Golf courses typically stick to the same routine when it comes to marketing themselves; send out an email and post to Facebook. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with this, we encourage a more strategic approach. In a perfect world, you’ll want to adjust your marketing strategy depending on if the targeted users are a warm or cold audience.
Defining Warm and Cold Audiences
The primary difference between warm and cold audiences is whether or not the targeted users are familiar with your brand, products, or services. The temperature of an audience can range significantly based on exactly how familiar they are with your business. Here are examples of audience temperatures ranging from ice-cold to red-hot:
Ice Cold – Targeted users have never heard of the business, don’t know what it offers, isn’t likely to make a purchase.
Cold – Targeted users may have heard of the business but aren’t familiar with the rest of the details. Likely not “in the market” at this time.
Cool – Targeted users have heard of the business, know what it offers, but hasn’t made a purchase.
Warm – Targeted users have purchased something from your business in the past, even if the purchase was years ago.
Heating up – Targeted users have expressed explicit interest in your business and it’s offerings, and have made a purchase in recent months.
Red Hot – These people know you and your business well, are interested in any updates and are very likely to purchase additional products/services that you might be offering.
Marketing Approach for Differing Audience Temperatures
As you can see, audience temperature isn’t necessarily a black and white topic. While we’re using “Warm” and “Cold” for simplicity, the degree of each of these can vary quite a bit, potentially having an impact on your marketing decisions towards them. For example, if you’re the goal is to get new customers to your golf course, you wouldn’t send an email blast out to customers in your POS system. Instead, you might push a tee time special with Facebook Ads or target local users searching for “golf courses near me” on Google. Whereas, if your goal is to get more tournament participants, an email blast to your POS database will likely provide the best performance.
While the same marketing strategy doesn’t fit every audience type, it doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, determining the right marketing approach for each audience type is entirely based on logic.
When and How to Target Cold/Cool Audiences
Cold audiences are, generally speaking, the most difficult and costly to convert into paying customers. This is due to two things. 1.) There is a degree of brand recognition and education has to take place before the users feel comfortable making a purchase and 2.) to reach these users businesses must rely upon paid-marketing efforts, like running advertisements of some kind. However, the one major benefit to Cold audiences is the potential to generate NEW business. Everyone wants new customers and they are crucial for the long-term growth of any business.
Since you aren’t likely to possess the contact data for cold audiences (unless you purchase it), advertising platforms like Facebook Ads and Google Ads tend to be the best performers when it comes to new customer acquisition. There are certainly other marketing channels like radio, print, and television, but these come with a heftier price tag and longer commitments.
Comfortable marketing efforts like email campaigns and organic Facebook posting will have minimal impact on cold audiences, barring a viral response of some kind that has your current customers sharing your message with others who are not customers.
When and How to Target Warm/Hot Audiences
Warmer audiences are cheaper to target and respond at a much higher rate than colder audiences. Marketing to warmer audiences is also less complicated because the users are already defined (current customers), which is why small businesses tend to gravitate towards targeting them via email and social.
Marketing toward warm and hot audiences is also perceived by small businesses as being more effective because the ratio of work to ROI is generally higher when compared to cold audience marketing. This is somewhat of a misapprehension, as the Customer Lifetime Value of targeting colder audiences can have a much larger impact on future revenues. That being said, short-term gains are easily had by targeting current customers that are likely to have a strong interest in upsell offerings like your lunch & golf special, pro shop sale, upcoming tournament, or instruction packages. Warm audiences are primed with the opportunity to extract more revenue from each customer.
In addition to email marketing and social media posts, there is also the opportunity of leveraging a Remarketing (aka Retargeting) campaign to get the attention of your current customer base. Remarketing is when you re-engage a customer or website visitor based on an action they have taken in the recent past. The customer action could be visiting a certain page on your website, participating in a recent event at your facility, or buying a gift card in years past.
Remarketing can come in different forms. The most familiar is a banner ad that follows the tagged customers on websites that they frequent. This includes websites like ESPN, local media outlets, YouTube, and millions of others. Remarketing can also be done with Facebook Ads via what is called a ‘Custom Audience’. You will have to set up a Facebook Pixel or upload your customer data as a Custom Audience in order to this. There are also more sophisticated forms of Remarketing that allow you to email a customer after they’ve visited your website, even if you didn’t catch their name or email. Remarketing is another great touchpoint that can help catch the attention of customers that never open your emails or follow you on social media. One downside to Remarketing is that it is a paid form of marketing that, while far less than other types of advertising, is an additional expense. It can also be a little daunting to initially set up if it’s your first time, but not to worry, the team at 121 is happy to help!
Spread the Love
While it’s easy to fall into the rut of only targeting current customers (warm audiences), it’s necessary to include marketing efforts that will accelerate new customer acquisition as well. Take a look at your short-term and long-term goals and allocate your marketing efforts and budget accordingly. If your goals include increasing membership, generating rounds from new customers, selling more weddings or getting more patrons to your restaurant, spend some time and money on colder audiences. If you’re trying to fill your golf clinics, promote an upcoming tournament, or get more return rounds, give your warm audiences more attention. At the end of the day, understanding the difference between these classifications will help you improve the effectiveness of your facility’s marketing efforts.