I continue to be dumbfounded as to why new businesses going in around my town so seldom put up a sign very early to say what the establishment is going to be. The ones that do put signs up create all sorts of buzz about coming to town, and many end up getting a big following and seem to do quite well.
When businesses do put up a sign, it's usually a tiny little sign that you have to get really close to read, or it only has a business name. It should be a big banner that is plain and easy to see with information on what your business will be. Why not? The cost is a drop in the bucket compared to the construction and your ongoing marketing costs. Everyone's eyes are drawn toward construction sites. Everyone's immediate question when they see construction is "Oh, I wonder what is going there". It becomes a conversation piece that people tell their friends about.
Granted, you might be so busy with so many things going on to open your store that you don't think about getting a sign up, but that would be a mistake. Get a big sign up early and get up a website - even if it is only a coming soon website. You can start collecting names for marketing use later. You can do something simple like give us your email and we'll send you a special grand opening invitation or offer. I've seen construction take many months to get some places open - this is very inexpensive advertising that creates anticipation for you to open.
One of the most important things you can do for your golf center is to develop strong and profitable local marketing strategies. There are countless ways to do this and I've reviewed a couple in previous posts about fun budgets and college partnerships.
Another way to develop traffic locally is to work with groups in your area. Quite often, many groups will need a place to meet or things to do with their members.
Research your area to determine which groups are the most active and have membership that is likely to be interested in golf. Once you find these groups, craft an offer that suits their needs. For instance, a business networking group might need space and a screen for projection and want to meet early. You can use these offers to tap into new customer groups and drive traffic at your store during a time when you are slow.
Here are a few ideas with thought starters on unique offers you could make to some of these groups:
Networking Groups – I mentioned these above. These are typically business people looking to meet others in their industry. They often need venues where they can meet before work to socialize and connect.
Senior Groups – This is often a group who has flexibility in the time of their outings, so you can focus here to drive traffic when you are slow, You may target very active senior groups with offers that either give free tips and pointers, or with ones that provide a meal. If you think about senior centers, you may want to offer transportation.
Kids Groups – I'm talking about groups such as the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and YMCA “Guides” groups. As a dad of several of these, I was often looking for new activities to entertain and educate the kids.
Civic Groups - By civic groups, I am referring to membership organizations that are active in the community. Offering your facility for a fundraiser will help get you free PR as these organizations publicize their event at your location.
Church Groups - This is often a very large group and can be a diverse bunch. Creating awareness with these groups is key.
Sales people offering a free seminar. . .you get the point. There are lots of potential groups to go after. Find those that work best for you.
Now it is just a matter of finding groups, seeing how many members, thinking about their needs and creating targeted offers for them. But where do you to find groups? You can use the list below as a starter – go to the various sites and add your geography to searches and see what your find:
· Yahoo groups
· Alumni associations
· Sports leagues
If you found this of interest, please share it with a friend.
Those of you who read my blog know I really like data and companies that do a good job pulling it together in informative ways. I ran across a new favorite today called SizeUp. In about 5 minutes of surfing their site, I found a quick way to identify potential opportunities for golf centers. They have data on businesses and population. Putting the two together, they identified the top 25 markets with over 100k in population with the lowest golf revenue per capita.
Obviously, I would do more research on the market before just jumping in, but this is a cool way to look at how one city compares to another for an industry and could help inform you in starting your next business. The widget doesn't show the whole picture on my site, so check out their page and try it out yourself. You can edit the orange text to change chart.
Could corporate fun budgets be an untapped source of potential customers for your indoor golf center? Wouldn't it be great to get a new stream of customers at a time when your play is likely at its lowest!
Fun budgets are quite often the core of the "mood and morale" efforts at your local businesses. They are used to show appreciation to employees, build team spirit and grow engagement. It seems ever corporate manager has read "1001 ways to reward employees" and has implemented some sort of budget process and team to improve morale in their team.
If approached correctly, this could be a great way to fill out your tee sheet during business hours and could lead to new customer introductions. You just need to find a way into the minds of the "fun event planners". Having worked at a number of companies that budget for team building and fun events, I thought I'd share a few ideas to help you out.
Start by creating a package that you think would work for a corporate outing and build materials to spread the word (webpage, fliers, in store signs, etc) . Captains Choice with a meal / beverage plan is probably the way to go since not all visitors will be experienced golfers. I've found that a $50 budget per person is an average fun budget. Build a list of the biggest local employers. Try to work your way in through a couple of avenues: