Golf outings are a great way for golf courses to grow their annual revenue. They bring in large returns while providing more exposure for the course. Events and outings are also a prime opportunity to sell golf lessons, memberships, and items from the shop.
However, most golf facilities donâ€™t actively promote golf outings and events. While there are local businesses and charities that will seek out your golf course, there are many others that will not. By making an effort to bring golf outings to your course, you are essentially going after the â€ślow-hanging fruitâ€ť of the golf industry, as most facilities focus on individual tee time sales. The question is: how do you attract large groups to your golf course?
In recent weeks, Google has made quite a few changes to the appearance of their Maps results. While You may have noticed these changes when performing daily searches, you may not be aware of the impact it has had on golf courses and other local businesses. The question youâ€™re probably wanting to know is â€śHas the changes in Google Maps hurt or helped me?â€ť. The answer to that question may be different between golf facilities.
Before we dive deeper into how the new Maps look is affecting your course, let's take a look at the aesthetic differences. As you can see from the image below, the new Maps display has some obvious changes. When comparing new vs. old Maps displays, youâ€™ll notice:
Â· There is only 3 businesses listed in the new Maps and 7 in the old
Â· There are no phone numbers listed in the new Maps
Â· There is no link to Google+ in the new Maps
Â· New Maps does not include a full address
Â· New Maps displays images on the right-hand side
After reviewing the differences, most golf courses will be grouped into two categories: those that were hurt and those that were helped by the recent Maps display changes.
Who was hurt?
We can assume that most golf courses were hurt since these updates have been made. After all, with Google taking away 4 business listings in their Maps display, your golf facility is nearly 60% less likely to be shown during a search. If your golf course was displayed in the old version of Maps and is now nowhere to be found, I wouldnâ€™t be surprised if you notice a significant decrease in business in the near future.
Want to check to see if your golf facility is still appearing in Google Maps results? Navigate to www.google.com and search â€śGolf Courses in [YOUR_CITY]â€ť. If you still show up, take a big sigh of relief. If not, scroll down to see what you can do to fix this problem.
Who was helped?
Golf courses that have benefitted from the recent Map updates are the ones that still appear within the 3 displayed positions. These 3 businesses will have far less competition and will yield more traffic. Although these updates will hurt more golf facilities than they will help, 3 lucky courses will likely see a significant increase in traffic.
Note: Google Maps not displaying phone numbers or complete addresses in their results may have hurt your golf course, even if it still appears in the top 3 positions. Now, searchers have to take one more step to receive the information they need, which is never ideal.
If so many businesses are being hurt by these changes, why would Google do it?
The answer is a relatively simple oneâ€¦ More money for Google. Google is forcing local businesses to spend more on their ad network to compensate for their recent loss in exposure. The big G knows exactly what they are doing and, unfortunately, they do it very well. The world revolves around Google and they know youâ€™ll eventually be willing to pay them for your golf course to show up on their search engine.
What can you do to fix this problem?
Donâ€™t panic! If your golf course doesnâ€™t appear within the first 3 results of Google Maps anymore, there are two approaches to fixing the problem.
1. Local SEO â€“ The only way to combat Google without paying for ads is to utilize a strong local SEO program. Google uses a number of factors to consider what businesses will show up in the top 3 positions of Maps. By optimizing your website, having consistent NAP on online directories, and enhancing your Google My Business page, you can alter where your golf facility shows up in Maps results. The only downside to local SEO is that it can take a couple of months to get everything in order, but is well worth the effort in the end.
2. Use Google AdWords â€“ You may not like the idea of paying Google to show up on their search engine more prevalently. However, I am here to assure you that itâ€™s necessary, effective, and can be very profitable. In fact, our clients see a 352% ROI on average. See, itâ€™s not all that bad! Google AdWords is also instant, so no waiting around for organic results to improve.
While the recent changes to the Maps display may have thrown your facility for a loop, itâ€™s not the end of the world. Through Local SEO and Google AdWords, golf facilities have plenty of opportunity to enhance their online presence.
Marketing your golf course is a necessity. You probably knew that already. However, not every form of marketing was created equal, and there are SO many to choose from. Deciding how to spend your marketing budget can make or break your golf course's fiscal year. To better answer the question of what marketing channels work best for golf courses, we started compiling research.
Now more than ever, it is important to maximize the value from each and every customer that walks through your door. It is no longer sufficient just to sell tee times, without at least trying to upsell customers. Incentivizing your current customers to buy more is a great way to generate revenue that you may not have seen otherwise.
Why You Should Incentivize
Sometimes, customers just need a little help on how to spend their money. By incentivizing them with promotions, you can lead customers to make purchases they normally would have passed on. The end goal is to have customers play more and buy more on every visit. Don't give your customers a discount "just because", but reward customers for purchasing more and more often.
What Should You Offer?
Often, golf facilities are not sure on what incentives they should offer. There are many different types of promotions, all with their own effects. Every golf facility has different clientele, so being creative and tailoring to their needs is essential.