, push notifications and in-app messages. Push notifications are the little banners an app will send to the front screen of your phone when a news story breaks or you get a text message. In-app messages are messages that are sent to a user directly within an app. Both have a wide variety of uses and will dramatically increase engagement.

 

For this article we collaborated with Alex Lavoie from Chronogolf, the industry leader in cloud-based club management software.

- Molly Jasco, Marketing Manager of Gallus Golf

 

What are push notifications and in-app messages useful for?

1. Promotion announcements

Users of your app who have enabled push notifications represent a captive audience. Whenever your course has a new discount or promotion, you now have access to marketing real estate directly on the front page of your customers’ phones.

Best of all, if the promotion is appealing to the app user they can purchase whatever tee time, pro shop item, or restaurant deal you are promoting directly from their phone.

A fast and effective way to utilize push notifications, is when you want to get the word out about last minute offers and deals. For example, if a tee sheet is wide open for the following day after 2 pm, send your audience a special twilight rate. The true power of this, versus email for example, is the immediate impact you can have. This message delivery, similar to a text message, grabs the user’s attention, unlike email which often receives a delayed response.

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2. Event Invitations

Email used to be the most effective channel for promoting an event, today it’s the mobile app. Whenever your course announces a new tournament or event, a well timed push notification can encourage players to RSVP to the event directly from their phones. If desired, mobile apps can also display who is attending, provide menu options, start times, an itinerary and any other event related details.

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3. Sending Reminders

Reduce no shows and late starts by reminding players about their tee times. If the player is going to be late they can reschedule their tee time directly from the app. As well, reminders are helpful for ensuring that attendance at tournaments and events is maximized.

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4. Keeping Golfers Updated

Sometimes the weather just won’t cooperate and you have to notify players that their tee time is delayed or that the course is closed. Your customers really appreciate being kept in the loop especially if they get a notification directly to their phone regarding changes in weather, start times, or tee time availability. Providing real time course notifications to your audience will increase the value of your app from the golfer perspective, and make it clear you are not only sending promotional messaging.

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5. Thank You’s and Congratulations

After a tournament send a quick thank you note to all who participated or congratulate player for getting a hole in one or improving their handicap. Occasionally sending these kind of notifications helps personalize your app and will ultimately drive more engagement. In addition, this can be a great opportunity to increase customer retention by adding a discount or offer off their next visit at your club.

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6. Geofenced Notifications

Perhaps the most powerful aspect of mobile golf apps is their ability to send notifications based on geographic location. 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.

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7. Sparking a Conversation

Encourage your customers to raise their voices about their experience at your course. Push notifications are capable of directly asking a customer how they felt about their experience after a round at your golf course. Ask for feedback, pro shop item requests, or restaurant menu ideas.

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8. Recurring Push Notifications

Having a regular check in message is a great way to connect with your customers and build your push notification open rates. Having a weekly or monthly campaign that features “Pro Tip Tuesday”, “Golfer of the Month” or even a link to your regular newsletter will allow you to get greater leverage out of those campaigns that may typically be sent only via email. These can be used for promotional purposes or educational, we suggest making sure there is consistency in the time and day you send these messages out.

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9. Promoting Your Loyalty Program

Many mobile golf apps have built in loyalty features for customer rewards and redemption. Because golfers are typically downloading your app for core features like booking tee times, scorecard and golf gps, they are unaware that in-app deals or your loyalty program even exists. Including loyalty program-related push notifications is another way to balance out your content messaging and highlight additional value your app provides. Introduce your loyalty program to your golfers and use this channel to push a “double points day” or “your rewards will expire soon” to create a sense of urgency. If yourloyalty program is built into your app, you can guide your users directly to that page in your app when they open the message.

Best Practices & Tips For Creating Your Push Notifications

We’ve filled you in on a number of ways to use push notifications to connect with your customers and promote your business, now learn how to get the most out of your messaging.

 

 

 

  • Message Length: Short and sweet is the way to go. Users are flooded with messages all day long between news notifications, emails, and more, that having a short and concise message with a clear call to action will result in the best open rates.

