18Players Director, Tom Irwin, gives you five key tips about maximising your marketing – no matter your budget
Work with micro-influencers
We have all heard of the term influencers, and we have certainly all heard of names like Rick Shiels, Mark Crossfield, Peter Finch, and The Jazzy Golfer.
Rick Shiels alone has over two million YouTube subscribers and any video he posts is guaranteed tens of thousands of views within a few hours.
It has been interesting watching influencer marketing move from an intriguing trend to a commonly used marketing tactic.
Influencers are often masters of the platforms they use and the topic they talk about. They already have an audience that is engaged, interested in their content, and influenced by the information they provide.
When marketers collaborate with influencers, they can raise brand awareness and gain fans from the influencer’s own audience. It can be very costly to hire a celebrity influencer with millions of followers. But, in fact, more than 56% of marketers, who invest in influencer marketing, work with micro-influencers.
Micro-influencers are social media promoters with a smaller following (typically, thousands to tens of thousands of followers).
Although they have fewer followers, their posts often pack more punch due to their higher level of engagement. These influencers have found a niche in their industry, too — which is why they’ve started to play a bigger role in converting leads, connecting with audiences, and boosting brand awareness.
Because micro-influencers are still considered “everyday” people (unlike hard-to-reach celebrities), their audiences are actually more likely to trust their opinions and recommendations.
On limited resource, there is an opportunity to use micro-influencers such as: Cookie Jar Golf, Alex Elliott, Sinead Em Golf and Rachael McQueen.
You might want to consider your aims before selecting an influencer to work with – be that a specific audience you are trying to attract, or a specific platform on which you are trying to grow your audience.
The key message to ensure bang for your buck when choosing your influencer is to focus on engagement numbers rather than followers – so how many likes, comments, and engagement do their posts get relative to their audience size.
This will give you a very good idea of their level of influence over their audience.
Take the time to understand SEO
Search engine optimisation is a murky and complex world that we’re not sure anyone fully understands.
A mention of the word is often enough for most people’s eyes to glaze over. But, we all want to be top of Google.
It is one those topics we know we should know more about but rarely have the time or the bandwidth to understand properly.
To keep things simple, we just want to flag up two things we think are important and that you can action relatively inexpensively.
This essentially dictates how seriously Google takes your website. You can create great, on trend, properly presented content but if your website is not deemed to be authoritative by Google then you will never rank highly.
Domain authority effectively works like a squash ladder – if you are able to encourage websites with a higher rank than yours to link to your site then your site’s authority score will improve and, in turn, so will its ranking for keywords you are targeting.
Making sure your website appears on articles on media sites, be they local news or golf websites such as nationalclubgolfer.com, would be a fantastic place to start.
Governing bodies and unions that you are affiliated with have all got credible reasons to link to your site and will all have high scores of their own.
Think about other complementary businesses that might want to link to your site and vice versa: local hotels and restaurants all would be of interest to your visitors and improve your credibility in the eyes of Google.
The other area of focus should be to ensure the content you are creating is optimised for the keywords and phrases you would like to surface for.
Essentially, this means making sure you are getting maximum value from the content you are creating – be it videos, pictures and, or, blogs.
Lots of tools exist that can help you check your copy, suggest keywords, and ensure you are meeting all of Google’s rules.
Optimisation also applies to video and pictures, so make sure all formats are considered when embarking on this activity.
There is no getting away from content being king. Your website, newsletter and social feeds are all hungry for content. Content underpins the success or failure of your site in the eyes of search engines. It makes your social stand out.
If you want to run a successful, organic, inbound marketing programme then you need good content. It is a never-ending topic that can feel daunting. We have picked three types of content that can be created easily and cost effectively…
Video will remain the top form of marketing content – 76% of Marketeers say it is their most effective form of content. But video in itself is a huge topic.
