PGAs of EuropeBusiness – PGAs of Europe http://www.pgae.com Home of the PGAE Thu, 23 Nov 2017 23:35:13 +0000 en-gb hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9 Three Years of Curating International Expertise in IGPN http://www.pgae.com/ask/three-years-of-curating-international-expertise-in-igpn-2/ Tue, 29 Aug 2017 15:00:32 +0000 Ian Randell http://www.pgae.com/?p=19608 Issue 36 of IGPN marks a great point in the history of our digital magazine – its third anniversary of providing interesting, relevant and useful content...]]>

Issue 36 of IGPN marks a great point in the history of our digital magazine – its third anniversary since we revamped a simple monthly newsletter into a fully interactive and digital-only magazine.

IGPN still continues its mission of providing interesting, relevant and useful content to our Member Country PGAs and their individual PGA Professional Members.

We have had contributions from across golf and many other sports and industries. Not just from within Europe, but from around the world. And from PGA Professionals and a wide variety of experts, academics and figureheads.

This 36th Issue looks at an area that is, and will likely remain, at the core of what a PGA Professional does – coaching.

We have expert input from our John Jacobs Award for Teaching & Coaching Winner and coach to numerous European Tour and Ryder Cup players, Mike Walker, world-renowned coach, David Leadbetter, and our 5-Star Professional Award winner, Alan Walker, as well.

This information is designed to educate, inform and inspire and is an excellent example of the type of content we are working hard to develop and the direction in which our communications strategy is headed.

We must also remember that coaching is not just limited to the driving range or the playing lesson – we must continue to coach ourselves and our peers to advance all of our skills and become better and better at what we do.

A quick glance at the variety of information on our A.S.K. platform at www.pgae.com/ask will immediately show what we mean with content looking at the coaching golf to all manner of abilities, but also coaching and development information about growing the game, careers, productivity, business, marketing, and much more.

This information, together with the delivery and spread of IGPN, enables us to support our Member Country PGAs with their advancement of their PGA Professionals by curating international expertise and making it open and available to those who wish to make use of it.

We will continue to develop our communications into the future across an ever-changing technological landscape, and IGPN will always be a fundamental part of that.

As a final point, it would be remiss of us not to mention Sergio Garcia and his phenomenal win at Augusta National. It was difficult to pick sides on the final day as he and Justin Rose battled it out but whilst Justin would no doubt be a worthy owner of a green jacket, we were all delighted to see Sergio break through as a major champion. Hopefully this is just the beginning…!

If you would like to contribute to A.S.K. or IGPN then we invite you to share this with Aston Ward at aw@pgae.com and hope that you will join us in developing our Member Countries in Issues of IGPN, and the years ahead.

This article originally featured in International Golf Pro News. Visit the IGPN Page to find out more and subscribe for free.

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Three Years of Curating International Expertise in IGPN
Saving Time and Money: How Social Media Works For an Early-Stage Startup http://www.pgae.com/ask/saving-time-and-money-how-social-media-works-for-an-early-stage-startup/ Sun, 25 Jun 2017 12:26:12 +0000 Buffer http://www.pgae.com/?p=13789 There’s often a critical time (or two) in a business’s journey when it’s make or break and time is at a premium...]]>

There’s often a critical time (or two) in a business’s journey when it’s make or break and time is at a premium.

There’re often times beyond this, once a brand is established, where time is still scarce and efficiency is the name of the game.

The team at Smart Pension has felt both sides of this in the past couple years and has experienced the time crunch particularly on the social media side (sound familiar at all with your experience?). One of the UK’s leading pension companies, the Smart Pension team pulled through in an incredibly inspiring way.

Here’s their story of how they’ve come up with their social media strategy, saved time, and found the best tools to use.

pablo

Social media and an early-stage startup

Jack Saville, a marketing executive at Smart Pension, built his startup to be the go-to source for UK pension and auto enrolment. And one of the key marketing strategies he chose for traction was content.

One of the first jobs was to put as much great information and helpful content on the website as possible. However when we finished creating content, we also wanted to shout about it on social media.

We were churning out so much content in the beginning that logging and posting each article on each social media channel was becoming a real time consuming exercise. If we had had Buffer in the beginning we would have saved a great deal of time (and money) in the crucial start-up, make-or-break phase of our business.

Smart Pension made it through this early critical stage and is grateful to now be a more established entity. They’ve kept right on working.

The content team crushed it early on and put together the majority of the foundational, main topics needed to be a thought leader on pensions and enrolment. The next phase was tackling current news and changes, being more of a real-time resource for Smart Pension’s growing audience.

smart pension graphic

This shift to timely content also needed timely distribution, which is where social media marketing has really paid dividends for the team.

The news section is where we direct most of our efforts now. This is important, as investing a lot of time in your news section shows your customers that you are well aware of the changes in the industry, and that we know that the services we provide need to be altered and suited to the current market and the current pension laws. Social media is the channel in which we communicate our knowledge of industry changes to our customers.

Not a content creation problem … a content distribution one

In building out this news hub, Smart Pension ran into a slight problem:

We work so hard on making sure our news section addresses the current topics in the pension industry, that sometimes we finish a number of articles at the same time.

It’s a similar problem that might crop up for publishers, news organizations, online magazines, and others. It’s not that there’s any trouble coming up with content to share, it’s more a matter of knowing what to share and when to share it.

Jack and his team found the solution here with social media scheduling from Buffer.

Smart Pension spaces out new posts every few hours so that there’s room between each update.

The articles don’t all go up as a wall of similar-looking tweets and posts.

The buffered schedule makes it so that content hits the timeline at all times, helping to reach people who may be online at different times throughout the day.

And the beauty of it all: All this scheduling can be automated.

The scheduling function is also helpful to the work flow of the team. The team member who wrote the article can schedule the post for times of the day that we are posting less and then proceed to the next task. The team members do not have to try and remind themselves of when to post their articles.

Additionally, with the scheduling function we can then post articles at night and at weekends when team members would not necessarily be working. This means that we can have a round the clock presence on social media, without having one of our team members staying up all night!

Scheduling + Analytics

Lots of content to share and a set number of times to share it all: When do you get the most bang for your buck with social media sharing?

The Smart Pension team came up with a few experiments to test the best time to post for engagement.

Here’s an example:

To find out if it’s better to post extra content at night or over the weekends, set up a schedule for both and check the results.

After a few days, log into the Analytics section of Buffer and check to see which time slots have tended to perform the best. You can see this from the Analytics view with a quick glance and intuition…

Screen Shot 2015-12-12 at 1.03.44 PM

… or you can export data from your past period of experiments, and filter the results for each different time.

Here’s a sample spreadsheet using data from my own sharing:

Screen Shot 2015-12-12 at 11.14.36 AM

(Couple this with the takeaways from Buffer’s optimal timing tool to get even more confirmation for which way you’re leaning.)

Great content goes great with images

As we are a start-up, we cannot afford to have a graphic designer to create the imagery for our social media posts every time we need to post something. Pablo give us the ability to make our social media posts look interesting and exciting, whilst not having to pay for a graphic designer to design them and create them.

According to our most recent data here at Buffer, we’ve found that tweets with images get 150% more engagement than tweets without.

The takeaway: Test content with images!

We believe in this so strongly that we built our own tool for making this as easy as can be. The free image creator at Pablo makes it simple to create images for Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and more, all at the ideal image size, all looking beautiful—no matter your design skills.

Here are some that the Smart Pension team has used on their latest social media updates:

Working with a team on a social media calendar

And another key piece to the team’s workflow and system is keeping all this distribution organized. One of Buffer’s newest features works great in this case: the social media calendar.

 

Our content calendar is designed to make sure that we are regularly completing and posting content through buffer. We can all log into buffer and see what other people are planning, and then we can plan our content around the existing scheduled posts.

pablo

Image sources: Iconfinder, Pablo

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Saving Time and Money: How Social Media Works For an Early-Stage Startup
Noteworthy European Golf Club Trends in 2017 http://www.pgae.com/ask/noteworthy-european-golf-club-trends-in-2017/ Thu, 22 Jun 2017 13:50:28 +0000 Golf Business Monitor http://www.pgae.com/?p=19083 Golf Business Monitor & Rob Hill examine key trends and data from golf facilities throughout the EMEA territory...]]>

Golf Business Monitor & Global Golf Advisors’ Rob Hill examine key trends and data that could help you plan and make business decisions that will ultimately benefit your business…


Through our numerous assignments and research initiatives at Global Golf Advisors over the last twelve months, we have encountered both unique challenges and consistent trends at golf facilities throughout the EMEA territory. Here, I have identified five that are particularly noteworthy for their influence on current golf facility performance at European Clubs.

1. Capital Maintenance Trends

Capital maintenance, capital improvements and the funding of both are amongst the greatest challenge facing golf facilities now and are expected to continue to be so into the immediate future. 40% of clubs are reporting that they have more than three year’s worth of deferred capital maintenance and expenditure, largely a consequence of economic recession/stagnancy between 2009 and 2015.

Long-term capital planning is rare, with most clubs lacking a formal plan to fund capital requirements, using whatever cash is available each year to fund their reserves. Less than 50% have a capital reserve study in place informing long-term capital requirements. Of those that are investing in capital, almost 6 in 10 are using a combination of debt and membership levy to fund their programs.

Clubs spend on average 7.6% of gross annual revenue on capital maintenance but estimate they need to spend 9.6% to keep pace with capital maintenance.

2. Women make the ‘buy’ decision

Historically golf clubs have been institutions that served male viewpoints, wants and needs. New programs and services are changing membership structures, methods of club governance and the feasibility of many clubs.

In her book, “Marketing to women” Martha Barletta indicates that 91% of home purchase decisions are made by a woman. Typically, the club membership decision is a part of the home choice decision due to location, psychographic and demographic profile.

As such, clubs must reset membership programs to address the primary push/pull factors that influence the buy decision. Women prize their clubs as a platform for socialization. Clubs must demonstrate in clear and appealing ways that the lifestyle of the club is diverse, active and accessible for busy women and their families.

Sales and marketing tactics in forward- thinking clubs are seeking to address schedule flexibility, interesting and current programs and the opportunities for meeting and keeping friends.

3. Business Intelligence

There is increasing adoption amongst clubs of more sophisticated business intelligence for decision-making. This includes the tracking and analysis of financial and operational performance trends, market pricing trends and positioning, member satisfaction and net promoter score (NPS), comparable club benchmarking and targeted market segmentation.

Club Boards/Management have an increasing need for quantitative, interfaced data to afford informed decision-making about the club.

Club Managers continue to report feeling pressure due to performance comparisons to benchmarks and competitors in all areas, especially as they relate to dues, fees, compensation, benefits, pricing, and staff levels. Other leaders struggle to meet their Board’s demand for data which has led to an increase in staff hours to track, monitor, analyze, and produce data. Some GMs have found traditional sources of data to be insufficient in providing the data their Board/Owner wants.

Top performers are tracking specific internal and external market KPIs and act upon them to sustain the market position. Many clubs – which lack the comfort of capital or staff resources to execute their own intelligence program – rely on frequent, concise surveys that monitor customer satisfaction, such as the secret shopper program provided so effectively by 59Cub. Some have even tied staff bonus incentives to member/customer satisfaction ratings.

More recently many clubs have turned to subscription-based services such Global Golf Advisors’ Strategic Intelligence Platform to track operating performance, customer satisfaction, and competitive market data all in one central portal.

4. Sustainability

Last July, London’s new Mayor Sadiq Khan announced a ‘crackdown’ on pollutants. His goal is to “Make London one of the World’s most environmentally friendly cities”. His plan to achieve this goal includes amongst other things creating an ‘Ultra-Low Emission Zone in central London by 2019 and beyond central London by 2020.

The fact that Mr. Khan has placed this issue near the very top of his agenda, is a great indicator of just how much influence sustainability and environmentalism has on the public mindset – politicians don’t tend to tackle issues unless they are going to improve their popularity.

Many clubs are now rightly keen to present their sustainability credentials, but to have resonance, consumers want to know the details/specifics and the outcomes. For clubs, this means their efforts in this space should be measured and proactively reported, with the support of a trusted third party.

The Golf Environment Organization is doing extraordinary work in supporting clubs achieve exactly this. Their club tools are not just providing vital guidance on best practice for sustainable performance, but are now also providing measurement and reporting tools to aid in effective communication of the results of such performance.

5. Membership

Gone are the days when most clubs were operating with waitlists and a pipeline full of members lined up to join the club. The reality is that most clubs must now aggressively seek and find new members. Successful clubs are adopting a more data-driven approach to membership recruitment/retention and are adjusting membership and amenity offerings to be more competitive in their business space.

61% of clubs map the location of their members to identify trends and areas for new member growth. Global Golf Advisors recommends that clubs do this annually to maximize membership sales effectiveness.

Six in ten clubs have encountered challenges with an aging membership or growing senior member category. Two-thirds of this group has adopted a set of tactics to address these challenges, among which adjustments to age bands and entry fees are most common solutions.

More than one in four (28%) clubs have experienced a decline in their total number of members in the last 5 years. The annual attrition rate of clubs in the UK is 3.5% while in the rest of Europe that rate is 4.7%.

The top three factors for creating a sustainable membership strategy include

  1. improve overall amenity quality,
  2. embracing modern technologies to complement modern lifestyles, and
  3. further enhancing the club’s platform for connecting its membership.

Trends such as these, although not universally applicable, are highly valuable indicators of change. The capacity to be prepared for change and take advantage of the opportunities that come with it, is what marks a successful club. Best put by Darwin, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable to change”.

Rob Hill is a Partner at GGA with responsibility for their EMEA Office. A former recipient of Boardroom Magazine’s “Strategic Planning Firm of the Year” award, GGA brings an unmatched financial, marketing and operational focus to each of its strategic assignments. The firm serves over 2,700 clients around the world from offices in USA, Canada, Sydney (Asia-Pacific) and Dublin (EMEA). Rob can be reached at rhill@globalgolfadvisors.com.

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Noteworthy European Golf Club Trends in 2017
Building & Effectively Utilising a Database http://www.pgae.com/ask/building-effectively-utilising-a-database/ Mon, 19 Jun 2017 14:29:43 +0000 Mark Taylor http://www.pgae.com/?p=19089 Data capture is the king of small business marketing - for every piece of good data accumulated, marketing costs are starting to reduce...]]>

Data capture is the king of small business marketing and an ever important facet for retaining customers at golf facilities. For every piece of good data accumulated, marketing costs are starting to reduce.

The objective should be to create a database of around 5,000 worthy leads and this will form the basis of all of the marketing initiatives for the year. This need not be as expensive as some people might think as off-the-shelf software is readily available and is really affordable if not free of charge or already in place in the clubs software systems.

What is required?

Golf facilities need to consider 3 factors when making their choice of how to best implement and manage a successful database capture campaign:

  1. The scale required: This does not just apply to the number of records currently held, but more importantly how this resource will grow in the future. What commitment can be implemented to regularly maintain, update and develop the information accrued?
  2. Budget: Whilst this should not be the first criteria for such an important business tool, budget will reduce the likely options including the building of a bespoke database which can be expensive
  3. How it integrates with other business systems: This can save a lot of anguish in the future if the database works alongside other marketing and communication tools, especially the club website. The website should be at the core of all marketing activity and it needs to talk directly to the database to save on unnecessary administration.

Most golf clubs can operate quite happily using ‘Microsoft Access’, part of the Office package to set up a database and manage their data. It is easy to set up and access information and is also flexible enough to create information fields which reflect the information gathered from customers. It also allows the flow of data (import and export) from other sources.

Data Capture…How to collect data

Once the database is in place, begins the hard work in acquiring and categorizing data as the information and contacts begin to grow. There is no doubt that the more data which is acquired, the more powerful and effective the clubs marketing strategies will become.

Here are some simple guidelines to ensure that gathering data on customers is central to the marketing programme and continued customer contact:

  • Draw up a set of procedures and standards to be used whenever a customer has direct contact with the golf club. Communicate these to any customer facing staff and ensure they are adhered to.
  • Give staff both the tools and training to assist in collecting the information. These can include simple contact cards to be filled in following a telephone call or completed when customers arrive.
  • Build all marketing around the website, as this resource is working 24/7 and is therefore by far the most reliable employee when it comes to collecting and processing information on your customers.
  • Refuse to do any marketing which is not measurable. In order to continue to build a database successfully, be aware of which marketing promotions are producing the best results.
  • Offline marketing must support online activity. Use all advertising and marketing brochures to drive people to the website. Don’t miss out on obvious opportunities such as including the website address on scorecards.
  • Have a marketing plan which co-ordinates all direct marketing activity and ensures customer identification:
    • Why? (What offer?), When and How? (email, direct mail, text)
  • Build systems that allow automated follow up. This would include automatic replies to any website or direct email enquiries, including alerting staff when customers have arrived. Processes to customise letters, bulk email tools which allow emails to be tracked are also useful in reducing time and administration.
    • Act now; with more and more people reverting to finding information online, clubs can’t afford to delay in establishing the processes.

