How to Grow Your Golf Club Membership - For Clubs in Trouble


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William Wetere writes about how golf clubs can increase their memberships. The main problem facing golf is committees using their own people to find solutions. While they may know golf they don't have a clue about marketing or in some ways even selling.

When you on a downward slide you need to get professional advice and not rely on volunteers.

So to grow golf, have a read of what I have written, you may strongly disagree!!! But at least you may be able to see things from another point of view, which may open your minds to another solution.

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How to Grow Your Golf Club Membership - For Clubs in Trouble

  1. 1. How to Grow Your Golf Clubs Membership Copyright 2013 All Rights Reserved. | Grow Your Golf Clubs Membership
  2. 2. How to Grow Your Golf Clubs Membership How to Grow Your Golf Clubs Membership In 4 Easy Steps William Wetere Copyright 2013 All Rights Reserved. | Grow Your Golf Clubs Membership
  3. 3. How to Grow Your Golf Clubs Membership Distributed & Published by: Reputation Marketing Ltd Po Box 278 Te Awamutu Ph: 07 870 4477 Mob: 029 870 4477 Copyright © Reputation Marketing Ltd. 2013 All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, without prior written permission of the Publisher, or authorization through payment on agreed terms per copy. Reputation Marketing Ltd is an Online Marketing Agency that provides Marketing and Advertising Solutions for Small Businesses. William Wetere a Director of the company has coached and marketed golf instruction services online for 6 years before returning to an amateur status. He has worked as a Sales Manager for some of the best brands in the world including Pepsi Cola and Gillette and New Zealand Brands such as Treasures Diapers, Sorbent and Purex Toilet Paper and Handee Towels. Information contained in this report is provided to stimulate those that are responsible for growing the game of golf here in New Zealand to discover NEW innovative and simple ways to engage more people into playing golf. Some of the ideas in this report will no doubt rub some readers the wrong way……but my challenge for those people is to come up with their own Marketing Solutions so that everyone can benefit from an increased golfing population. There is sadly a lack of real good thinking around this topic and the main reason is we have a fragmented system of clubs that are largely dysfunctional to truly grow golf memberships. A Franchise style model would be ideal. Copyright 2013 All Rights Reserved. | Grow Your Golf Clubs Membership
  4. 4. How to Grow Your Golf Clubs Membership How to Grow Your Golf Clubs Membership The Number 1 reason why clubs fail to grow their membership is that, their committees are not experienced enough in Sales & Marketing……simple I know…….but true. Just take a look at your own committee and identify 1 person who has a Sales or Marketing qualification…….    8 out of 10 Clubs Managers don’t have any formal qualifications in Sales or Marketing either Many clubs don’t even have a Sales or Marketing Plan and if they do they very rarely follow it Lawyers, accountants, farmers, truck drivers, teachers all have their place on committees, but they fail miserably in generating new members in a declining market You must be Market focused to grow your Golf Clubs Membership……and have a Sales Strategy to take advantage of that Market! The absolute worst way to grow your golf Clubs membership is to continue doing what you have always done…….we all understand this but how many clubs are 100% guilty of this……. Unless you know to whom you are marketing to and what they are looking for in a membership, you are basically guessing…….which is another reason why you will FAIL to Grow Your Memberships. The good news is, there are more than 300 000 “would be golfers” who would gladly give you their money for a Golf Membership (more on this later). Copyright 2013 All Rights Reserved. | Grow Your Golf Clubs Membership
  5. 5. How to Grow Your Golf Clubs Membership But no one has really tapped into or exploited this market. Clubs are using out dated sales and marketing methods to understand who are there and how to capture them. (I would argue some are not using anything at all……) Hate to repeat it, your committees are 100% to blame……they are simply not cut out to deal with marketing solutions…….can you imagine a lawyer, accountant, farmer, teacher, truck driver coming up with a robust marketing plan. I can……. it’s called a meeting where lots of things are discussed but nothing really happens to generate new members……..happens once a month for 10 months and in the 11th month just before new elections, a new plan is announced for membership subscriptions……..and you guessed it, same as last year, except subs have gone up and services have been reduced. Absolutely typical of Golf Clubs which are throughout the country, facing financial problems… Ok now let’s move on to the next challenge… National Golf Organisation! The 2nd biggest mistake local golf clubs make is relying on National Golf Organisations to advertise and promote golf……thinking that they will be the answer to their prayers (and just quietly… possibly someone to blame when things don’t work out!!!). National Golf’s advertising will not grow your golf clubs memberships. Wow….. Big Claim but here’s WHY Because, their advertising is NOT consistent with what the market that you need is looking for. Their advertising is more focused on the “branding and awareness” of the game of golf, which means they are severely limited to that style of advertising because they have NO control over how the clubs are actually marketing or selling memberships. Copyright 2013 All Rights Reserved. | Grow Your Golf Clubs Membership
