Archive for the ‘Social Network Marketing’ Category

Guest Blog: Make the Most of Your Club Website – 10 Tips for 2010

Monday, March 8th, 2010

For many clubs, 2009 was an extremely challenging year and was a very real sign of things to come as we embark on 2010 and beyond. Waitlists have all but disappeared, membership numbers are down, and in turn club staff are asked to do more with less while management is faced with intense scrutiny of expenses and forced to cut wherever possible.

Undoubtedly, 2010 will be another challenging year for most clubs. That said, your club’s website can be an effective tool to assist you in weathering the storm by increasing member engagement and thereby increasing club revenue.

Over the past decade, club websites have evolved from simplistic pages consisting of various pictures and static content to transactional websites where members can view important information such as their online statements and club rosters.

In 2010 the key to many clubs’ success is to implement a fully integrated and interactive website that is well designed, easy to locate in search engines, and provides fresh, relevant content to both members and the general public.

10 strategies for an engaged membership in 2010:

1. Invest in online statements and online payments. Online statements have proven to be a staple in the vast majority of club websites and continue to provide value to the club. This functionality provides several benefits including cost reduction through reduced calls to accounting staff and online viewing of statements, and increased website traffic on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis.

2. Consider implementing online tee times in 2010. Many clubs have implemented the ability to book their tee times online. This is the single biggest driver of website traffic when implemented correctly. It is not uncommon to see login rates to the club website as well as site traffic double as a result of online tee times. It also provides the ability to reduce costs at the Pro Shop and offers better service to your members.

3. Implement member engagement strategies through online booking modules for event registration, dining, court booking, lessons, etc. When utilized effectively, these modules engage members – providing a compelling reason for your members to regularly visit your website.

4. Implement an email marketing strategy that is integrated with your website and club management system. It has been proven that email marketing is one of the most effective yet inexpensive tools available to drive club revenue. By combining member data, email marketing tools and your website, you are able to offer your members quality, personalized communication. Leverage the data in your club management system to implement your communication strategies. Using email marketing strategies, personalized messages regarding events can be targeted and sent en masse to relevant members with a link back to your website to register. This full circle communication strategy is a powerful, low cost strategy that can change your business in 2010.

5. Implement social networking tools. The social revolution is here. In 2010, take the time to become familiar with today’s tools. Is it a fad? Watch the following social revolution video on YouTube and draw your own conclusions – there are certainly some interesting facts brought to light.
Social Media revolution –http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIFYPQjYhv8

Some strategies to consider

  • Enable RSS on your website so that users can subscribe to your content and allow other web sites to syndicate your content on their site
  • Have a blog that is integrated into your website
  • Create Twitter and Facebook accounts for your club. Cross-linking these to and from your website will garner interest and support for a Facebook group you’ve created.

6. Implement a junior program section for your website. There is really no magic in this formula as the current generation of youth lives and breathes the Internet and its social networking aspects. Consider a section catered to your youth programs at the club. Examples might include relevant YouTube videos for game improvement; a blog by your Tennis, Golf or Yachting Pro; or even a Facebook page for the club juniors. They are the future of the club and the easiest segment to engage through your website with the right tools.

7. Implement content creation and publishing strategies and stick to them. Fresh, relevant content is one of the keys to an active readership. Implement automatic date ranging of content to ensure that stale content around holidays, special events or tournaments does not remain on the site after their time has past.

8. Change your members’ only landing page frequently. This is the first page members see every time they login to your club website. Make the most of the member experience by providing relevant and timely content about upcoming events, birthdays, news items, etc. and provide intuitive links to the interactive features of the site.

9. Review your site’s SEO (search engine optimization) to ensure that your site can easily be found by Google and other search engines. Implement effective page descriptions and key words for your site’s pages to ensure that you are listed with Google local. There are several resources available on the Internet today to assist you in effectively optimizing your site with respect to search engines. Talk to your web provider about reviewing your current SEO strategy.

10. Monitor your site analytics to measure your site effectiveness. By utilizing tools such as Google analytics you can mine large amounts of user data in terms of interaction with your website. This information provides invaluable insight into how visitors are interacting with your website.

In conclusion, an effective website does not need to be overcomplicated or elaborate – it simply needs to cater to the needs of your existing and potential members. Remember, your existing and potential members are busy individuals just like you – they have come to expect the ability to view and book almost everything online in today’s marketplace. Make it easy for them to access your site, complete their club related transactions (viewing and paying statements, event/court/tee time bookings, etc.), and then get on with their day-to-day activities. Realistically, there is no single electronic silver bullet that can address all of your club’s needs; however, when your website, club management system, and email marketing tool are working in concert, together they provide you with a powerful toolset with which to increase member engagement at the club.

