A few month ago “Guerrilla Marketer” Jay Conrad Levinson passed along an article that was first written by Thomas Smith.  If you have ever been frustrated by past marketing campaigns (who hasn’t?) you may learn something from Smith’s wisdom and the importance of having a sustained and consistent message.

Here is the article -

The owner of a small business takes a leap of faith and contracts to run a weekly ad in the local newspaper with a frequency of once a week for a full year. After five weeks, the results displease him so much that he cancels his contract.

Five ads in five weeks seems like a lot of frequency in marketing. Five exposures do, indeed, establish some momentum. But they don’t even come close to create enough desire to motivate a sale. To truly comprehend how much frequency is enough to spark that sale, you’ve got to know just what your prospects think from each exposure. Here is exactly what each one thinks as he or she looks at the ad you’ve run:

  1. The first time a man looks at an advertisement, he does not see it.
  2. The second time, he does not notice it.
  3. The third time, he is conscious of its existence.
  4. The fourth time, he faintly remembers having seen it before.
  5. The fifth time, he reads it.
  6. The sixth time, he turns up his nose at it.
  7. The seventh time, he reads it through and says, “Oh brother!”
  8. The eighth time, he says, “Here’s that confounded thing again!”
  9. The ninth time, he wonders if it amounts to anything.
  10. The tenth time, he asks his neighbor if he has tried it.
  11. The eleventh time, he wonders how the advertiser makes it pay.
  12. The twelfth time, he thinks it must be a good thing.
  13. The thirteenth time, he thinks perhaps it might be worth something.
  14. The fourteenth time, he remembers wanting such a thing a long time.
  15. The fifteenth time, he is tantalized because he cannot afford to buy it.
  16. The sixteenth time, he thinks he will buy it some day.
  17. The seventeenth time, he makes a memorandum to buy it.
  18. The eighteenth time, he swears at his poverty.
  19. The nineteenth time, he counts his money carefully.
  20. The twentieth time he sees the ad, he buys what it is offering.

The list you’ve just read was written by Thomas Smith of London in l885.

So how much of that list is valid right now, today? The answer is all of it.

It is hard to be successful without having a definite goal.  Does your course have definite, well defined goals in place?  Are the employees that you depend on to reach these goals aware of them?

The Internet has profoundly changed the way people communicate and interact with each other.  It has also changed the way businesses communicate with current and potential customers.  Yet most golf courses languish in their efforts to embrace this new technology.

Web-based communication offers golf courses many tools to open and maintain communication with their current and potential customers.  Having an email club or enewsletter allows courses, regardless of budget to establish a personal link and speak directly to golfers. 

In a recent search of 25 golf courses in Orlando, less then half, eleven to be exact, had an email club or enewsletter in place.

In a highly competitive and saturated golf market like Orlando, I wonder which of these golf courses are having greater success?  The courses who have the measures in place (providing they actually use them) to focus on getting the right message to the right people at the right time or those who are still relying on bombarding the masses with big-budget advertising that is likely to be ignored?

Can You Name the 10 Best Public Golf Courses in Seattle?

Can’t do it?

Don’t feel bad. You are not alone, besides why would you know, you don’t live there and you are probably not from there.

So, why is this an important question if you are involved in operating a golf course in
Florida?

The fact that you do not know the answer to this question is the reason why it is so important. Of the hundreds of thousands of golfers heading south more than 90% are not able to name 5 public access golf courses located where they are traveling. They are all open to and looking for suggestions. As a golf course operator it’s safe to say that you want your course suggested as a golf destination as often as possible. So, how can you take a pro-active approach to reach these traveling golfers? Well, in the past golfers heading south would have only heard of a few courses that had big enough budgets to advertise in nationally published magazines, otherwise they were forced to wait until they arrived in Florida and relied on local golf publications, phone books or newspapers for golf course information, or if they had been to their destination before they quite simply would return to the course or courses they always play. Course operators used to have to wait for the golfers to arrive in their local market before they could try to catch their attention. But now, times have changed, most golfers will use the internet to seek out information on golf courses weeks if not months before they even travel. You no longer have to sit back and wait for golfers to arrive. You can start telling them about your facility now.

The internet provides you with that type of far reaching advertising. Now is the time to expand the reach of your golf course advertising to make sure your facility is known to all these golfers coming south before they even leave their hometowns! The most successful golf courses this winter will be those with the greatest internet presence.

How can you increase your courses internet presence? We can help…Global Golf Marketing through our golf course directory website 1StopForGolf.com provides golf course owners and operators with a solution for reaching the ever increasing number of golfers who use the internet as their primary source for obtaining information when searching for golf courses to play. 1StopForGolf.com is a website truly dedicated to helping golf courses establish or increase their presence on the World Wide Web. Our goal is to reach as many golfers as possible and drive them to our partnering courses websites and in turn their facilities. Global Golf Marketing excels at achieving this objective because we are a company comprised of Golf Professionals whose experience at the club level affords us a true understanding of the competitiveness of the golf industry and the importance of the continuing cultivation of new customers. Partner this insight with the experience, knowledge and technology of leaders in web marketing solutions and you have a company that provides its partners with an unparalleled level of ability and service resulting in measurable gains in market share and course visibility.

