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[How to Guide] Digital Marketing for Golf Professionals

Author: Carl Heaton
He is our senior instructor and originally from Manchester UK. Carl teaches our Web Design and Online Marketing Courses.
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You might be wondering how an appreciation of golf has anything to do with digital marketing, but you’d be surprised by what they have in common.

The hard-fought lessons you’ve learned on the green can serve you well when trying to figure out a digital marketing strategy.

Now, more than ever, a digital presence is essential to the marketing success of any business.

When it comes to golf professionals and clubs, this is no different. However, for many golf professionals and golf clubs, golfing is what they like to stick to.

Their golf game may be strong, but their digital marketing game is… err… handicapped.

The sad reality is that even though 52% of businesses outsource their digital marketing, only 19% of them agree that they are getting the return on investment to make it worthwhile. It is about time that Digital Marketing for Golf Professionals was done inhouse, by you, with this how to guide!

With stats like these, how can you be sure that you are working with the right agency? Would you be better off managing your digital marketing campaigns yourself?

We’ve put together some great pro tips and information to help you decide. By the end of this article, your you’ll be ready to tee off your digital marketing with ease:

How to Spot and Deal with a Bad Digital Marketing Agency

how to spot a bad digital marketing agency

Any good golfer knows how important it is to pay attention to the wind. A whole lot of wind makes for a bad game of golf. Similarly, a whole lot of hot air being blown at you by an ad agency should be a warning sign that you’re not going to be in for a good game.

Choosing the right agency to represent your brand can be a difficult decision. Unfortunately, there are more bad agencies out there than there are good ones.

Knowing how to avoid these agencies is the first step to a successful digital marketing campaign.

Dealing with hundreds of clients that have come from being stuck in a bunker by other agencies, these are some of the initial warning signs that I have managed to pinpoint. If any of these red flags come up in your discussions, I recommend you walk away.

They don’t ask you any questions

Before you decide on a club, you have to know where you want the ball to go. Is the flag in sight? How far is the green? What obstacles are in your way?

Similarly, you should have goals and objectives for your digital marketing campaign. What do you hope to achieve? In what time frame? Are there any obstacles that might be an issue?

golfer trying to put a ball into the hall while someone holds a flag

Make sure you give your digital marketing agency something to aim for

The agency that is going to get you to the 18th hole is going to ask questions along these lines to help them do just that. They will also ask questions to help them understand your brand more, in order to effectively represent it in your digital marketing campaigns.

Budget before you or your goals

Picture this…

You come into my golf shop, hoping to purchase a shiny new driver. As you walk in, I ask you “what’s your budget?”. You answer and I hand you a putter…

Are you going to be happy?

Possibly one of the biggest red lights is when an agency asks you for your budget before they have asked you any other questions with regards to your goals and deadlines.

Ask the agency how they plan to understand your goals and research your target audience and KPI’s. Tell them what resources you have and ask what they will require going forward. If they can’t give you these answers or seem unclear, it is a sign that they may just be bluffing about their handicap.

“We can get you to number 1 on Google!”

Unless you are a billionaire that has contacted Google directly, this is not a promise that any decent agency will make you. No self-respecting agency will make you promises they can’t keep. Even the best golfer is never guaranteed a hole-in-one.

If you are looking for a vast improvement in your SEO rankings, I suggest you request examples and contactable references of clients they have worked with before. A good agency will have these readily available to you, before you have to ask.

Testimonial for WCB Agency

No client services agreement

The basic rule of all business negotiations is “Get it in writing!”

After your initial discussion of goals, branding and deadlines, you should receive a proposal along with a client services agreement. These documents should clearly state outputs, timelines and measurable ROI (Return On Investment).

Example of a project proposal

You should receive one of these

I recommend checking these points are included and defined:

  • An agreed timeline, regular meetings and a single point of contact.
  • An iron clad contract with clear deliverables (e.g. % increase in relevant leads over X amount of time).
  • When reports will be sent and what they will contain.
  • Detailed breakdown proposal on a month by month basis.

Pro Tips:

  • Request examples of content marketing, SMM and client contacts.
  • Get a clear idea of how they will drive traffic and or increase rankings.
  • Set up goals for your analytics that are linked to your business e.g. inquiries, purchases or sign-ups.

What makes a good agency?

Hiring an agency is a bit like hiring a golf caddy.

Let me explain…

When you’re playing an unfamiliar course, you hire a caddy that knows the course. You obviously want to hire a caddy that knows the course so he can pass the knowledge on to you.

Golf caddy pointing golfer in the right direction

Agencies, much like caddies, should point you in the right direction

Now, if you hire the wrong caddy, he will be handing you the wrong clubs, pointing you in the wrong direction and your golf game is going to go nowhere.

Hire the wrong agency and, similarly, your digital marketing campaign will be pointless.

The best way to find a good digital marketing agency is to Google “digital marketing agency (insert your town/area)”.

It makes sense that the agency with the highest ranking should be able to do the same for you, doesn’t it?

Pro Tip: Always log out, go to incognito, use google.com/ncr and then do your own rank check.

Unfortunately, like a good golf club:

“Good marketing isn’t cheap and cheap marketing isn’t good.”

A good agency may cost more, but the whole reason for hiring a marketing agency is to make you more money than you spend.

Nobody wants to hire a golf coach that won’t improve their game.

A good agency will provide regular updates without you having to ask for them.

If I were to hire an agency, I would expect regular mails along the lines of, “Just wanted to update you that we have …. and next we will …”

This would of course come with progress reports of how my digital marketing campaign is performing so that I can see where my money is going to.

Screenshot of Google analytics homepage

Use Google Analytics to track how well your digital marketing strategy is working

If there was no improvement in response, from week to week, then I would want to know what exactly I was paying out for. Wouldn’t you?

