The world of marketing, advertising and commercial messaging is something we come in to contact with all the time. Everywhere we turn we are faced with stimuli that are designed to promote certain behaviour in us, which in most cases is to go and buy, or interact with, a service or product.
For PGA Professionals involved in any area of the game, knowledge of marketing and some of the key concepts that come with it can be very useful to themselves as individuals but also as marketers, sales people, and value-adders for a business.
Here IGPN looks at just some of the main things in marketing that could help you be better prepared to market yourself and the business you are a key part of, whilst also giving you more knowledge of the marketing that takes place around you.
You can’t move in any direction without a plan of where you want to go and how you’re going to get there. Too many people are too concerned with just ‘doing some marketing’ and don’t look at things with enough depth and focus. Marketing is an incredibly broad term and you need to ensure what you are doing is relevant, achievable, and has an end goal.
The first step is to think about what you want to achieve out of any marketing activity. Why are you doing it, and what would be the ideal things to achieve? Make them as realistic, relevant and specific as you can.
There are so many platforms, media, methods and ‘hot topics’ within marketing that you need to ensure that what you are planning to do is worthwhile and has the potential to make a difference. Don’t take on something just because a lot of other people are doing it – if it’s not right then you could be wasting valuable resources that might work a lot better elsewhere.
Research is key here – what platforms/media fit your goals, your target audience, their usage/behaviour best? What pushes them to take action and change their behaviour to what you want? There are plenty of ways to do this through market research and statistics, but the easiest way is to just ask for yourself – if your market is accessible then get out there and ask the questions needed to work out what makes them tick.
A good way to think of engaging in marketing activity is to compare it to giving a lesson – a good coach will assess a player’s strengths and weaknesses, look at their goals and targets, and then work out a route to get them to that position, taking into account all of the internal and external factors that could come into play.
Your website is truly your online hub – they can be so versatile and useful in a digital and connected world that optimising them should be a number 1 priority.
What do you want your website to do and say? Working these things out enables you to direct your attention to the things that are most important for the end-user. If you are a coach and you have a website to promote your services, then are what clubs someone uses the most important thing, or should things like your skills, experience, knowledge, and then booking/contact information be up the front?
If you use other platforms, for example, Social Media sites, or perhaps there are certain sponsors or facilities you are linked to, then you should be signposting these appropriately.
Once you know what your audience is after you can begin to tailor the site and its content to them. Stats software such as Google Analytics can provide incredibly useful and actionable information that can help you look at who is viewing the site and where from.
Enterprising Professional coaches are even getting custom-designed websites built that allow their clients to login to an area that is just for them where they can see their lesson videos and key tips that are specific to them – the ultimate in specificity.
A website can also act as a great platform to host your content – you could write your blog in one section and then keep your photos in another gallery section, all whilst allowing you to share that information and have a living, breathing calling card for yourself or company. Static websites no longer cut the mustard – the more you can keep the site fresh and new the more reasons people have to keep on returning.
3. SOCIAL MEDIA
Any platform on which a community or network of some kind is hosted can be considered Social Media. There are a lot of platforms out there so it is important you know which ones [if any] are going to be useful for you and your audience. There’s no point having an account on everything if no-one interacts with you there, plus it can be hard enough sometimes to stay on top of a few platforms, let alone lots of different ones!
Again you can use research to work out where your audience are and what platforms they use, and then you can begin to create and share content on there. Share what you post on a blog or website and then look for like-minded brands/people/etc. and share what they come up with. You can even look to share what your community/followers say and share – engaging in two-way conversation provides real value to someone using a platform. It gives a brand or business an identity and personality that a person can build an affinity with.
As a brand your place on these platforms is often going to be met with caution. Generally speaking, people are wary of mixing their communities with brands and marketing messages, however, it is something that is done. Twitter for example is known for its users following their friends and their favourite brands, but the difference here is that brands have to work hard to gain the trust and interest of a user. They are often speaking to consumers on the same level, using the same reference points and interests to communicate with them rather than blasting out automated marketing messages.
This is pretty much anything that you output that is consumable by an end user. Nowadays this is mainly content that is produced online and shared in some way be it a blog post, and article, news item, video interview, or gallery of images (but it can also be more ‘traditional’ things like leaflets, newspaper articles, guides, etc.).
The creation and curation of content can be a very simple and very easy way of marketing something. Creating your own content involves composing your own information, perhaps researching a subject, providing an opinion piece on something, or generating something brand new. Curating is gathering content that already exists and then sharing it amongst others that could also find it interesting.
For example, you might want to generate some content for your website that details your opinion on a well-known player’s swing technique. You could create a short blog post that explains your thoughts, which is then shared across your Social Media platforms.
But you might also want to show what research/articles you have read to inform your decision so you could bring together a series of links that would be useful for those wishing to find out more from elsewhere [like we have done with this article]. It shows your own content is well informed, it shows you want to help the reader even more, and it also alerts others to the fact that you are sharing their information (and they may even do the same thing for you!).
The key thing is to ensure you create and curate content that is relevant to those that are consuming it.
Marketing emails are something that is so commonplace in our digital lives that they are often overlooked as being achievable on a small scale, but that’s not really true especially considering how many different platforms there are [some of which are free!], and how easy they are to use with a variety of templates that can be matched to your tastes.
Successful email marketing comes from having a decent email database (remember it’s quality not quantity) and knowing what sort of information they want to receive.
The database is the easy bit – most Pros will have, or at least have access to, a database of their clients with email addresses and then some information about them. Facilities with advanced systems may even have a database that includes much more about individuals, such as date of birth, brand preferences, sales records and more. All of this information can be used to ‘tag’ and categorise contacts so you can create not just one overall database, but multiple sub-databases within it. You can then leverage this information to your advantage.
For example, you might have a sale on in your facility’s shop – you could send one email showcasing male-orientated products to the males in the database, and female-orientated products to the females. Or you could even go by brand preference and send everyone who likes ‘Brand X’ one email with the latest Brand X offers and those who prefer ‘Brand Y’ with the latest Brand Y offers.
This is something that seems time-consuming but really doesn’t have to be – again with the ease with which you can create emails in these modern systems you can create one email, copy it, and then just update the wording and imagery for another target audience.
Once you have the database down then the next step is to ensure what you put out there is useful for them – if they don’t like a certain brand (or at least haven’t said they have an affinity to it) then it’s probably not worth sending them offers when something else might work a lot better.
Or perhaps you want to send them a newsletter with a digest of information – tap into their interests and what they like to read about – and if you don’t know, then send the database an email asking for their preferences so what they receive is relevant to them!
Again the thing to get right here is relevancy – if something is not relevant, interesting or of use to the end user they will not give it any time. Your email will either be deleted or added to the junk mail folder, and that’s assuming they don’t just go and unsubscribe in general.