The main function of the Tee Time Wholesaler website (a company who offers you a listing on their website in exchange for a set number of your tee times that they then discount and sell for their profit) is to provide golfers with reduced green fees, plain and simple. Their promise to the golf course is that these “additional” rounds that they send your way will bring in additional revenue through the customers spending dollars on food and golf shop merchandise. I know that my shop averages about $3-$5 a round in Merchandise sales. (what a windfall!) The reality is that the majority of players come in, play golf and go home.  I can’t seem to recall the last time a “discount tee time shopper” foursome came in and bought up my golf shop.

This whole idea became painfully obvious to me one day as I checked-in a foursome that had purchased their Green Fees through a Tee Time Wholesaler website that at the time my course was dealing with. One gentleman handed me his “Coupon” good for 4 players, and I had to stand there and watch as he collected $25 (half of my rate) from each of his friends to cover what he had paid for the foursome on-line.My course’s profit from this group = $0, the Tee Time Wholesalers profit = $100. Then to add insult to injury the guy proceed to tell me what a great deal he got on-line and that he would return to that website to purchase his next foursome, and that if there weren’t any rounds available at my course that he had many other area courses to choose from. That’s Great for you! I said, as I looked into my empty register. At a time where competition for golfers is fierce, and golf course operators are having a hard enough time selling tee times, why would you let someone else profit from sales of one of your most valuable products?

Why can’t your course collect $100 from the above mentioned group and not some Tee Time Wholesaler, who by the way does not have to provide any service to the customer once they arrive, nor does he have the overhead costs involved in running and maintaining a golf course. (what a racket!)

It’s not realistic to believe that many individual course websites can compete with larger more visible wholesaler or directory websites. It takes a large budget and a large commitment, most courses can not afford either.

So, that’s where http://www.1stopforgolf.com/comes in. (Directory Of Top Golf Courses)  This website has the size and power to compete with all other Directory and Wholesaler websites, with two huge benefits;

1- It’s designed and administered by Golf Professionals
2- Its design and functionality is from the Golf Course Operators viewpoint (The main focus is profit for the course operators, not discount golf for the public)

Numbers don’t lie. During the past month there were over 50,000 searches of the term “public golf courses” on the big three search engines (Google, Yahoo!, MSN.com). This is a very important fact if you are a golf course operator and are in charge of developing and driving revenue to your facility. Unfortunately many course operators are not aware of or do not take advantage of this potential revenue source that is waiting to be tapped.
By using the industry standard that the average group of golfers is three players you can expand that number of 50,000 to 150,000 potential green fees out there just searching for the right course to play. Now if you calculate in an average green fee of $50.00 that means that the internet, on any given month is home to $6.5 million dollars in revenue. What makes this huge number even more attractive is that it is derived from a complete and perfect target market.
Other forms of advertising such as magazines and newspapers that offer up huge circulation numbers to attract advertisers can not provide this level of targeting. For instance, you can run an add in a metropolitan newspaper that may claim a circulation of over 500,000 but how many people are actually going to see your add.

  • First, you need to hope that the person reading the newspaper opens up the section where you add is located.
  • Second, if the person does open that section you need to hope that they turn to the page your ad is on.
  • Third, you need to hope that while they are looking at the page the person actually takes their eyes away from what they are reading to even look at your courses advertisement.
  • The odds of your advertisement being seeing unfortunately are not in your favor, and to make matters worse for the advertiser, who is to say that the person who does beat the odds and sees your ad is even a golfer.

    By using these traditional forms of advertising the golf course operator is hoping to distract the potential customer from what they are doing with an advertisement that they are not even looking for. Good Luck.

    Search engine driven advertising on the other hand provides the exact opposite scenario. Of the 50,000 people who typed in the search term “public golf courses” it is fairly safe to assume that the majority of them are golfers or at the very least interested in golf. If your golf course is focusing a portion of your advertising budget to search engine marketing what offers even greater hope that you will realize a nice return on your advertising investment is that your potential customer is actually seeking out your ad, unlike those readers of magazines and newspapers who have to be distracted from what they are actually looking for. Very few people actually pick up the local newspaper when looking for a golf course to play, while golfers online are typing in search terms like “public golf courses” because that is exactly what they are looking for, public golf courses to play. Could you ask for a more targeted market? Golf Courses would all be better served if they would start to focus a greater chunk of their advertising budgets towards building a significant presence on the internet.

    Much has been documented regarding the challenges that golf courses are facing as the rate of golf course construction outpaces the number of golfers.  This off balance in many parts of the United States has seemingly created a supply and demand that favors the consumer.  Many golf courses are suffering tremendously and struggling to stay afloat.  Is is becoming imperative that golf course operators, those in charge of the day to day operations, whether it be the General Manager or the Golf Professional become pro-active and creative in attracting golfers through their advertising and marketing programs.  To be successful these operations managers must possess the knowledge and skill needed to explore new trends, evaluate what is working for other industries and mold those processes to fit their business. 



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