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7 Simple Ideas To Instantly Increase Your Golf Club’s Revenue

I got back from the CMAA conference a few weeks ago. I snuck into some classes, walked the show floor and spoke to General Managers. One ot the take aways I got was a lot of people were making club marketing too complicated and in my opinion making it too overwhelming for clubs to even initiate programs or marketing ideas. It doesn’t have to be and it shouldn’t be. Here are 7 simple ideas that with a little execution can dramatically increase your club’s revenue.

I’ve separated these 7 ideas into two parts. 4 ideas for growing your club’s current revenues with members and 3 ideas to grow club membership.

1 - 10X Your communication open rates

Communication with your membership is the lifeline to your club. Lose the ability to engage and let members know about events happening at the club and your headed for a death spiral.

Over the past several years email open rates have plummeted to around 20%.  I speak to GM’s on a regular basis that tell me members walk in to their office saying they never heard about a specific event. The GM replies, “we sent out 3 emails about it!” The member replies, “well, I never got it.”

With that advent of google new promotion folders and outlook rolling out “other” folders, emails are making their way into new junk mail inboxes. In addition, members are flooded with over 3,000 emails a month. Trying to get top of mind into today’s busy life is almost impossible.

The solution top GM’s are turning to? Text marketing.

Open rates are 98%!

Response rates are 4-6 times greater than email.

It’s a game changer.

Easy to setup, takes 60 seconds to send a short text and it’s extremely effective.

Check out this video of the GM at Woodmont CC and CMAA Capital President discuss using MemberText at his club.

2 - Add extreme value to your membership by partnering with a club that offers something your club doesn’t.

Social clubs in big cities are extremely successful. The problem with those clubs is their value proposition ends at food and social events. Sometimes fitness, squash or tennis, but how many of those members play golf? Lots of them!

They are prime targets for membership at your club. I know one club that actually has a reciprocity relationship with a university club downtown. Their members can use and eat at the club at selected times and vice versa for the country club.  This dramatically increases the value of each membership by 100%!

BONUS IDEA: Let high end and luxury hotels in the area know that off hour tee times are available for their VIP’s. Charge a premium for the greens fee and cart fee and since it will most likely be mid-week, the members won’t mind the few extra tee times if it means extra revenue at the club.

3 - Testing email open times

As mentioned in the first bullet, email is in the toilet. It’s half as effective as it was when clubs first started using email. Open rate and more importantly read rate are essential for the club. Most of your club softwares will let you track these metrics. Track and test them. It may take several months, but even getting a 3% bump on open rates can make an impact. Not as much as getting a 98% open rate from texting (Sorry, ruthless plug :), but any increase helps.

So for the next month vary your send dates and times. Start with dates first. Go through each day of the week. Then once you have a most active day of the week, vary the times. Eventually you’ll have a couple optimal time and dates to send emails.

4 - Bring a guest and get a discount at an event

I’m not sure why most clubs don’t do this one. It’s basically free advertising and free club tours. If I told your membership director I have a hundred potential members that are going to come and check out one of your club’s events, they would ask me how much and pay a pretty penny to get them in the door.

Encourage and in some cases offer a discount to members that bring guests. The more qualified potential members see and enjoy the club, the more people you’ll have asking to become a member.

5 - Grow your social media with photos

Posting on social media is an awesome & free resource, but not done right and you’re wasting your time.

On average only 10% of your club’s fan page ever see your posts. So what can you do to make sure that not only your members, but your member’s friends (prime potential new members) see your posts?

·        Post pictures and tag your members

-       People love pictures and they love nothing more than looking at their own picture and pictures of their friends.

-       By tagging them you are almost guaranteeing they look at your posts and “engage” with your club

-       Members are likely to share the photos out to their social networks.  With an average personal network of 700 people, getting 15 people to share their photos and you have just reached 10,000 people

-       BONUS SECRET: Add your club’s logo as a watermark to all your photos. Now when other people view the photos, they will know where they are having fun, smiling and having a blast… Your Club!

6 - Sell Guest Passes Upfront

Create a once a year upfront guest pass purchase. An easy way to generate a ton of revenue in your first month of the season. Many times a decent percentage of members won’t even use the passes. According to groupon, 20% of pre-purchased coupons go unused. Capitalize on this.

7 - Create an off-peak membership.

Want a way to increase revenue without impacting equity members? Create a limited off-peak membership. Maybe this is just weekdays or playing times after certain hours. There is a huge amount of people looking for this type of membership. It’s almost a play on the freemium software model you see online too. Companies institute this pricing plan not only for the revenue, but because they know if they give people a little taste, they will order the whole entree. Same thing applies to clubs. Give them a little trial (paid trial) and you’ll get a percentage that signs up for the whole membership.

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