Aston Ward, communications manager of the PGAs of Europe looks at five simple steps you can take to improve your e-marketing.
The world of marketing, advertising and commercial messaging is something we come in to contact with all the time. Everywhere we turn we are faced with stimuli that are designed to promote certain behaviour in us, which in most cases is to go and buy, or interact with, a service or product.
For golf retailers and PGA professionals involved in any area of the game, knowledge of marketing and some of the key concepts that come with it can be very useful to themselves as individuals but also as marketers, sales people, and value-adders for a business.
Here we look at just some marketing elements that could help you be better prepared to market yourself and your business.
You can’t move in any direction without a plan of where you want to go and how you’re going to get there. Too many people are too concerned with just ‘doing some marketing’ – marketing is an incredibly broad term and you need to ensure what you are doing is relevant, achievable, and has an end goal.
First, think about what you want to achieve out of any marketing activity. Why are you doing it, and what would be the ideal things to achieve? Research is key here – what platforms/media fit your goals, your target audience, their usage/behaviour best? What pushes them to take action and change their behaviour to what you want?
A good way to think of engaging in marketing activity is to compare it to giving a lesson – a good coach will assess a player’s strengths and weaknesses, look at their goals and targets, and then work out a route to get them to that position, taking into account all of the internal and external factors that could come into play.
Your website is truly your online hub – they can be so versatile and useful in a digital and connected world that optimising them should be a number one priority. If you are a coach and you have a website to promote your services, then are what clubs someone uses the most important thing, or should things like your skills, experience, knowledge, and then booking/contact information be up the front?
Once you know what your audience is after you can begin to tailor the site and its content to them. Statistics software such as Google Analytics can provide incredibly useful and actionable information that can help you look at who is viewing the site and where from.
A website can also act as a great platform to host your content – you could write your blog in one section and then keep your photos in another gallery section, all whilst having a living, breathing calling card for yourself or company. Static websites no longer cut the mustard – the more you can keep the site fresh and new the more reasons people have to keep on returning.
3. Social media
There are a lot of social media platforms out there so it is important you know which ones (if any) are going to be useful for you and your audience. Again you can research where your audience is and what platforms they use, and then you can begin to create and share content on there. Share what you post on a blog or website and then look for like-minded brands/people and so on to share what they come up with.
You can even look to share what your community/followers say and share – engaging in two-way conversation provides real value to someone using a platform. It gives a brand or business an identity and personality that a person can build an affinity with.
This is pretty much anything that you output that is consumable by an end user. Nowadays this is mainly content that is produced online and shared in some way be it a blog post, article, news item, video interview, or gallery of images (but it can also be more ‘traditional’ things like leaflets, newspaper articles, guides and so on).
The creation and curation of content can be a very simple and very easy way of marketing something. Creating your own content involves composing your own information, perhaps researching a subject, providing an opinion piece on something, or generating something brand new. Curating is gathering content that already exists and then sharing it amongst others that could also find it interesting.
For example, you might want to generate some content for your website that details your opinion on a well-known player’s swing technique. You could create a short blog post that explains your thoughts, which is then shared across your social media platforms.
The key thing is to ensure you create and curate content that is relevant to those that are consuming it.
Marketing emails are something that are so commonplace from big brands that they are often overlooked on a small scale, but they really are achievable for anyone, especially considering how many different platforms there are (some of which are free!), and how easy they are to use with a variety of templates that can be matched to your tastes.
Successful email marketing comes from having a decent email database (remember it’s quality not quantity) and knowing what sort of information they want to receive.
The database is the easy bit – most golf retailers and pros will have, or at least have access to, a database of their clients with email addresses and then some information about them. This information can be used to ‘tag’ and categorise contacts so you can create not just one overall database, but multiple sub-databases within it. You can then leverage this information to your advantage.
Once you have the database down then you need to ensure what you put out there is useful for them – if they don’t like a certain brand (or at least haven’t said they have an affinity to it) then it’s probably not worth sending them offers when something else might work a lot better.
Or perhaps you want to send them a newsletter with a digest of information – tap into their interests and what they like to read about – and if you don’t know, then send the database an email asking for their preferences so what they receive is relevant to them!
As with many elements of marketing the thing to get right here is relevancy – if something is not relevant, interesting or of use to the end user they will not give it any time.
This article appears courtesy of the PGAs of Europe. For more information visit www.pgae.com