“Once a person has failed to find or receive information on your golf club it will be more difficult to win back their interest”.

The most common data collection methods are listed below:

Data collection through via the clubs website.. Make your website do the work for you. After all it’s open for business 24/7. There should be a least five email data collection points on various pages throughout the visitor’s section of your site.

These should be in the relevant sections on your website, but include:

  • Sign up for special offers and advanced notification of open competitions
  • Sign up for notification of membership availability and offers
  • Sign up for offers in the Professionals’ shop and F&B promotions
  • Sign up for coaching and tuition days
  • Sign up to enter our monthly draw to win a free fourball

Ensure you make the calls to action very obvious on each page.

The first part of the season is key to building data so make sure both reasons to sign up and offers are varied.

To cut down on the administration make sure your website has a database set behind it so it is collating and storing the information for you.

Email collection at your golf club:

Ensure that every member of staff knows the importance of collecting data. The professional or whoever greets green fee visitors should be given a supply of sign up cards and all visitors should be encouraged to sign up. Explain they received advanced notification of competitions, tee times, special offers and also get entered into a monthly draw.

Collect as much data as possible but don’t over-do it.

Name, email address, postcode and how they heard about your club should be the bare minimum.

Online tee times:

If your club runs online tee time system then you have an existing opportunity for people to sign up to receive your weekly newsletter. Tee time systems provide a huge amount of information about a player before they even set foot on your golf course. This makes targeting emails even easier. If your club’s members are reluctant to see a tee time introduced at their club then why not trial a tee time ‘looking’ system for visitors.

Golf groups can equal 50 visitors:

Don’t treat societies as just one booking. There can be as many as 50 visitors so make sure you collect data from each player. Offer a free prize draw on the day if they complete a visitor satisfaction survey (which also captures their name and email address).

Offer everyone a repeat visit voucher which they have to go on your website and download using a promotional code.

Watch the birdie:

If you club has a meet and greeter, get him to take a happy snap of visiting groups on the first tee. Collect their email addresses and then have the photograph sitting in their in-box for when they return from their round. Great customer service and a good way of collecting data!

Work with local businesses:

Build an opt-in email list by working with other businesses such as hotels or the local tourist board. Make sure links are established to the club website on their websites and vice versa. Ensure the link sends them to page to register for future information and offers. Offer to run special offers such as golf giveaways or concessionary offers which the hotel can send to its customer base.

How to store data

Customer databases are not something which only large companies can aspire to. For the average database of most golf clubs which is anywhere between 2,000 and 10,000 names, they do not always require a specialist system.

Off-the shelf database tools

It’s very easy to construct a database with all the data fields required in a package such as Microsoft Access. This comes as part of the Windows Microsoft Office software which most clubs have installed.

Let your website do the work

A well-developed website will have a database sitting behind it. This will automate the collection of all data through the website itself and allow for easy administration of the data collected by the pro shop or other business avenues. Such systems also simplify on-going, regular communication such as e-newsletters or promotional offers.

Does it need to talk to your other systems?

Most clubs have automated many of their systems such as member databases with swipe cards behind the bar. It is not necessary for marketing database to interact with POS systems initially as it could be very expensive to set up. Use the visitor database to run marketing initiatives independently. Once a healthy business has been achieved, facilities can then look at more sophisticated ways of tracking spend.

What data should be collected?

When collecting data, is it important to strike a balance between collecting enough useful information without alienating customers.

The bare minimum should be name and email address if you are only intending to communicate by email. If you plan to send communications by mail, then collect their postal address – but only do this if you have every intention of using this data. (The more data you request, the less likely they are to complete it).

It is also advisable to collect mobile numbers as text marketing continues to grow grow in the future.

When possible, collect details of every transaction at the point of transaction including the date, time and amount paid. Pro shop staff must be made aware of how important this is. If a tee time booking system is in place, then this will do the job for you. This information can be useful in building up a profile of your customers’ playing habits which will make targeted communications even easier.

Please find below a series of videos to assist in building a database in Microsoft Access:

Stay legal

Businesses which store personal information and sends communications to customers (members or visitors) must comply with the Data Protection Act 1998 and increasingly the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.

Currently not-for-profit organisations are not required to register but may be wise to check as you seek to use data in a more commercial fashion.

As a rule, if you are communicating to members, you have an opt-out option. However, it might be part of your membership terms and conditions that members receive information from the club relating to their membership and offers.

Before communicating to visitors, you must always have an opt-in option at the point of collecting their data.

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Building & Effectively Utilising a Database
How to Develop and Perfect Your Social Media Sharing Schedule (It Could Double Your Traffic!) http://www.pgae.com/ask/how-to-develop-and-perfect-your-social-media-sharing-schedule-it-could-double-your-traffic/ Wed, 14 Jun 2017 12:01:02 +0000 Buffer http://www.pgae.com/?p=13617 Nowadays, in order to grow an audience on social media, it’s not as simple as just posting when you feel like it.]]>

Nowadays, in order to grow an audience on social media, it’s not as simple as just posting when you feel like it.

Audiences have become more sophisticated over time and as a result it is important to have some sort of social media strategy. In order to start implementing that strategy, a schedule is a must for a lot of businesses.

A sharing schedule can help you double your traffic and provide your audience with consistent and valuable information that will make them more likely to follow and engage with you.

It can be a little daunting getting started, though. As you try to figure out

  • Where to share?
  • What to share?
  • When to share?

In this post I’ll help you answer these essential questions and share some ways that you can develop and perfect your sharing schedule (with a sneak peek at how we do things here at Buffer too).

Let’s dig in!

how to create social media sharing schedule

Where to Share?

social media icons

So you want to share, but where should you share? There are so many different platforms all with their own advantages, however it’s almost impossible to share on each network well unless you have a large team helping. If that isn’t the case, focusing on specific platforms might be the best solution here.

When thinking about which platforms you should prioritize in your schedule, a good question to ask yourself is:

Where is your audience?

Do they spend most of their time on Twitter? Facebook? Knowing this will allow you to focus your energy on the place where you have the potential to reap the most benefits.

Pew Research Center put together a list of the demographics of all the key social networking platforms. This might help you get a little more insight into each platform.

Once you have narrowed down the platform(s) you would like to focus on, you can now come up with you sharing plan.

Different plans for different platforms

I would definitely recommend coming up with different plans for each platform you select. Facebook is very different than Twitter for instance, so it makes sense to have a different approach when sharing to your audience on Facebook versus your audience on Twitter.

CoSchedule has a really neat graphic sharing some of the different topics to share for each platform. They also go into depth for each platform over at their articles if you would like more information.

what-content-works-on-social-networks

What To Share?

Now that you have figured out where you want to share your awesome content. It’s time to figure out what to share.

Sharing More Than One Type of Content

A good way to share is to have a mix of content to provide your audience. I would recommend not solely focusing on your own content, but giving them variety to look forward to. Providing a service or entertainment to your audience is more likely to lead them to follow you and engage with all of your content, rather than bombarding them with only promotional updates.

Here is an example of the type of content you can share.

what to share pie chart

According to CoSchedule, a report from The New York Times Customer Insight Group found five major reasons why people share content with their networks:

  1. 49% share for entertainment or to provide valuable content to others.
  2. 68% share to define themselves.
  3. 78% share to stay connected with those they know.
  4. 69% share to feel involved in the world.
  5. 84% share to support a cause.

So give them something they can share! :)

Is Your Content Evergreen or Time Sensitive?

When it comes to your content, it can be good to think about whether what you are sharing is evergreen (can be shared multiple times at any point in time) or time sensitive.

A schedule for time sensitive material will most likely be different than one for evergreen content. For instance, time sensitive material will only be able to be shared within a specific timeframe before it is retired, while evergreen content could potentially be shared again a year from now.

If you have both types of content, coming up with separate sharing schedule for each type might be something to consider.

How Do You Want to Share?

You have your content ready to be shared, but how do you want to share it? How do you want to relay it to your audience? Do you have a specific tone you would like to use?

Here are a few things you can think about.

Voice

Creating a consistent voice is a really important component of your social media strategy. We have written an extensive guide on how you can find yours here.

Type

Links, images, videos, quotes, GIFs. There are so many different ways you can share your content. Finding what works best for you whether it’s only images or a mix of everything will be a great asset for creating your schedule.

Update

While I do recommend sharing the same content multiple times, I do not recommend you share the same update twice. Find different ways to share the content. Pick an image to share for the first time, then find a quote the second time and maybe a GIF the third, so that your audience doesn’t feel like they are always seeing the same thing in your feed.

As for the update itself, we have a handy guide and infographic to help you with sharing the optimal length every time.

social-media-length-infographic

When To Share?

You have now figured out where and what to share. The next step is figuring out when to share and importany when to re-share! Kissmetrics found that re-sharing content could double your traffic:

2-social-sharing-double-traffic

Frequency

Let’s first think about frequency. How often do you want to share?

  • On publish
  • Later that same day
  • Next day, Daily
  • A Week later
  • A month later?
  • Even later than that?

It really depends on your needs and your audience’s response to that frequency. Some of the best practices for each platform are highlighted in the infographic from SumAll below.  This is only a guideline, I would highly encourage you to test things for yourself as well.

infographic how often to post on social mediaHere is our sharing schedule at Buffer. You can see that we tend to share more often on Twitter and less on other platforms, leaving more time between each share.

social media posting schedule

When starting out, I would recommend looking at the content you have already shared and taking a look at what you feel might be the best times to share your content. If you haven’t shared anything yet, this is the perfect time to start experimenting and learning about your audience.

A key part to figuring out your frequency will be finding the point at which sharing more would yield diminishing returns. CoSchedule has a fantastic graphic illustrating diminishing returns.

law-of-diminishing-returns-for-social-sharing

And that’s when testing comes into play, which I discuss further below.

Create a calendar

In order to keep you on track, creating a calendar might be a huge help. It can also help you outline one time events. For example if you plan special coverage around the Holidays, a calendar could help you plan ahead and make sure you won’t forget to share.

Hootsuite has a great template available for a social media content calendar.

Social-Media-Content-calendar-Screenshot-620x265

Editorial-Calendar-Example-620x408

Here at Buffer, we have our own Social Media Calendar which you might find helpful in planning your sharing. The calendar is available for those on Awesome and Business plans (if you’re not yet part of our paid plans, I’m hoping you this might convince you to give it a try!) and allows you to take a look at your week of sharing at a glance.

social media calendar1

It could be helpful in planning and putting into action your sharing plan, by letting you schedule updates in the future, shifting things around if needed by dragging and dropping and giving you a visual of what you are sharing when.

Here is an example of our current social media calendar on Buffer:

buffer social media calendar twitter1

Testing

test social media schedule2

Now that you have a base to work with, I would also recommend implementing some testing into your sharing in order to come up with your perfect schedule.

Some of the things you can test include:

  • Different times
  • Different days
  • Different topics
  • Different types of updates (pictures versus no pictures, videos, quotes etc.)

I would recommend being quite intentional with the way you test things. Make sure you are able to measure the correct variable and that what you are seeing is due to the variable you are trying to measure.

For instance, if you would like to figure out the best time to share your blog posts, trying different days and times is a great way to start. However, it is important to continue the experiment for some time before drawing conclusions. An update performing really well on a Tuesday at 9am, might be due to it being an optimal time or it could be the result of the blog post itself being more popular amongst your audience. That is why I would recommend, testing that specific time multiples times in order to confirm that posts shared then do in fact always outperform posts shared at other times.

Analyze

analyze social media schedule

Once you’ve spent some time testing, you can focus on analyzing your data. A few questions you can ask yourself when looking at the results include:

  • When is your audience online?
  • When do you get the most reach/engagement?
  • What types of updates tend to get the most engagement?

Take a look at the performances for all your posts in the previous 30 (or 60) days and figure out what seemed to resonate with your audience.

Buffer provides great analytics for you to use if you are using the application to share your updates.

buffer analytics social media schedule

Adjust

adjust social media schedule1

You’ve tested, analyzed and now you can adjust. Taking into account everything you have learned, you might want to adjust your sharing schedule by implementing some of the discoveries from your data analysis.

For example, if you noticed an increase in engagement for blog posts updates on Tuesdays at 9am (after you have confirmed it through multiple testing), you can start sharing your blog posts at that time from now on.

I would also encourage you to continue to test, analyze and adjust, in order to make sure your schedule remains adapted to the changes in your audience’s wants and needs.

Bonus: How We Share at Buffer

At Buffer we’re constantly changing and testing new approaches when it comes to social media, especially after losing almost half our social referral traffic. I wanted to share our sharing schedule for both Twitter and Facebook and some of the things we’ve been trying lately.

How We Share on Twitter

Our current Twitter schedule involves sharing 11 times a day during weekdays and 8 times a day during weekends. Here are the current times we share (our timezone is set to Denver, CO).

Buffer Twitter schedule 2

Buffer Twitter schedule 1

I would say that 99% of our posts include some sort of media. We tend to use mostly images, since they tend to be they help boost our engagement, we have also enjoyed sharing GIFs and videos once in a while.

Here are some of our most engaging posts in the past 30 days taken from Buffer’s Analytics. A few standout findings:

  • You will noticed that these all contain an image (we tend to create our images using Pablo)
  • 3 out of 7 are about Twitter
  • Two of the updates link to the same article, highlighting the importance of re-sharing your content
  • One is a competition we ran to celebrate reaching 400k followers. (We’d love to experiment a little more with competitions)

Buffer Twitter Popular Posts 3

Buffer Twitter Popular Posts 2

Buffer Twitter Popular Posts 1

In general, we tend to reshare posts that seemed to resonate. We sometimes change the update and sometimes reshare as is.

How We Share on Facebook

Our current Facebook schedule has us sharing 3 times a day on weekdays and once on weekends. Here are the current times we share (our timezone is set to Nashville, TN).

Buffer Facebook schedule 2

Buffer Facebook schedule 1

On Facebook, we focus on sharing posts from Buffer’s Social and Open blogs and use the status copy to provide context or a story around the post being shared.

We have also recently started sharing quotes that inspire us on a regular basis (those quotes are also being shared on Twitter and seem to be appreciated there as well).

Here are some of our most engaging posts in the past 30 days taken from Buffer’s Analytics. Some of the things that seem to resonate here are announcements, images, insider story about Buffer and life hacking type articles.

Buffer Facebook Popular Posts 1

Buffer Facebook Popular Posts 2

Buffer Facebook Popular Posts 3

Buffer Facebook Popular Posts 4

Buffer Facebook Popular Posts 5

Buffer Facebook Popular Posts 6

One of the things we’re also thinking of experimenting with is the timing of our shares. One of the tools that we will be using to find new optimal times to share is the Buffer Optimal Timing tool, which finds the best time for you to share on a specific social network and updates your Buffer schedule accordingly.

Over to You!

What are some of the steps you’ve taken to develop and perfect your social sharing schedule? Have I missed any steps? Do you have additional tips? I would love to hear them all in the comments section.

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How to Develop and Perfect Your Social Media Sharing Schedule (It Could Double Your Traffic!)
The Top 5 Things To Do When Branding For Multiple Cultures http://www.pgae.com/ask/the-top-5-things-to-do-when-branding-for-multiple-cultures/ Tue, 30 May 2017 14:40:08 +0000 Luke @ Pixeldot http://www.pgae.com/?p=13838 Pixeldot's Luke Taylor gives his top-5 guidelines for effectively creating and managing a brand across different cultures and countries... ]]>

As I type, I am sat in a generously wide seat, surrounded by a cacophony of English, French, German and Canadian accents and the satisfying hum of the Eurostar. We’re gliding through the scenic French countryside, travelling towards the depths of the English Channel and back into the beautiful surroundings of London St Pancras.

Myself, Jan and Chandra are returning home from a four day trip to the French capital to work with a long-standing global client who is based there. We are working with them to deliver a very complex rebrand with multiple stakeholders and teams across Europe, the US and Australasia.

Over the past few years we have delivered rebrands across Europe, the US and Africa. Being based in the UK, I wanted to share how we create brands that resonate with people in those countries, that grow and evolve with their culture, and ultimately achieve success for the companies we represent. Here are my top 5 guidelines for a successful outcome.

1. Immerse yourself in the culture.

It seems like an obvious thing to say, but we know it doesn’t always get done. Companies look to the UK for design skill and creative thinking, but to deliver a project successfully you (as a company) need to look wider than your personal experiences and that can be difficult. All good creative people are like sponges, soaking up information, ideas and bringing influences like trends, styles and messaging from the world around us into our work. But, what if those influences don’t mean anything to the people you are designing for? What if those ‘eureka’ moments don’t resonate with an audience of the outside the UK?

That’s where immersing yourself in the culture or cultures of the client is vital. As an example, when we are working in France, we go to France and visit the client, we ask them to show us what makes France French in their eyes. We visit locations of historical importance, we watch their films, listen to their music, try and learn some of the language, and most importantly we look – we look at what they design, how they design, what influences their design culture. Only by doing this can you start to consider what design and branding will work in that chosen culture.

