Reach, frequency, calls-to-action, the whole gamut
Picture the golf operator of generations past, rubbing a magic lamp and wishing for a full-scale promotion and advertising campaign to grow his business. Instantly, his course is seen on billboards and sung about in radio jingles. Postmen deliver his brochures and flyers get tucked under windshield wipers. A guy with a sandwich board walks busy streets, while a prop plane trails a banner across the sky.
It can wear a person out thinking about all the different kinds of promotion course operators can use in order to saturate the marketplace and attract golfers to their first tee. The Internet and connectivity through mobile devices has changed all that. Traditional advertising still exists, of course, if you have the resources. But don’t turn your back on your consumers when online. A digital approach is simple and can be used to better reach, impress and entice your target consumer.
For anyone whose job is filling tee sheets, the obvious gold standard in digital marketing is GolfNow’s Premium Marketing Program, first introduced in 2011. For a little extra investment, courses that become PMP partners benefit from a wide array of advantageous placements and optimized positioning. Just as there are only so many business-class seats on an airplane, there’s a cap on how many golf courses could and will leverage what PMP offers. Currently, just over 1,300 are enrolled in the program.
“In order to be invited to become part of the PMP program, the criteria isn’t how fancy or high-end your course is, it’s much more about how engaged and energized the operator is in attracting their online golfer,” said Ryan Heaton, GolfNow director of sales operations . “The clearest advantage for PMP partners is placement at the top of the search results a golfer sees when they look online for a tee time in that particular area. All the listings are shown, but that top placement, which looks organic, has enough prominence to be a real advantage.”
The percentage of people who see banner ads that come with a PMP account and click to view the promoted course’s inventory can be 20 times higher than the standard across all online products and services. Even more impressive is the “conversion” data: The percentage of people who purchase a round of golf at a PMP course after viewing its inventory is 11.3 percent, compared to an average conversion rate across all of e-commerce that’s only about 2 percent.
There is also “outbound” promotional muscle provided to a PMP partner. “The course is featured in emails to our golfer database, which go out every morning and are geo-based,” says Heaton. One home run of a benefit is appearing as a Featured Course—this is exclusive to the PMP level of partnership and when you land in that spot you are the only option the golfer—arriving with cash in hand and intention to buy a tee time—will see. “That’s 100 percent share of voice,” Heaton says with emphasis of the once-weekly email, “which by any measure is a huge value.”
Among the additional benefits of PMP participation are listings on Destination Pages within the GolfNow portfolio, which appeal to the traveling golfer. Similarly, there is a “Stay & Play” page on GolfAdvisor.com for every market. Although best suited to resorts, any PMP course that finds a lodging partner can provide that information to their GolfNow rep. Then, package links are set up so that customers get routed directly to the hotel partner, and are provided with a code to book right then and there. “Stay & Play is the third most trafficked page on Golf Advisor,” says Heaton, “so listing yourself is going to result in a lot of very relevant impressions.”
There’s also the potential to get exposure on Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive” show, as well as promoted in social media postings that reach 175,000 golfers who follow GolfNow on the big three platforms of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
To make the move to GolfNow’s Premier Marketing Program, you have to be well-positioned in your market and ready to try and maximize the golf course asset you’ve worked so hard to build, beautify and properly staff. You can find out more information about PMP from your GolfNow representative. In the digital age, long past the era of sky-writing and sandwich signs, PMP partnership is advertising and promotion that’s unmatched in the marketplace.
Featured photo: Providence Golf Club in Davenport, Fla., a GolfNow PMP partner