The first question any business embarking on an advertising campaign should ask themselves is why are we doing this?

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1 Advertising The topics covered in this section include: Why you need to advertise? Deciding when to advertise and how often Deciding on your target audience Where should you advertise? How much you should spend? How do you create your advertising? Getting value for money Monitoring the response to your advertising 10 Top Tips Why you need to advertise? The first question any business embarking on an advertising campaign should ask themselves is why are we doing this? The reasons for advertising can be numerous: 1. Is the advertising aimed at immediate sales? Announcing a special reason for buying now e.g. no joining fee for a limited time period Reminding people to play at your club Tie in with some special event e.g. 10th anniversary year special Stimulate impulse sales e.g. two for one offer 2. Is the advertising intended to produce short term sales so prospective customers will consider your golf club first? create awareness of your golf club s existence create a specific brand image aimed at your target market e.g. the corporate market combat competitor marketing messages 3. Is your advertising intended to? build long term customer loyalty tell customers about changes and improvements promote a call to action e.g. money off voucher change people s perception of your golf club There are, of course, other forms of advertising that your golf club will use such as when recruiting staff. Deciding when to advertise and how often It is likely that the main aim for your golf club advertising will be to increase sales in a particular area - memberships, visitors or conference/group bookings. Firstly, you need to sit down and look at the key times you are looking to boost your business and tailor your campaign accordingly. Proactive advertising is money well spent; reactive advertising if there is a crisis tends to be poorly thought-out and executed and does not represent good value for money. The mistake that people often make is forgetting the long lead in times which some media requires (regional golf magazines for example) and also not putting themselves in the customer s shoes. The secretary of a large society for example will be looking to fill his fixture list for the forthcoming year very early on so it may be worth some targeted advertising to that market in January as a prompt to get their business before it goes elsewhere!

2 This also applies to your local business/corporate market as you need to be aware of the times they will be looking at committing their budget for the forthcoming year. Be aware of when you have slow times - the summer holidays for example- and have some promotional offers ready for some targeted advertising during these periods. By being aware and interpreting your business needs in advance it won t be a last minute panic when you find you have an empty tee sheet for August. Deciding on your target audience Once you have decided on your key objective for your advertising campaign, then the next step will be to identify your target audience. For most golf clubs, this will take two forms depending on your campaign objectives. If the aim is to recruit more members then the target market will be local. If, on the other hand, you want to attract more visitors to your club then it may be more regional or even national and international if you are in a busy tourist area. If your aim is to increase group bookings then your target audience may well be the regional corporate market. Only by being sure of your target audience can you ensure that you choose the best means of reaching them and ensure the best value for money for your advertising spend. There is a wide range of different media available to you. This article concentrates on print and internet media but there are many different methods of reaching your audiences which will be discussed in other articles within the EGU Marketing Knowledge Bank e.g. direct mail. Where should you advertise? Once you have decided who you are looking to market to and why and ONLY THEN, you can start to consider what media is available to you to use The bulk of any spend for most golf clubs will be in the local marketplace and in golf the number of specialist magazines abounds. 1. Local advertising The bulk of any spend for most golf clubs will be in the local marketplace and in golf the number of specialist magazines abounds. You will notice that they are all full of ads offering the same message and often carrying adverts from your competitors. Local advertising should be your first port of call when seeking to: Recruit more members Promote your golf club to visitors Promote your meeting conference facilities to the local business market As well as the specialist golf magazines which you will regularly have delivered to your club and all the others in the area, don t forget your own local weekly or evening newspapers. The golf magazines reach a very limited market - those people who regularly visit golf clubs and whilst they are important part of the mix, you may be able to generate new business from other forms of non golf media. Think about what media you and your members read and that is a good starting point. If your members regularly turn to the golf column in your evening newspaper on a Tuesday then the chances are, other golfers in the area will do the same thing- and they could be reading your advert! 2. Regional advertising If your club is in a tourist area where there are weekend visitors or holiday makers then you may have to look further afield for your advertising campaigns. Specialist golf magazines often have different editions covering several areas so it is worth checking which editions you can go in as well as your local one. Remember the tip about combining with local businesses such as hotels to run joint advertising. This can be more cost effective and if they are experienced they will have a good idea of where money can

