Marketing is nothing more than exposing your services and products to customers in the hope that they spend money. Some terms you may have heard that describe our current approach to marketing are “Holistic Marketing,” “Pull Marketing” or “Relationship Marketing.” They pretty much all mean the same thing, in the sense that they approach marketing as a complex customer engaging practice – not a one trick pony.
What challenges golf professionals, just as much as any other one-person small business, is the issue of limited resources – meaning limited time. At no other period in history has running a small business been so cost effective. The playing field has been leveled due to technology – the “mom and pop” business can now compete with the “big boys” if they want. The only variable is motivation.
Getting A Professional Website
Proper marketing begins with controlling your message. Your website is the only place on the Internet where you control what is said – you need to take advantage of this. You should be able to update your website whenever and wherever you want. And, because it’s important to have a place that your customers can get information about your services, you need to make sure that all your information is readily available and up-to-date.
Produce Quality Content
One of the “secrets” to a successful marketing effort is producing quality content. The term “content” means anything you output that reflects your businesses message – articles, videos, pictures, tweets, etc…
There is no silver bullet when it comes to content – producing content that your customers think has value is what’s important. We encourage all our professionals to fully embrace all the social platforms – it’s easy, fun and a great way to communicate with your students. Just as you would tell your students to practice the techniques you explained to them in a golf lesson, we would tell you to “practice” your marketing.
Setting aside hours in your week to focus on your brand is a great idea. Don’t try to cram your marketing efforts between lessons and expect miracles to happen. You need a well thought out plan. Today’s customers will reward you for what you put into your brand, so give your customers quality content that they want. In turn, they will give you their time – and attention – by investing in your services.
These are the platforms to start on, and a must for every business:
Make the time to learn these platforms. You’re going to have your favorites, which is great, but don’t ignore the other ones or you’ll run the risk of losing touch with your students who favor different platforms. The people who claim, “My business is booming right now, I don’t need that stuff” do not understand that the way we communicate with our customers is shifting to a different form of communication.
This is not a “how to” article on using these platforms. This article is meant to inform golf professionals about the platforms needed in order to thrive in the digital times. We have written numerous articles that dive deeper into “best practices” for different social platforms, here are a few you may want to reference:
The content you produce doesn’t need to be “tv quality.” Making an instructional video that you want to distribute on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+ and your website doesn’t need to be shot with a $100,000 camera and professional editing equipment. It’s the quality of your content, the message and the substance that matter. Film your videos using an iPad and wireless microphone. If you need to edit some frames or chop up video into small segments, use the iMovie or YouTube Capture app on your tablet. Give people consistent, quality, precise content and you can really start to build a following.
How To Get Started
Running a business is very similar to improving your golf swing – you need to put in the time. No one is going to care as much about your business as you do, and if you’re not willing to put in the time, it’s tough to expect others to do the same. If you are reading this then it probably means you have what it takes.
Schedule the time. Just as you would block your lesson book for lunch, a doctors appointment or a tournament, block it out for your business. Put some time aside on your calendar to signup for the services we mentioned above and explore how they are used. You don’t need to tackle everything on the first day. Take a little time to explore each platform and write down some ideas on how you can use them to get your message out.
We’re always here to help guide you on strategies that work and tactics we recommend. Keep in mind that the most important thing you can do for your marketing efforts – and your business – is care (we even wrote an article about it – “The Big Secret: Care & Engagement”).