Do It Yourself Digital Marketing for Golf Professionals

Did you know that there are 352 points to a golf swing? You can’t think about all of them in one swing. It takes time to master each point.

Similarly, managing your own digital marketing campaign is a learning process that will take time and dedication.

Golfer taking a swing at sunset

Just like your golf swing, digital marketing takes practice

Communicating with your Target Audience

In practice, social media sites, along with search engines, are amongst the most popular sites on the Internet. I recommend starting by choosing which channel is best for your market.

While Facebook and Instagram are the top performing online platforms at the moment, they each cater to a different audience. Facebook has become more utilized by older generations, while Instagram caters very much to a millennial audience.

To effectively determine which channel will work for you, you must define your own target audience and demographics:

  • How old are they?
  • What are their interests?
  • Where do they live?
  • What is their income bracket?
  • All of these points will help you to fine tune the targeting process of your digital marketing campaign.

Example of a marketing persona

Creating personas for your audience is a great way to focus your efforts

Use your Own Social Network

Remember that success in social media is not so much about the different social networks and your tools, but your strategy for how to use them.

To apply them effectively for communications, we have to recognise that socialising online is all about participation in discussions and sharing of ideas and content.

All brands connect with their followers through consistent, aligned interests and you should never stray away from yours.

Decide what your values/causes/interests are, before you start posting anything to social media and then create yourself a content calendar (what content to post, when and where).

Example of a content calendar

Content calendars can help ensure your content stays on brand

Pro Tip: Posting the same type of content (eg: just pictures) can get boring. Make sure that you have a good balance of multimedia, links, informative blogs, events and other content to keep users engaged.

It’s all too easy to go straight to getting your business up and running on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter without thinking of what you want to achieve.

Don’t be tempted to rush straight into setting your business up on social networks until you have set or reviewed your goals, or you’ll find it difficult to measure any success that has been created for your brand.

The word “Strategy” suggests that you have a final goal in mind. Every post on social media should have an intention.

What do you want this post to do? Sell or promote a product? Raise awareness? Drive traffic to your site?

Every post on every platform should have purpose and be directly aimed at your target market.

Start thinking how you will use your digital marketing to reach your goals — as you write them, add the words ‘by’ or ‘through’ to help you think how you will achieve them.

For example, a retailer with offline stores will write:

“We will achieve increased and recurring sales through social media by offering value deals to existing customers through these channels and attracting new customers through value deals shared by existing customers.”

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Social Media Marketing is not as Hard as you Think

Each social media platform can serve a different purpose for the individual, business or organisation. You will find that for each brand, the platforms tend to attract different users and offer different features to engage them.

The tone of voice used and interactions are quite different too, so a ‘one-size fits all’ communication strategy for each platform is definitely not the way forward.

There are however, common procedures or protocols to managing the use of these platforms that need an agreed approach and also common tools to help communicate with your audience through each of these platforms:

Account Name – Should be your company name. Remains the same on all platforms.

Profile Pictures Your profile picture across all platforms should remain your logo. Never change this! Keeping this image constant will build trust and brand awareness.

Logos and usernames from Web Courses Bangkok's social media accounts

Keep things consistent

Look and Feel Maintain a constant brand image through all platforms.

Review Your Brand Personality And Set A Vision – Social media and content marketing provides many opportunities to make your brand more engaging and these have to be thought through. The whole personality of your brand may have to be revisited too.

Information The more detailed information you give about your company, the better. Users want to know exactly who they are dealing with. The more transparent you are, the more users will trust your brand.

Web Courses Bangkok details page Facebook

Provide as much information as possible

Posts Post with your target audience in mind. All posts should be relevant to them.

Example of a Web Courses Bangkok Instagram post

Always make your posts relevant to your audience

Overselling – Do not oversell yourself. Posting a “We are awesome” or “Buy from us” post every time you have the chance may build brand awareness, but you will lose brand trust and be known as a spammer or a shark. Nobody likes spammy posts, so we suggest using the 20% rule — only 1 out of 5 posts can be promoting your business. The rest need to be offering value to your followers and potential leads to draw them in and build credibility.

Multimedia – 80% of all your posts should contain some form of visual media. These posts are 40 times more likely to be liked/favourited/shared on social media platforms.

Market Research – Asking existing customers about their preferences for different social media platforms and how they’d like to see you using them is a great place to start with setting your objectives.

Example of a Facebook survey post

Surveys encourage engagement and can provide useful data

Competitor Analysis – Create a simple scorecard of how well your competitors are using social media so that you can benchmark them over time.

Review Social Media Capabilities And Priorities – Social media marketing isn’t new for most companies, they will already be using social media, but not necessarily to its fullest. Benchmarking where you are now against where you want to be in the future is key to future success.

Multi-Platform Marketing Cross-link your platforms for a loyal following.

Scheduling Use a social media dashboard, such as Hootsuite, to schedule your main posts throughout the week. This will save you hours of valuable time and make your social media management a whole lot more efficient.

Hootsuite homepage

Hootsuite offers a complete solution to managing your social media output

All in all, managing your digital marketing campaign is all about keeping your eye on the ball, knowing where you are going and carefully planning the steps to get there.

Even a scratch golfer playing with a blindfold is going to lose – you have to see where you are going!

What’s next?

The choice is yours, though I highly recommend hiring a caddy to help you learn the course, before you try and tackle it yourself. Check out this presentation written by yours truly.

If you are serious about managing your Digital Marketing as a Golf Professional, Web Courses Bangkok can offer you the skills you need. Take a look at our selection of online marketing courses, designed to take your digital marketing handicap from beginner to pro!


If you found this article helpful or have any questions regarding digital marketing, we would love to hear from you. Simply comment below or share across your own digital platforms to help others, just like you.

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