Many golf course owners, operators and managers dedicate significant resources to advertising - as they should. But how does one determine if ads are successful?
Did that half page ad in the Wednesday sports page generate any rounds? Is banner advertising worth it? In this post, we'll talk about how managers can measure advertising - from simple SKUs to advanced tracking.
Your Point-of-Sale System
The simplest way to measure ads is via your POS system. Any time you advertise a promotion, take a few minutes to set-up a new SKU for tracking purposes. Let's use that Wednesday sports page ad as an example; it is promoting a $50 senior rate. Simply add a new SKU for "Senior Rate Promo" in your POS. Then train your staff to ensure all rounds via the promo are rung in under that SKU. At the end of the campaign, simply run a sales report and compare it against the ad cost to determine your ROI
Most POS systems, online tee sheets, and booking engines accommodate Promo Codes these days. If yours doesn't, it's time to switch. Using our Wednesday newspaper ad for this example, we could edit the ad creative to promote the code - "Use Promo Code S50 when booking online to secure your rate". Same as before, at the end of the campaign, determine how many promo codes were redeemed to determine your ROI
We all know the golf industry lags a bit behind others. In an age when nearly everyone books flights and hotels online, most golf courses still see 80% or more of reservations made via phone. Use Tracking Numbers to track your offline ads. Tracking Numbers are unique toll-free phone numbers that you can print in your ads. Again, using our Wednesday newspaper example, you could include a unique tracking number associated with that specific ad and determine how many inbound phone calls the ad produced.
Anything and Everything Online
If you are advertising online and not tracking, shame on you! There are thousands of platforms to accomplish this, but some basic set-up at the beginning of your campaigns will provide you with useful analytics down the road. When advertising on social media, make sure to use a URL shortener like Bit.ly to shorten your URLs. You'll be able to track clicks and behavior for every shortened URL you post. When using Google, Instagram or Facebook, make sure to use tracking pixels to track behavior once the visitor lands on your site. Finally, you must have Google Analytics set up on your website, and you should think about setting up the "Goals" section of the platform to see if users are taking the actions you want.
We've just scratched the surface of tracking your campaigns here, but these four ideas will go a long way to help you determine if your ad investment is paying off. Used in combination and consistently, the simple practices above can take you from being completely in the dark, to be a well-informed data-driven marketer. And you'll be well on your way to becoming a full-fledged Growth Hacker.