The famed sales trainer and motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar, brought the concept to everyman language when he said, "All things being equal, people buy from their friends." He then added, "All things not being equal, people still buy from their friends." It seems like common sense, but "relationship marketing" was considered an innovative breakthrough a generation ago.
It seems simple, but if a course operator wants to sell tee times to golfers, he should try and build friendships with golfers in his area. That's precisely what John Brewer Jr., General Manager of Split Rock Golf Club in Orient, Ohio, has been doing for years. Only now he's using short videos as a high-powered, revenue-driving tool in that effort. Teaming up with his Plus Specialist from GOLF Business Solutions, Melissa De La Paz, Brewer has been planning, producing and posting weekly videos, then tracking the results and continually refining strategy.
"A local company that does video production and marketing for small businesses made a presentation to us that included some of the results they could deliver, in terms of click-throughs and likes and so forth," says Brewer. "The numbers were basically the same as what we're achieving on our own, in our work with Melissa, so that was very satisfying to see."
Golfers who follow "The Rock" on Facebook enjoy the videos and don't mind Brewer's straight-forward approach.
"We're doing this to start a conversation with our customers and see where it leads," says Brewer." It's personal. It's not fancy in the least, and maybe that's why people come into the shop and start talking about our videos and ask us what we're planning to do next."
All marketing and selling should conclude with a call-to-action—that's the accepted wisdom. However, in relationship marketing, the action isn't necessarily a purchase. Earlier this season, Brewer worked with De La Paz on a video promoting a used-ball drive that resulted in some 20 golfers showing up to donate buckets of shag balls that had been gathering dust in their garages.
"We had an unexpected range ball shortage, and I know for a fact that half our players have a big stash of scuffed balls they can't seem to toss out," explains Brewer. "We put out our request via video and got a great response. Everybody was talking about it—that's the whole point anyway, the back and forth interaction."
Mike Hendrix, Vice President of Business Services at GOLF Business Solutions, agrees entirely with the Split Rock concept of video that is sincerely personal. The point of it is making a genuine connection, not an action-driven message that a typical marketer would use.
"When you are selling golf," says Hendrix, "you're basically inducing a person to do the thing they want to do. They want to engage with their favorite activity in their ideal environment. So, let's just get the engagement process started—and video is the tool for that. It's natural and easy to consume video—especially on your smartphone, which is where so much content gets consumed today."
Led by Hendrix and Plus Specialist Gabriela Vaughan, the GOLF Business Solutions team recently introduced Clubhouse Bulletin, a video newsletter customized for private clubs as a way for them to connect with members. The natural ease and charm of Bailey Mosier, a GOLF Channel studio host, supply those qualities. Mosier fronts (and co-produces) these customized "video newsletters" for the top clubs now enrolled in the program.
By using broadcast-quality production elements, with the GOLF Channel Newsroom as a backdrop, a Clubhouse Bulletin segment holds a viewer's attention as it delivers engaging content—news, events, and important updates. Other production values include professional course imagery, a scrolling information ticker, and club-specific branding in each video.
"Club GMs and officers will view a sample segment and assume there's a high cost to get involved," says Hendrix. "But the cost of entry for a club to add this powerful communication tool and really build engagement is very reasonable." While it's generally a means of connecting with and retaining the existing member, Clubhouse Bulletin enrollment also allows a club to create an outreach video showcasing it for potential new members.
Humans are wired to process information visually–it's how our brains work. Golfers are wired to enjoy their experiences at your course or club by personally connecting with the people who provide them with service and a great product. Short videos inviting viewers to come and enjoy themselves will make a strong impression—and produce business results.
To discover more about Clubhouse Bulletin and what it can do for your course, CLICK HERE.
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