Steve Cowan, Vice President of Web Service, Jonas Software

Mr. Cowan is recognized for his expertise in online services and marketing and has been responsible for the launch of several key online initiatives that have significantly influenced the club management industry. Prior to joining CSI in 2004 as the Director of Sales Operations, Mr. Cowan held numerous leadership roles with organizations such as ADC Telecom and Business Objects. Mr. Cowan holds an Honours BBA from Wilfrid Laurier University and an MBA from York University.

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the club industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers — those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking club managers throughout the country and around the world. Club Resources International – Management Resources for Clubs! Add to Technorati Favorites

Guest Blog: Social Network Marketing

Monday, August 24th, 2009

Two years ago the thought of Social Network marketing didn’t even dawn on me for businesses or organizations.  Quite frankly, I had just jumped into the idea of Facebook, and found myself spending plenty of hours catching up with old friends.  I thought it was a great idea, and it gave me a way to keep up with my college group, my family that lives around the country, and my friends who have moved as well.  Then, two years ago I was approached by a company to help me with Search Engine Optimization for my own business website.  I knew the quality behind having a professional tackle this sort of rigorous task, and for those of you who are completely confused, I would advise you to watch this short Sprint commercial, because it probably defines your current state now, as well as my state two years ago when I was approached by this company http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-tRHNElTo4.

So, I find myself, a couple years and many books and seminars later, educated on this massive beast called Social Media.  Now, you might be asking yourself, what does this include?  Think of Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Ping and even blogging the key influences of this social media.  It is a terrific resource to gain access to millions of people by the click of a mouse, the tapping on your keyboard, and the wealth of knowledge that you are passionate about!  At your finger tips, you can tap into so many resources, gain access to other’s ideas, and even share your passion with others.  All behind the screen of a computer, and all while never actually meeting or “talking” to that individual.

Why is this avenue effective?  Whenever I am giving a consultation to small businesses, or large businesses about why this type of medium is effective, I always ask the question, “If you could have access to all of your clients, customers, members, or residents, in one place at one time, would you jump at the opportunity?”  I have not had a single person say no.  This type of medium allows businesses, individuals, clubs, and organizations the unique opportunity to interact with their sphere of influence, in many different ways.  I will admit that one avenue might be better than another for certain businesses.  But, if you had a wonderful opportunity to influence, affect, or change someone’s life through any type of medium, wouldn’t you jump on the bandwagon?

How to take the plunge?  After my consultation with many business owners, they then say, “I’m on board, now what?”  Let me say first, that it is not just a matter of signing on an account.  You must be strategic, you must be careful, and you must know what you are doing.  It also can be time consuming, especially, if you have more than one account.  I can tell you that first hand.

My best advice:

1.  Ask a professional, or find someone who knows what they are doing when it comes to Social Media, and see what avenue is going to be the best one to reach your target audience.  Remember, Social Media doesn’t always have to be about advertising your business.

2.  For clubs or membership related businesses, it might be best to use this resource to get to know your members, understand their needs, publish events, get them excited about up coming events, find volunteers, promote contests, etc.  Find what works for your business, and your clientel!

3.  After consulting with someone who is familiar in this area, develop a content calendar, or what you are going to say.  If you don’t have a plan, it will come back to bite you.  Have a plan, feel free to diverge from that plan, but continue to have a plan.

4.  And, finally, have fun interacting with the people you are reaching.  If you are not on there to be social, then social media is not the place for you.  It is a relational medium, and you must be relational and interact with it.  Who knows…you might have fun, meet new people and enjoy learning new things.

If you would like more information on Social Media please feel free to contact me, I would love to discuss any resources I have or offer my professional services.

Jamie Thomas Owner/Creative Specialist Behind the Scenes Solutions

www.behindthescenessolutions.com

jamie.thomas@behindthescenessolutions.com

 

Jamie brings a Masters Degree in Leadership and Development and over 10 years experience to the innovative company that she founded. She began by designing websites for non-profits who could not afford the growing technological field but wanted to stay current. After having her first child she decided to start her own company so that she could work from home, but also devote time to her family. In less than two years, BTSS has gained recognition among the Charlotte business community and in some national markets. Jamie now prides her self on recruiting top-tier professionals who can bring their skills and experience to BTSS, managing her staff of Virtual Specialists, and maintaining the highest level of customer service.

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the club industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers – those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking club managers throughout the country and around the world.

Club Resources International – Operational Resources for Club Managers

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