2. Don’t trust cultural stereotypes.

We would all like to believe that we are ‘worldly’ and knowledgeable people – who look outwardly at global information, understanding cultures and people. But really we still view the world and the different cultures as stereotypes. We think of the French as chic, the Americans as loud, the Germans as serious and the British as stiff upper-lipped. Clearly that isn’t the case, but you would be amazed at how many brands are created with a stereotype at its heart, e.g. Delice De France!

By visiting, learning and living a culture you can start to see past stereotypes and begin to see similarities – parts of our cultures that merge and overlap. Once you are able to do this you can start to see where a brand resonates across multiple cultures, across languages and trends. When you reach this point you can create a brand thread which ties branding, emotion and design to cultures across entire continents or further afield.

3. Be in the room.

It’s as simple as that – be in the room. Be in the room for client meetings in their offices, be in the room when they discuss the answers to your brand questions, be in the room when they are chatting about their weekends, or plans for the evening, be in the room when that room is a pub, a bar, a restaurant – be a part of the team. By becoming a member of the client’s team, you become a part of their culture. You can learn what really makes them tick, what drives them forward, why they come to work everyday, what is in their heart that differentiates them from others, and what really should be in the heart of the brand.

4. Learn the subtleties.

Great brands are not created through billboards or advertising campaigns alone, they are delivered through subtly – beautiful touches of quality, finesse and intelligence; the beautifully produced bag, the expertly finished brochure or the refined smooth wording of a letter.
Subtleties differ from culture to culture and learning what different people see as the differentiator of quality can be vital to the overall success of a rebrand.

For example, in Africa, colour is a vital part of visual language. Colours represent different events in life, from celebration and weddings, through to morning and funerals. The colours symbolise emotion, and that emotion is imparted into the brand. Those emotional ties to colours will run deep into the subconscious of the viewer and therefore as brand thinkers we have to be mindful of this and utilise the power of colour to enhance a message or brand position – brandthinking in colour.

5. Ask the hard questions.

If you want to know if your brand works, ask the people who live it. We are specialists in creating brands that deliver growth, brands that have emotion and brands that resonate with target audiences, but when working in different cultures how do we know we have got it right, before we launch? Simply – we ask.

We spend time presenting the concept and brand developments to a wide range of the client’s team, from directors to admin staff. The directors will look at the brand from a strategic point of view and will trust our opinion and advice, but a receptionist will look at the brand with their heart – they will tell you what they feel and that is vital. When the strategic mind and emotive soul of the brand align, we know we have the right outcome for the organisation. It is easy to be afraid to show the brand and to ask “what do you think?”, as they are four words which can turn your project on it’s head. But they are the four most important words in any brand project.

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So there you have it, 5 top tips for branding in different countries and across cultures. As part of our Brandthinking™ process we deliver exciting, emotive brands through a wide range of countries and cultures. There are many more things which need to be considered when doing these complex projects, but I hope these 5 tips will give you an insight into they way we think, and help you in any future planning for projects.

If you have a brand that you wish to launch in the UK or further afield, and think our Brandthinking™ process and creativity can help, then we would love to hear from you.

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The Top 5 Things To Do When Branding For Multiple Cultures
Benchmarking Performance: A Facility’s Secret Weapon http://www.pgae.com/ask/benchmarking-performance-a-facilitys-secret-weapon/ Wed, 10 May 2017 12:18:13 +0000 Golf Management Europe http://www.pgae.com/?p=18191 Getting the full picture of how your golf club is performing means you also need to know how you are measuring up against your competitors and the market...]]>

Getting the full picture of how your golf club is performing means you also need to know how you are measuring up against your competitors and the overall golf market.

 Here the PGAs of Europe and PGA Professional, Mark Taylor, explore this underutilised area of management looking at where to start and what to think about when it comes to benchmarking your facility…

Certainly many factors influence a club’s reputation and performance including; perception of the club’s brand, the quality of the course, course activity levels, recognition of the bottom line value of guest play; to name just a few!!

 

Benchmarking is a tool that provides facilities and management teams a way to compare their clubs with peers.

Here’s what to consider when benchmarking…

Benchmarking is a process for golf operations seeking to compare financial performance and operating metrics to others in the same industry and re-align business strategies that have become unsuitable.

Through considering the results and practices of others in the same space, an enterprise can potentially improve its own understanding and management of processes and practices.

Information is crucial, and this is accessible from various sources:

  • Competitor golf club websites and social media space
  • ‘Mystery shop’ your local golf clubs
  • Understanding trends in the market and adapting to meet those needs
  • Golf Benchmark National/International comparisons and metrics (e.g KPMG)
  • Benchmarking in local areas or regions

The factors that you may wish to consider in benchmarking competitors are:

  • Membership numbers and fees
  • Membership Retention
  • Visitor fee prices
  • Visitor packages
  • Food & Beverage
  • Golf Course reviews
  • PGA Professional Golf services, retail, membership sales and coaching provision
  • Is the PGA Professional active within recruitment & retention strategies?
  • Where and how competitors are marketing?
  • Are you comparing like for like products?
  • Is your benchmarking SMART in each area of comparison?

Only by knowing the answers to these basic questions and understanding where you fit in the local marketplace, can you be realistic about what is feasible.

The questions you wish to ask competitors may also vary – for example, in European tourist weighted/seasonal destinations, the benchmarking process may need to be adjusted to identify different gaps in a business from a conventional ‘member’ golf facility.

For venues that either currently benchmark or are evaluating the use of benchmarking processes, there are several factors to consider:

Resource:

Benchmarking is an important resource that a club has at its disposal and should be considered both during budgeting and strategic planning.

Planning:

Benchmarking helps club committees/course owners and management teams deliberate about plans and operations in new and more intelligent ways. It may also help reduce input drawn from other industries that may not apply to golf clubs and facilities. The operating, financing, investment, marketing and governance practices of golf clubs all have their own unique characteristics.

Understand the Limitations:

The first thing to understand is both the goals and the limitations of benchmarking.  It is, after all, a tool and not an answer. Comparing your club to others of similar standing should identify disparities that are worth understanding.  It is not a case of right or wrong, it is just a process to help develop more thoughtful questions and a better understanding of the surprising intricacy of the golf business.

Be sure to benchmark against a comparable set of venues…

In selecting facilities to benchmark against, it is important to choose a peer set with similar amenities. Comparing a golf-only club against clubs that provide, for example, leisure club integrated golf/leisure membership or dual course options etc. would make the comparison less meaningful.

For the same purpose, simply selecting clubs in your geographic area may not produce the most meaningful result. Comparing yourself with clubs of your general revenue size and, to the extent available, other factors including number of golf holes, amenity offerings, F&B revenues, etc. will help produce more telling results.  Studies have proven that geography means far less than one might intuitively suspect…

In addition to financial data, benchmarking operating data such as golf rounds played; the financing of capital expenditures, member numbers, membership costs, joining fees, governance practices etc. can be very valuable.

Key personnel within the club, including PGA Professionals have the ability and knowledge to treat this level of information with the respect it deserves and use it to drive positive change, improve service levels and profits, both in their business or for their employing club.

While the business model of golf is often consistent from venue to venue, each individual business is unique and is therefore required to make decisions based on their individual needs.

Benchmarking should not be considered a one-off exercise… To be effective, it must become an integral part of an ongoing improvement process, the goal being to be informed of ever-improving best practices and implement the necessary interventions to close the performance gap.

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Mark Taylor is a Development Officer for England Golf, a Fellow PGA of Great Britain & Ireland Professional, as well as a PGA Tutor and an R&A Golf Development Professional.

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Benchmarking Performance: A Facility’s Secret Weapon
VIDEO – How to Balance Projects With Jason Glass http://www.pgae.com/ask/video-how-to-balance-projects-with-jason-glass/ Tue, 09 May 2017 14:22:17 +0000 Golf in the Life of http://www.pgae.com/?p=16618 Learn from Jason Glass about how to balance projects and do them all at a very high level. Great info for the entrepreneurial coach...]]>

Learn from Jason Glass about how to balance projects and do them all at a very high level. Great info for the entrepreneurial coach.

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VIDEO – How to Balance Projects With Jason Glass
[PODCAST] Actionable Social Media Trends and Stats to Help Guide Your Marketing in 2017 http://www.pgae.com/ask/podcast-actionable-social-media-trends-and-stats-to-help-guide-your-marketing-in-2017/ Sun, 07 May 2017 11:46:34 +0000 Buffer http://www.pgae.com/?p=18619 The team at Buffer explore the latest Social Media trends and stats to get your marketing going this year...]]>

We are excited to share our third, very special bonus podcast episode with you on important social media trends and stats going into 2017!

Our bonus episodes offer a fun change of pace from our traditional “interview-style” episodes on The Science of Social Media. Get to know the hosts Hailley, Kevan, & Brian a bit better as they share thoughts on the future of social media – complete with actionable takeaways and useful insights.

This week we’re chatting all about our brand new State of Social Media 2016 Report! 3 major trends emerge from the study, including the peak of video marketing, Facebook remaining atop the pack, and the importance of customer service on social media.

A huge thank you to all of you for joining us every week for brand new episodes. We appreciate you taking the time to listen and for your amazing support over the last few weeks. We’d love to hear from you on iTunes or using the hashtag #bufferpodcast on Twitter.

“That’s what I see social media in 2017 being – Understanding why you’re there and then creating something awesome for the people that you’re hoping to reach on that channel.”

3 Themes That Stood Out to Us From the Survey

Theme #1

The first takeaway is that video is on the rise and about to hit the peak. If you ever wanted to get into video marketing, now is the time to do so! We found that there are some inherent challenges that people are experiencing that are keeping them from fully joining.

Theme #2

No one has really left Facebook like everyone was saying might happen once organic reach dipped. From our study, about 9 out of every 10 marketers use Facebook and 9 out of 10 use Facebook Ads. I think some of the response to the dip in organic reach is people moving to Facebook Ads. So, marketers finding a way to make the most of that giant network.

Theme #3

Only 1 in 5 survey respondents – so 1 in 5 brands, 1 in 5 marketers – use social media for customer support. And that was shockingly low for me. At Buffer customer support has been very key to us and it has been key for a lot of the brands that we admire. That feels like a really neat opportunity for brands to stand out.

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[PODCAST] Actionable Social Media Trends and Stats to Help Guide Your Marketing in 2017
What Does a PGA Professional Bring to Your Club? http://www.pgae.com/ask/what-does-a-pga-professional-bring-to-your-club/ Mon, 01 May 2017 20:55:44 +0000 IrishGolfer.ie http://www.pgae.com/?p=18649 IrishGolfer.ie & the PGA of GB&I's Paul Wisniewski explore the benefits a PGA Professional can bring to a facility and why they add huge value to a business...]]>

IrishGolfer.ie and the PGA of GB&I’s Paul Wisniewski explore what benefits a PGA Professional can bring to a facility and why they add huge value to the whole business…

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A question often asked is, What value does a PGA professional have at a golf club? The answer can be quite a lot.

Does your club have a PGA Professional?  Are you looking to recruit one?  Perhaps you had one in previous years but not anymore?  Times have changed and so has the role of the PGA Professional at club level.  In the heady days of property booms and third houses a PGA Professional at your club was seen as a sign that things were good, that business was strong and having the pro there was just something that clubs did.

Fast forward a few years and clubs saw their incomes drop and many responded by letting their PGA Professional go (or perhaps not taking on a PGA Professional) as they perhaps didn’t see the value that they brought.  Nowadays though, the modern PGA Professional is an invaluable asset to a golf club and it’s great to see how diverse and integral the role has become once again, the role of the PGA Professional is back where it belongs.

Given the right circumstances and direction a PGA Professional can add significant revenues to any club.  The logo for PGA Professionals contains the phrase “The heart of golf” for a good reason.  It’s not because they’ve gone through rigorous training and feel they deserve it. It’s because they’ve gone through rigorous training, have learned about golf clubs from the inside out, have likely spent more time in golf clubs than even the most dedicated club members and they are the lifeblood of any club.  The PGA pro doesn’t only stand in the shop to answer your questions anymore, they are involved in so much more behind the scenes and here are some of the ways in which a PGA Professional can add value and revenue to your club;

1. Knowledge

A PGA Professional goes through an intensive three-year training programme covering all aspects of golf club management as well as the physical aspects of playing the game.They have a broad knowledge of everything required to run a golf club and can be a great source of knowledge on a wide range of topics from membership to marketing.

2. Revenue

This is a key area in any business but in a golf club there are so many ways to increase & control revenue. Why not engage with your current PGA Professional and ask their advice on this and see what they can come up with? Equally as important as revenue is cost control and again the training that PGA Professionals receive puts them in a unique position to advise and assist with this.

3. Customer service & interaction

The person at a golf club who has the most customer interaction is the PGA Professional (43%, with the next person being the GM at 13%). They are the face of the club.Whether it’s a members competition on a weekend or a friendly fourball playing on a Tuesday afternoon, the PGA Professional is likely to be the person who greets you, explains the club policies, encourages you to have dinner or buy a shirt from the shop and this interaction can lead to repeat business and of course the increased market perception for your club.

4. Advice

More and more PGA pro’s are being asked to join in on committee meetings to offer advice and guidance.This is wonderful to see but many more Irish clubs could benefit from the input of a PGA Professional in this area.It shouldn’t only be competition committees, the PGA pro can be a useful asset in any committee, they know your club as well if not better than you do, they know all your members, they get direct feedback from every single visitor and surely that should make them the first name on the committee sheet?Don’t forget too that your PGA Professional is also a great source of knowledge on the latest equipment, clothing and many can even advise on some nutrition and exercise regimes if you’re so inclined – this is an under-utilised but greatly effective members asset.

5. Lessons

Many people only see the PGA pro as just being someone you go to for lessons – obviously this is far from true but lessons are a big part of what a pro can bring to a golf club.If a member can get a lesson from a good PGA Professional at their home club then they will do so.Players from other clubs can come to your PGA pro for lessons too which increases the public profile of your club. Moreover the pro can give introductory lessons and programmes aimed at getting people into golf who have never played.This can result in membership increases and further revenues for the club.Did you know that if someone takes lessons they play 20% more golf, spend 65% more on F&B and spend 70% more on retail?

6. Marketing

This is an interesting one as along with the pro and the manager, marketing was one of the first things to be cut when revenues dropped in Irish clubs.Through their personal contact with golfers your PGA pro is marketing your club, through giving lessons to non-members your PGA pro is marketing your club, through their interaction with other PGA pros and through them being very good at their jobs your PGA pro is marketing your club.It doesn’t always have to come down to spending money, but if it does then your PGA pro is well positioned to advise you on where is best to spend it.They eat, sleep, live and breathe golf, if it’s happening in golf they will most likely know about it so why would you not ask their opinion?

7. Member recruitment & retention

A recent survey found that 100% of people who took coaching lessons from their PGA Professional stayed as a club member the following year. That’s a staggering statistic when you consider the membership turnover in many golf clubs.When it comes to member recruitment the PGA Professional is probably the first person that any prospective member will meet.They will come in to ask questions, get forms or to play a round and see what the course is like.The pro can have a huge impact on recruitment and an educated, friendly face who knows about the club is the ideal person to have dealing with new members.

These are just some of the benefits of having a PGA Professional at your club, there are so many more and to talk to someone at the PGA about it or if your club is looking to recruit a PGA Professional you should contact Paul Wisniewski at the PGA Irish Region on Email: paul.wisniewski@pga.org.uk or Telephone: 085 8821756.

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What Does a PGA Professional Bring to Your Club?
The Value to Organisations of Offering Career Support to Staff http://www.pgae.com/ask/the-value-to-organisations-of-offering-career-support-to-staff/ Mon, 01 May 2017 15:35:07 +0000 Coaching4Careers http://www.pgae.com/?p=18631 Coaching4Careers explain how career management conversations can help keep and develop staff...]]>

There is little recent data about career management conversations in the workplace:

Kelly Global Workforce Index – August 2014 (230,000 people across 31 countries participated)

  • 57% people agree that career development discussions are beneficial in terms of the opportunity to acquire new skills
  • Only 38% had these discussions with their employer in the past year
  • Only 29% are satisfied with the career development resources provided by their employer

With global employment trends changing all the time, the need to keep and develop staff should be at the top of an organisations agenda.

Whether the organisation is a school, SME, Not for Profit or Corporate, many seem frightened to invest in the career management of their staff, they think staff will be unsettled, leave, or want more than they can offer. Some work very well with their staff, helping them manage their careers and reap the reward. The reality is that staff who feel valued and invested in are more likely to stay with an organisation and be motivated to work harder.


“Managing human capital is a misnomer. Humans are ‘beings’. We want to be known and valued for who we are, and our aspirations and ambitions recognised and seen as important. It’s a missed opportunity for an employer not to attend to these needs and thereby reap the productivity gains that accrue from more motivated, loyal employees”

(Talent, Careers and Organisations, What Next? Corporate Research Forum)

The value an organisation can reap when investing in their staff:

Staff are more settled and less distracted as they have plans for their future

  • Organisations can plan their future if they know what their staff want and plan to do
  • Demographics
  • Succession planning
  • Recruitment
  • In house development of staff
  • An organisation planning what will happen with regards to its staff must be more cost effective
  • Fewer surprises
  • Less need for interim, agency or contract staff
  • Better ongoing communication between staff and employer
  • Staff more likely to say if they are looking for a new role
  • Organisation able to deliver a more structured handover if they know a member of staff 
is/wants to leave
  • Employers who cannot afford financial rewards/bonuses, can support the development and 
career management of staff, which can be a cost-effective reward process.

