Post Date: Thursday, December 05, 2013, 12:00 PM
By Alyssa Montgomery and Amy Sand
This is article three of a five-part series on implementing Digital Marketing Essentials in the private club market. In article one we looked at how private clubs can effectively use social media to drive success, while article two covered the benefits of implementing a targeted email system to communicate with members.
As a club manager, you know that the key to increasing non-dues revenue is to consistently fill the dining rooms, ballrooms, and other facilities by selling out your events.
Fill your physical spaces to gain revenue.
Seems like a simple formula. But what needs to happen in order to fill the spaces in the first place?
You need to first capture the attention of members who are already involved at the club, and transform them into highly involved members who regularly book dining reservations, register for wine tastings, etc.
How do you achieve that goal using online communications? By effectively utilizing promotional space on your website and within your reservation confirmations.
In other words, fill your “digital spaces” in order to fill your physical spaces and gain revenue.
Doing so is a practice called cross-promotion: a form of marketing in which a company uses one of their high-traffic pages (e.g., online tee times page) and event confirmation and notification emails to market other events.
Cross-Promotion Helps You Convert Web Traffic into Member Awareness
By placing announcements and invitations into the promotional spaces on your website, you will create an impression on your members which increases awareness of your events, brand, services, etc. The more impressions you create, the more members who frequent your website will also participate frequently at your club, ultimately leading to an increase in member spend.
After a long day of work, perhaps you like to unwind on the couch with a popular sitcom. During a commercial break, the network devotes 30 seconds to promoting their new comedy series. This happens so often that you may not have noticed that the network is implementing a strategically planned marketing technique. This technique is known as, you guessed it: cross-promotion; and it allows you to capitalize on hidden revenue. The network executives thoughtfully chose this ad because they already know you’re a fan of comedy and their network; and most importantly, the advertising space is free. Your website (and all of its components) too, has free marketing space. Once you learn to identify these areas and the type of users viewing them, you will be able to take advantage of your web page real estate’s full potential.
Capitalize on your high traffic pages
Empty space exists on pages and emails already in use. You’re not trying to pull traffic to new areas, rather, you’re capitalizing on areas that already have a large viewership.
As mentioned earlier, there are two main areas in which to use cross-promotion: Emails and High Traffic Pages. Emails draw traffic to the website, while high traffic pages engage members and keep them coming back, time and time again. When members are engaged, they are more likely to participate and as a result increase their member spend.
Speaking of high traffic pages, if you’re wondering what areas drive the most traffic on average across our customer base, the top five are: tee times, dining reservations, court reservations, event registration, and online statements with payment.
Here is a more detailed description of how to incorporate cross-promotion into your existing communications.
Once you have an integrated and targeted email system in place, you will have the ability to open a variety of effective communication channels with your membership. There are two distinct kinds of emails that are most efficient in utilizing cross-promotion: Confirmation emails and Event notifications.
Leveraging Confirmation Emails
Everyone looks for and opens their confirmation emails. It takes the work out of remembering. It doesn’t require a login. It’s always waiting for you in your inbox.
So it’s no surprise that confirmation emails have the highest open rate of any type of email (up to 67%1). People re-open these emails over and over again. Every time they re-open the email, your brand is creating an impression. An impression is every single user experience with a brand, which includes views. Each time the end user opens their confirmation email, your brand is being reinforced (or impressed) into their mind.
When you send a confirmation email for an event, use the same banner in the email that you used to market the event on the website. The next time a member visits the site, they will see that banner again, and that information will be reinforced. Not only do you have multiple points of site entry, but your event is being reinforced over and over again. The more impressions you can make on someone’s mind, the more likely they are to think about, talk about, and promote it.
Because confirmation emails are viewed multiple times, it’s an excellent place to cross-promote other information you want to be seen.
• Add a “call to action” graphic at the bottom of the confirmation email. “Click here to register for the Wine for Nine" (Fig. 1).
• Through the tee time reservation system, create two different confirmation emails: one for members and one for their guests. Promote club amenities and membership specials in guest confirmation emails while promoting upcoming social events to members.
