How We Helped a Private Golf Club Hit Their New Member Recruiting Goals Using Facebook Marketing & “Messenger Bots”
Here at Purelife Marketing, we LOVE golf. Our founder is a scratch golfer, and we understand the intricacies of private golf club Facebook marketing (along with Instagram and YouTube online marketing) as well as anyone.
But what’s really exciting about this case study is how well some new technology called “chatbots” worked to not only generate leads… but qualify them for Rob Mount, the membership director at Lake Valley Golf Club.
In one year’s time, we helped Lake Valley Golf Club:
- Bring in more leads than in any year over Rob’s previous 19 years
- Add 30% more new members than in 2017…
- Using only 1/3 of their prior ad budget…
- AND get every single prospective member to agree to a 30-minute tour BEFORE they played their free round.
The best part?
We eliminated the “freebie seekers” – you know, the ones who just come play a round of golf for the fun of it… and have no interest in considering joining your private golf club as a member. This saved their membership director (and the entire staff at the golf club) a lot of time and headaches.
The Goal: Consistently Acquire New Members with Paid Advertising (and Decrease Reliance on Referrals)
For private golf clubs, referrals are often the easiest and best way to get new members. The problem is they’re inconsistent.
So the goal for Lake Valley was to be able to consistently acquire new members through paid online advertising.
Our plan was simple:
- Generate new leads using Facebook marketing (and Instagram)
- Qualify leads as much as possible (so their membership director didn’t waste time on freebie seekers)
- Maximize the golf club’s ad budget and figure out – on average – how much it costs to acquire a new member using paid online marketing (when you know your customer acquisition cost you can allocate your budget better because you can better predict how many new members and leads you’ll get)
As a bonus, we wanted to increase awareness of the Lake Valley Private Golf Club in surrounding areas.
Here’s how we did it:
How We Generated Low-Cost Facebook Marketing Leads with Video Ads & Smart Audiences
When it comes to “ad creative”, video is king right now. If you’re going to pay for ads on Facebook and Instagram, you pretty much need to use video – images simply don’t work as well.
We started by using Lake Valley’s signature video:
It was beautifully produced, and does a great job of telling the story, laying out the benefits, and showcasing the private golf club.
We turned their 3 minute video into multiple 30-60 second video ads so that we could see which ad video worked best.
Then, and this is really important, we tested 3 different “audiences” in Facebook.
Audience #1: Local Golfers (people over 30 years old within a 12 mile radius with an “interest” in any of the top PGA golfers and big associations or magazines)
Audience #2: Retargeting Website Visitors (people who visited the Lake Valley website. You can “retarget” them with additional ads)
Audience #3: Lookalike Audience (Facebook is smart. If you upload your list of members to their audience creation tool, they’ll find “lookalikes” – aka people similar to them)
The takeaway for you and your private golf club?
Test different videos in your ad creative. And use these 3 “audience” types to get the most qualified and low-cost leads from Facebook marketing.
How We Qualified Leads & Eliminated “Freebie Seekers” with Messenger Marketing
“Freebie seekers” who have zero interest in joining your private golf club are a drain on your resources. Most of them will never have an interest in joining – and it’s actually better to not even have them come out to your club and waste your time than to “get the lead”.
That’s why we decided to try a new tool and strategy called “Messenger Marketing“. It’s one of the most powerful new ways to generate and qualify leads in online marketing, and it was an absolute game-changer for the Lake Valley Golf Club.
Think of Messenger Marketing like email, except in Facebook’s Messenger App.
Just like email, you can get “subscribers” in Messenger through paid advertising on Facebook or Instagram, popups on your website, and even through someone commenting on your Facebook post.
Once someone is subscribed, you can setup automated messaging sequences, and send out broadcast messages.
Now, here’s the really cool part.
Inside of your Messenger Marketing, you can setup a “Chatbot”.
Chatbots allow you to program in automated mini-conversations with people on your behalf. They can ask questions, and point users in a specific direction based on their answers.
Our Free Round “Weed Out” Sequence
Step 1: Prospective Golfer Clicks Your Facebook Ad
Step 2: Prospective Golfer “Subscribes” by Saying YES to Your Offer
Step 3: Tell The Golfer More About Your Club, Then QUALIFY Them
Track Your Success
With these components in place, we were able to bring high-quality, qualified leads for the membership director at Lake Valley Golf Club.
They went through our fully automated sequence and agreed to a 30-minute tour with the membership director before the round.
And if they had any questions or needed more information, they can ask them right in messenger. The membership director can “chat” with prospects, get their phone number, and communicate them with them on Messenger – with is a great platform for building trust and personal relationships.
Lastly, and most importantly, we could track the ROI of this online marketing campaign. Lake Valley’s membership director kept track of how many golfers:
- Came out for the free round
- Bought a membership package
With this data, at the end of the year we were able to divide our total advertising costs by the number of new members acquired to get our “customer acquisition cost”.
Now, moving into the next year, we can be even smarter with the budget, and bring in new members with consistency and confidence.
Your Next Steps
If your private golf club wants to be able to acquire new members with consistency, then you need to be able to spend money on advertising and predict how many members you’ll get.
Facebook marketing using the Messenger Marketing strategy described here is the best place to start. Facebook’s advertising platform is unrivalled when it comes to the ability to accurately target your ideal customers and get them to take action (and qualify themselves for your membership director).
Follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way to a successful Facebook marketing campaign for your private golf club.
And if you’d like some help implementing and managing this proven strategy, our team would love to talk to you.
Our mission here at Purelife Marketing is to double the size of 1,000 private golf clubs and yoga studios in the next 5 years, and we’ve put together a low-cost program to add this strategy to your marketing mix. It complements any other marketing you may be doing already, and gives you an easy way to advertise using the “highest leverage strategy” available and track results.
If you’d like to see for yourself how a “chatbot” works or chat with us about how we can help your private golf club grow with Facebook marketing, Instagram, YouTube and Messenger Marketing (chatbots), send us an email at email@example.com.
To Growing Golf,
CEO & Founder, Purelife Marketing