The ability to manage your career and future is a life skill, if organisations don’t invest in their staff to give them these skills, how can they then pass on these skills to the people who work for them and to the next generation who they might educate and/or influence.

There are many processes for managing careers and these can be integrated into a workplace environment, below is a cycle often used to develop process that works within different organisations, depending on what is needed and required by the organisation and their staff.

Often employees find it easier to have these conversations with someone external first.

“My volunteers felt better placed to plan an effective conversation with their manager once they’d been coached, which is a win-win for the organisation”

(T Delamare, An action research study on the barriers facing women developing their careers and how they can be supported using a coaching framework. MA Dissertation, Oxford Brookes University, 2016)

“Internally focused workplace development opportunities are likely to ensure that a particular employer realises investment in development for the organisation. Yet, the worker might not have the skills transferable to other organisations. This is in contrast with the premise of the type of ‘deal’ where enhancement of employability is the key value derived from the employment relationship by the worker. Instead, they may be receiving only the development that is relevant to their current employer, without the promise of job security.”

(CIPD – Attitudes to Employability and Talent, Sept 2016)

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The Value to Organisations of Offering Career Support to Staff
Are You Ready For Your Golf Club’s Biggest Challenge? http://www.pgae.com/ask/are-you-ready-for-your-golf-clubs-biggest-challenge/ Fri, 21 Apr 2017 10:57:07 +0000 Golf Retailing http://www.pgae.com/?p=18625 Jane Carter looks at the growing trend to put PGA Professionals at the heart of what is often a golf club’s biggest challenge: growing the business...]]>

An innovative professional who is visible to members, visitors and guests and who understands the needs and challenges facing a modern golf club,’ was the final attribute in a job advert for a Director of Golf at a private members club.  

Jane Carter looks at the growing trend to put PGA Professionals at the heart of what is often a golf club’s biggest challenge: growing the business.


Too often conversations with golf club committees start with the words, “We have stopped the PGA Professional’s retainer. We just didn’t think we were getting value for money.” When you quiz them further it’s clear that, in their eyes, value for money is all about driving more revenue. Quiz them again on how they are expected to do this and ‘marketing’ is the buzz word.

A quick scan of the Situations Vacant pages reveals much the same: ‘Be responsible for a marketing strategy which covers all areas of golf operations,’ ‘boost membership,’ ‘increase green fee income’ and ‘improve the visitor experience’ are just some of the things clubs now want their PGA Pros to be responsible for.

Like it or not, the trend of putting a PGA Professional at the heart of revenue generation is a growing one, and what a fantastic position for you to be in. As I have written in this column before no one should know the business better than you. Are the members happy (retention?). Is the golf course busy? (Visitor/society business) If not why not? Is there a steady pipeline of potential new members? All of it revolves around the PGA Professional.

Many Professionals worry they don’t have the right skills but I guarantee that if you understand your golf club business, selling it is not that tough. You are already doing more than you think. The trick is to leverage that even further – and make sure the business knows you are at the heart of it.

However, the biggest issue facing the Professional when asked to market a golf club is simply whether the club really means it: I have seen enthusiastic marketing committees, newly recruited marketing managers and PGA Professionals buzzing with ideas to drive more revenue, suddenly hit a brick wall when it starts to actually happen. What started out as a happy collaboration can quickly turn to recriminations.

So if a golf club is turning to you to take the lead in revenue generation, here is my top ten checklist of the steps that you need to have in place:

  • Check that the golf club is really signed up to increasing the business. They may say they want more visitors but when they start appearing do the moans start coming? Setting revenue targets is the best way to test that commitment.
  • Know the business. Understand the green fee yield; course utilisation; membership attrition (especially in the newer member category); membership recruitment and how successful it has been in the past. Deal in facts not fiction.
  • Sit down with the golf club committee and set revenue targets around visitors and societies. Be realistic and careful to manage the expectations and fear of committees about too many visitors. Interestingly, they never feel they can have too many members!
  • Write a marketing plan. Perform one activity every week in the summer and less frequently but still regularly in the winter. It sounds a lot but consistency and repetition are the key.
  • Pricing is crucial. Sit down with your committee and agree a green fee pricing matrix for all times of the day, week and year. You would be surprised how innovative you can be. Discounting is part of any price matrix but also look for revenue generation through better green fee yield, upselling and repeat business.
  • Collect data. It will be at the heart of everything you do. Remember the old adage that 80 per cent of business is driven by 20 per cent of customers. It’s vital that you know and communicate with that 20 per cent on a regular basis…and your golf club will love you for it!
  • Surround yourself with the right tools: a marketing plan, a pricing matrix; a easy to manage and segmented customer database, an email campaign system, a mix of offers and promotions and a spreadsheet to monitor results.
  • Get ahead. Successful marketing happens because of successful implementation. Write your green fee marketing schedule for 2017 now. You know what is happening next year and the key events you can target. Don’t wait until they are upon you and probably at a time when you are at your busiest.
  • Agree a commission structure. If the business grows (and it will) you want to be rewarded for your efforts. Make it performance related and set realistic and achievable targets. If the green fee revenue is currently £30k and you believe you can grow it to £40k ask for a higher rate of commission on that £10K worth of ‘new’ business.
  • Tell them what you are doing and show that it is working. This is even more crucial in a volunteer structure where members don’t really see the day to day operation of their golf club. Set up a simple report covering the key revenue streams and send it round every month. Ask for a regular slot at the main general committee to give your report.

Building their trust in you to do a good job will take time and it’s important not to drive things too quickly. Green fee business is the simplest way to start but ultimately membership recruitment and retention are all significant revenue generators and as the trust builds so can your input in those key areas.

This article appears courtesy of Golf Retailing. For more information and to subscribe to the Golf Retailing Newsletter visit www.golfretailing.com.


Jane Carter is the Director of Golf Unlimited offering marketing strategy and implementation advice to golf clubs. She regularly delivers ‘Visitor and society marketing’ and Membership retention and recruitment’ workshops on behalf of England Golf.

For a full list of workshops now and in 2017 go to www.golfeducation.co.uk or contact her directly at jane.carter@golfconsulting.co.uk.

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Are You Ready For Your Golf Club’s Biggest Challenge?
Applying a Yield Pricing Criteria to Your Group Booking Business http://www.pgae.com/ask/applying-a-yield-pricing-criteria-to-your-group-booking-business/ Fri, 21 Apr 2017 06:19:10 +0000 Promote Training http://www.pgae.com/?p=18646 Promote Training, the golf club management eLearning specialists, look at how any club can apply yield-based pricing criteria to their group booking business...]]>

The last part of the series of articles from Promote Training, the golf club management eLearning specialists, looks at how any club can apply yield-based pricing criteria to their group booking business.

It is difficult to talk of driving green fee revenues in a group-booking context without talking about variable pricing strategies. And you can’t talk about variable pricing strategies without talking about yield management. According to Wikipedia yield management is:

“…a variable pricing strategy, based on understanding, anticipating and influencing consumer behavior in order to maximise revenue or profits from a fixed, perishable resource”

Understanding, anticipating and influencing your customers starts with the analysis of the correct data – a statistical trawl of what’s going on within the business, especially on the golf course. The depth and level of the data we can derive and the analysis thereof drives the criteria we can use to vary our pricing points.

Month

Many clubs are operating a basic variable pricing strategy already – they charge a lower amount for winter group bookings knowing they’re a ‘harder sell’. Conversely, some coastal clubs with great drainage actually charge a premium.

Day of the Week

Again, some clubs are already doing this. At its most basic, they are charging a premium to play at the weekends. Some charge slightly more to play on a Friday as well. In most cases, Monday to Thursday is lumped in together and priced the same.

Number of Participants

This one is less practiced in the UK industry and a significant opportunity. A group booking of 120 people is extremely precious and quite rare (in most clubs) – why wouldn’t you price it accordingly? You probably wouldn’t get 120 paying visitors if the group booking didn’t exist – so you can afford to lower the price and still be significantly better off. Conversely, a group booking of 8 people isn’t as lucrative in terms of monetary value and may restrict a larger booking enquiry coming in afterwards – isn’t that something that should be charged at a premium?

An important additional point to your terms and conditions are needed here – “If any discounted or agreed price is on the basis of a minimum number, this set price will only apply if on the day the set number of participants attend”. A golf day arriving with less than the number confirmed could push the price up – that’s not something easily communicated to the organiser if they didn’t know it could happen.

Tee Times Booked

All clubs have popular and unpopular tee times. Unfortunately, many clubs only have a gut feeling as to when they are. Knowing precisely what your peak and off-peak tee times are allows you to vary the price for group bookings. If 2pm is usually very quiet, why wouldn’t you offer a discount? If 9am is usually very busy, why wouldn’t you charge a premium?

Sales Window

We’ve already spoken about our desire to increase the sales window – to encourage organisers to book early so we understand the future group booking trends earlier and can take action as required. A variable pricing strategy that encompasses this criterion can help shift the window.

Exceptions

This is a slightly different criterion but something that needs to be considered carefully – those odd days that confound our data-driven criteria. For instance, Mondays in April may be quiet – but what about Easter Monday? That has the potential to be quite popular. Fridays in September may be quite busy – but what about the week the Head Greenkeeper is doing his biannual hollow coring and top dressing? Should you be charging a premium on this Friday for a course in less than perfect condition?

No Catering

It’s probably an unfortunate consequence of a wider society change that in many clubs, group bookings are choosing to have less and less catering elements to their event. Where once the majority of bookings had a sit-down 3-course meal at the end of the day – at many clubs today they are in the minority. So, can we box a little clever here and add a silent ‘No Catering’ surcharge to the events that have little or no food? There’s nothing more frustrating than an enquiry coming in afterwards that want the full 3-course presentation dinner included but can’t get the tee times because a booking with no food at all has already confirmed.

The word “silent” in this instance means that the organiser doesn’t get to know they’ve been charged it – it simply gets added onto the green fee. Keeping it silent in this way provides a great opportunity to offer a discounted catering up-sell nearer the date of the event. It will be perceived as a discount by the organiser but won’t actually be a discount for the club – it will simply be the removal of the no-catering surcharge.

A variable pricing strategy based on just these seven criteria can have a dramatic impact on a golf clubs’ group booking revenues. In some instances many prices will be discounted – sometimes quite aggressively. In other cases, by understanding when we’re busy prices will be increased. But in both circumstances, they will be priced on a fixed criteria derived from historical fact. From a quantitative perspective, that’s something difficult to argue against.

Promote Training give away a Group Booking Pricing Tool with their “Driving Green Fee Revenues” eLearning course. Visit www.promotetraining.co.uk to learn more about this, and other strategies to grow your club’s green fee revenues.

Image Components by Freepik
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Applying a Yield Pricing Criteria to Your Group Booking Business
Mobile Technology and Future of Travel http://www.pgae.com/ask/mobile-technology-and-future-of-travel/ Sun, 16 Apr 2017 04:21:44 +0000 Inc.com http://www.pgae.com/?p=12860 For many hotel and attraction owners, capitalizing on summer activities is essential for remaining in the black for the rest of the year.]]>

Peter Roesler is the president of Web Marketing Pros and has an extensive background in marketing online, such as social media, paid search, content marketing, and SEO. Full bio.

@webmarketing007


Research suggests mobiles and millennials are changing the way we travel

For many hotel and attraction owners, capitalizing on summer activities is essential for remaining in the black for the rest of the year. The internet and mobile technology have dramatically changed the way people search for and make travel arrangements. This article will discuss recent research that gives business owners clues to reaching traveling customers in the digital age.

According to research from Hotels.com, millennials comprise 32 percent of US travelers, and are the fastest-growing age segment in travel. This techno-savvy group is changing the way hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues. For example, about one in four (25%) millennials who book hotels does so via a mobile device. The data cited also suggests that mobile marketing can be effective at getting last minute travellers. The study found that 70 percent of hotel bookings by millennials via a mobile device are made for same or next-day check-in.

Millennials are a good target audience because they spend more money when the travel. According to data cited by the MMGY Global, nearly 60 percent of millennials would rather spend money on experiences than on material goods. When put into numbers, the average millennial traveller intends to spend about $5,300 while travelling, whereas Gen Xers, say they’ll spend about $5,000.

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A 2014 comScore study reported that 40 percent of the US travel audience only accessed digital travel content via mobile. An eMarketer report estimates that in 2015, total mobile travel research will rise nearly 20 percent to hit 72.8 million, or 54.6 percent of those who research travel digitally. That percentage is estimated to reach about 71 percent by 2018.

Hotels should strive to make their mobile and app experience as easy to use and functional as their desktop sites. Recently, eDigital Research ranked the apps and mobile sites of the most popular traveling sites. According to their research, Holiday Inn’s recently revamped app is a good example of what consumers want. The app got a top score of 81.6 percent on the rankings, which means the app will help in generating multichannel sales. Other notable sites for good multi-channel sales were Bookings.com and Hotels.com.

“As mobile continues to grow in popularity, there will soon come a time when the mobile customer experience will overtake traditional desktop sites,” said Steve Brockway, the Director of Research at eDigital Research. “However, when that day does come (and it could come as soon as this year) digital customer experiences across varying brands will differ only very slightly – we’re already seeing minimal differences between top performing brands. Instead, to make experiences really stand out from the competition, brands need to be investing in their service and customer support. With more consumers heading online to book and browse, on and offline support will become the foundation for a fantastic customer experience”.

A final thing to keep in mind is that social media is extremely important to travellers and business owners can use that to their advantage. One way to do this is by handling customer service issues on social media platforms. People share their experiences from travel with their friends and family via social media. If a business notices that a guest has mentioned them in a negative post, they should proactively try to solve the problem, even if the guest didn’t tell the business directly. For more advice on using social media to address customer service issues, read this article on the subject.

Now is the time for businesses to improve their mobile sites and apps so they put their best foot forward. The days of travel agents and people driving to random hotels to find a vacancy are coming to a close. Using technology to help travelers will help businesses increase their revenue during the vacation season.

To learn more on how mobile marketing and the internet are changing travel, read this article with more stats on hotel marketing.

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Mobile Technology and Future of Travel
How to Make your Company Sustainable, In 2 Simple Steps http://www.pgae.com/ask/how-to-make-your-company-sustainable-in-2-simple-steps/ Tue, 11 Apr 2017 16:53:48 +0000 Inc.com http://www.pgae.com/?p=12106 Sustainability is a journey. On the road, you'll need to consistently deploy two important actions: measuring and engaging...]]>

Maureen Kline writes about corporate sustainability and social responsibility. She is in charge of public affairs and sustainability for Pirelli Tire North America. She lived in Italy for 23 years and is a former correspondent for The Wall Street Journal Europe, BusinessWeek, and BreakingViews. She can be reached at maureenkline@gmail.com.

@kline_maureen


Sustainability is based on continuous measurement and constant engagement

Sustainability is a journey. On the road, you’ll need to consistently deploy two important actions: measuring and engaging.

You’ll need to measure, because sustainability is a continuous SWOT analysis; you need to be aware of your company’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats so that you know where you’re coming from and where you’re going. Sustainability is about measuring where you are today, setting goals about how sustainable your company will be in the future, working backward to define how to get there, and then measuring progress along the way. The more specific and quantitative you are, the greater your chances of effectiveness.

Normally, goals will fall into three categories: environmental, social and governance. Environmental goals can include CO2 emissions reductions, energy efficiency targets, environmentally friendly product development, use of biodegradable packaging, involvement in a biodiversity project, reduced water usage, recycling, and many more. Social goals can range from goals regarding the welfare of your employees to community projects to helping alleviate hunger in developing countries. And governance goals might include setting up an ethics committee for your company, or having a diverse board of directors.

Once you know where you are and what you want to achieve in the future, you need to follow an action plan, and your success will depend on your ability to engage with stakeholders inside and outside the company. Engagement with them will be the key to acceptance and implementation of your sustainability plans, as well as outside recognition of your company as a sustainable one. Some of the stakeholders you may want to interact with are employees, customers, suppliers, investors, the local community, local government, environmental or human rights groups, and competitors.

Competitors? Indeed. There are now many stories of industry collaboration in order to effect change, particularly in raw materials purchasing and in recycling of end-of-life products. The cocoa industry has banded together to insist on certifiable sustainable practices among cocoa farmers, and the electronics industry is working on getting the minerals they need from mines certified as respectful of human rights (and not controlled by violent warlords).

Suppliers can be engaged through insisting on sustainable practices in purchasing agreements, and through training and audits. Customers can be engaged in all kinds of creative ways that marketing departments like to dream up. The local community can be engaged through charity donations and volunteering projects and partnerships.