Taking Event Flyers to the Next Level
By now, you know that email is one of the easiest ways to engage members and draw traffic to your website. Emailing an event flier is a powerful way to market your next event; build on that momentum and cross-promote other events within the footer of that same email. Don’t forget to reuse the same event image from the website to reinforce your event branding.
• If your flyer is for the member-member golf tournament, those members may also be interested in National Mentoring Month Program (Fig. 2).
• Use similar copy and images to subconsciously connect the events.
High Traffic Pages
High traffic pages are those that experience the highest number of views. Like a billboard in Time Square, it only makes sense to cross-promote where there largest amount of people are.
There are three kinds of High Traffic Pages to look for when cross-promoting: Your private home page, transactional pages, and trendy/niche pages.
The Heart of your Site
When you consider your club, what is the image that comes to mind? What do you think of as the physical center? For most places, it’s the clubhouse. Here, members come to learn, to gather, and to have fun. Just like the clubhouse, the private home page is the first point of entry for members. It’s the page they think of when they think of your website. Private home pages exist the same way: it’s an interactive place that houses important information. (As an aside: Make sure you are directing traffic through your website - don’t let the tee sheet take away traffic to a third party system.)
With a reputation as the central electronic source of information and interaction, the private homepage will be one of your highest-trafficked pages.
To take advantage of this attribute you can:
• Create a clickable slideshow banner that’s front and center, and is one click away from the full news or event details (Fig. 3).
• Keep content fresh by rotating images on a daily basis. Creating an interactive and continuously updated experience is key.
• Utilize the Calendar and Article plugins to keep new marketing content fresh.
Members look for Two-way Streets
Members want to interact with your site, and the pages that they interact with the most frequently tend to be the ones that allow them to complete certain types of transactions (i.e., conveniently perform a service online which they’d otherwise perform in-person or over the phone). Such pages include online tee times, online dining reservations, online statements with payment, event registration flyers, online forms, etc.
If a member wants to join a committee, they will fill out a form. A member can share their information to reserve a tee time. Be sure to cross-promote on these pages to gain even more revenue.
To capitalize on this traffic, you can:
• Add a banner to the top of your online statement with payment page, or online calendar of reservable events, promoting your upcoming holiday extravaganza (Fig. 4).
• On your tee times page, add in a filtered calendar plugin that shows the next 10 golf tournaments at the club. Encourage members to “Click here to sign up now “ while there are still tee times available.
The Popular Pages
The world is a mystery. Trends can pop up fast and disappear even quicker than they appeared. Pages on your site experience the same ebb and flow in traffic. Regularly examine your site statistics to know what your most popular pages are at the current moment.
Check your site statistics to find high traffic pages:
• For example, your public wedding page may be drawing a high volume of prospective brides. Use a banner to market your club’s wedding fair (Fig. 5).
• Cross-promote classically in-demand activities with activities that are gaining popularity. Perhaps bocce ball is trending in your city. Promote the bocce ball group on your tennis page.
Thinking Beyond Revenue
Cross-promoting techniques are not only effective at increasing revenue, but can also assist in driving traffic to important information. Perhaps you have a dining survey you would like all your members to fill out. By adding a bold, clean banner to your private home page slideshow, the information will be hard to miss and thus hard to ignore. These techniques can be used for anything that requires a call to action.
Apply cross-promotion theories to boost efficiency for non-revenue items.
• At the bottom of an event email, have a link to the member profile in the directory. From here members can update contact information, interest areas or opt-in groups. All of these are important to keep up to date for better communication with each individual member.
• Update your global content area (usually located in your sidebar) to notify members it’s time to vote. Be sure to link back to the poll, survey or form.
Cross-promotion is an excellent, free tool that allows you to capitalize on hidden revenue. By identifying unused space and using it to market, you can expand your reach and increase membership sales or event registration. The full marketing potential of your site is out there waiting for you to break ground. Grab your shovel and start promoting!
As a senior interactive marketing & SEO consultant, Alyssa has used her 5+ years of industry experience and technical knowledge to propel her clients to the top of the club market.
As a marketing associate in the Digital Marketing Agency, Amy enjoys taking complex technical language and transforming it into clear, engaging information.
1Email Marketing Tips Blog. New Infographic: Best Day to Send Email 2013 (2013)