Despite different swings and putting styles, renowned professional golfers such as Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, and Tiger Woods share one common attribute. They, like more than 90% of the general population, use smartphones to stay in touch with loved ones and professional colleagues alike.
You don’t have to share the lead on the 18th green of the Masters to enjoy the many benefits delivered by text message marketing for golf courses and organizations. Everyone from a caddy to a tournament organizer can benefit from SMS messaging for a number of reasons.
A case study released by the National Golf Club Owners Association listed several benefits of marketing of any kind for golf courses:
- Increase memberships
- Enhance course awareness
- Retain loyal regulars
- Boost the number of discounted offers
- Better engagement with members
Getting Started with a Texting Platform
To get started with a texting platform, simply sign up with the SMS provider that best fits your needs. For example, global coverage, scalable features, and reliable customer support are three aspects of SMS platforms that are in high demand. Working with a highly rated texting platform can boost your organization’s brand awareness and promotional reach. Choose a vanity or random dedicated short code, upload your contact lists, and launch your first campaign. Then, read on for some tips about how to optimize your SMS platform.
Establish Good Keywords
You can have the most advanced SMS messaging system, and still hit the proverbial shank shot when it comes to text marketing for golf courses. Keyword misuse is one of the primary reasons many golf courses hit a bad tee shot when it comes to texting. Keywords are how your SMS subscribers interact with your messages. Though keywords can be regular words, combination of letters and words, or an emoji, they should never be hard to understand or type. For example, when the time comes to fill up the limited open slots for your annual Easter tournament, a great keyword might just be EASTER, rather than TEETIME4EASTER.
Automate Your Messages
The first message you send to new subscribers should be automated to make the subscriber feel appreciated and free up more time for you to handle management issues. The first message to a new subscriber should include a sincere welcome and thank you, important opt-in information, and a promotional offer or deal. You can also automate other messages, such as responses to keywords, contest entries, and information requests. So if a user asks for your hours of operation, you and your staff can continue serving onsite customers while an auto responder takes care of your SMS customers.
Keep the Offers Coming
There are numerous ways to leverage promotions to enhance your subscribers’ text marketing experience. You can offer discounts for an 18-hole round or reduce the price of a few items at the pro shop. Another popular offer for golf courses involves throwing in the price of renting a golf cart as part of the green fee. For nontraditional golf courses, send out offers for a period of free play, reduced prices on food and drink, or complimentary shop items with the purchase of a game. Your SMS messages should always hold value for subscribers, and there’s no better (or easier) way to accomplish that than by including great offers and deals.
How to Expand Your Texting Platform
Getting the word out about your text message subscription list should include tactics that go well beyond just sending out more text messages. Here are a few ways to better engage golfers, enthusiasts, and spectators alike:
- Place a keyword and opt-in offer on score cards
- Include a widget and opt-in instructions on your website
- Add keywords and opt-in offers on the side of golf carts
- Hand out flyers with your SMS information at special events
- Raffle off free rounds of golf for SMS subscribers
- Add SMS to the list of ways to contact you
SMS Messaging Ideas for Golf Courses
The SMS marketing campaigns you devise for your golf course are limited only by your imagination. If you have an idea and a keyword, you have a campaign. Though we’re sure you have plenty of great strategies, we’ve also included a few below. Read on for some ways to optimize text marketing for your golf course.
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Communicate Weather and Event Updates
Heavy rain and strong winds overnight have left many of the golfers playing in the tournament wondering whether it will start on time. With SMS, you can send out updates on the condition of the course and secondary location details quickly. Texting represents the most effective and fast method for sending golfers and others real time updates. You can also use it to announce delays, refunds, or schedule changes.
Send Location Conditions and Information
If you manage a golf course or resort located in the American Sun Belt, you probably receive queries about its suitability for a vacation or general play. This is especially true of subscribers that may live in the colder climates of the country, or who frequent your course but live elsewhere. Texting quickly and easily answers such questions for potential and current players. Using automated messaging, you could send an overview of your course and resort conditions to subscribers on demand.
Conduct Surveys and Request Feedback
Golf courses use surveys to get feedback from golfers about a wide variety of issues, from general maintenance to lawn aesthetics. Was the pin tucked too far in back of the 16th green? Do you think the fairway on number eight gives golfers enough room to attempt an approach shot? What should we add to the clubhouse menu? You can send out surveys and request feedback, and using SMS ensures you have a higher response rate than any other medium. Including special offers or other incentives to fill out the surveys also helps increase participation and customer satisfaction.
Invite Them to Stay a While Longer
Golfers have a choice after a round of golf as to where they plan to relax and enjoy a meal. Extend a 19th hole or end-of-game offer that motivates people to stay onsite for food and beverages. Send out a message with an invitation to your clubhouse, list of most popular menu choices, or information about seasonal food and drinks. Send out the message in a timely manner, such as a few hours after golfers check in or when they return equipment. You can also include a keyword such as HUNGRY if you want the offer to be interactive.
Send Reminders and Notifications
Missing a tee time is an expensive act of forgetfulness, both for players and course employees. The subscribers to your texting platform will appreciate reminders about tee times and other upcoming events, such as the date of a major tournament or charity gala. Send out reminders for lesson appointments, one-on-one sessions, training classes, and more. You can also use SMS to notify subscribers about course or clubhouse renovations, new game offerings, and updated equipment.
Offer Discounted Lessons and Sponsorships
As we mentioned, special offers and promotions should be an integral part of your SMS marketing strategy. A popular offer for golf courses is to provide discounted or free golf lessons. You can lower the price of one lesson or bundle several lessons into one affordable package. For a more charitable twist, you can also offer subscribers the chance to sponsor younger or lower income golfers.
Dash Notify Can Boost Your Marketing Efforts
Golfers have many options when it comes to deciding where to play the next round. Make a strong pitch by working with Dash Notify, one of the leading industry SMS providers. We offer competitive pricing and an array of scalable features. Contact us today to learn more about how you can elevate your marketing game.