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Employees are the most important piece of the puzzle. Without employee involvement in sustainability, big plans may go nowhere and promises remain shallow. Employees need to be engaged in a way that convinces them to understand and believe in what the company is trying to achieve, and participate. It is not just about getting employees to volunteer to plant trees or serve meals at the community soup kitchen. Employees need to understand the broad strategy, the company’s goals, and the specific action plan. They need to be asked for ideas and listened to. They need to see sustainability on the ground (recycling bins, a strategy on coffee cups, health and safety compliance) in order to believe you really mean it. They need to get excited about sustainable packaging and sustainable product development, and feel they are part of a team. Probably the easiest way to make all this happen is to involve people cross-functionally in committees.

Now that you have engaged everyone, don’t forget to keep measuring your progress and results, and communicating these back to your stakeholders. Once they see the improvement, they will be more interested in getting on board. If the improvement really looks good, it will enhance your company’s reputation in a meaningful way. This will attract customers, and make your employees proud and productive. And the journey continues.

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How to Make your Company Sustainable, In 2 Simple Steps
Top Skills For Job Hunting Success in 2017 http://www.pgae.com/ask/top-skills-for-job-hunting-success-in-2017/ Tue, 11 Apr 2017 14:11:13 +0000 Coaching4Careers http://www.pgae.com/?p=18610 Coaching4Careers assess LinkedIn's list of the top skills employers are looking for in 2017...]]>

Having canvassed a wide cohort of global businesses, the social media platform LinkedIn has released its list of the top skills employers are looking for in 2017. With the New year just around the corner and resolutions beginning to surface for consideration, this is a list worth consulting. However, if you’re a technophobe you might want to look away now…

Not surprisingly, there is a strong technology bias to the list, with 19 out of the 25 competencies listed carrying a clear tech focus. The upper-end of the list, in particular, is dominated by cutting-edge technical disciplines including cloud computing, software development and online security.

The more traditional skills of previous years have been bumped down to make room: marketing campaign management, SEO/SEM, and channel marketing were in high demand among employers going into 2016; however, most have since fallen out of the top 10.

Without further ado, the top 10 skills (according to LinkedIn) are as follows:

  1. Cloud and Distributed Computing
  2. Statistical Analysis and Data Mining
  3. Web Architecture and Development Framework
  4. Middleware and Integration Software
  5. User Interface Design
  6. Network and Information Security
  7. Mobile Development
  8. Data Presentation
  9. SEO/SEM Marketing
  10. Storage Systems and Management

You could be forgiven for assuming the skills listed above are reserved for those from an IT or computer science background, but, nowadays, technological proficiency is now a key requirement across most industries and roles.

For example, analysis by PayScale, suggests that HR workers familiar with Workday software can expect an additional 10% in their pay packet each month.

The good news for those coming from a non-technical background (eg your typical arts or humanities graduate) is that achieving a good level of proficiency in these areas is not as far-fetched as it might seem.

LinkedIn now offers its own learning portal, with 5,000 different course options on offer, catering to the whole spectrum of technology users, from digital novices to IT specialists. This platform is just one of a growing selection technical courses that today’s job seekers can avail of, either online or offline.

To be sure, regardless of how and where you ply your trade, the need for technically-proficient workers is only going to grow and grow over the coming years. For those willing to broaden their skill set, a blend of technological and business-friendly competencies – such as critical thinking, problem-solving and communication – can prove a potent, career-boosting combination. If you’re stuck for a new year’s resolution to focus your efforts on, you could do a lot worse than invest in a spot of upskilling.


This content appears courtesy of Abintegro, experts in career management, transition technology & e-learning for today’s modern, mobile and technology-savvy workforce – Find out more at www.abintegro.com

Credit: We Forum; Business Insider; Time; Laser Fiche

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Top Skills For Job Hunting Success in 2017
Encouraging Repeat-Play From Your Green Fee Customers http://www.pgae.com/ask/encouraging-repeat-play-from-your-green-fee-customers/ Thu, 06 Apr 2017 09:29:19 +0000 Promote Training http://www.pgae.com/?p=18641 Promote Training look at the principle of encouraging repeat-play from visitors using a loyalty card mechanism...]]>

In the second of a 3-part series of articles, Promote Training, the golf club management eLearning specialists, look at the principle of encouraging repeat-play from visitors using a loyalty card mechanism.

The first and arguably most important green fee promotion to implement are the promotions that encourage loyalty and repeat-play at your course.

There are broadly three themes to increasing any green fee revenue:

  1. Attracting new golfers
  2. Encouraging repeat golfers
  3. Increasing average value

If you plough straight into a promotional campaign that aims to attract first-time golfers to your club, you won’t have the benefit of the incentive mechanism to encourage their repeat custom after they’ve played the course.

Let’s take a look at one great promotion that encourages repeat-play and customer loyalty – the green fee Loyalty Card.

Loyalty Card Concept

Loyalty cards are not a new concept in either the golf industry or wider retail and hospitality sectors. I’m sure many people have a loyalty card or two tucked away in their wallets or purses!

The concept is simple – buy a product or service multiple times and after x number of purchases, receive one for free.

A well implemented, on going loyalty card scheme can work extremely well for any golf course – either pay and play or semi-private.

An effective loyalty card can be the backbone of your green fee marketing strategy.

There are, however, key issues to consider very carefully prior to creating your card. These issues almost exclusively revolve around the terms and conditions.

Expiry Dates

The biggest realistic target audience for our visitor green fee product is the nomadic golfer. The make-up of this profile of golfer suggests they play on average up to 2 times per month. By offering them a loyalty card what are we trying to achieve?

  • We want them to play more than twice a month
  • We want them to play at our golf club more often

A loyalty card without an expiry date doesn’t encourage the customer to play at your golf course more often. It doesn’t even give a reason to play golf more often. That’s because it has no timescale attached that breaks their habit of playing twice a month.

In most cases where a loyalty card doesn’t have an expiry date, the golfer plays as many times as they ever did. They also play your course as often as they ever did. Except this time, after x number of rounds, they get a free one. 

No expiry date = no urgency to play your course = no change in their normal pattern of play

When to expire a loyalty card will depend very much on how generous the loyalty is in the first instance and what time of year it’s being offered.

Our nomadic golfer plays, on average, twice a month – but that won’t necessarily be a consistent twice a month, every month. Golf is a seasonal game and we know that the weather has a huge impact on the number of rounds on our golf course.

We could make an assumption therefore, that our target nomadic golfer may play:

  • Once a month between November and March
  • Twice a month in April and October
  • Three times a month between May and September

A card that offers the 6th round free and starts in November with a 3-month expiry date is a little optimistic. Our golfer may only normally play once a month during the winter – so the free round would be perceived as unachievable.

On the opposite end of the scale, a loyalty card that offers the 4th round free and is released in May, with an expiry date of the 30th September, is extremely generous. It could be that it’s giving too much away.

Exclude Discounted or Free Rounds

“Stamps not issued for free rounds of golf” – this is an important condition to remember when creating your loyalty card.

“Offer excludes Twilight rates, pre-paid or free green fee vouchers” – this option is very much down to the club to decide. Clearly, a loyalty card offering stamps for discounted twilight rounds may be giving away free rounds during peak times in return.

In Conjunction with Other Offers

Ensuring the loyalty card cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers is probably a condition worth mentioning on all green fee promotions. In fact, it’s one to mention on all promotions throughout the club.

Golf Society Days

“Not to be used in conjunction with any group booking above four players”

Again, it’s down to the individual clubs to decide whether they want to allow stamps, or redemption of the free round, to golf society day participants or not. There are arguments both for and against it and these need to be considered before making a decision.

Remove Peak Tee Times

You may want to consider limiting stamps, or certainly the free round redemption, based on the tee time.

Many clubs would want to limit the number of free rounds redeemed at the weekend. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they would want to limit the number of stamps given at the weekend. A full loyalty card of stamps received for weekend play logically deserves a free midweek round as much as any other (more so in fact).

There are also peak times of the year to consider – the week between Christmas and New Year for instance. Often, this period can be quite busy for golf courses and it’s something to consider if you’re intending to run a loyalty card over the December month.

Promote Training’s “Driving Green Fee Revenues” eLearning course is packed with ideas and strategies to encourage repeat-play and also attract new visitors to your club. Visit www.promotetraining.co.uk to learn more about this innovative eLearning course.

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Encouraging Repeat-Play From Your Green Fee Customers
How to Provide the Right Golf Experience for Women http://www.pgae.com/ask/how-to-provide-the-right-golf-experience-for-women/ Wed, 05 Apr 2017 10:56:48 +0000 Golf Business Monitor http://www.pgae.com/?p=18590 GBM's Miklós Breitner explains why he thinks PGA Pros have to make the female golfer the heroines of the game...]]>

I like the proverb of Confucius who said:

“Tell people – and they may forget….show them – they may remember…involve them and they will understand”

In the last couple of years, I have seen many initiatives that tried to foster women’s participation in golf:

  • Golf For Her: This is dedicated to women and girls, but a very simple program. It needs some pushing.
  • Get Golf Ready: by the PGA of America: probably the most advanced golf program. 107,485 men and women participated in this program in 2015. But it is not dedicated to women.

I think all of us went through that tiresome learning process (in my case it was very technical) on the driving range before we got our HCP what we call the basics of golf. We could hardly see what will be like playing on a normal golf course, except those few instances when we were taken by our PGA Pro on his golf cart around the golf course or when we looked out from the balcony of the clubhouse.

If this is not annoying enough for you as a golfer then let’s add to this what Syngenta found about women‘s expectations from golf.

They want a fun social golf experience. Yes, golf coaches and PGA Pros equally have to understand that they have to provide lessons not just based on the golfer’s knowledge and skills, but they also have to consider the other needs (e.g. to socialize with other people; cheerful conversations instead of preaching) of the female “want-to-be golfer”.

PGA Pros have to make the female golfer the heroines of the game to succeed and keep up these women’s engagement with the game. This will not happen on the driving range that is for sure.

To activate 36.9 million latent female golfers and “want-to-be” female golfers, I think the golf industry needs a much more focused approach than the above-mentioned initiatives. Any future initiative should not only be a program of a couple of lessons, but rather a series of lessons that are building on each other. So the female golfer will not stop and get lost after the “intro lessons”.

What comes close to my ideal solution is the love.golf program (supported by Syngenta) in the UK. It is a fun social golf experience designed specifically for women. The lessons are happening in a relaxed and informal atmosphere. This could be implemented also for men. What is more interesting that the participants are learning the game in real life environment, on the golf course and not on the driving range. What a difference!

It is also promising in this program that the female golfer can get follow-on programs.

I cannot agree more with Syngenta Golf Ambassador Carin Koch, who said last year:

“While love.golf has been designed specifically with women in mind, it’s actually a great way for anyone to learn the game and it was nice to see male and female work colleagues getting out on a course and enjoying their first taste of golf…”

It seems like the knowledge and insights of love.golf is valuable for other players in the golf industry. Love.golf is cooperating now with the TGI Golf Partnership and its network of more than 450 PGA Professionals. These PGA Professionals will learn how to sell golf equipment more effectively to women.

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How to Provide the Right Golf Experience for Women
PGA Professional Spotlight: Home From Home for Silcock at Gleneagles http://www.pgae.com/ask/pga-professional-spotlight-home-from-home-for-silcock-at-gleneagles/ Tue, 04 Apr 2017 15:41:07 +0000 Golf Management Europe http://www.pgae.com/?p=18535 Gary Silcock’s CV reads like a travelling golfer’s itinerary – and, like a golf tourist, he would argue he’s saved the best for last: Gleneagles.]]>

Gary Silcock’s CV reads like a travelling golfer’s itinerary – and, like a golf tourist, he would argue he’s saved the best for last: Gleneagles.

Coming up for two years in his job as director of golf for the world-renowned Perthshire resort, Silcock, 47, is able to reflect on a career which has already surpassed anything many of his contemporaries might achieve.

He is also in the enviable position of having two Ryder Cup venues on that aforementioned CV, though he wasn’t at either venue when they hosted the event.

Having qualified as a PGA pro in 1996 he secured his first position at the Home of Golf, St Andrews, working at the Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa, as a pro at the Duke’s Course. But he was always ambitious and, within a year, his head was turned by the offer of a head professional role in Portugal, at Parque da Floresta, where he was also golf operations manager.

He gained enormous experience during his five years on the Algarve, from designing and building a new golf academy to project managing the redevelopment of the golf course. That success made him a wanted man, particularly coveted by developers, and his next stop was India, at the Aamby Valley City gated resort, where he oversaw the pre-opening and then managed the floodlit course and PGA-branded academy.

His next port of call was a little closer to home, in Ireland, where, once again, he pre-opened a course: this time the PGA National Ireland at Palmerstown House. While undertaking a complete branding and development of the golf course and clubhouse, he also took on the responsibility of managing the sister property, the 36-hole Citywest Hotel, in Dublin.

In February 2006, he returned to the UK, as director of golf at four-time Ryder Cup venue The Belfry, where he stayed for almost seven years, before being lured to the sunshine at La Manga Club. There, as at The Belfry and in Ireland previously, he was responsible for three golf courses – plus two clubhouses and a Leadbetter Golf Academy.

Finally, he returned ‘home’ in March 2015 to the Gleneagles Hotel – again as director of golf, but this time in a position he readily admits is his ‘dream job’.

He explained: “When I went to The Belfry a lot of the reps, the people that I would chat with, they would ask me about my future; what did I want to do ultimately.

“And I would always say that my dream job was Gleneagles, so I’ve realised my dream. And Gleneagles is so big that I can still grow within it.”

For some, missing out on the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles might be a regret, but Silcock is phlegmatic about the timing of his appointment – and of that at The Belfry, where he was in a not dissimilar situation.

He smiled: “I’ve missed both of them – at Gleneagles and The Belfry. The Ryder Cup was held four times at The Belfry, and what we did there was we managed to keep that legacy going for a long time.

“The Belfry is very much a tour venue as well, as is Gleneagles. It’s very much up there and it needs to stay there.”

As if to reinforce that point, Silcock points towards the hosting of the inaugural European Golf Championships in 2018, an event which is backed by both the European Tour and the Ladies European Tour which will be played over the PGA Centenary Course.

“You’ve got the two man team, you’ve got the two lady team and then you’ve got the male and female four-person team. And then, obviously, we have the 2019 Solheim Cup.”

After 20 years in golf, Silcock remains as enthusiastic and hands-on as ever, busying himself in the day-to-day minutiae that less-committed managers might simply overlook.

He continued: “I am the director of golf, so I’m involved in every facet of golf, including having an input in the food and beverage operation.

“As with sales and marketing, I’m not managing it, I’m not controlling it, but I am an influence in that decision process. Although I have the title director of golf it’s more general management.”

And management, and in-particular the business of golf is on the increase since hosting the Ryder Cup, with both turnover and revenue on the up.

“Since I’ve been here, our membership has grown ten per cent last year, and about seven per cent this year.

“We’ve done that in a different way to everyone else, in as much as we haven’t increased our prices – we’ve invested in the project and made it better. We’ve made it better value and we’ve also created a lifestyle, so here you’ve got really nice members, not customers.”

Gleneagles’ PGA Academy and its three golf courses have seen enormous investment over the last few years – most recently the King’s course which underwent a maintenance programme last winter, including a project to line the bunkers and return the course to Braid’s original design vision.

“We’ve invested not only in the courses and the clubhouse, but in the golf team itself, and we have an ever-expanding team, including a new golf operations manager,” said Silcock.

The investment in golf facilities is just one element of an ongoing multi-million pound investment programme at the five-star hotel. In 2015, Ennismore – a London-based developer of unique properties and experiences – purchased Gleneagles from Diageo plc, and since then, it has been making substantial investment across the estate to enhance the guest experience.

“We’ve already established a world-class reputation for our golf facilities, but what actually sets us apart as a golfing venue is everything else,” said Silcock.

“It’s the culinary offering, the five-star hospitality, the luxury spa and accommodation, and the ‘glorious playground’ of leisure activities and country pursuits we have on the estate – like shooting, off-roading, archery, falconry, fishing – that our golfing visitors are awestruck by when they come.”

After leaving La Manga in 2014, an opportunity to return to his homeland presented itself, and having travelled to Portugal, Spain and India, one might imagine, for all that Gleneagles is his dream job, he might pine for the sunshine. But Silcock’s having none of it.

He smiled: “I actually love the weather here – it showcases golf in the way it was designed to be played – so it’s good to be home.”

With such an impressive CV, Silcock’s name has appeared on many a recruitment consultants short-list when fresh opportunities present themselves.

Yet, despite his considerable experience and knowledge, Silcock has always remained fairly grounded and respectful to each role he has held.

“When I worked at The Belfry, I was very fortunate. Every single top job that came up in the country I was interviewed for, and I went through the whole interview process with a lot of them.

“It was Gleneagles, though, that I always had on my radar; the career move I had always been waiting for.

“I still enjoy playing golf, so it’s my leisure activity and it’s my work; that means on Saturday and Sunday I will come up here with my son, but I’m at work – ultimately, I am a golf pro.

