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Our tools and services are developed to help golf instructors grow as teachers, bring in new students and take their businesses to the next level.

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The Latest from The Index

Holiday emails with the tools in GOLFNOW Central

Engage customers through the holidays and off-season with the tools in GOLFNOW Central

Nov 18, 2019

Staying in contact with your customers is a critical function for any golf course — even during seasonal closures. If you’re starting to make preparations for either closure or significant downtime, you can create and schedule email campaigns in advance to share golf course news, holiday greetings, and upcoming events with your golfers through the marketing tool within GOLFNOW Central (GNC).

Advanced scheduling allows you to focus on other business tasks that you face during the off-season, while still maintaining a crucial touch point with your customers so they are ready for that first day of the season.

 

How-to setup an email

Setting up a campaign in GOLFNOW Central couldn’t be easier. Simply select Marketing from the top menu and then choose view under campaigns. You will then be taken to the 'Campaign Movement' screen at this point. Click the green 'Create a New Campaign' link at the top right, which takes you to the Campaign Editor screen.

Now, complete the six tabs to customize your campaign—customers, promotion, email, text message, social media, and schedule and review.

 

Customizing your campaign

The Customers tab allows you to define the audience for your campaign. You can decide if everyone who opted-in to receive marketing messages from your course gets this notice, or you can narrow the list by pre-defined groups by selecting customers with specific course tags attached to their names.

Next you can decide to include a promotion with the campaign, an email, a text message or send your campaign out via your social media. When creating an email, you can choose to embed tee times directly into the email for fast, one-click booking. Also, don’t forget to use the administrative settings to add your social media links and logo for a professional-looking email every time. You can send yourself a test to make sure you are happy with your finished product on all platforms and services.

The final tab, Schedule and Review, lets you send the campaign immediately or set it up to be sent at a later date. Once your campaign is scheduled, you can always go back and review it by selecting the Scheduled tab under Campaign Movement. There will be a blue line that displays the send time for that campaign.

After sending out your campaign, you can utilize the “Analytics” tab to gauge its effectiveness. From “opens” to “clicks” to “bookings,” you will have the insight needed to adjust future campaigns for consistently higher conversion rates.

Need help? Contact your GOLF Business Solutions representative for ways to make the most of your next email campaign.


golf marketing for instructors

Better golf marketing in minutes: 5 tips you need to try!

Nov 07, 2019

Leverage the Value of Distance-Control with a Free Wedge Fitting

It’s a tantalizing question that instructor Rob Noel posed to golfers in his database: “Do you really know how far your wedges carry?” Many players who care about scoring aren’t sure at all, and it weighs on their minds when they’re inside 130 yards trying to pull a club. Noel invites them to a “Free Fit Friday,” in the noon to 4 p.m. time slot, featuring TrackMan for accurate measurement of carry distances. Structure of the afternoon was based on 30-minute sessions for each participant, with the chance, in Rob’s words, to “turn yourself into a scoring machine!” Benefit to the teaching professional is profit off wedge sales as well as an intro for non-students to see how competent and dedicated this academy’s coaches and clubfitters really are.
 

Use Nameplates as Rewards and Recognition for Regulars

Golfers see their names on cart signs, bag tags and lockers, so why not on the range? Even if you all you use are plastic plates that with an erasable surface, players will still enjoy seeing those beautiful words—their own first and last name. The plates you order could even have pre-printed titles, like “Golfer of the Week” or “Fast-Improving Student” or “Top 20 Most Improved.”. You don’t have to have one of these plates ready for every student every time—instead use them as an incentive for people who don’t yet have one, as well as a reward and retention tool for lesson-takers who are in your book already.
 

Hand Out Impact Decals on the Range

In the GolfWorks online catalogue you’ll find iron impact decals in rolls of 200 for $30. That works out to 15 cents apiece, a very small price to pay for the chance to create a meaningful connection with a range user who isn’t your student but seems like a good candidate. Make up a small poster showing a half-dozen used decals with off-center hits, blurred dimple patterns and other indicators of sub-optimal impact, topping it with the headline: “What Do These Marks Mean?” On a select basis, invite golfers to take 3 or 4 decals with them when they pick up a basket of balls, then upon their return they can show you the imprinted decals. It will likely be the first time they’ve ever used impact decals or impact tape, which makes this a great conversation-starter potentially leading to lesson signups.
 

“My Golf Teacher Reached Out to Me!”

