Grasping For ROI

– by John Hakim, 7-30-2014

A few days ago I got an e-mail from a client, they said they are considering pulling their $250 per month campaign because they are not seeing enough referring traffic from (a golf social network)…the first thing that came to mind was…here we go again…a golf course grasping for ROI…and thinking to myself…time to explain social media ROI and help a golf course market like its 2014 and not 2006. In all fairness, I know from working with golf courses for over 10 years, its always been difficult for most of them to understand the importance of their online presence, maintain and evaluate it correctly. But I love golf and marketing correctly is critical for golf courses so I enjoy helping them improve.

The first thing that needs to be understood about ROI in the year 2014 relating to social media is the bulk of conversion, that is having an online presence which is leading to sales, unfolds on the social platforms. Relinquish the notion that social media is best used as distribution for messages that send readers somewhere else…that’s e-mail marketing, not social marketing, golfers have a totally different mindset when using social media as opposed to reading e-mail. Social media is…wait for it…social. Its a media platform where people are not only looking for information that brings them value, they are looking to have authentic conversations about it. But, you might be thinking, how do I measure IF my conversations and positive perception of my golf course on these platforms are generating sales?

Recently I was asked, what is your favorite golf course, I said Wolf Creek, Mesquite Nevada. The reply was: “Is it as good as they say?”

Wolf Creek Golf Club has long been considered a bucket list golf course, but did you ever wonder how it became a bucket list golf course? If you think it’s because of the beautiful photos published in magazines, the awards these magazines have given it and mass media advertising, you would be partially correct, but only from an exposure standpoint. The dominant reason the golf course became a bucket list course is because golfers played it, loved it, and talked about it. In fact, if you really think about this, Wolf Creek Golf Club would have eventually become a bucket list golf course regardless of the print and mass media exposure. If Wolf Creek Golf Club opened today, it would not need any traditional media exposure, the only thing it would need to utilize is social media to help scale all the positive word-of-month.

So back to the question, how do I measure IF my conversations and positive perception of my golf course on these platforms are generating sales? You trust that business is driven by word-of-mouth, you understand that social media is word-of-mouth on steroids and not waste your time grasping for data that will never provide you true evidence. Next, you wisely choose what platforms to build your positive presence and conversations on. You select platforms where you know your core customers are making decisions about where to play and engaging each other. Then you go all-in, cultivating a community of golfers that are outspoken and willing to communicate positively about your golf course on these platforms. You waive goodbye to making e-mail open rates and referring website traffic your biggest ROI barometers, and primarily attribute ROI to how much positive word-of-mouth, in the right context, is being generated. As for measuring ROI? That’s easy, compare your quarterly sales reports to how large and positive your presence is on the social media platforms you’ve gone all-in on…you’ll be impressed with the insight and results.

John Hakim
– aka JohnnyGK
Co-Author: The Social Golf Course “Increasing Rounds with Social Media”

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