 

  • Keywords: Engagement is highest when your message creates a sense of urgency or exclusivity. If a user sees they only have 24 hours to take advantage of a sale or they have early access to an event, they will be more likely to learn more. 

 

  • Segmentation: Use your app to segment your audience by user profile or interests. Now, you can send targeted messaging based specific customer criteria. Users will appreciate the relevant content, which will be reflected in higher open and conversion rates. 

4 Holiday Messaging Ideas You Should Use

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The Holidays are in full swing and when looking back at 2016, spending exceeded $1 trillion, with the average U.S. adult spending $419 on holiday-related items.  Early forecast calls for the 2017 holiday season to be even stronger... So what does this mean for you? It's time to start marketing your Golf Club specials and memberships! We are here to help you stand out against the competition so your customers keep YOU in mind when crossing off their Holiday Gift List! Fortunately, with 76% of Americans using their mobile device for their holiday shopping, you have a good bet of converting in-app messaging to dolla dolla bills, ya'll!

 

How do you do this, you ask? Let's dive in...

 

1) Holiday Sale Message

Do you have any Holiday golf shop specials or an annual Holiday Sale? Send a Push Message out to your audience to promote your sale. Emphasize the significant discount with terms like "Major markdowns" or "Up to 75% OFF" and a sense of urgency using phrases like, "Limited Supply", "2 Days Only", or "Will SELL OUT!".  These examples may not exactly apply to what you are offering, but the key takeaway with a holiday sale message is to highlight the discount and demand for the products being offered.

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2) Gift Card Promotion

Year after year, more people prefer receiving gift cards for the holidays. In fact, the total gift card volume will reach $160 billion by 2018. That is a BIG piece of holiday-spending pie! But how do we compete with national sport retail stores? Well, we may have to get a little creative.  Offer a holiday special when a customer buys a gift card, they receive an additional free item with that purchase.  For example when a customer buys a $50 gift card, they get a free $5 gift card or sleeve of golf balls.  By adding value to their purchase, you are able to stand out against your competitors and drive incentive to spend. You can make it fun by calling it a "Naughty or Nice Special" - Be nice and give the additional gift to a friend, or naughty and keep for yourself.  Send this promotion out in a push message linking them right to your Online Store, so they can complete their purchase in 3 clicks, without even having to get up from the couch! Christmas shopping has never been so easy!

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3) Secret Santa Code 

Make shopping at your golf shop or online store fun this holiday season!  Send out a push message with a "Secret Santa Code" or phrase your customers can use at the time for payment for a special discount.  Maybe the message is, "Say 'Rudolf' at your time of payment for 20% off your golf shop purchase" or "Enter code 'MERRY' to get 10% OFF your online purchase", directing them to the Online Store in the push message.  One thing to note is to provide an expiration date so there is a sense of urgency to shop and take advantage of the special discount.

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4) 12 Days of Christmas Special

Create 12 "Daily Deals" and promote them each day using with a push message. These deals and specials can be small and range from anything to "$5 Off Greens Fee" to "Appetizers - Buy One Get One Half Off". When sending out these series of messages, it’s best to be consistent in the time of day the message is sent. We would suggest sending these out in the late morning, as it allows time for customers to redeem these offers the same day. Of course, if 12 days is too long, you can always shorten the length of the campaign to “7 Days of Christmas”.  Making it unique to your Golf Club and fun for your customers is the idea here.

There you have it, four ideas that your Golf Club can use to promote your holiday specials directly to your customers.  In addition to in-app messaging, be sure to advertise any holiday specials on social media and email. If you need marketing help or would like to learn about our BOOST Marketing Program, please reach out to Molly Jasco. She is our BOOST Client Success Manager and handles the marketing strategy for many of our golf course clients.
 

If you need any assistance in setting up a message, please reach out to your Account Manager. We are happy to help and wish you a VERY MERRY HOLIDAY SEASON!

2017-2018 Push Notification Cheatsheet

Push notifications are arguably the most important tool at your disposal, but are too often under-utilized.

We at Gallus Golf have been studying push notification trends from hundreds of golf courses around the world to understand exactly what works (and what doesn’t).


Continue reading for best practices as well as a cheat sheet of some of our favorite pushes.

