The Golf and Health project is aiming to scientifically prove the physical, mental health and wellbeing benefits of golf. But how do clubs go about reaffirming golf’s value to its membership, or encourage lapsed players, newbies and sceptics onto the fairway? STRI agronomist, Richard Wing, gives his top communications tips during Golf Health Week.
Who’s out there?
Start by working out who you want to communicate to. This could include your members, visitors and new entrants to golf. These are all different audience segments within your target market and it’s important to define who you are trying to reach and to group together those with similar characteristics and values.
What are they like and what do they want?
Once you have segmented your audience, identify the types of messages that will strike a chord with each group and motivate them to interact with your club. To encourage new members, consider highlighting some of the benefits of joining the golf community and more specifically the perks of being a member at your club, for example:
- People may be motivated to join a club because it provides an opportunity to meet new people. Be sure to promote all social events being hosted at your club.
- Golf clubs welcome people of all ages and abilities, and as there’s no age restriction it provides an ideal environment for families to enjoy new activities together.
- Consider encouraging your local community to actively engage with the club by inviting them to participate in your ecological and environmental initiatives. This offers promotional opportunities and you may even generate new memberships.
- A round of golf on an 18-hole course provides moderate intensity physical activity and burns around 600 calories. Tell people about the health benefits associated with golf as an alternative to the gym.
- Promote taster sessions and short-term memberships to inspire people to get into golf.
- The British Journal of Sports Medicine recently reported that playing golf could contribute to an increased life expectancy. Enough said.
- Your golf course is a massive asset. Share pictures, videos and gifs of your course to encourage people to spend more time in the natural environment, which is widely accepted as contributing to wellbeing and stress reduction.
Keeping your members happy
It is important that communications are not solely focused on attracting new members, but that they are also used to keep your existing members happy. It’s one thing to get sign up for a year, but another to get people to renew the next. Make sure you communicate regularly to members about course updates, results and upcoming events.
Remember however that on average only 30% of golfers play competitively and you need to consider the needs and wants of the remaining 70%. You will need to engage with this section of your membership in a different way. For example, consider sending out a membership survey to find out about their interests, or asking if they would like to volunteer at the club.
Where are they?
Don’t be afraid to experiment with unfamiliar channels such as Instagram and Facebook. Increase your presence online by joining communities on a variety of social media channels and see whose attention you can grab. It is always tempting to stay with what you know, but you may be missing out on reaching your entire target market.
Find out which communication tools are preferred by your members. There is little value in ploughing weekly scores out on Twitter if your members are not on it. To make sure that your finely tuned messages are not being missed, ask your members how they want to receive information and what types of content they prefer, then tailor your marketing communications accordingly. For example, your members may prefer a blog post which they can print and read at their leisure. You won’t know if you don’t ask.
What do we need to do?
- Make sure you complete your profiles on each social media site. Add bios, organisation logos, add a background or header image, and provide contact information include email, telephone number and your web address.
- Make sure you use good quality, sharp images.
- Posts with images, videos or gifs are more likely to capture attention.
- Communicate regularly across your channels and be consistent in both timing and style.
- Use hashtags (#) and add people’s or company’s handles (eg @striturf) to increase exposure.
- Be professional in your communications, but don’t be afraid to show a little personality and have fun.
- If people get in touch with you online, be sure to respond back.
- Look at other club profiles and see what kind of content they are sharing for inspiration.
- Encourage your members to share your content.
What response are we getting?
To find out how your content is performing you need to delve into the analytics, but this need not be an onerous task. Helpfully, the big social media players, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, all offer free insights, so you can keep an eye out for your top posts. Take a look at your engagement metrics to find out what type of content is most popular and use this information to inform your future communications.
If you have any questions relating to this article or would like some help, contact our marketing and communications team on +44 (0) 1274 565131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.