3 be well spent. Your local tourist office and sometimes even your local council tourist or leisure officer can also help and they may produce guides that your club can be included in 3. Internet directories One of the growing and most cost effective means of advertising these days is on the internet. Think about your own shopping habits. If you are looking for something- especially in another geographical area- and are unsure where to start then the internet is the first port of call. Luckily for golf clubs there are numerous golf course directories on the internet as searching for somewhere to play is one of the key reasons that golfers visit a golf portal (a general golf website). Basic entries within these directories are often free and you can pay for enhancements such as photographs or the chance to appear at the top of the search list. In order to decide which are the best directories for your area go onto a search engine such as put in a general search term such as golf courses in Cheshire and see what comes to the top. There will be some individual golf clubs (if yours isn t there then you may want to refer to our section on e-marketing) but also some general directories. Go onto them and check your entry. It is surprising how quickly they can get out of date. Once you have established which directories to use make sure you update your entry every three months or so. One of the key directories and of course it s free is EGU Golf Central ( There will also be internet directories for businesses in your local area so make sure you are included on these. The local tourist office website, area guides and the council are all good places to be seen. 4. Your own website In our section on e-marketing we look at the importance of your golf club s website in the marketing mix. However, remember that if you are advertising a special offer in the local media make sure it s promoted on your own website as well. How much should you spend? Once you have established the key times you need to drive your business, over what period of time and the target audiences you are looking to reach through which media, you will now begin to have some idea of how much it could cost. However, remember that your advertising spend is only part of the marketing mix discussed in the Marketing Plan. Whilst many golf clubs tend to currently rely on print media advertising there are many other and sometimes more efficient methods of reaching your potential customers. Therefore, your advertising spend needs to be looked at in the whole context of your marketing plan. If you are already spending money on advertising then your existing budget should be a good starting point. Firstly, you will have had some idea of how responsive it has been (assuming you are properly monitoring its effectiveness!) and also the club committee or proprietor is more likely to see this as a reasonable base figure. If you have never advertised before and this is all new to your golf club then your starting point is what you can reasonably afford within your marketing budget, set of course as part of your marketing plan. You will need to allocate chunks of the money to the different marketing methods but also have some in reserve or be able to move it about if one area starts to work well for you. As a rule of thumb, most small businesses looking to advertise themselves should work on around 2,000 per annum for a well targeted, consistent campaign. The odd advertisement here and there may seem to be the cheaper option but such a hit and miss approach is unlikely to reap any real benefits. Ensuring you get value for money is crucial and once again the emphasis must be on the right offer for the right audience in the right media and at the right time. QUICK TIP

4 Your golf club may be able to team up with a local hotel, for example, in exchange for contributing to the advertisement. Make sure you see the advert first and make sure you know when and where it is appearing. How do you create your advertising? Once you have worked out your campaign strategy, there is nothing worse than poor execution so it is worth spending some time and effort on how your advertising will look. A local design agency is well worth considering. It is a very competitive market and they are always on the lookout for new business. However, even here good planning can save you a lot of time, trouble and most importantly cost. Whether you, a talented member or a design agency are taking on the creative of your campaign, they can only work with the materials they have got. A well designed logo in an easy to use format; decent photography of your golf course and its facilities and a clear understanding of the message within the advertising will all help the process go more smoothly. All too often a poor brief means a change of mind and so the bills and the time spent start to mount up. You can get some good idea of the advertising that works and doesn t work by flicking through the media you are intending to use. Free golf magazines abound in most clubhouses so grab a few and start to flick through them. What stands out? Which ads really get their message across and why? Have a look at what your immediate competitors are doing and try to do something different. Reading other golf club promotional offers will also give you some ideas for your campaign. The size of advert will often depend on budget but a quarter page advert, for example, can be quite expensive relative to a half or full page. It may cost 250 whereas a full page may be 600. The larger the advert the more the creative costs so have a clear idea before you start the brief QUICK TIP If your advert can be easily adapted to go up or down in size and you make your contact at your choice of publication aware of this then you might get last minute space quiet cheaply if they have a space to fill and an advert sitting there ready and waiting. If you think you can handle it in-house then there are a few basic guidelines you should remember when writing your copy: The headline should be the call to action e.g. take advantage of our limited green fee offer. The reader always wants to know what the benefit is to them and once you ve captured their interest they will read on Keep the text to a minimum but make sure you explain any offer and any limitations as succinctly as possible. There is nothing worse then over-selling and if the offer is good enough you won t have to Two key design tips are don t choose typefaces that are difficult to read or too fussy and be aware of putting type on top of a colour background. It may look good when printed out on a laser jet printer but inside a magazine on poorer quality paper it may be difficult to read. Remember that any advertising you do but be legal, honest and truthful. If you have any doubts at all then the Advertising Standards Authority website at will give some good tips. Once your advert has been created get a few people outside your golf club to have a look at it and see their reaction. Check the message is clear, the call to action is clearly outlined and how they fulfil that call to action is easily understood Getting value for money Once you have decided where you are advertising, when and how often, it is time to contact the advertising sales department of your chosen publication.

