If you want your golf course to grow, something has to change.
I think of the story of Uber’s CEO, Travis Kalanick.
He built the company from scratch to $60B in value.
And then the shareholders turned on him.
They wanted him out.
He was causing all kinds of problems and they saw their investment getting flushed down the toilet.
So they hired a new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, and things steadied.
There is a difference in mindset between a CEO who is an innovator and a CEO who is a manager.
They are both leaders.
They are both responsible for the success of the company.
But 1 is an entrepreneur & 1 is a manager.
In the eMyth, Michael Gerber says there are 3 personalities in business…
The entrepreneur is responsible for ideas, strategy & defining the business. The technician is responsible for the hands-on work. The manager is responsible for bridging the 2 together.
Travis Kalanick is an entrepreneur.
Dara Khosrowshahi is a manager.
Which are you?
Do you love inventing?
Or do you love implementing?
Are you are a starter?
Or are you a finisher?
Knowing the difference makes all the difference.
Once you know which you are, then you can design the business around that.
If you love to go to conferences and learn new things and experiment, you are probably an entrepreneur… and you should find a way to get a manager to handle day to day operations.
If you love checking off boxes, working with the team & being organized, you are probably a manager… and you should find a way to get an entrepreneur to come up with ideas and innovate for you.
Once you are in your proper role, here is the common thread between companies that grow…
They are willing to spend more than their competition to acquire customers.
They are willing to sell products at a loss in order to build rapport… knowing that in a few months, they can sell a bigger package… and transcend their usual profit… and get referrals and testimonials and a good reputation.
Look at Google…
They provide Search, Gmail, YouTube, Google Maps, Google Flights & more, for free.
That is how they aggregate eyeballs.
Then they sell ads to you and me, to the tune of $100M+ per day.
So what if you build an app, software, content, etc that aggregates eyeballs and leads to more tee times & memberships?
If you are not willing to do some testing and you are not willing to go negative for a season in order to set your course up for generations of success… I would get out.
Either you are innovating or you are falling behind, there is no in between.
You don’t want unengaged people on your list.
You want engaged people on your list.
That is why you need to create a statement of value.
If you start in the very beginning with your mission in mind, then you can craft a statement of value that aligns your market to your mission.
What goal are you helping your market achieve?
Your products and services should be based around that.
Your content should be based around that.
Your ads should be based around that.
This saves you money on ads because less people will click. The ones who do click, will be more likely to engage socially, which tells Google and Facebook that you are a good business, which triggers a high quality/relevance score… which means you pay less for clicks.
It also makes your job of writing alot easier. Instead of asking “what should i write about today”… you ask “what question did my best customer ask yesterday” or “what complaint did my worst customer ask yesterday”.
This informs the content you create.
Which attracts customers you want and detracts the misfits.
Now you have content for Facebook, for articles, for emails, for newspapers, for business cards, etc.
But what happens when you take a lead and turn them into a prospect but they don’t buy your core offer?
What if they have been on your list a couple of months and bought nothing?
What if they have not even clicked on 1 link in any of your emails… or worse, haven’t even opened an email.
You have 2 options…
You could maintain a bucket list where all of your leads and prospects go who don’t engage with your brand.
It is possible that people will sign up for something today and then get “transferred” tomorrow.
So you want to give them the benefit of the doubt and still followup with them once a month.
But that’s it.
And they are moved to a different email software entirely.
If you use the same email service, you stay on the same server which means your overall health score is average, because that is what everyone else is doing.
But if you do this right, then you are no longer average.
Your engagement rates will be much better than average and the email service you use and the ISPs like Google, will like you.
Meanwhile, you move your unengaged people over to another email service and only send them a blast once a month so you don’t get kicked off that network.
You don’t want to send them gifts, you don’t want to convince them of anything & you don’t want them to hurt your list hygiene health score.
Email softwares keep track of your engagement rates.
They know how many complaints you have, how many unsubscribes you have, what your open rates are, what your click rates are & how you compare to everyone else.