“I still tutor in business management with the PGA which I have done for the past 11 years, and I really enjoy passing on my knowledge and experience.”

Gleneagles may well be his dream job, but with the possibility of another 20 years employment ahead of him, it’s quite feasible to imagine a few more golfer’s bucket-list venues being added to Silcock’s golfing CV.

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PGA Professional Spotlight: Home From Home for Silcock at Gleneagles
Are You Selling or Serving? http://www.pgae.com/ask/are-you-selling-or-serving/ Tue, 04 Apr 2017 15:11:07 +0000 Inc.com http://www.pgae.com/?p=11410 Sales strategies come and go, but serving the customer should always be your top priority...]]>

Barry Farber is the president of Farber Training Systems Inc. and The Diamond Group. He’s the co-inventor and marketer of the FoldzFlat® Pen.

@BarryFarber1


Sales strategies come and go, but serving the customer should always be your top priority.

If you’re like most business owners, you probably re-evaluate your sales strategy on a regular basis. There are many factors to consider when switching up your sales approach, including your customers’ changing needs and your latest product offerings. But one thing should never change: You should always focus on serving first and selling second. Here are a few tips that will help you do just that:

1. Stay True to Yourself

Focus on what makes you unique and differentiates you from the competition. When you’re clear about your core values and the strengths you bring to the table, you’ll have an easier time figuring out how you can address the needs of your prospective clients.

2. Ask the Right Questions

We all have a tendency to talk about our offerings during sales meetings. But don’t let your enthusiasm get in the way of learning about your prospects’ needs. Ask open-ended questions (what, when, where, why, and how) that encourage them to elaborate on the issues they are facing and how you can support them.

One question that has worked well for me over the years is, “What are the top three criteria you consider when investing in a new vendor?” Most prospects end up talking about a lot more than price, including flexibility, response time, and other criteria.

Follow-up questions are also key. For instance, if a prospect says that one criteria is “great customer service,” ask them to define great customer service and give you an example. You can then position your company appropriately.

3. Arm Yourself with Information

Of course, you should research any sales prospect before meeting with them. In addition to the obvious sources of information–the company website, news stories, and industry information – I also scour my contacts for people who might be connected to the business. Then, I reach out to them for insights. You might be afraid to ask your contacts for help, but I’m always amazed by what people are willing to do when I ask them for their expert advice.

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4. Go Above and Beyond

What are you doing in the sales process to stand out? I know a salesperson who recently spent weekends and late nights working one-on-one with a prospective client–a sports stadium–during trials of the product he was pitching. He worked with the stadium’s employees to make sure they were comfortable with the equipment and even helped them clean up after a big event. The facilities manager noticed the extra effort, which built a huge amount of trust. That’s one reason why the salesperson eventually landed the account. At the end of the day, how much you serve determines how much you sell.

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Are You Selling or Serving?
6 Powerful Hacks to Increase Mental Toughness (No. 3 Is My Favourite) http://www.pgae.com/ask/6-powerful-hacks-to-increase-mental-toughness-no-3-is-my-favourite/ Thu, 02 Mar 2017 16:57:26 +0000 Inc.com http://www.pgae.com/?p=18307 Mental fortitude comes with the territory of being an entrepreneur. Here's how you enhance it.]]>

Mental fortitude comes with the territory of being an entrepreneur. Here’s how you enhance it.

Being mentally strong is one of those personal attributes that everyone could benefit from. Since we all encounter personal challenges and difficulties in our life, the ability to stay psychologically strong is invaluable. But is mental strength something we are just born with? Or can it be developed? Luckily, there are ways to enhance and amplify mental toughness. Here are six of the best.

1. Stay on target.

A major component of mental strength is the capacity to focus in on the pursuit of long-term goals. People who are mentally weak allow the minor hindrances of life to distract them from their objectives, which inevitably leads to underachievement. Surviving the inevitable setbacks and disappointments of life requires focusing on larger goals and plans.

2. Look at adversity as an opportunity.

Tough times aren’t necessarily a bad thing–in fact, they can often be a positive. That’s because you only really learn and grow through overcoming difficulties. The simple act of embracing a challenge can be a massive psychological step forward. Such a change in attitude can alter your whole outlook on life, helping to increase your mental fortitude.

3. Focus only on what you can control (my favorite).

Worry and fear are the enemies of mental stability and strength. While fear and worry may be impossible to totally avoid, many people bring trouble upon themselves by obsessing over things they cannot really control. For example, worrying about how a project will be received once it is submitted is pointless and accomplishes nothing. Focusing on whatever task is at hand–and letting the rest take care of itself–is simply smarter.

4. Develop resiliency.

No matter how much the perfectionists among us might wish otherwise, no individual can completely avoid setbacks and failure. In fact, what’s far more important than avoiding error is developing the mental strength required to bounce back quickly from a mistake. Learning how to get back on your feet, without spending any time malingering or feeling sorry for yourself, is essential. This is the entrepreneur’s armor.

5. Don’t spend too much time thinking about what other people think.

While everyone should be able to accept constructive criticism and other kinds of helpful input, there’s a definite limit to how much attention should be paid to the opinions of others. Ultimately, other people are responsible for their opinions, not you–and there is no point in dwelling on something that isn’t your responsibility.

6.Strive to be emotionally even-keeled.

Getting either too high or too low emotionally is almost always a barrier to true mental strength, something I’m especially guilty of. However, being out of control emotionally makes it impossible to proceed forward in a rational, constructive way. Those who experience excessive emotional turbulence have a hard time dealing with life’s problems. That’s why the ability to keep control of powerful, disruptive feelings is such a crucial aspect of mental discipline.

Whether it’s in sports, career, or another of life’s competitive arenas, mental strength is often more important to success than natural ability. Fortunately, psychological strength is not an innate talent but rather a trait that can be acquired. With the recommendations above, almost everyone should be able to enhance their mental strength.


Tom Popomaronis is a serial entrepreneur, an e-commerce expert, and a proud Baltimore native. He has been recognized for technology and startup leadership by Fast Company, Entrepreneur, The Washington Post, and Forbes. Tom was also named “40 under 40” by the Baltimore Business Journal in 2014.

@tpopomaronis

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6 Powerful Hacks to Increase Mental Toughness (No. 3 Is My Favourite)
Communicating With Members & Reviewing Membership: Mark Taylor – A.S.K. Workshops http://www.pgae.com/ask/communicating-with-members-reviewing-membership-mark-taylor-a-s-k-workshops/ Wed, 01 Mar 2017 15:07:40 +0000 Mark Taylor http://www.pgae.com/?p=16153 A.S.K. Workshops speaker, Mark Taylor (PGA of GB&I), explains how to speak to current and potential members more effectively...]]>

A.S.K. Workshops speaker, Mark Taylor (PGA of GB&I), explains how to speak to current and potential members more effectively…

Communicating with members more effectively

Once we know who it is we are talking to and what they like or dislike about the golf club then it becomes easier to communicate and market to them more effectively.

This is particularly useful when marketing to visitors and potential members but is also important for communicating with existing members.

These days there are many more ways of communicating directly with members than relying on word of mouth and the club notice board. Direct mail can be cost effective as the message is well targeted, while email communication has a proven record in golf clubs looking to communicate quickly and easily.

Emails are highly targeted, cheap to send out and also enable a facility to respond quickly and effectively to its current needs, such as promoting an upcoming social function for example.

But, however a club decides to communicate with its members,  a consistent approach is needed. So many golf clubs launch a monthly newsletter, for example and after a few issues when there is nothing to say (!), the whole idea tails away.

The same applies to the club news section on the website which is fervently updated for the first few weeks and then again, the novelty wears off and it falls down the ‘to do’ list.

Intermittent communication is almost as bad as not communicating at all as it makes it doubly difficult to pick up where you left off after a spell of silence.

The secret to making a successful communication programme work is to make someone take responsibility for it. In most private member clubs this will be the Secretary or a member of the Marketing Committee.

A simple communication plan such as weekly update of the website, a monthly newsletter and email, a regular ‘what’s coming’ poster on the notice board…..the ideas are numerous but the key is to commit to them and make sure they happen.

Reviewing membership

You will by now have built up an excellent picture of your members and how they are using their membership. This is an excellent starting point for input into a marketing plan.

However, once having analysed membership there is still a need to keep doing so on a regular basis. A snapshot every six months would be the minimum especially as the nature of the game makes it a very cyclical business, with the results in the height of summer very different to those in off peak times.

Things change much faster than they ever used to and clubs must be aware of external influences as well as internal ones. For example, the completion of a new housing estate a few miles down could explain an influx of members during the past few months – and could point to a source of more.

Regular reviews will also allow the monitoring of changing membership demographics.

The average age of a golf club membership has been increasing steadily in recent years, mirroring general population demographics. This has had economic consequences for many clubs who have seen their senior membership (often paying reduced fees) grow out of proportion with their club membership.

A regular review and the statistics to back it up would have meant many golf clubs addressing this issue long before it became a problem. For example, exit surveys may help to spot a worrying trend which could be acted upon.

For more information visit http://eur.pe/ASKWorkshops-Hungary

For more information about the 2016 A.S.K. Workshops visit http://eur.pe/ASKWorkshops-Hungary, follow @PGAsofEurope on Twitter and search #ASKWorkshops, or like the PGAs of Europe Facebook Page.

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Communicating With Members & Reviewing Membership: Mark Taylor – A.S.K. Workshops
6 Ways to Develop a More Positive Work Culture http://www.pgae.com/ask/6-ways-to-develop-a-more-positive-work-culture-in-2015/ Mon, 19 Dec 2016 09:36:57 +0000 Inc.com http://www.pgae.com/?p=10861 Cultivating a happy and healthy work environment is vital to the success of any business--and even more important is developing a sense of community.]]>

Jeremy Goldman is the founder and CEO of Firebrand Group, which counts Consumer Reports, L’Oréal, and Unilever among its clientele. He is the author of Going Social: Excite Customers, Generate Buzz, and Energize Your Brand With the Power of Social Media, the 2013 award winner that teaches brands large and small how to use social media for business success.

Goldman has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Mashable, The Next Web, SmartMoney, Workforce.com, ReadWriteWeb, The Star-Ledger, ClickZ, and InformationWeek. Business Insider calls him one of the 25 Most Influential Ad Execs on Twitter.

@jeremarketer


A lifelong entrepreneur shares his secrets to building a more productive work environment.

Cultivating a happy and healthy work environment is vital to the success of any business–and even more important is developing a sense of community. With the dawn of a new year, it’s a terrific opportunity to look at your corporate culture and see where you might be able to improve it.

Here are six ways to develop and maintain a more positive corporate culture in 2015.

1. Establish Trust

A sense of trust is vital to all personal and professional relationships. The best way to build trust is through active listening and open communication. If you are willing to let your guard down and demonstrate that you can truly listen, chances are that others will reciprocate.

“When it comes to establishing positive relationships with your coworkers, the most important thing is to get to know them first as individuals,” says Dorie Clark, author of Reinventing You. “No one likes to be treated ‘instrumentally’–as someone whose only value is in what they can do for you. Instead, ask and learn about their hobbies, families, and backgrounds.” Take the New Year as an opportunity to create deeper, more productive relationships with your work team.

2. Foster Mutual Respect

It’s important that you respect your colleagues’ input and ideas and that they respect yours. When you lose respect for your marketing director, you’ll be less likely to go to her for help, even when it’s an area in which she excels. Furthermore, she’ll be less likely to come to you when she would benefit from your expertise. As a result, less collaboration occurs, and departments become siloed.

When employees feel like you’re respectful and supportive, and that their efforts won’t be undermined by others’ jealousy or fragile egos, their interactions tend to be positive and to create a virtuous, more productive cycle.

3. Take Responsibility for Your Actions

In a work dispute, do you often feel that you’re 100 percent correct, and that the other party is 100 percent wrong? If so, it might be time to take a closer look at how you operate professionally. After all, it’s pretty difficult for one party to be entirely at fault. Even if you’re only mildly at fault and think the other person should shoulder most of the responsibility, admitting that you’re imperfect and could be partially to blame can help the other individual(s) be less defensive.

Rather than pointing a finger at a co-worker, in 2015, acknowledge your part and then communicate your message in a clear, nonjudgmental way.

4. Show Appreciation

What do your boss, colleagues, and office janitor have in common? All of them want to feel appreciated. So, when someone does something well, offer a genuine compliment to show your gratitude. This not only leads to stronger relationships, but also encourages everyone to continue working productively. People are wired to respond to incentives. While financial rewards are a well-known incentive, appreciation is a rather underrated one.

5. Stomp Out Bullying

Speaking personally: I left one job because of an awful bully. Since then, I’ve had pretty consistent success in my career, which has included working for my former employer’s direct competitors. Meanwhile, my former employer went through multiple hires trying to replace me. Add up all those hiring and training costs, and you can quickly see how bullying costs companies real money. It leads to high turnover, decreased innovation–with the bully focused on bullying and the one being bullied afraid to be vocal in the organization–and a harder time hiring highly-qualified professionals, as word gets out about your firm’s toxic culture.

In 2015, make it a point to not only avoid bullying at all costs, but call out bullying by others as unacceptable.

6. Maintain a Positive Attitude

Nobody wants to be around a Debbie Downer. Regardless of what’s going on in your personal life, it’s important to at least to try to leave it behind when you step into the office. You don’t want people to misinterpret any bad vibes you bring in from the outside, or have your co-workers think your scowl is directed at them. If you walk into the office with a happy greeting in the morning, that upbeat energy will naturally spread to those around you and create a more enjoyable work atmosphere. Try to high five someone today for a job well done; it’s contagious.

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6 Ways to Develop a More Positive Work Culture
Business Planning to Grow Your Facility http://www.pgae.com/ask/business-planning-to-grow-your-facility/ Thu, 08 Dec 2016 14:34:49 +0000 Mark Taylor http://www.pgae.com/?p=17487 England Golf's Mark Taylor explains how golf facilities can be more business-minded in their planning and why this is more important than ever...]]>

With the ever changing and evolving golf market, members needs and day to day running of golf facilities, thinking like a business becomes ever more essential.  Golf Facilities need to be in a position to plan not react, this is more significant than ever before-particularly when managing change:

  • Replaces fiction with facts.
  • Maps the future and supports growth.
  • Provides transparency to stakeholders and potential investors.
  • Alignment of staff and volunteers to a clear plan of action.
  • Enables the management team to effectively monitor progress.

All good business planning enables the business to evaluate:

  1. Where the business is now?
  2. Where is the business going?
  3. How will we get there?
    1. Who is responsible?
    2. How will you keep score?
      1. Developing a strategic planning framework
      2. Help create an outline of an effective business plan

Keep it Simple…

Where you are now + Where you are going

= Your Strategy

How you are going to get there

+

Who is responsible and How you will keep score

= Your Business Plan

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5 key tools for a Situational Analysis

‘Situational analysis is critical to be able to make informed decisions based on data and evidence not emotion’.

Your internal landscape – What’s happening within the club?

  • Compile a SWOT analysis – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats
  • Collate an Operational Analysis – Financial, Food & Beverage etc.
  • Conduct a regular Member Analysis – Internal Environment

Your external landscape – What’s happening around your club?

  • PEST – Political, Economic, Social & Technological
  • Competitor Analysis – External Environment

Operational Analysis

Most facilities cover the following core areas of work, with each facet requiring structured analysis on:

  • Governance
  • Golf Course
  • Finance
  • Food & Beverage
  • Members

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Member Analysis

Know your club data!!

Understand your members…deliver:

  • Member Forums – prepared sessions use SWOT
  • Member Surveys
    • Key questions – short & concise
  • Research your Market – tools & insight reports
    • Continually review the profile of your existing members

P.E.S.T Analysis

Political factors:

  • Government regulations regarding health, hygiene, food regulations, and food standards.
  • Equality legislation.
  • Government policies, these may include licenses, inspections by environmental health.

Economic factors:

  • Interest rates.
  • Rate of inflation determines the rate of remuneration for employees and directly affects the price of products.
  • Economic trends act as an indicator of the sustainability and profitability of your business in the chosen region.

Social factors:

  • Eating habits of the people in your chosen business environment may, and certainly will, affect your marketing decisions.
  • Ratio of people preferring to eat out regularly, changing attitude to volunteering and pressures on family timetable.

Technological factors:

  • Effective technology may be a decisive factor for business marketing (social media, apps).
  • Tee time bookings.

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Competitor Analysis

  • Who are your direct competitors?
  • What are their products and prices?
  • How do their facilities compare?
  • What is their unique selling point?
  • Research your Market – tools & reports
    • Map the local competition – Understand the local potential

Mission and Vision

Once the club have identified insight and data..it’s now time to think about the ‘WHY’

Mission –

A one sentence statement that describes why you exist – your purpose

  • The best mission statements are clear and concise
  • Ideally no more than 15 words

Vision –

A one sentence statement describing what your club would like to achieve or accomplish

  • The best vision statements are inspirational and memorable
  • Ideally no more than 20 words

Values

Develop beliefs that are shared by the stakeholders of the golf club.

