A good friend of mine told me a story once that sums up the idea of putting up roadblocks for customers without even knowing it. The story goes like this:
His father owned an ice cream shop and was working on bringing in chocolate-covered frozen bananas one summer. They were scheduled to arrive when he was about to take a two week vacation.
When he returned, he asked how sales of the new item were. His staff responded that they hadn’t sold one…that’s right, not one.
It took him about 30 seconds to realize why: No one knew they were there.
After they arrived, the staff had put them away in the cooler. But since there was no plan on promoting them in the way of signage or verbal communications, they were making the customer guess that they even had them and then would have to ask for one.
Even a simple hand-written sign on a sheet of white paper that said “chocolate-covered frozen bananas” with the price would have probably enabled them to sell out.
Fast forward to an article that recently came out on private golf club marketing, and we’ll see that there are some similarities here.
Some private golf clubs are stuck in the past
Just 37 percent of all clubs provide full information on what memberships they offer, including prices, and just 14 percent provide online application forms.
Wait, what? Only about a third of clubs provide information on the main product they’re selling?
To be fair, I understand that not every club is comfortable with posting their prices. But to not offer ample information in other areas would be like Apple showing a photo of an iPhone on their website, but not saying anything about its capabilities or how to get one.
What steps to take to fix it
It’s an easy trap to fall victim to in the private club world. As the article also mentions, as club managers are busy keeping current members happy, they sometimes do not have enough resources to make sure the public facing side of their website is functioning as a sales tool.
The first step in solving this issue is to take a few minutes to write down the main products and services you offer. Once you have those, ask someone who’s not a co-worker (or better yet, someone who doesn’t play golf) to review what you’re selling.
If it makes sense to them, post it. If not, go back and revise it until it’s crystal clear what you’re providing to your community.
Then, assign someone to be in charge of quality control for your site for when the season gets busy. On a regular basis, it’s that person’s job to make sure that all information is current and updated, and if it’s not they need to make sure it gets done, either themselves or by other staff members.
Managing a website at a private club can sometimes be tricky. The member-facing side needs to help existing members feel welcome and engaged, however the public-facing side needs to act in the same way.
By getting those who are looking for memberships to become excited about the potential of joining through easy to find information and engaging content, you’re going to increase the chances that your club’s membership roster stays full.
Whether you offer them a chocolate-covered frozen banana as a snack option once they join is up to you.