 

Best Practices

 

Timing

When it comes to effective push notifications, timing really is everything.

 

Wording

You have a minuscule window of time to grab the user's attention, so use your words wisely.

 

Call To Action

Think of push notifications like email  - how do you get someone to "click-through"?

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(Study was done by Localytics)

There is a slight uptick in click rates for push notifications sent in the late morning and early afternoon (10am-1pm)

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Frequency

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Knowing how often to communicate with users via push can make or break your relationship with them.

 

OPTIMAL LENGTH OF YOUR PUSH

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HOW CERTAIN WORDS IMPACT PUSH OPEN RATES

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Measured By Lift In Click Rate Compared to Average

Overall Average Push Click Rate = 10.2%

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Need Inspiration? 

Try one of our basic templates. Click below to download.

Download Push Notification Cheatsheet

The Geofence Message, And it’s Competitive Advantages

This week's app tip from Denny Hathaway, National Account Manager, Gallus Golf

A Geofence is an area that you can designate, that will initiate an automatic push notification (marketing or informative message), to APP users that have allowed for notification services.

All of our mobile APPs have the ability to set up to 20 Geofences.  These Geofences can be set anywhere on Earth, all you would need is an address.

A Geofence message is similar to a Push Notification, in that it is a text style message, limited to 120 characters or less.  The big difference between the type messages is that a geofence notification is a message you create, and then bury in the sand, like  a trip-wire, for your downloaders to receive when, and only when they cross that specific geofence area, versus the push notification you are actively crafting and sending at a designated time.

 

A specific, strategically placed message like this, allows for golf courses to get very aggressive with the type of marketing message they wish to impart because they know that the only people who are going to see that message, are the people that have downloaded their APP, and have crossed into that specific location.

 

Let’s talk about some ideas for strategic Geofence placement

We know that every facility is different, and every market is different.  That said, these practices have been proven to be successful ways to augment your marketing efforts, and communicate with your audience in an intelligent way.

 

Other Daily Fee or Semi-Private golf facilities in your market

If you have 2 3,4, or more golf courses in your market that you compete with, go ahead and place a Geofence message in their driveway and around their clubhouse.  A well-executed and placed message here can literally result in you pulling business out of the parking lots of your competitors.  Ex:  “Head on over to Broken Elbow Golf club where our rewards programs give you free golf with every 6 rounds you play."

 

Big Box Retail

If you have a Golf Galaxy, PGA SuperStore, or Dick’s Sporting Goods in your market, you might be well served by setting a geofence in their parking lots and around their stores. If selling some equipment this year is a goal for you, or maybe achieving a 10 or 15% uptick in equipment sales, this would be a great place to start.  Ex: “If you’re looking to purchase some golf equipment this summer, head on over to Broken Elbow GC, for a free club fitting."  Let’s remind our audiences to bring this business back to the green grass pro-shops, and patronize your local club.  

You can get everything you need at a full-service pro shop, get fit correctly, and maybe even earn some loyalty program points as to boot.

 

Strategic Locations in town, or on Major Highways 

You are experts in your markets.  We suggest everybody pick some areas in town where your downloaders are apt to travel and congregate and set a geofence in those locations.  Ex:  “Afternoon traffic got you down?  Head over to Broken Elbow GC for Happy Hour!"

 

Free-Standing or competing Driving Ranges in your Market

Looking to boost golf lesson revenue this summer?  How about advertising to YOUR APP audience, by setting a geofence in the parking lot of the local driving range? Ex: “ Having swing troubles?  Head on over to Broken Elbow, mention this message and receive $10 off your next lesson.”

Another great feature of these Geofences? Once you have some set, you can see how they are performing.  In the Geofence tile of your dashboard, you will have access to review all of your geofence performances over the previous month or other timeframes you designate.  You will be shown how many people have crossed your Geofence and viewed your message.  Don’t like how a Geofence is performing for you?  Delete it, and make a new one.  You will quickly find the sweet spots in your market, where your audience is most susceptible to your efforts.


As always, if you have any questions on this or any other feature in your APP, don’t hesitate to reach out to us! support@gallusgolf.com