If they get too many complaints, they get blacklisted by the ISPs like Gmail, Yahoo & the other email account providers.
Which means your emails don’t go thru.
Which means your best customers stop getting your emails.
You don’t want un-engaged people on your list.
You want to focus on that single best customer.
You want to write all of your copy to that 1 person.
Everyone who is interested, keep em.
Everyone who is not, drop em.
Lots of fish in the sea.
This is a BIG opportunity…
Your competition is likely not doing this…
Most marketers believe that sending an email every day is too much.
I believe it’s just right.
Here is why…
Do you have a favorite radio show?
Do you WANT to listen to it?
Or do they make you?
You want to… and the reason is because the host aggregates information that is interesting to you.
It helps you in some way.
So you choose to tune in every day.
Couldn’t you be the radio show host to your list?
Couldn’t you create content (or have it created) that educates, inspires & entertains your audience.
Just by simply being that person they respect will be a big difference for your business.
And it doesn’t have to be you, but it does have to be the “face” of the brand.
You ask yourself what your ideal customer finds compelling and then you create it.
Then you send it.
Then you repeat.
Until you have identified a couple handfuls of content that are compelling to your audience and profitable to you.
These pieces of content can and should help you generate prospects, sell more & sell more often.
If you are the guy that they look forward to hearing from, all of your emails (or at least ALOT more than your competitors) will get read. And when you have 1,000 people tuned into your emails and you want to run an event promo, what do you think the chances of filling the event will be?… pretty good… and sending that email broadcast is free.
The reason why we fall in love with the brands that we frequent is because of their service.
They serve us.
Products are a part of the service, but helping us achieve our goals is their goal.
Look at Apple…
They started with the Macintosh & the market fell in love with it’s design & functionality.
It was easier to use and more colorful than PC.
They eventually invented the iPod.
And then the MacBook.
And then the iPhone.
And then the iPad.
They kept innovating, because they were listening to their market.
They kept growing, because they were serving their market well.
In order to replicate them, you have to think first about your “hyper-avatar“.
Who is your ideal customer?
What are their specific wants & needs?
It may take a lot or it may take a little… but get it to them… and before your competitor does.
That is what is going to inspire your competitors customers, to make the move over to you.
Whoever is giving them what they want & need is going to win their business.
The good news is you can start off in a lower risk, lower cost environment than Apple, by using database segmentation.
Say you have a list of 5,000 prospects…
Create content that will get them to raise their hands.
Say 500 of them are interested in putting.
500 of them are interested in dining.
500 of them are interested in tournaments.
You don’t have to create new products like Apple did, you can simply identify their interests.
Once you know that, you can talk more about what they are interested in.
You may have 10 new articles to create, but you don’t have an iPod to create and an iPhone and a MacBook, etc.
You just have to talk to them about things they are interested in and the conversation naturally flows to the purchase of your core offer… and away from talking about your competition.
A prospect is a ‘prospect’ive buyer.
A lead is evidence that a person could become a prospective buyer.
Like in detective work…
The police chief calls for the community to report any leads.
It is an indicator, a hint, a clue.
It’s like the first time you met your wife.
She may have smiled, she may have given you a firm handshake, she may have agreed to eat your cookie… but she did something that made you feel good… like Jim Carey in Dumb & Dumber… “So you’re telling me there’s a chance!”.
She gave you a sign that she is interested, but has not SAID the words.
She is in the “lead” status of your dating CRM. She is leading you on. In a good way. Because she wants to move forward with you but is not fully convinced yet.
As soon as you feel comfortable asking her for a date AND she says yes AND she shows up AND you both liked how it went… now she goes into your “prospect” status of your dating CRM.
She is a prospective wife.
But she was never a lead.
Her friend that told you about her, gave you a lead, not her.
A prospect is a person.
A lead is data… it’s intel… it’s a long-shot… but a good enough possibility to spend more effort on.
If you get a batch of email addresses, mailing addresses, phone numbers, etc…. those are leads/data.
