For most golf clubs, country clubs, athletic clubs, and social clubs, their website is the first point of primary contact with future members. For a lot of people, they are much more comfortable interacting with you electronically rather than phoning up your club and asking for an appropriate person to talk to. Not only is this convenient for potential members, but a website’s content can save you a lot of time.
Your club’s website is most likely the club’s number one sales and marketing tool for driving membership sales. Your “members section” of your website is equally important.
Here are some items that you should AVOID having on your club’s website:
There’s nothing worse than a website that’s completely out of date. If the most current entry in your list of events is weeks or months old, you’re sending a message that you don’t really care much about anyone who comes to the page. Or, if your blog hasn’t seen a new post for months, visitors start to wonder what happened to you.
Your restaurant’s menus and hours should either be up to date, or not displayed at all.
The contact information on your site must be clear and accurate. Links, email addresses, and phone numbers to your key contacts should be updated as soon as there are any personnel changes. If your contact information is wrong, people may choose to move along to another venue.
It is better to have less information, than wrong or outdated information.
OK, stock photography can serve a purpose. But don’t use photos that clearly look staged, and are clearly taken at a facility that clearly is not yours. Avoid using photos being used on your competitors websites.
Photos taken of your team or members at your club will paint a more realistic picture of the facilities and culture at your club.
Remember to take photos during the appropriate season. For golf courses, take a large number of photos when your club is looking its best. You can use these photos for your website, newsletters, and social media posts in the future. The same goes for outdoor dining facilities, skating rinks, curling rinks, or any other facility that is impacted by seasonal weather.
Don’t forget to snap a few photos of inside and outside events at your club. This could be members participating in activities, or photos of weddings or conferences at your club.
Criticizing other Clubs
This is a basic marketing principle. Don’t criticize your competition. This is not politics.
Instead of criticism, clearly point out the benefits and reasons why someone should join your club. If you are to use a competitors name for comparison purposes. Make a chart with a factual list of the pros (not cons) of each club.
Not Providing Clear Calls to Action
You have a beautiful website with amazing photos, videos, and compelling descriptions of your club’s amenities and activities. Now your potential customer wants to contact you. Calls to action buttons placed in the appropriate areas are more likely to be used than going to a “Contact Us” page and looking for the appropriate person to talk to.
There should be a clear call to action on your web pages. Under the “membership” area, have a button that says: “TAKE A TOUR OF OUR CLUB” or “RECEIVE OUR MEMBERSHIP PACKAGE”. These buttons will lead to brief forms that the user will fill out, and you will contact them shortly.
If you have event space to book out to the public for weddings, parties, meetings or tournaments, have a calls to action that will be directed towards your event coordinator.
Rainbow of Font Colours & Font Types
Colour has a strong psychological impact. Too many colours are confusing, and can make your website look like it was built for preschoolers or a circus. Be consistent to your brand. The colours that you use on your website should be the same as to what you would use in all of your internal and external marketing materials.
The fonts you use are equally important on your website. Try to be consistent with your brand. Use a limited number of fonts, as too many fonts look unprofessional. For header fonts, use one type of font, either serif or san-serif. And for the body text, use a complimentary font that is easy to read. Keep the use of ALL CAPS and the bolding of fonts to a minimum. Both can be difficult to read in large quantities.
The key areas of your website should be brief, and to the point. Make your web pages easily scannable. It is easy to use a users interest if they have to read too much on screen.
Try using bullet points when possible, and short paragraphs. If large quantities of text are needed for details or an expanded explanation is needed to describe your products or services, have a “more information” or “read more” link that will bring users to a separate page if they are interested.
Hi-Res and Too Many Images
Remember to optimize your photographs and images when you put them onto your website. Even with the higher bandwidth most people now have through their internet providers. Large images can dramatically slow down your website’s load speed, and hurt the viewers experience.
Having too many images can also be distracting and slow down the speed of webpages load times. If you have a large amount of photos to display, have them separated onto a “gallery” page.
Social Media Feeds
Every organization should consider using Social Media platforms. But you should not have the feeds on your website, but just links on your website to your social media platforms.
Social media feeds can slow down your page’s load speed and they can distract users from your viewing the key content and calls to action on your website. Embedded social media streams do not improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO).
Your website is your number one marketing tool. Don’t take it for granted!
Consider hiring a professional to design your website that is reflective of your brand. A professional can make a website that is attractive, user friendly, viewable across all platforms (computers, tablets, smart phones), and is easily updatable by you.