  6. 6. How to Grow Your Golf Clubs Membership To make this easier to understand, let’s look at a well known brand like Calloway. Brands like Calloway spend millions of dollars building their brands through sponsorships, research and development etc…….but they rely on retailers like the Golf Warehouse to promote and distribute their products. The stores have their own Sales & Advertising promotional plans to take advantage of the Calloway branding. BUT here is the rub…….if the stores get their advertising offers wrong……..they will lose sales of that brand. What clubs need to do is use the “brand awareness campaigns” and create direct response offers……..and those offers have to be so compelling that the customer basically can’t say NO………. In summary    Golf Committees are ill equipped to deal with declining memberships Local and National advertising campaigns will fail Huge Market Opportunity for those who dare listen to what golfers really want Copyright 2013 All Rights Reserved. | Grow Your Golf Clubs Membership
  7. 7. How to Grow Your Golf Clubs Membership Solution The best model I have seen for growing golf Clubs memberships come from RSA, Workingman’s, and affiliated clubs……..and also Supermarkets. A typical Clubs has         Bar facilities Pokies Pool Tables Bowling club Golf club Fishing club Dancing Restaurant And many more options for their members Clubs have what I call “throw away” membership levels…….which means just about anyone can afford their $35 to $70 joining fees to have access to all the options they provide for their members…….and most critically you do not feel obliged to use the membership every week like golfers do to justify your high membership fee. The greatest lesson I learned about marketing was to understand the wants and needs of the people you hope to serve and deliver it to them. So let’s have a look at the characteristics of 300 000 green fee and casual golfers. Copyright 2013 All Rights Reserved. | Grow Your Golf Clubs Membership
  8. 8. How to Grow Your Golf Clubs Membership Characteristics of the casual green fee golfer:          Father and son Holiday makers Visitors to town Mates having a hack Ex golfers who can’t afford fulltime memberships Ex golfers who can’t afford the time and justify their investment in a membership Beginners Husband and wife Corporate days By far the biggest opportunity for golf clubs to increase their memberships is to provide an affordable entry level for memberships that the average person in the street would gladly pay. Your typical green fee player will give you a very clear picture of who your target market is………this is the untapped market. Ok let’s look at the strategy of actually growing your clubs membership. Now you have some basic background information……. Let’s say in rough figures you need to cover $200 000 to make your golf Clubs work. The first question you should ask is this……..can we sell    200 000 memberships at $1 100 000 memberships at $2 50 000 memberships at $4 Copyright 2013 All Rights Reserved. | Grow Your Golf Clubs Membership
  9. 9. How to Grow Your Golf Clubs Membership Ok let’s be more realistic………   1000 memberships at $199 1342 memberships at $149 No matter which way you look at it…… you will reach your $200K revenue target if you achieve your sales targets. If I had to narrow it down to four steps they would be 1. 2. 3. 4. Understand Your Revenue Budget Determine how many units you need to sell Determine the OFFER that the market would accept Where to Advertise (cover this soon) Now we know we are chasing a sales budget based on revenue required and matching that with what the customer is looking for……..let’s look at why I think $149 - $199 membership is where we should be heading. Typical green fees are between $15- $30…… what we want to do is trade our green fee or casual golfers from a $25 purchase to a $149 full membership……..basically making 6 times the money in one go. For clubs who are not blessed with good sales people it is much easier to trade a person up from $25 to $149 than it is from $25 to $499 or more. $149 is equal to 6 rounds which make it very easy in the mind of a casual golfer to justify the extra investment…….. Copyright 2013 All Rights Reserved. | Grow Your Golf Clubs Membership