Values drive the golf clubs culture and priorities and provide a framework in which decisions are made.

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Formulate your Aims

  • Look at your list of core areas of work
  • Identify what you want to achieve in each of those core areas:
    • Core Area = Membership
    • Strategic Aim = Increase the number of members

YOU NOW HAVE A STRATEGIC FRAMEWORK…

  • Mission
  • Vision
  • Values
  • Core areas of work
  • Aims

Plan for Business!!

  • More than financial spreadsheets
  • A clear link between a shared vision for the club and actions
  • Written for real people using everyday language
  • Customer focussed
  • Sincere and meaningful
  • Clear roles and responsibilities to ensure involvement and ownership
  • SMART objectives that are regularly reviewed

Thriving clubs recognise they are better served with a professional team, which is held accountable to run the operation and have the authority to do so.

Accountability needs to be driven down to all levels-including the volunteer committee members/directors of the board

Top Tips…

  • Set a clear time frame to get it done
  • Work as a team – empower your professionals
  • Focus on creating the future – separates the thrivers from the survivors
  • State out how long your plans are for

Make your goals SMART…

  • Aim: More Members
  • Smart Goal: Recruit 20 new members
  • Initiatives to achieve that goal:
    • Create a recruitment plan
    • Arrange a member sales training day with our staff
    • Promote a member get member campaign
    • Host a family fun day and invite the local community
    • Run a 9 hole promotion throughout the winter on a Sunday afternoon
    • Start a Learn Golf 6 wk programme

Brainstorm different initiatives but then make sure you:

  • Consider the cost of pursuing them within annual operating budgets.
  • Consider HR implications, staffing levels and the return on investment.
  • Be selective – don’t try to do everything at once

Keeping Score

It is Vital to keep score – Your business plan is your future!

Set key performance indicators (KPI’s) for each aim

Benchmark against your chosen KPI’s

  • A lot of this data will be in your ‘where are we now’ situational analysis

Agree when you going to monitor progress

  • Ideally this should be every committee/board meeting
  • The business plan should be the main content of your meetings

Decide timeframes for reviewing strategy & plans

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Business Plan Structure

Keep it simple…

  1. Cover & Contents
  2. Executive Summary
  3. Background/Context
  4. Situational Analysis – including financial
  5. Strategic Summary – Mission, Vision, Values, Aims
  6. Operational Plan – for each aim:
    1. SMART Goals
    2. Initiatives
    3. Accountability
    4. Measurement

And Finally…

‘Schedule time to work on your golf business, rather than in your business’

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Business Planning to Grow Your Facility
Why is Custom Fitting Good for the Golfer and Good for You? http://www.pgae.com/ask/why-is-custom-fitting-good-for-the-golfer-and-good-for-you/ Wed, 07 Dec 2016 14:50:06 +0000 PING http://www.pgae.com/?p=11386 PING’s longstanding reputation as the custom fitting leader has been earned through decades of research and field experience, utilising a methodology that has b]]>

PING’s longstanding reputation as the custom fitting leader has been earned through decades of research and field experience, utilising a methodology that has been adopted by thousands of PGA Professionals around the world.

You may ask ‘Why should I fit?’ but the better question is ‘Why shouldn’t I fit?’

While some may think that fitting is the latest marketing hype, in reality it’s not a fad and has stood the test of time.  It’s based on upon simple fundamentals that the consumer understands make a difference, and with golf being a game of little things, fitting addresses those little things.

With consumer knowledge on the benefits of being fitted constantly improving, more and more are planning to be fitted for their next purchase.  Offering a fitting service is becoming an essential part of maximising club sales, with the vast majority of golfers now wanting their clubs to be custom fit for them.

The benefits of being fitted have become increasingly more apparent in recent years with consumers benefitting from increased confidence, which in turn enables them to “Play Their Best”.

It has become commonplace for lessons to lead to fittings as consumers discover they are using equipment that is detrimental to their playing ability, while fittings also lead to lessons as consumers refine their technique in adjusting to properly fitted clubs.

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Being fitted correctly can result in improvements in consistency, distance, accuracy, ball flight, distance control and overall confidence, as properly fitted clubs promote a more efficient swing.  Achieving the above leads to a more enjoyable experience on the golf course and enhances a consumer’s love for the game.

Custom fitting has also become a proven way of establishing one-on-one personal relationships with consumers, leading to a development of trust and loyalty, which results in repeat purchases.

Providing a high level of custom fitting enables consumer expectations to be exceeded and also allows the right level of inventory to be held and stock turned appropriately.  There are many fitting myths that exist and present barriers to those thinking about offering it as a service to their consumers.  In reality however, fitting doesn’t take long and it isn’t expensive.

While custom fitting is obviously valuable for the consumer, the benefits of offering custom fitting as a service are often overlooked.  Gaining an advantage over the competition that doesn’t offer it as a service helps to build consumer relationships, respect, trust and loyalty.

Investing in the ability to provide a high level of fitting is an effective and profitable business venture, providing the ability to tap into a niche market as custom fitting can only be conducted by a trained fitter with the correct tools.

Custom fitting is proven to work effectively with every level of golfer, ranging from touring professionals to complete beginners.  It also provides the opportunity to provide a personable service, ideal for strengthening relationships with customers and increasing the chances of repeat business from not only the customer, but the customer’s friends through word of mouth.

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PING is renowned for providing the most comprehensive fitting strategy in the industry, as well as the fastest delivery service, which results in a quick turnaround to ensure customer satisfaction, meet demand and optimise cash flow.

By not offering custom fitting as a service, a major element of competitive advantage is lost, resulting in a potential loss of business due to customer requirements not being fulfilled.

Market trends indicate that more and more consumers are planning to be custom fitted for their next club purchase as the large majority of consumers want to be fitted due to the potential performance benefits to be gained.

Statistics have shown that fitting is not a flash in the pan fad and that it’s a concept that’s here to stay.  With peers regarded as the primary influencer on buyer behaviour, offering a good fitting service will cause word to spread and maximise business.

For more information on PING’s custom fitting services visit www.PING.com/fitting.

This article originally featured in International Golf Pro News. Visit the IGPN Page to find out more and subscribe for free.

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Why is Custom Fitting Good for the Golfer and Good for You?
[PODCAST] Work Walking Into Your Schedule http://www.pgae.com/ask/work-walking-into-your-schedule/ Wed, 30 Nov 2016 02:25:23 +0000 Coaching4Careers http://www.pgae.com/?p=11024 Walking rarely gets the recognition it deserves, especially when it comes to the world of business and management.]]>

Walking rarely gets the recognition it deserves, especially when it comes to the world of business and management.

Unlike its publicity-courting cousin, running, walking is rarely associated with leadership and success. There are relatively few examples of Fortune 500 CEOs ‘powering through’ a 20k stroll on their way to work, nor prime-time comedians ‘sauntering’ through the Sahara Desert for their latest charity/publicity drive. Walking is an also-ran in more ways than one.

And yet, a quick flick through the history books reveals enough famous walkers to more than rival their more fleet-footed counterparts.

From Beethoven to Steve Jobs and the Queen, walking has helped many a historic heavyweight to achieve success in their chosen field, even if they haven’t yet felt the need to brag about it to their favourite financial journal.

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As scientists will attest, walking offers an array of benefits for regular practitioners.  Aside from the obvious physical perks of regular exercise, there are the various mental benefits to consider.

Walkers tend to enjoy lower stress levels, as well as increased cognitive function.  To add to this, a recent study by Stanford University found moving around led to an increase in creativity in 81% of participants who had previously been seated.

The only area where walking really falls short (aside from the crummy PR team behind it) is the obvious time commitment involved.  This may explain why it’s rarely the activity of choice among time-pressured modern professionals.

The flipside to this is that, contrary to more aerobically challenging activities, it can be crow-barred relatively easily into the working day.  As well as being the perfect option for a reinvigorating, yet sweat-free lunch break, it is a great way to put a new angle on interviews, one-on-one meetings, and brainstorming sessions.

The most potent pro-ambulatory argument, however, is perhaps the fact that walking is what we humans are originally designed to do.  Not pounding the pavement clad in lycra or expensive running shoes, or – worse still – wedged in behind a computer screen for 10 hours straight.

Walking may not win you any awards in the image stakes, but your body (and possibly career) will thank you for it.


This content appears courtesy of Abintegro, experts in career management, transition technology & e-learning for today’s modern, mobile and technology-savvy workforce – Find out more at www.abintegro.com

Credit: LinkedIn; Design School; Inc.com

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[PODCAST] Work Walking Into Your Schedule
14 Amazing Social Media Customer Service Examples (And What You Can Learn From Them) http://www.pgae.com/ask/14-amazing-social-media-customer-service-examples-and-what-you-can-learn-from-them/ Wed, 16 Nov 2016 14:34:04 +0000 Buffer http://www.pgae.com/?p=13781 How important is customer service via social media? According to J.D. Power, 67% of consumers have used a company’s social media channel for customer service.]]>

How important is customer service via social media?

According to J.D. Power, 67% of consumers have used a company’s social media channel for customer service.

And when they do, they expect a fast response. Research cited by Jay Baer tells us that 42% of consumers expect a response with 60 minutes.

So, how’s your social media customer service?

For this post I was excited to research a set of 14 amazing examples of customer service using social media.

Let’s get started!


1. Samsung: A Unicycling Kangaroo and a Dragon Phone

As a loyal Samsung customer, Canadian Shane Bennett asked for a free unit of their latest, soon-to-launch phone. To sweeten his offer, he included a drawing of a roaring dragon.

Not surprisingly, Samsung said “no”. But to say thanks, they sent him their drawing of a unicycle-riding kangaroo.

samsung-canada

Shane then shared both messages (and drawings) to Reddit where it went viral. In response, Samsung Canada sent him the phone he asked for – and customized it with his fire-breathing dragon artwork.

Samsung-canada-2

Takeaway: Have fun with customer interactions. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

2. Morton’s Steakhouse: Airport Delivery

While waiting for takeoff in Tampa, Florida, Peter Shankman jokingly asked Morton’s Steakhouse to deliver a porterhouse steak when he landed at Newark airport.

mortons

While departing the Newark airport to meet his driver, he was greeted by a Morton’s server with a 24 oz. Porterhouse steak, shrimp, potatoes, bread – the works. A full meal and no bill.

When you think of the logistics of pulling this off, it becomes even more impressive. The Community Manager needed to get approval and place the order. It needed to be prepared and then driven by the server to the airport, to the correct location and at the right time. All in less than three hours.

mortons-steakhouse

Some of the comments on Peter’s post suggest that this isn’t an anomaly. Another reader shares his experience of ordering a baked potato and getting a full steak meal – delivered and for free.

Takeaway: Do something unexpected for a loyal customer – when they want it most.

3. Gaylord Opryland: Sleep-Inducing Clock Radio

After numerous stays at Nashville’s Opryland Resort, Christina McMenemy wanted her own spa-sound clock radio that comes standard in each room. The sound helped her sleep better than ever, and she couldn’t find that model anywhere. So she asked the hotel for help finding it.

gaylord-hotels

Turns out, that model was exclusive to the Gaylord hotels. She thought that was the end of it, and went to her conference.

Upon returning to her room that evening, she found a gift waiting: the spa clock and a handwritten card. The staff had given her the product she was unable to find. Not only did they make a long term customer very happy, they also received significant media coverage for their act of kindness.

gaylord-hotels-2

Takeaway: Make customers happy one at a time.

A quick note on these first three examples

While it’s great to give away phones, steak dinners, and clock radios, this might not be sustainable customer service.

Why not? When other, loyal customers hear what these companies did, they might expect the same treatment. Can Morton’s deliver a free steak dinner to the airport for every customer who asks? Can Gaylord hotels give every loyal guest a free clock radio?

A more sustainable approach is to provide outstanding customer service on a daily basis. These next examples have lessons that can be implemented right away and on a consistent basis.

4. JetBlue: Feeling the Customer’s Pain

During a four-hour flight, Esaí Vélez’s seatback TV gave him nothing but static – while the rest of the passengers had normally functioning screens. How did he respond? He tweeted a complaint to JetBlue. Nothing inflammatory, but he was clearly disappointed.

jetblue

How did JetBlue respond? While they could have made an excuse or even ignored his tweet, they didn’t. They took his side and empathized with him.

“Oh no! That’s not what we like to hear! Are all the TVs out on the plane or is it just yours?”

After he confirms that it was just his TV that was out, they respond:

“We always hate it when that happens. Send us a DM with your confirmation code to get you a credit for the non-working TV.”

Not only do they imagine his frustration, but they also offer him a credit for his trouble.

What was the result? Just 23 minutes after his complaint, he tweets: “One of the fastest and better Customer Service: @JetBlue! Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving”

jetblue2

Takeaway: Put yourself in your customer’s shoes when responding to complaints.

5. Delta Hotels: Room With an Ugly View

While attending the #PSEWEB conference in Vancouver, Mike McCready tweeted that, while he liked his room at the Delta, the view wasn’t so nice. He didn’t tag the hotel, and he wasn’t asking for anything.

Within an hour, Delta responded – offering a room with a better view. And when Mike returned to his room after the conference, he found a dish of sweets and a handwritten card from the staff at his hotel. It made such an impact that he wrote a post about it – the very same day.

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 10.43.44

Takeaway: Set up a social listening strategy to listen to all customer conversations.

6. Waterstones: Man Locked in London Bookstore

While every customer comment is important, some are going to be a little more urgent than others. Like locking a customer in your store.

This happened to David Willis last year at Waterstones Trafalgar Square store. He tweeted:

waterstones

Not surprisingly, this tweet went viral, with 16,000+ retweets and 12,000+ likes. Because someone was monitoring Waterstones Twitter account, they were able to tweet 80 minutes later that they had freed their previously captive customer. Imagine how this could have turned out, if Waterstones customer service had stopped listening for the day.

waterstones2

Takeaway: Always listen to customer conversations.

7. Contextly: Customer Onboarding

Before I do business with a new company, I like to see if anyone is listening. It gives me confidence that they’ll be there if I have a problem or question.

When I was looking for a premium related-content service, I signed up for a free trial account with Contextly. The process was smooth, and I was excited about the app, so I tweeted about it. They responded with a positive, helpful tweet.

contextly

As a result, I’m confident that they are interested in me and will help me if I have a question with the app.

Takeaway: Use social media to streamline customer onboarding.

8. Xbox Support: Elite Tweet Fleet

Back in 2010, Xbox added a dedicated Twitter account. Since then, their Elite Tweet Fleet has posted more than two million support tweets. In fact, when I visited their account page, they were averaging two tweets per minute! And they have a team of 27 support experts.

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 11.57.41

Any company that assigns a dedicated Twitter account (and 27 people to manage it) is amazing to me. Check out some of their interactions:

Takeaway: Be committed to your social media customer service.

9. Nike: Respond Kindly to Confused Customers

Nike Support is one of the strongest customer service accounts on Twitter. They feature a dedicated Twitter account, support seven days a week and in seven languages (English, Spanish, French, Dutch, Italian, German & Japanese.)

An example of their approach is here in this customer interaction: A customer contacts them to ask for help finding an order number. Although the question was unclear Nike’s customer support made the customer feel cared for. And when the customer realized they had the information all along, their response is super supportive.

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 11.05.28

Takeaway: Be kind, even when it’s not your fault.

10. Seamless: Pay Attention to Every Comment

Seamless is an online service for ordering food from local restaurants. Food orders are full of variables and when you add in time frame and delivery – it has the potential to be a nightmare. To manage customer service, they have an active Twitter account where customers can share their love and voice their complaints.

In a recent comment, a customer tells Seamless that on his recent order he received white rice, instead of brown. He wasn’t upset – he said: “Don’t mind terribly, just FYI.”

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 11.07.04

In response, Seamless asks for the order number so they can check into it. In response, the customer tweets:

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 11.07.21

Takeaway: Pay attention to all customer service issues. Passive complaints that are left unaddressed can easily cause a rift between the vendor and customer.

11. My Starbucks Idea: Listen and Harvest Ideas

As a way to listen to customers – and get tons of great new ideas – Starbucks created My Starbucks Idea. To date, customers have submitted more than 210,000 unique ideas. To support this program, they have a dedicated Twitter account. It is a great place for users to share their observations and coffee wishes.

A couple of the recent ideas include solar cell equipped umbrellas for device charging and morning coffee delivery (looks like it’s going to happen).

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 11.09.48

Takeaway: Make it easy for customers to tell you what they want. Listen to everyone and implement the winning ideas.

12. Sainsburys: Fishy Exchange

Sainsbury’s is one of the largest supermarkets in the UK. They’ve got a pretty active Twitter feed with lots of customer questions about products and sale prices. The tone of the account is helpful and positive.

There are lots of good examples of interactions. But none better than Fishy Sainsburys. This fishy exchange took place over a three hour period, between David (Sainsbury’s Twitter manager) and Marty (a customer). The puns will make you groan – many made me laugh out loud. Remember, this interaction was not a marketing play but a real conversation between the company and a customer.

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 11.11.08

Takeaway: Let your customer service team have fun.