If you take those leads and convert them into subscribers or buyers, they are now a prospect… because they said they are. They have raised their hand and said “I am interested”.
I use the word “buyer” on purpose.
They are not yet a customer.
They bought your pitch.
But they are still testing you.
You offered them a bucket of balls for $1, they are a buyer. They are a highly qualified prospect, but still a prospect… not a customer.
A customer is a person who bought your core offer.
The core offer is the purpose of your business.
You sell a tee time because the market wants to spend time outdoors or because they like exercise or because they like the challenge, etc… that is the value you add to your market. You enable to relieve stress, etc… your core offer is vehicle to that stress relief… and you are the provider.
Now let’s say that they downloaded your specific lead magnet, bought your specific low-commitment offer AND bought your core offer, they are a customer.
These are the people you want to spend time with personally… at outings, barbecues, 19th hole, etc.
You want to throw a “customer” appreciation party.
Not a “prospect” appreciation party.
And definitely not a “lead” appreciation party.
Let’s say you have a “stress relief” package.
It’s a 1 year program.
You sell them a season-long league designed to get their minds off the stresses of life.
It also includes a weekly massage (say your friend is a masseuse) and a daily exercise program (say your friend is TPI certified).
They are taking care of themselves physically, relationally & emotionally.
That is worth ALOT of money.
And a package like that is expensive.
But what if you only charged them half of what it was worth?
What if your masseuse & personal trainer friends wanted more customers and were willing to work out a deal.
And what if it was a non-prime time slot?
You could create the package however you want, but the point is, they are paying for stress relief more than for golf.
And since they think “wow! this is a good deal!”… doesn’t that meant that you are ADDING value to their lives?
That should be the point of all your products, to help your customers achieve a goal or solve a problem.
So the more you sell, the more value you add to their lives.
The last thing you want is a database full of generic prospects.
This causes all kinds of problems…
So you want to segment your list.
You want them to get off the fence.
You want them to raise their hand and say “i am interested in this” and “i am not interested in this”.
How do you do this?
Lead magnets are the main strategy but this is what you do after you get the lead…
You use deadlines & scarcity to sell low-commitment offers.
There is a wrong, unethical way to do this, but let me show you the right way…
You design promotions around it.
I would not suggest doing this ALOT, but it should be an important part of your arsenal.
Here is a real world example…
Disney puts their movies into the “Disney Vault“.
Disney movies are sold on limited release. You can’t buy a Disney movie at any given time (historically speaking, now you can get them used on Amazon). They offer it for sale and tell you that it will go back into the vault if you don’t buy it by a certain deadline.
This causes us to get off the fence.
We can do the same thing.
We offer a product or service and attach a deadline to it…
“This package deal is for this weekend only”
There are a million things you could try.
But the purpose is MORE to segment your list then it is to make a profit.
The purpose is to make them decide.
Do they decide to buy? Great!!! This person goes on this list/segment.
If they decide not to buy, they stay on the generic list until you can get them to raise their hand and “tell you” what they are interested in.
When prospects decide to buy, they are:
Your prospects must be ready right now, they must be willing/interested in your offer & they must be able/have the money, time, etc.
So do not assume that your prospects are ready, willing AND able, all at the same time.
Assume that they are willing & able.
You assume they are willing to buy because they opted in to your email list.
You assume they are able to buy because everyone knows golf requires money.
But the unknown is readiness.
Is the timing good? Will they get distracted? Do they have a better offer somewhere else right now?
There are lots of reasons why they may not be ready right now.
But this definitely does not mean they will not be ready tomorrow, next month, next year.
So all you care to know is, what are they interested in… and you can only know that by their behaviors.
What do they buy… what do they click on… what do they watch… what do they say “no” to.
By using techniques to get them off the fence, you have a better quality list.
Imagine going into your email system and seeing 100 segments.
You think to yourself “10% of them are going to LOVE this promo & I bet these 10% will at least like it… but these segments, no, they will really get upset by this”.
So you send an email blast to promote a new offer only to the most relevant prospects.
Then a few hours later, another idea hits you.
