I was lucky to get involved in web activities early. I built my first site in 1994 — the dinosaur era in web terms. It was an eight-page electronic brochure for Martial Arts America that cost me $10,000. I had no clue what I was doing or what the Internet would become, I just thought it was cool!
The site was getting huge traffic — 30,000 visitors a month — not because we were doing anything to promote it but because there really weren’t that many sites to visit! I took NO advantage whatsoever of this traffic. I didn’t capture visitors’ names, I had no booking engine, and I didn’t have a shopping cart. Nor did I change the content to get people to come back. Therefore I provided one-time information to hundreds of thousands of people without making a dime in actual cash or finding out who these people really were!
Sadly, even today, this is how the majority of websites still operate because business owners, CEOs, and even marketing managers don’t understand what the true purpose of their websites should be! Your website should be the absolute foundation of all your marketing activities, the command-and-control center of everything you do in the name of marketing. Every campaign whether online or offline should be built around your website and be aimed at driving prospects and customers to your website to capture their interest in a product or service you offer and report in detail on how they got there!
Think About Your Website…
- It is the only employee you have who never calls in sick. It books business, sells products, and answers questions 24 hours a day.
- It’s the only marketing you have that can send instant and personalized responses to prospective customers at 3 am on a Sunday morning by using pre-programmed autoresponders and follow-up letters.
- It’s the only marketing you have that can collect detailed information on prospects while you sleep by using dynamic request forms.
- It’s the only marketing you can do that incrementally lowers your future marketing costs with almost every visit to your website.
There is no more important marketing tool at your business than your website. Yet most businesses, even large ones, are content to trade style for substance rather than make the commitment to building world-class websites with back-end tools that increase business faster than the national debt. Even where businesses have made substantial investments with ad agencies or web design companies, they almost always miss the mark. While these vendors understand the technology and design aspects, they DO NOT understand the marketing aspects of a truly great website.
Anyone over 12 years old can design a good-looking website in about 4 hours! And don’t let anyone fool you, any decent web team can duplicate the look and feel of any website in the world you happen to like, in about 8 hours. The design is the easy part of the web business, the part anyone can do! (However, a great many designs are counterproductive to using your site to get a response.) It’s the capability to collect data on the front end and the functionality to respond and report on the back end that REALLY count!
Your website cannot just be pretty, it has to be a golf marketing machine with a sophisticated back-end to be an effective tool; 98% are not! Make your website the foundation of your entire marketing plan. Everything from capturing leads to reporting on ads should revolve around your website!
Why Your Current Website Isn’t Making You Any Money!
Almost certainly your website is not nearly as good as it should be and it doesn’t matter how much you spent on it — $100,000 websites are likely to be just as poor at generating business as $500 websites. As astonishing as this may sound, I have seen it time and time again.
But you be the judge of your site…
Take This Quick Test to Find Out How Effective Your Website Is Where It Matters
- Do you have at least five different ways to collect prospect data (LEADS) on your site? He with the biggest and best database wins!
- Where are you In search engines under “your town and golf?” Not on page one? Then you don’t exist.
- Can you make changes to your site or do an email blast yourself if you happen to have a brilliant idea at 2 am — without calling anyone and without any computer experience necessary? Speed is a strategy!
- Can you pre-program your marketing calendar into your site so it automatically contacts your customers with timely updates on everything your business offers, driving up incremental revenue in every area?
- Can your site send A/B email offers to a small sampling of your database to see which works best and then automatically send the winning offer to everyone?
- Does each and every page of your site have great headlines, compelling copy, a complete sales pitch, testimonials, and a call for action?
- Can your prospects make DETAILED requests at your site and can you pre-program your site with customized sales letters to automatically follow up with all requests, based on the prospects’ specific interests?
- Does your site update itself with new content automatically each month so there are always fresh articles — how-to items, ideas, and humor to read, appropriately customized for your customers? Are you the KING of content in your market?
- Do you have great reporting? You need easy to read reporting to stay on top of your web traffic and email open rates; it’s important.
- Are all of your leads automatically added to a Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) program so you can track and measure your ongoing sales activities and opportunities? In this economy, you can simply not afford to let valuable leads slip through the cracks.
If you answered “No” to more than two of these questions, you do not have a marketing machine — you have a typically average golf website — one that’s little more than an electronic billboard. It looks pretty, but does little to help you increase your teaching business!
Why Your Current Web Strategy Is Almost Certainly Wrong & Costing You Thousands in Lost Revenue!
Ask a number of people what the most important function of their company’s website is and you are liable to hear a good many answers about providing information, selling goods, and increasing business. Rarely, if ever, will you hear the answer that I consider paramount to online success.
The number one purpose of a website should be to generate qualified leads. If you focus all your efforts on that, everything else will fall into place. But if you focus only on selling, you may run out of prospects! Every single bit of marketing you do should focus on driving people to your website to register and answer questions about their habits, wants, and needs.
Rapidly Building Your Prospect Database
Do you buy lotto tickets or enter contests? Lots of people do although I rarely do myself. How about discounts — will you register on a website to get one? Perhaps you would not respond to any of these methods — but what if you got an incentive like a free hotel room or a cabin upgrade?
The fact of the matter is, different people, respond to different options. I personally like getting information on products and services I happen to be interested in. For this, I will gladly part with my information. Other people have little interest in downloading brochures or white papers but will register to watch a video or online demo. Still, others will opt for VIP clubs, discounts, or loyalty-type programs.
Basically, you can group people into six categories…
- Contest People
- Club People
- Discount People
- Incentive people
- Information people, and
- Crossovers (those who respond to multiple types of offers)
Building Your Database
The six most successful techniques for building a database are…
- Make customers and prospects register online for any special offer or coupon to be validated. For example, you can offer a 15% discount on their next lesson if customers register online and answer a few questions about their wants, needs, and preferences. This, of course, provides you with a great deal of useful data for your future marketing efforts!
- Run monthly promos with great prizes and publicize that someone actually won! “Win a Free Lesson at XYZ Golf Club”, “Win a Free Club Fitting” or “Win a $500 Gift Certificate”, and so on.
- Offer something of value free in return for their information. You could offer a free introductory lesson or swing evaluation (we’ll show you how to convert this type of lead into a paying customer later in the Sales Section.
Use online booking engines, surveys, and shopping carts to collect data. This is a really painless way to get data.
- Ask customers in person to fill in a card and provide a spiff for doing so — Free Coffee, Free Lunch, Free Souvenir Booklet, and so forth.
- Last, and very often one of the best, use FREE downloads of information: Booklets, Stories, Tips, Jokes, etc. For example, at the Mark Wood Golf Academy, we offer visitors a free booklet with “5 Drills to Stop Your Slice.”
SIX different ways to collect prospect data, easy to navigate, nice slideshow and news features.
Since different people respond to different methods, you must use ALL methods at your disposal to collect data from your website. That means employing six different ways of collecting information, not the one or two you find on most websites!
All The Best,