Advancing Associations

Maintaining Client Engagement Virtually6 min read

Tom BentleyAuthor: Tom Bentley


Posted on: 31st Mar 2020

In just a matter of a few weeks, the world has changed dramatically before our very eyes. The current pandemic surrounding the COVID-19 crisis has, quite rightly, hit the pause button on society as we know it, with no accurate inclination as to how long for.

Despite the obvious and well-documented challenges this has posed to industries, in particular golf, PGA Professionals have adapted to an incredibly difficult situation admirably. You only have to spend a few minutes on social media to see their drive and determination across the world to maintain both their golf games and enthusiasm, conducted under a cloud of doubt and uncertainty as to when they will return to work and the course.

Your clients and customers will no doubt also be itching to get back onto the course, back to playing in weekly club competitions, back to hitting balls on the range and back to having lessons with you. So how, despite having limited ability to interact directly with them, can you continue to build and maintain a rapport? How can you use this time to increase your relevance and prepare your business for when the play button on society is hit?

Social Media

Social media is a powerful tool and something you or your employers will have been possibly engaging with or utilising in some form already. Established mainstream channels such as Facebook and Twitter provide solid bases to create exposure and generate valuable conversations with your existing clients and potential customers, providing it is done in the right way for you and your business.

Don’t stick to just Facebook and Twitter however. LinkedIn provides a professional platform to collaborate with other businesses. Instagram is a fantastic channel for golf clubs to visually present their business – clubs are utilising closed courses to generate fantastic on-the-ground and aerial drone footage, undisturbed, that can be uploaded across instagram, websites and for future content purposes.

There is no doubt other channels such as TikTok [a video streaming site that’s use has surged very recently] will continue to be popularised as tastes and trends change. Keeping an eye on these, learning how to use them and applying them correctly might help you to digitally converse with new audiences and develop your social reach.

Vlogging

At face value, vlogging [creating video content around topics and instructional areas] seems complex. This previous article helps to simplify and break down first of all what video blogging is, how to actually create a great vlog, and then how to effectively deliver it to your audience.

In essence, it requires a small space to be able to explain and demonstrate a shot [if it is a coaching vlog], a camera or smartphone to record yourself and ultimately, oodles of energy and enthusiasm. For sure, it can be daunting to even the most confident of people to film themselves talking but remember that it is you and your knowledge that customers come for week-in, week-out. The only difference is that you are creating that conversation with them through a screen now instead.

Email Marketing and Weekly Check-ups

Remaining relevant is a constant battle we as PGA Professionals face in even more certain trading conditions. Ever-growing competition from clubs, teaching academies and driving ranges keep each and every one of us on our toes to ensure we innovate and improve, so that our clients continue to demand the products and services we offer.

Therefore, in the absence of clubs, teaching academies and facilities, and in fact any form of consumer demand during this crisis, relevancy is ironically, almost irrelevant to a degree.

Front page headlines, news articles and press conferences around the world thoroughly document the challenges and threats of COVID-19, and are obsessively occupying the front of everybody’s minds right now – for good and obvious reasons. So how do you replace, or at the very least, remind people that there is light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to their golf games, their golf club and their favourite past time?

First, you need a client database to be able to activate and engage with.

Second, you need an hour or two each week to set aside and create some engaging forms of online communication. This can be as basic as a generic text message such as the one below, or a multispread newsletter that covers what you, a PGA Professional who is eager to maintain their own golf games has been up to, simple step-by-step coaching tips or generic thoughts on the game’s current trends, and why you are looking forward to making this summer the best yet for everyone. You will find people have more time on their hands right now, so engaging them with longer pieces of content should be really useful and effective!

…”Hi [first name]!

How are you? Have you managed to get any form of golf practice in on the garden? 

If you are limited for space and time, try setting up some simple putting drills in your front living room, or a chipping net with some foam balls to keep the your game ticking over. It won’t be long before we are through these current difficulties and back out onto the golf course and I am really looking forward to seeing you back!

If you would like some more tips and drills to practice at home, or anything else, I am here to help.

[Your name]”…

Thirdly, you need to deliver the content. If you have a large database of text messages to send, you could generalise the message to apply to a large group. You could then create a themed WhatsApp group that includes various sections of your client base, such as parents of respective golf classes to send info through and maintain their engagement.

However you do it and whatever you write, if you maintain the thought of ‘I am here and available for when we return to normal life’ at the front of your mind, your message will remain relevant, be well received and at the very least, replace a negative with a positive for your clients.

Final Thoughts

We are all involved in a current national and international effort to defeat this virus, and I first and foremost wish you all and your loved ones good health throughout this challenging period.

Right now we have a duty to follow and enact upon the strict social measures delivered by our respective governing authorities. The quicker we do this, the quicker we get through it and the quicker we can walk back out onto the golf course.

However, I urge you to use this enforced downtime to engage and re-engage with your customers and clients as much as possible. The optimist in me believes a booming feel-good factor of festivities and consumer spending is an inevitability once our lives and liberties are re-instilled. By using this time effectively, you can position yourselves effectively to take advantage of expected surges in demand and make up for any bump your business is currently experiencing.