What kind of video content do we need and how can we repeat it? We would advise trying the following in 2022…
Stick to short formats
Short formats work well on social and they suit the short attention span of today’s consumer. They are also going to deliver much greater ROI. A days’ filming and a days’ editing to get one three minute video is not going to represent great value – the same time or cash commitment to get six shorter films that you can use in multiple places represents much better ROI.
We might all groan at the mention of flyovers but they are 18 different bits of content that fall into this category and will work time and again on social. Just get your creative hat on to make them as watchable as possible.
Get live content wherever possible
Today’s online consumer loves live content. It is real and comes warts and all, which brings authenticity that people value. Don’t be cautious about shooting live on your phone and broadcasting on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
Captain’s Drive-Ins, crowds at corporate days, greenkeepers at work – even just some members teeing off on a beautiful crisp morning – all of this is watchable and will get people engaged with your brand.
Who doesn’t like a podcast these days? They are cheap to produce and audio from a Teams or Zoom call is more than good enough. It is an opportunity to increase engagement with your customers: interview the head greenkeeper, update your audience on the year ahead at the club, speak to your pro about his top tips for winter golf, or speak to a high or low handicapper about his or her advice for playing the course.
Yes, keep writing blogs. Keep them short, no more than 600 words. The written word still appeals and piling on the content is going to grease the wheels of your keyword strategy.
Every club has so much to write about – events you’ve held, WHS, dress codes. All of these are popular topics.
Your customers as marketeers
The customer experience is as important as any form of your marketing. Trends in recent years of consumers posting reviews, pictures of food, and tagging locations means your customers are all essentially micro-influencers and are able to create viral posts that can negatively or positively reflect on your organisation.
The given term is Net Promoter and is extremely important in markets like golf where potential customers have a greater tendency to ask friends for advice before deciding about a purchase.
Figuring out your Net Promoter score and trying to work on it would be a great place to start.
A Net Promoter score is effectively the number of positive promoters you have versus the number of detractors you have.
This score can be a great springboard for understanding what your customers enjoy or don’t enjoy about your facility. A survey by Genesys in 2014 asserted that 38% of consumers were likely to share their experience on social media. Imagine how high that number is now.
Our marketing funnel has changed for ever. It certainly no longer stops at the sale.
In Crowning the Customer, Fergal Quinn talks about the benefit of negative feedback and how handling a complaint well can turn that customer into an advocate.
That is even more important today, where a clear and actionable policy on negative online feedback could win you new fans and prevent problems from snowballing.
The takeaway is to treat every customer as you would a journalist or a VIP. Make sure their experience is as good as possible because they have the power to tell a lot of people.
Everything we have talked about so far has been about growing your own audience. But, there is still a place for paid advertising and, if used in the correct way, it can deliver great results. As with everything else, it is about understanding what you are trying to achieve.
The two areas upon which to focus are:
Approximately 54% of all advertising money is now spent on Facebook or Google.
For the simple reason that it works. Engaging with this kind of paid marketing is fundamental to a successful marketing strategy.
For small amounts of investment you can reap significant rewards. You might want to consider buying posts, blogs, or a vlog on traditional media sites or on an Influencer’s channel.
Customers are increasingly comfortable with this form of advertising. Often, they trust the outlet and are therefore happy to be sold to.
As long as the activity is labelled as paid, the Advertising Standards Agency are also satisfied. Other options would be use to demographic targeting to either boost posts from your own channels or use Google’s ad network to serve ads to consumers.
Through Facebook, you are also able to re-target visitors to your website, which can be particularly powerful when trying to move towards a purchase.
There is still a place for church and state advertising. Aligning with credible, premium, media can be a very powerful way of elevating your brand in the eyes of the consumer.
Consider how proud you would be to see a glossy full-page advertisement for your club in a respected magazine?
For clubs in Top 100 rankings, taking the opportunity to reinforce your position through advertising, or by supporting an event, is also an exceptionally strong way of boosting your profile.