13. Hubspot: Every Day of the Year

Holidays can be challenging times for customer service. When customer service closes for the observance of a holiday in one country, users from other countries will still have questions.

This recently happened with a HubSpot customer in London. She had workflow issues and couldn’t contact anyone at the US-based call center because it was closed for American Thanksgiving. When she took her concern to Twitter, she found a customer service representative in Ireland.

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 11.31.51

Like many companies in this list, HubSpot has a dedicated customer service Twitter account. To manage international schedules and time zones, they have two Dublin-based representatives and another three in Cambridge, MA.

Takeaway: Be available for your customers.

14. Buffer: Personal and Kind

If you take a quick look at Buffer’s Tweets & replies feed you’ll see how engaging their customer service is. Responses are personal and friendly. And they are usually signed by the team member you’re chatting with.

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 11.32.59

For example, my wife has been impressed that when she mentions them in a tweet, they acknowledge it, even using her name in their response.

Takeaway: Treat each person with respect. Use your name (and theirs) when interacting with customers online.

What we can learn from these customer service examples

Here are some key takeaways:

  1. Choose a primary channel for customer service (many use Twitter) and assign staff to manage it.
  2. Decide on your schedule of availability (set hours and days) and post it on your profile.
  3. Have each tweet/post signed by the person who sent it. This is done well by Xbox Support, Sainsbury’s, and Buffer.
  4. Remember that customers might contact you any number of ways – not necessarily on the channel you chose. Make sure you monitor other social channels for questions and conversations about your brand.
  5. Establish a tone for your social media conversations. Generally speaking, you’ll want first to empathize with your customers problem. Stephen Covey said it best: “Seek first to understand…”

I recommend following a few of these companies on Twitter. Watch how they handle customer complaints and comments. I’ve learned so much doing this.

What to do next: Review these points with your customer service team. Decide which apply to your business right now and assign a team member to implement them.

Over to you

Have you had an amazing customer service experience via social media? How are you using social media to provide customer service? I would love to hear both in the comments!

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14 Amazing Social Media Customer Service Examples (And What You Can Learn From Them)
How to Create a YouTube Channel to Make the Most of YouTube’s Billion-User Network http://www.pgae.com/ask/how-to-create-a-youtube-channel-to-make-the-most-of-youtubes-billion-user-network/ Thu, 03 Nov 2016 10:02:02 +0000 Buffer http://www.pgae.com/?p=17150 There’s a huge opportunity for your business on YouTube. If you’ve been debating getting started on YouTube, this post is for you...]]>

YouTube, the Google-owned video network, boasts over a billion users almost one-third of all people on the Internet — and every day people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views. On mobile alone, YouTube reaches more 18-34 and 18-49 year-olds than any cable network in the U.S.

What’s amazing, though, is that only 9% of small businesses in the U.S. are actively using YouTube, and my hunch is that figure would be pretty accurate worldwide, too.

So why aren’t businesses investing in YouTube?

In short, because video is harder to produce than a blog post or an image.

Or at least that’s the perception many of us have.

In reality, though, video is becoming much easier and cheaper to create. This means there’s a huge opportunity for your business on YouTube.

If you’ve been debating getting started on YouTube or have maybe experimented a little and not yet found your feet, this post is for you. Throughout this post we’ll dive into:

  • The basics of getting your account set up
  • How to create a YouTube channel
  • How to create the perfect channel art
  • Top tips for optimizing your channel.

Ready to start? Let’s go.

youtube-feature

How to create a YouTube channel

Creating a YouTube channel using your Google account

If you have a Google account, you can watch, share and comment on YouTube content. However, Google accounts don’t automatically create YouTube channels. Getting a new channel set up is a simple and quick process, though.

1. Go to YouTube and sign in

Head over to YouTube.com and click ‘sign in’ in the top right corner of the page:

youtube-sign-in

Then log in using the Google Account you’d like your channel to be associated with:

google-account

2. Head over to your YouTube settings

In the top right corner of the screen, click on your profile icon and then the ‘Settings’ cog icon.

youtube-settings

3. Create your channel

Under your settings, you’ll see the option to “Create a channel,” click on this link:

create-a-youtube-channel

Next, you’ll have the option to create a personal channel or a create a channel using a business or other name. For this example, we’ll choose the business option:

youtube-channel

Now, it’s time to name your channel and select a category. The channel options available include:

  • Product or Brand
  • Company Institution or Organization
  • Arts, Entertainment or Sports
  • Other

youtube-channel-name

Note: a new Google+ page will also be created for your brand. 

Congratulations! You’ve just created a new YouTube channel 🙌

youtube-channel-complete

Next, let’s fill out all the information and create some channel art to get your page looking awesome (click here to jump to the next section).

How to create a YouTube channel if you don’t already have a Google account

If you don’t already have a Google account set up, you’ll need to create one before you get started on YouTube. To do this, simply follow the below steps:

  1. Head to YouTube.com
  2. Click ‘Sign In’
  3. Now, choose the option to create a Google account
  4. Follow the steps to create your Google account

Now, you’re all set up with a Google account and can follow the above steps to create a YouTube channel.

How to create YouTube channel art

YouTube channel art is essentially YouTube’s version of the Facebook cover photo. Channel art features in a prominent place on your YouTube channel, which means it’s absolutely vital for any YouTube channel to use customized art to share your personality or more about your brand with your audience.

Here’s an example of Gary Vaynerchuk’s YouTube channel art:

gary-v-youtube

Gary is well-known for his public speaking at conferences and for sharing all he knows about marketing and building businesses with his audience. This is reflected in his cover photo, which displays Gary in mid-flow giving a presentation at what seems to be a large event. The inclusion of his handle @garyvee helps users to identify him on other social chanels and his signature branding makes the art feel personal.

Here’s what you need to know to create striking YouTube channel art…

The perfect sizes for YouTube channel art

The best place to start with your channel art is with the optimal image size that works across multiple devices. For the best results, YouTube recommends uploading a single 2560 x 1440 pixel image.

  • Minimum width: 2048 X 1152 px. This is the “safe area”, where text and logos are guaranteed not to be cut off when displayed on different devices.
  • Maximum width: 2560 X 423 px. This means that the “safe area” is always visible; the areas to each side of the channel art are visible depending on the viewer’s browser size.
  • File size: 4MB or smaller recommended.

YouTube also supplies a Channel Art Template in both PNG and PSD formats to help your figure out the perfect layout for your channel are and how it’ll look across platforms:

channel-art-template-fireworks

Here’s an example of how I used this template to create some channel art for the Buffer YouTube account:

buffer-youtube-channel-art

And here’s how it looks across various platforms:
channel-art

2 top tips for YouTube channel art

1. Ensure any text and logos are within the safe area

The text and logo safe area is the 1546 x 423 pixel space at the center of the YouTube channel art template. This is the area that will be displayed on YouTube when your channel is viewed on desktop screens.

Be careful to ensure any important information such as branding, text, taglines, and key images are within this space so that it’s always displayed as part of your channel art across every device.

2. Consider your channel links

YouTube enables you to add links to your channel and these are displayed in the bottom right corner of your channel art. For example, check the bottom right of the channel art below:

channel-links

When creating your channel art, it’s important to think about the space these links take up and ensure you don’t have anything important (such as logos) occupying that space within your design.

How to add art to your YouTube channel

If you’re just setting up your YouTube channel, you’ll notice the channel art space is blank with a clear call to action to add your art:

blank-channel-art

Once you’ve clicked this link, you’ll see a popup window that gives you the option to upload your own custom channel art. If you’d like to, you can also choose to use one of YouTube’s templates from the “Gallery” or choose to upload one of your photos from Google+.

upload-channel-art

Adjusting the crop

Once you’ve uploaded your channel art, YouTube allows you to adjust the cropping of your image so that you can ensure it’s all lined up correctly.

This crop screen is very handy for checking how your design will look on various platforms. The clear section in the middle of the grid shows you the content that will be displayed on mobile and desktop and the rest of the image shows the image that will be displayed on TVs.

art-adjust-crop

Once you’re happy with the way your cover art looks, click “Select” and your channel art will be added to your channel and saved.

Changing your current channel art

If you already have some channel art in place and would like to update it, head over to your channel homepage. From here, move your mouse over your cover art and you’ll notice a little edit button appear in the top right-hand corner:

edit-icon

Once you’ve clicked on this icon, you can update your channel art.

This video from YouTube also explains how to add and edit your channel art:

How to add your channel icon

Each channel also has space for a profile icon.Your channel icon shows over your channel art banner. It’s the icon that shows next to your videos and channel on YouTube watch pages. The key here is to select something that will look good at very small resolutions –  many brands opt to use their logo here.

Your channel icon should be 800 x 800 pixels and one of the following formats: JPG, GIF, BMP or PNG file (no animated GIFs).

To update your channel icon, head to your channel homepage and hover over your current channel icon until you see the edit icon appear. Click on that icon and you’ll be able to upload a new icon:

edit-channel-ico

5 ways to enhance your channel

1. Optimize your description

YouTube gives you a space on your channel to write a little about your brand and the content you share on YouTube. The description is limited to 1,000 characters, so you have a little room to be creative here.

The copy in your channel description won’t just appear on your channel page. It’s indexed by search engines and can also be featured across YouTube in suggested channel categories. A good tactic is to include some relevant keywords and CTAs within the opening lines of your description.

2. Add links to your channel

channel-links

We briefly mentioned channel links earlier in this post and I’d love to share with you how to add these links in 4 super-quick steps:

1. The first step is to head to your channel homepage and click on the ‘cog’ icon next to your subscriber count:

settings-icon

2. Next, you’ll see a Channel Settings lightbox appear. Here you need to toggle on the option labeled “Customize the layout of your channel”:

channel-options

3. Now that you’ve enabled customizations on your channel, pop back to your channel homepage and you’ll now see the option to “Edit Links” under the settings menu on your cover art:

edit-links

4. Click the “Edit Links” option and you’ll then be taken to the “About” section of your channel. Here you’ll have the option to add links and choose how many are displayed over your cover art:

edit-links

3. Add a channel trailer

As soon as visitors land on your channel, you want to give them a picture of the type of content your channel covers and why they’ll want to subscribe and check out your videos. A channel trailer is the perfect way to do this.

A short, to-the-point channel trailer can be a great way to introduce people to your content. A channel trailer should grab attention as soon as it starts and also represent the type of content you create on YouTube.

It’s also important to think about the description you add to this video as it features prominently on your channel homepage.

(These trailers only appear for people who are not yet subscribed to your channel.)

Here are a couple of great examples:

Gary Vaynerchuk

SoulPancake

4. Add your contact details (email address)

If you’re using YouTube as a business or a creator, it can be great to have your contact details on hand for anyone who is interested in your work. YouTube has a section on each channel profile for you to list your contact details for business inquiries.

This can be found under the “About” section of your channel. To find it, go to your channel homepage, click “About” from the navigation and then scroll down to “Details.” Here you’ll see the option to share your email address:

email-address

Over to you

Thanks for reading. It’s been great fun to dive into how to create a YouTube channel and I hope you picked up one or two tips from this post. If you create a YouTube channel of your own or already have one up and running, I’d love to hear from you and learn from your experience in the comments below.

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How to Create a YouTube Channel to Make the Most of YouTube’s Billion-User Network
How to Get Your Employees to Think Strategically http://www.pgae.com/ask/how-to-get-your-employees-to-think-strategically/ Tue, 25 Oct 2016 19:21:41 +0000 Inc.com http://www.pgae.com/?p=9151 Studies show that strategic thinking is the most important element of leadership. But how do you instill the trait in others at your company?]]>

Will Yakowicz is a reporter at Inc. magazine. He has covered business, crime, and politics at Patch.com, and his work has been published in Tablet Magazine and The Brooklyn Paper. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

@WillYakowicz


Studies show that strategic thinking is the most important element of leadership. But how do you instill the trait in others at your company?

What leadership skill do your employees, colleagues, and peers view as the most important for you to have? According Robert Kabacoff, the vice president of research at Management Research Group, a company that creates business assessment toolsit’s the ability to plan strategically.

He has research to back it up: In the Harvard Business Review, he cites a 2013 study by his company in which 97 percent of a group of 10,000 senior executives said strategic thinking is the most critical leadership skill for an organization’s success. In another study, he writes, 60,000 managers and executives in more than 140 countries rated a strategic approach to leadership as more effective than other attributes including innovation, persuasion, communication, and results orientation.

But what’s so great about strategic thinking? Kabacoff says that as a skill, it’s all about being able to see, predict, and plan ahead: “Strategic leaders take a broad, long-range approach to problem-solving and decision-making that involves objective analysis, thinking ahead, and planning.

That means being able to think in multiple time frames, identifying what they are trying to accomplish over time and what has to happen now, in six months, in a year, in three years, to get there,” he writes. “It also means thinking systemically. That is, identifying the impact of their decisions on various segments of the organization–including internal departments, personnel, suppliers, and customers.”

As a leader, you also need to pass strategic thinking to your employees, Kabacoff says. He suggests instilling the skill in your best managers first, and they will help pass it along to other natural leaders within your company’s ranks. Below, read his five tips for how to carry out this process.

Dish Out Information

Kabacoff says that you need to encourage managers to set aside time to thinking strategically until it becomes part of their job. He suggests you provide them with information on your company’s market, industry, customers, competitors, and emerging technologies. “One of the key prerequisites of strategic leadership is having relevant and broad business information that helps leaders elevate their thinking beyond the day-to-day,” he writes.

Create a Mentor Program

Every manager in your company should have a mentor. “One of the most effective ways to develop your strategic skills is to be mentored by someone who is highly strategic,” Kabacoff says. “The ideal mentor is someone who is widely known for his/her ability to keep people focused on strategic objectives and the impact of their actions.”

Create a Philosophy

As the leader, you need to communicate a well-articulated philosophy, a mission statement, and achievable goals throughout your company. “Individuals and groups need to understand the broader organisational strategy in order to stay focused and incorporate it into their own plans and strategies,” Kabacoff writes.

Reward Thinking, Not Reaction

Whenever possible, try to promote foresight and long-term thinking. Kabacoff says you should reward your managers for the “evidence of thinking, not just reacting,” and for “being able to quickly generate several solutions to a given problem and identifying the solution with the greatest long-term benefit for the organisation.”

Ask “Why” and “When”

Kabacoff says you need to promote a “future perspective” in your company. If a manager suggests a course of action, you need to him or her ask two questions: First, what underlying strategic goal does this action serve, and why? And second, what kind of impact will this have on internal and external stakeholders? “Consistently asking these two questions whenever action is considered will go a long way towards developing strategic leaders,” he writes.

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How to Get Your Employees to Think Strategically
Managing Multicultural Teams http://www.pgae.com/ask/managing-multicultural-teams/ Fri, 16 Sep 2016 07:02:25 +0000 Coaching4Careers http://www.pgae.com/?p=11030 It's a small world, or is it? For all the talk of globalisation and the homogenisation of cultures, we still have our own, unique ways of working & conversing.]]>

It’s a small world, or is it? For all the talk of globalisation and the homogenisation of cultures, we still have our own, unique ways of working and conversing with each other.

Language barriers aside, communication styles and social hierarchies can differ greatly between cultures and regions. As organisations expand and remote working becomes common practice, these are just some of the many challenges facing managers overseeing teams comprising multiple nationalities and backgrounds.

While a certain degree of inter-cultural understanding comes down to the life experience of the individual themselves, multicultural leadership is a skill that can be learnt and honed like any other. Here’s how to begin:

1. Know your own style…

As the manager you are the cultural bridge between all those working under you, so you need to have a clear understanding of your own leadership style before you can attempt to synthesise those of others. Are you someone who prefers a direct or indirect form of communication? Do you believe in strict hierarchies or a flat structure? These are all things you first need to have clear in your own mind.

2. …then learn those of others

The next step is to invest time in understanding the different cultural sensitivities and expectations of your team. Don’t rely on pre-conceptions. While it’s easy to assume there will be a strict Western, non-Western demarcation between employees in terms of cultural practices, often the differences are far more nuanced and will depend on the individuals themselves.

3. Find common ground…

While a ‘one size fits all’ approach is unlikely to suit all contexts, it may be useful to establish a common set of standards for communication and working together, which can help to avoid confusion and mixed messaging. This should be drawn from each of the different nationalities and cultures represented in the team so as not to alienate any one individual or group.

4. …but be willing to adapt

Flexibility will still be key, however; you can’t expect to fully homogenise a wide range of different working styles and traditions within a short space of time. Employees will need to be willing to compromise and adapt to others; while encouraging a flexible, fluid work environment will make it easier to deal with issues and challenges as they arise.

Fostering cross-cultural working is one of the more challenging demands placed on modern day managers. However, with some careful planning and forethought multicultural working needn’t be a significant barrier to success.


This content appears courtesy of Abintegro, experts in career management, transition technology & e-learning for today’s modern, mobile and technology-savvy workforce – Find out more at www.abintegro.com

Credit: Harvard Business Review; LinkedIn; Internations

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Managing Multicultural Teams