5 They are very determined people so be clear about what you are trying to achieve; how much budget you have and what you want the ad to do. Mention the names some competitor publications so they understand that you are still deciding where to spend your budget. They will keen to win your business especially if you are new business and you have mentioned their main rival. This is the best time to negotiate hard. Remember: If you are booking a series of ads over a few months then you should be looking for a series rate. Publications offer one ad free for every three booked for example. Rather than free ads they may suggest you get a bigger ad for the same price. Consider this carefully as if your campaign has been planned properly the size of ad will have already been carefully considered Discuss the position of your advertising with them. It makes sense to be on or near a section which is applicable to your target market. For example, if you are advertising a society offer in a golf magazine and they have a society page, then ask to be near that. If you are using your local newspaper and they have a regular golf column, then ask to be on the same page. Right hand pages catch the reader s eye but this space is always at a premium for editorial so negotiate hard and if you are looking a series make sure it applies to all your ads. Monitoring the response to your advertising This is probably the hardest part of any campaign, often the most overlooked but also one of the most important aspects in your quest for value for money. In order to make good judgements about your campaign, its success and what to in the future you must have an idea of what results it has produced. The simplest way is to include a voucher or code which people have to mention when booking and present when playing. If you are running a campaign in more than one publication make sure the ad has a different code so you can trace back when it came from. It s important that all your staff likely to come into contact with your customers - the professional, steward, reception staff- are aware of the campaign, when it is running and where and they should have a copy of what s appearing for their reference. You can t or shouldn t be using a voucher every time so ensure that for every enquiry you ask where they heard about the offer or membership promotion and make a note. If the offer has a limited time span and sells out then make sure the staff are briefed to take any details of any customers enquiring for your database so you can notify them of any future campaigns. If your marketing database is properly nurtured then in future you may well be able to rely less on expensive advertising. This may all seem tiresome and when it s the busy times at the club and your customers are flocking in thanks to your well targeted marketing campaign, then it is all to easy to let the response monitoring slip. DON T - it will be time and effort well spent at the end of the year when you come to review the success of any campaigns and plan any forthcoming. QUICK TIP Remember that for any promotional offer you need to anticipate the response level and whether you can fulfil it. Don t for example run a half price green fee campaign if you have only allocated two tee times a week to it. You will not be able to fulfil the response and have many disappointed customers who are unlikely to respond to any future advertising. 10 Top Tips Advertising can be extremely effective if you go about your campaign in a methodical way. Here are our top 10 tips: 1. Decide what it is you are trying to achieve

6 2. Know your target audience 3. Find the best media through which you can reach them 4. Decide when and how often 5. Be clear in your advertising brief to any agency and make sure you have good quality design materials to use 6. Create an advertising campaign that is clear, attractive, and easily adaptable and test the message on golfing friends and family. 7. Negotiate hard when spending your precious advertising budget 8. Monitor any campaign and ensure that everyone on your staff knows about it 9. Review it periodically and never be afraid to alter it doesn t appear to be working or to push more money behind things that are 10. There is such a thing as free advertising - especially on the internet- so make sure you are using all the tools available to you

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