  10. 10. How to Grow Your Golf Clubs Membership If you are thinking this is all about discounting, you are missing the point. While you are humming and hawing over this concept……..what happens if you miss your sales targets and revenues fall even further? That’s an easy question to answer…….. You run your advertising for 6-10 weeks and 2 weeks prior to the official invoice dates of memberships you finish your promotion and balance your books to see if there is a shortfall or a surplus. If you miss your sales target your current members pay the shortfall. Simple Example: Let’s say we have a golf Clubs with 300 members with normal subs generally around say $600 (Last year 300 members x $600 = $180 000) This year the target is to sell: Budget: $200 000 (1342 memberships x $149) Actual Sales after 6 – 10 weeks: 500 new memberships x $149 = $74 500 (excluding current members) $200 000 – $74 500 = $125 500 (shortfall) $125 500 divided by 300 existing members = $418 for this year’s fees!!! Now you can pretty much guarantee that the shortfall to be invoiced to existing members will be a lot less than their current membership’s levies…….if your current membership is $600 your existing members will save $182.00 “By default your final membership fees for existing members is determined by how many sales you make during your promotion” And better still your revenue is guaranteed by your current membership!!!!! (Yes you need to discuss and get members to agree to the strategy first). Copyright 2013 All Rights Reserved. | Grow Your Golf Clubs Membership
  11. 11. How to Grow Your Golf Clubs Membership The incentive for every member is to sell as many memberships as they can within a 6-10 week period to keep their fees down……..older members would benefit greatly by this. Remember the average age of a Clubs golfer is 59. The solution is real simple, look at the budget number you need, understand what customers would pay for and offer it to them. Clubs could also increase their green fees from $25 to $40 to encourage golfers to sign up to their $149 Clubs memberships…….there is no real reason why Clubs memberships can’t be sold all year long…….you make 6 times the money instantly. Now if National Organisations came to the party and reduced their levies based on an agreed volume target for each Clubs, we can finally link clubs up so that the Marketing and Sales Plans are aligned……..I know that, there is some major work in this area, but we somehow need to have the Clubs aligned based on a performance system. Ok let’s get back to the question of how to sell 1342 memberships @ $149 with very little or no costs. One of the cheapest forms of advertising is online word of mouth via Facebook and paying for advertising on Facebook……..Facebook allows you to directly advertise on their database to those who have shown an interest in golf!!!! A paid advert might cost 10 – 20 cents per click. If just 10 members have 20 friends and they send a message like   “Play Unlimited Rounds of Golf for Only $3 per week” or “Unlimited Rounds of Golf for only $149” to 10 of their friends that’s 200 personal friends who will be aware of your special deal without any costs. So do the numbers……. what would 100 messages to 20 personal friends bring you? Copyright 2013 All Rights Reserved. | Grow Your Golf Clubs Membership
  12. 12. How to Grow Your Golf Clubs Membership All you need to do is have a link with those messages which links to a sign up page on your Clubs Website……example of sign up page below “Play Unlimited Rounds of Golf for Only $3 per week” XY Golf Clubs has a special offer for casual golfers to play unlimited rounds of golf. This offer can expire at anytime due to a limited amount of memberships we have available……..Sign Up Today!!! Example of Sign Up Page–Change the Words add a Pay Pal button…..Done Copyright 2013 All Rights Reserved. | Grow Your Golf Clubs Membership
  13. 13. How to Grow Your Golf Clubs Membership Final Thoughts Are golf committees full of people who don’t care……..? Absolutely not. They are as passionate as anyone you could find…….golfers like fishermen are a strange breed who would follow a little, while ball around in the freezing cold or in the pouring rain!!! Who would hook up a boat and drive an hour to launch it so that, they could go catch fish, even though it would be far cheaper to go to a local fish and chip shop for a meal… Only passionate people do that……..but being passionate without being smart doesn’t cut it when you are trying to grow. This OFFER is only for casual golfers but also for Financial Members of other golf clubs. It s NOT designed to steal members!!!! Opportunity for dual memberships!! If all this report does is stimulating committees to look at different options that they may not have thought about, then it has been worth it. Becoming a Drop Shipper for Golf Products – Increased Revenue Drop shipping allows you to sell golf products without requiring stock. If a deal was struck with a Golf Retailer to deliver your orders to your customers and members…….you would clip a ticket for every sale!!!! Copyright 2013 All Rights Reserved. | Grow Your Golf Clubs Membership
  14. 14. How to Grow Your Golf Clubs Membership We use this exact model to sell skin care products to over 500 customers in Australia. Website: You are welcome to leave any feedback on our website: If you would like any advice about Marketing and Sales Strategies then please visit our Reputation Marketing Ltd website: Copyright 2013 All Rights Reserved. | Grow Your Golf Clubs Membership