Apparently this was the excited thought that went through the minds of 10 students who received texts from New Jersey-based instructor Brian Dobbie. The question Dobbie sent to his students, none of whom were currently active in his book, was disarmingly simple—he asked: “How is your game?” The message went out to the 10 golfers simultaneously and results came back to Brian quickly. All 10 golfers responded and the outreach resulted in Dobbie booking three standard lessons plus one playing lesson. He puts this nice success down to “the importance of following up,” in all kinds of different ways—including a quick, simple text.
 

Take Lessons in a Skill besides Golf and Blog Your Progress

Instructors are often advised to take lessons in tennis, guitar, fly fishing or some other motor skill, in order to remind themselves what the motor learning process is like from the student’s side. But if you ever do take this advice, don’t miss the opportunity to bring your golf students inside the process of what you’re being taught, how you’re going about practicing and what kind of progress you’re making. It will increase their respect for you (especially if you practice faithfully!) and it will build a narrative quality into your messaging, as your progress continues.


Discover all GOLF has to offer instructors! To check out our tools, tips, and more, CLICK HERE.

 


beyond yelp reviews

Beyond Yelp reviews: consider a secret shopper

Nov 07, 2019

Go through checkout at a big retailer and the cashier is bound to ask, “Did you find everything you were looking for?” Apparently there is research telling Target, BestBuy, and the other big boxes that consumers would spend more money if store inventory were somehow different or if items were displayed differently—so they constantly ask us about it.

Public-facing businesses—and golf instruction is no exception—can learn something from watching chain stores dig for data about the customer experience. The extreme way of doing it involves the trained “secret shopper,” hired from a legitimate agency and posing as a customer. Online reviews have reduced the need for secret shoppers, but they’re still around, supplying objectivity and professional reporting.

A marketing specialist with expertise in golf shop retailing, Jackie Beck, got hired a few years back to do some secret shopping in the instruction category. Beck was given a list of 50 contacts—academies as well as solo teaching pros—and told to proceed as any curious golfer would. She studied the instructors’ websites, checked on prices, called or emailed to inquire about available services and in some cases attempted to book a lesson.

In a presentation that Beck later made to a gathering of coaches—some of whom were among the 50 she had secret-shopped—her report had the attendees studying their own websites on smartphones, real-time, as she went through actual examples of what she saw working and not working. In many cases there were broken links within websites, long scrolls to get to important content, missing information, weak photography and a general failure to “tell the customer what makes this teacher a great choice.”

Beck found a disconnect between golf shops and the lesson tee, especially for teachers who are independent contractors at public courses. The staff in those shops are trained to promote the golf operation but not the lesson business. Beck addressed this issue, asking: “Is the golf shop delivering messages to you, with accurate information about people who have called asking about instruction? If you suspect that’s not happening, have a few people you know and trust call in, inquiring about golf lessons.” Consider “hiring" a former junior golfer who went on to study marketing or management at college then returned home with a degree. Trade a 3-lesson series for an objective report on what the customer experience was like, in fine detail.

Beck understands that instructors have to address the operating details of their business in small doses. “Prioritize the things you want to check on, and take them one or two at a time,” she advises. Are golfers arriving on-property and getting confused about where to go? Are there messy or cluttered spaces they would find unpleasant. Is noise a problem at certain times and places? Are the restrooms clean? Are the range balls noticeably deteriorating?

Unlike a BestBuy or a CVS, golf facilities aren’t chains that all look alike. That gives the instructor a chance to liven up the surroundings and add a little sparkle, making return visits more enjoyable.

“Your teaching skill is the big draw, but a golfer’s overall experience will play a part in whether they want to come back,” says Jackie. “If it’s a $75 lesson and they feel the experience was worth $100 they will automatically come back.” It takes a long time to learn how to teach effectively, and yet being around for a long time can dull your eye and ear for what’s pleasant, interesting and appealing about the details of a visit.

One final point Beck makes is focused on programming, and the need to bring flexibility to it. “Some instructors will schedule a ‘Chips and Sips’ clinic for women and be overly concerned about whether chipping can be taught properly in this type of setting,” Beck observes. “I say, ‘Who cares?’ The women are happy. Some nights they’ll be fine with skipping the golf part altogether—let them!” If you have reservations, ask directly whether social-night only is of interest to the participants. “Ask and listen,” Beck repeats. “We have to get over the idea that we know better than the customer.”

To learn more about our instructor offerings, CLICK HERE.