to Increase Membership and Attendance
you hear the phrased “E-marketing,” most of us picture the long-promised
renaissance of targeted advertising, when we can direct our messages
to an eager audience of qualified buyers.
would be great, right?
that how the e-marketing and internet were supposed to change
our lives, increase sales, decrease expenses and make our business
and personal lives easier?
As many of us now know, that turned out to be a fantasy,
where most of current e-marketing promotes prescription drugs
from overseas, lower mortgages, bigger body parts of all sorts,
and apparently thousands of people in third-world countries who
want to send us money!
what happened to E-marketing?
business people, we want to use e-marketing as a way to increase
our membership and attendance, but our results have been less
than dramatic. What
part of the e-marketing puzzle are we missing?
biggest flaw in e-marketing is assuming that everyone who receives
an e-mail will open it and act on it, regardless of the message
or context in which it was sent.
With the hundreds of e-mails we receive everyday, only
2% are opened at all, and
even if you are sending e-mails to your current membership, if
you are having more that 15% of them opened, that mailing is considered
a huge success.
golfers are admitted web-heads, the golf industry needs to realize
is that E-Marketing consists of the following three important
that are inviting, exciting and interactive;
programs that match the website and draw people to them
steps that encourage recipients of the e-mails to open them
and act on them.
puzzle piece is that many campaigns may include one or two of
the above, when it’s critically important to have each of the
three steps work together.
Design an integrated campaign that includes your website,
e-mail and promotional releases that have a professional look
and feel, and you will set yourself above the competition.
are the most critical part of any e-marketing campaign.
There are hundreds of books and websites on building websites,
but from a marketing basis, be sure you provide the following:
has been estimated that with all the Internet usage, the actual
time you have to make a good impression to a website visitor
is less than 2 seconds!
Promotional websites have to jump off the screen, promote
your course or event and make a lasting impression in less
time than it took to read this first sentence.
become more highly rated on the search engines by optimization
programs and frequent updates.
Optimization occurs when your web designer submits
a series of descriptive words, or “meta-tags” to the hosting
quality of the meta-tags dictates the success of the website.
Next, be sure to update your website constantly—the
sites that are updated most frequently are the ones that rise
to the top of the search engines.
sure your website has a strong layout, inviting and highly
sure there are areas to read, a guest book to sign in as a
visitor, blanks to request information and downloads and areas
to register for events.
programs are informational updates sent to your database—make
sure they are also clear, concise and offer the recipient
a reason to look up your website.
The phrase “What’s In It For Me” is critical here,
as you want your prospective members and golfers to go to
the website and learn more about your club and tournament.
you have to have promotional steps underway to direct people
to your website and to open your e-mail campaign.
You should have a scheduled series of promotional announcements
to drive golfers and members to your website.
A Public Relations or marketing professional can help
you with this effort, but the basics include sending promotional
items to your local newspaper’s business section, adding a
promo to the member’s magazine or e-zine.
For non-profit planners, be sure to send frequent promotions
to the newsletters and e-zine of your charity, both locally,
and on a statewide and national basis.
For every promotional release, have your e-mail and
website listed as a link.
the basics of your e-marketing campaign areas are designed, it’s
time to use them to drive membership and attendees.
maintain a good website, check your website daily to make sure
all the links are working and updated.
Add something to the website at least once per week, including
using your website to promote events.
As basic as it seems, some organizations bury their event
information in a link, instead of showing it prominently on their
homepage! Make sure
all your employees, your planning committee and current membership
has a link to your website on their e-mail signature line.
e-mail campaigns, you might start with a monthly electronic magazine,
or an “e-zine,” to keep the event fresh in everyone’s mind.
You probably receive several now, so keep them brief and
informative to they are read by the recipients.
You should have an “Opt-Out” section, where people can
ask to be removed from your distribution list.
you send out an e-mail, the newest tactic to have people open
and retain the materials is to make it “viral.”
By Viral, it is not some computer virus that destroys your
hard-drive, but a way to have your recipients forward your e-mail
to their friends. Try including a planning tip, a golf technique,
or even a funny video attachment that your recipients will send
onto their friends. Be
sure to add a “Send to a Friend” option to your e-mail that links
directly to e-mail.
your committee members send you their e-mail address book as a
starting point for a promotional e-mail campaign.
Have them review their address book, deleting those who
would not have an interest, and send the rest to you; you can
send the list a custom e-mail letter from your committee member,
inviting them to go to the website or sign up for the tournament.
sure to get the word out through promotional releases.
Simply write a brief note on your course or event, add
a website and an e-mail address, and you’ll be directing people
to your website for additional information and to sign up.
Most charities have a national, regional and statewide
websites, so be sure you have these blurbs added to them.
as the best all-around way to increase membership and attendance,
be sure to have someone call every new sign-up or member, welcoming
them to the group and asking for a name of a friend or associate
who might also like to join.
There are very few sales that are closed entirely on-line,
and most golfers who are attending an event or joining a club
know other golfers who may have a similar interest.
Having a personal touch to follow-up on the e-marketing
campaign will help drive immediate results and confirmed sales.
e-marketing campaign begins with a website that is promoted by
an e-mail campaign that is supported by promotional messages and
public relations. To
be successful, all three parts must work together and have a uniform
look and professional feel.
It may take several attempts to bring your e-marketing
campaign to an excellent level, but with the right approach and
can fill your course and your tournament tee-sheets.
compared to other e-marketing you may have seen, this works much
better than waiting for a check for “$40 million US Dollars” from
a petroleum office in Nigeria!
Pasha is the Executive Director of GEMA, the Golf Event Managers
Association. GEMA is a national organization of golf event planners,
golf facilities and vendors, dedicated to increasing and improving
golf tournament business, attendance and professionalism on all
levels. Based in Orlando,
Florida, GEMA focuses
on marketing programs to help event planners maximize membership,
attendance and sponsorships and works with golf facilities and
merchandisers to increase their contacts and business in the tournament
407-891-2252 | Fax: 407-891-6428 | E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org