It’s totally different.
The group that you just blasted will hate this offer.
So you select the other side of the aisle and send a totally different pitch to a totally different segment.
In both cases, you won.
In both cases, your customers won.
What if you would have sent both promos to both groups?
EVERYONE would have gotten mad.
And you would assume that email marketing doesn’t work… and miss out on a lot of profit.
Now, you can do this every day. You can take 10 segments (let’s say) and ask yourself each day… how can i serve this segment today?
Then the next day, how can I serve this segment?
And you keep doing that for the rest of your career.
After you have sent a “Welcome” email to a new subscriber, what should you do next?
Send them a content-based email the next day.
In the welcome email, you introduced your brand to them, which includes telling them what to expect, which includes suggesting how often you plan to email them.
So I would make a subtle reference to this 2nd email.
You could say something like… “We love to help so we will be sending content to you in the near future”.
Then they get the 2nd email 24 hours later and the content is so good that they are captivated by it & WANT to get more emails from you.
If you deliver average content, you will get average interest.
So you MUST send compelling content… the kind of content that gets you on the edge of your seat… usually a “story” is compelling.
It could be humorous, it could be educational or it could inspiring.
It doesn’t have to be your content, it could be a TED talk, a golf show video, a piece of news or something that you just know will improve their life.
The reason it does not have to be YOUR content is because you are only trying to build rapport, with your brand.
Content that you or your team creates builds authority… which is ideal… but not necessary.
All you want to to do is get the relationship off on the right foot.
Do you want to be Matt Kuchar? Or do you want to be The Shark?
They both are successful, but they have very different personalities, goals, etc.
You want to envision your hyper-avatar and you want to build rapport in these first few emails.
Why do i say “few”?
Because your next email should also be content based.
Just 3 solid days of warming them up to your brand & delivering more value then expected.
If you can find an hour or two to brainstorm (hopefully with your team), your business would benefit from thinking this through before implementation.
Come up with 100 ideas of compelling content.
If you can narrow it down to just the top 2 and send 1 on day 2 and the other on day 3, you will be in good rapport with your audience & this bit of work + automation technology means that you will have a list full of prospects that like & trust you for years to comes. And you may be using this same sequence years from now.
Day 1 – Welcome Email to introduce your brand & make a good first impression
Day 2 – Your BEST piece of content that you recommend they check out (which is very compelling to your hyper-avatar)
Day 3 – Your 2nd best piece of content that you recommend they check out (which is very compelling to your hyper-avatar)
Now set a plan for the next decade.
How often will you email them over the next decade?
Put a repeated event in your calendar with a notification to remind you to send an email out.
You don’t want to outsource this part.
You are the leader.
You don’t have to be the face of the company, but you do have to be the leader.
You don’t have to create the content, but you have to make sure the content goes out as promised to your list.
And if you don’t do this, your competition will.
The best way to write an email that introduces your brand is to model the “dress to impress” method of socializing.
When you go out to a party, you wear nice clothes, do your hair, wear cologne & prepare some funny lines, questions & stories that help you make a good first impression.
You don’t know who you will meet, so you want to be prepared for that golden opportunity.
Same with email.
You don’t know who is reading it… it could be your dream customer who refers you to 10 more dream customers.
And this is their first exposure to your brand… assuming you are targeting cold traffic.
You want to write from the heart.
You want to give them your best.
This is not a formal conversation… and this is definitely not corporate speak… you want the email to come from YOU or another human on your team… not “support”, “management”, “_____ golf course”, etc.
You want to treat them like a new acquaintance that you would like to build a long-term relationship with.
It requires professionalism, but it also requires personality.
What is the personality of your team?
Funny? Helpful? Organized? Competitive? Laid back? Sophisticated? Kind? Wealthy? Healthy? Humble?
Use that to your advantage.
Let your team know that you want to double down on that personality.
It does not mean you have to ignore the other personality types, it just means that there is 1 over-riding characteristic of your course that attracts those kinds of people.
All of your marketing should reflect this personality.
