I am always out looking for new places to find great information to share. Recently I ran across the "IAMA" threads on Reddit. Reddit calls itself the front page of the internet and the "IAMA" threads are where folks post "I am a (insert what they are) - ask me anything" threads.
The one that caught my eye was one where the poster said he was going for broke with a few buddies opening their very own indoor mini golf facility. The post got over 180 comments and probably a high multiple of that in terms of views. Many of the posters even said they would come visit when he was open.
Considering the IAMA post is free, I put it on my list as a unique approach to getting some free exposure. More interestingly, many of the responses asked questions that seemed to help the original poster. I saw a couple things on trademarking questions, licensing and more that the poster indicated he hadn't considered and appreciated being raised.
If you are not familiar with Reddit, I would take some time to become familiar before jumping out with your first post. I've included a link to several golf related IAMA threads to help you get a feel for how these work. I would suggest learning how the subrettids (sections of Reddit of related topics) are organized so you can find the best one to post. You want to find the section most relevant to your post (I.e. golf or your town).
Folks reading these posts seem to want proof of legitimacy, so I see lots of photo's included to prove the authenticity of the poster. These are typically a picture of hand written note saying "reddit - IAMA" in front of something that demonstrates legitimacy of the poster.
67% Sales Increase with Justuno - Case Study
I know most of you are probably thinking email is dead and that social media is the way to go, but that thinking is wrong. Ignoring email as a way to connect with your customers is a perilous choice. Here are a few facts to consider:
Do I have your attention yet? Cultivating a robust email list is essential to driving traffic to your facility. What better time to collect email than when you have folks in your golf center. Make collecting email part of every conversation, ask for it at the time of payment, offer giveaways for business cards, collect it on your website in return for a coupon . . .you get the point.
One awesome tool I've used to help me collect nearly 1,000 emails and quadruple my Facebook likes is JustUno. The have an awesome set of case studies on how business are using their tools to increase subscribers, likes and followers:
Do you have any great ideas on how you get email? Have a reaction to the article? Please comment!!
I've been reading a lot about the business model canvas and it looks like a very interesting way to test a number of business models and ensure you've really thought about 9 aspects that can drive business success. If you are not familiar with the business model canvas found a great video series (6 short videos) that show you how to use the business model canvas. The video series “From Idea to Business” teaches entrepreneurs how to design and test business models that help their ideas have a better chance of succeeding.
If you've never seen a business model canvas, there are many version online, but here is a quick view of one:
The notion is that unlike a business plan, this is a living document that you test and change until you settle on the best model. A short description of each of the elements of the business model canvass:
Anyone do this and want to share theirs for feedback?
YNOT GOLF is a brand new golf center that just opened in Pittsburgh. They've got a great facility, fantastic simulator technology and a list of 85 courses you can play on huge 15x15 screens.
With Pittsburgh only averaging 60 days of sunshine a year the weather WILL NEVER be an excuse to put your clubs away because YNOT GOLF is open YEAR ROUND!
YNOT GOLF hosts leagues, charity and corporate events as well as different golf clinics. If you are in Pittsburgh, check out YNOT Golf.
Is golf getting so bad that it is driving people to drink? Are more establishments adding liquor sales to bolster their bottom line? What is your opinion? Share a comment.
About the Data
Everyone who reads this blog knows I am really into golf and data. I recently found a great data source called Enigma. It has tons of public data sets and cool tools for easy perusal. The graph above is from a liquor license database on their site filtered by company name including "Golf".
Other helpful links
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.
The Indoor Golf Player Preference Study
Yardstick Golf recently completed a survey of indoor golfers to understand their preferences and find out more about what might make their experience more enjoyable or more frequent. This paper shares what we found and how you might use the information.
The study is 5 pages covering how factors such as a player's handicap drive differences in how they think about indoor golf, how frequently they'll play, whether they'll recommend to a friend and more. The preferences study is free with your purchase.
Here is a quick insight from the research we're giving away for free: golfers rating beverage choice and quality as excellent at the facility they most visited spent 2x the average respondent in the survey. Might be time to revisit your beverage selection.
Get the Indoor Player Preference Study for free in June when you purchase our Indoor Golf Study and Start up model here http://www.yardstickgolf.com/winter
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.