Historically, companies that focus on marketing and advertising during economic downturns are among the first to revive when the economy improves. To that end, NGCOA has compiled marketing and customer service ideas you can implement to maintain your relationships with your customers, and keep your golf course top-of-mind through these difficult days. (Note: these are just general recommendations; remember to always adhere to the CDC Social Distancing guidelines and your state’s restrictions when making any business decisions):
Maintain relationships with your customers and develop new ones:
- If you haven’t already, communicate now with your full database on the open / limited hours status of your course, and what you’re doing to address the situation (find tips at ngcoa.org/coronavirus)
- If necessary, update your website, outgoing voicemail message, email auto-replies, etc. to reflect your new hours / changes in operation
- Ensure previously-scheduled emails and/or social posts don’t promote instruction, tournaments or other events that have been recently postponed or cancelled
- Consider using your facility for the greater good: donate your parking lot or outdoor space to local fitness providers to host yoga, boot camps, etc. or host blood drives, car washes, scavenger hunts or other fundraisers. Use social media to promote community participation in these activities.
- Messaging should always be sensitive to the current situation; supportive and not self-promotional
- Take this time to review your customer database, and update records to make sure you have the most accurate data
- Survey your customers via email to better understand them and improve their experience (e.g. birth month and date, favorite days and times to visit, favorite items on your menu, favorite or most challenging holes on your course); offer incentives for participating
- Relevant articles
- This is the time to humanize your posts; thank your customers for their patronage and loyalty in your own voice. This situation is a trying time all of us; genuine gratitude and concern for your customers goes a long way in times like these
- Create social campaigns that create and build your community; share anything you’re doing to support your area in these difficult times
- When the time is right, post questions to customers that promote interaction and sharing, e.g. “post a photo that you’ve taken on our course” and ask them to share in the comments
- Launch a poll on social media to learn what you customers want (new merchandise brands, different menu items, etc.) and then use the downtime to make it happen (then you have something new to share when the course reopens!)
- Create a “virtual lesson” campaign series and host it on your YouTube channel. Your head/assistant pro can answer questions (putting tips, swing advice, new gear, etc.) that are submitted via your social pages; sessions can be filmed and posted regularly and can include a reminder about scheduling lessons upon reopening.
- Resources from NGCOA Golf Business Conference presentations
Keep the revenue coming in & reduce current costs
- Use email and social media to sell gift certificates for rounds, food and beverage, or other packages on a buy-now-use-later
- Sell items from the pro shop online and hand-deliver locally (this could be a fun instagram activity: post pics of the items with price and include contact information in the description on how to order)
- Getting Your Golfer to Buy at Your Online Store (Golf Business TechCon 2018)
- Provide curbside or delivery service from your restaurant or food cart
- Don’t stop promoting wedding and other events for 2021
- Consider offering discounts/special offers to groups who had to cancel their events this year
- Participate in NGCOA's Park and Play program to make your course a compliant, safe place for outdoor activity
Update and upgrade your marketing vehicles
- Update the content/graphics on your website
- Update (or create) your pages on social media
- Make sure your instructor’s/chef’s pages are updated too!
- Update your email templates in your distribution software
- Create your social media calendar for the year
- Launch a blog
- Update your Google My Business listing
- Take photos of your clubhouse and course for promotional/social use (if you hire a local photographer you’ll keep other small businesses in business!)
- Brainstorm with staff (remotely if necessary) on ideas for future promotions and packages (holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, etc.)
- Enroll you and/or your staff in online training (RCSUniversity, Lynda Learning, Coursera and others) and review marketing-specific presentations delivered by experts at NGCOA conferences.
Spring cleaning / operational housekeeping
Have additional items we should list? Email Taylor Wall at firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas!
- Review NGCOA's Coronavirus Resources for Course Operators for sanitation tips and workplace resources
- Update your food and beverage menus and facility signage
- Take physical inventory of your pro shop, kitchen, etc.
- Note what needs to be replaced (now, 6 months, this year, etc.) inside and outside your facility
- Catch up on paperwork and bookkeeping; do an internal audit
- Contact your vendors to see if they'll offer delays or extensions on payments
- Read, organize and delete emails and snail mail
- Visit NGCOA’s Accelerate discussion boards and read posts from your owner and operator peers; post your own questions or share your own best practices
- Browse NGCOA Smart Buy Marketplace and reach out to suppliers you want more information about