And email is your most intimate form of marketing at scale.
People who trust you give you their email.
And they check their email several times a day.
So they will be seeing your emails.
And if you do a good job, starting with this first impression, they will want to read the 2nd one… and if the 2nd one is just as entertaining, they will want to read the 3rd one… and so on.
The purpose of the welcome email is to welcome them.
How does Disney welcome?
How does Chik Fil A welcome?
How does Panda Express welcome?
Model a business you admire.
And convert their “real life” welcome to email.
I suggest you write 3 welcome emails, actually. Here is an article on how.
You don’t want to take up all their time on the 1st email… so break your story up into 3.
You can sell, but only if it is very natural & appropriate. I would shy away from it. I would rather point them to resources that are even more entertaining on your blog, Facebook page, YouTube channel, etc…. which THEN lead to an offer.
Just keep it market-centric.
Email marketing averages a 4,000% ROI.
For every dollar spent, the average marketer gets $40 back per year. source: Lyfe Marketing
The next best is SEO at 22 to 1.
This is a good use of your time.
The challenge is… who has time to write all those emails, let alone learn the technical side like timing, segmentation, hygiene, etc.?
My goal in this article is to encourage you… and to inspire you to do this right away.
First off, you need to know, it’s not as hard as it seems… if you follow my plan.
Second off, it is actually MORE profitable then mentioned above… the statement above talks about “average” ROI… you are not average, you are a local business owner who cares about your customers & has the ability to speak into their lives because of your years of conversations with them & your team.
So writing is going to be easier then you think.
The tech part is a little more challenging, but I have a shortcut for you.
Here is the plan…
Start off with your hyper-avatar in mind.
Write 3 emails.
The first email talks about a dream, goal, vision or something positive.
The second email talks about stats, numbers or something analytical.
The third email talks about pain, news or something negative.
All 3 emails link to your sales letter.
All 3 emails are content based; they are all helpful in some way.
And they all naturally transition into the sales letter.
The reason you want to select these topics is because you want to see what motivates them.
And then you want to segment them.
Each contact gets a “tag” in your email system.
If they clicked the link to your sales letter from the first email, they are motivated by “gain”. You should send them more emails that talk about winning, shooting lower scores & adding yards.
If they clicked the link to your sales letter from the second email, they are motivated by “logic”. You should send them more emails that talk about PGA Tour stats, fantasy golf & golf hacks.
If they clicked the link to your sales letter from the third email, they are motivated by “fear”. You should send them more emails that talk about missing out on the celebrity golfer who just played at your course, caution on the 13th hole & what to do when you have had too many drinks.
These are natural conversations for them.
And when you have that 1 guidance system for yourself, it makes your job of writing much easier.
And the reason you start off with just 3 emails is because it is totally doable.
You can spend the next 30 minutes and write all 3.
Then you can google “how to build an email sequence in _____(the name of your email software)”.
And a few hours from now, your first batch of emails will be in your prospects/customers inbox.
And if they are content based, you are not going to offend anyone.
And if half of your list unsubscribes, who cares?
You are going to lose 75% if you wait til next year.
You have a great little goldmine sitting there.
If you have 5,000 prospects & customers and 2,500 of them are interested in getting content from you… you have a HUGE advantage over someone who is starting from scratch.
Think about that….
If it normally costs you $10 to generate a lead, you have $25,000 worth of leads, right now.
This means, you can make money right now.
Yes, you will lose alot of them.
But if you don’t do this, you will lose all of them.
And here is the best part…
Say you make $1,000 from these 3 emails…
Use that to hire an email marketer.
Now you have an expert for free.
And now you can create another campaign like this… but instead of $1,000, the email expert helps you turn $2,000.
So now you hire him or her again with twice the budget… which means you make twice the coin… which means you can double the budget again… until you have an optimized email machine that generates sales on autopilot & sends the best leads to your sales team to upsell high ticket items… which means you have more money for leads… which means you make more sales… which means you have more money for automation… which means you have more time for your family.
And the virtuous cycle to heaven continues.