Introduction to Dummer Golf Club…
My name is Steve Wright, and I am the General Manager of Dummer Golf Club. The course is set in nearly 200 acres of Hampshire countryside. The clubhouse was opened in 1992 and provides extensive views over the golf course. Here at the club, we provide golf for our valued members and we welcome visiting golfers as well. Our clubhouse is a place to reflect and relax after a round of golf and the Waterside Suite offers a perfect venue for special occasions.
What challenges did your business face?
Before Debbie joined us, we had previous marketing managers who promoted Dummer Golf Club. Our marketing felt unorganised and a little chaotic at times, with no solid marketing plan in place. We knew that we could achieve more with our marketing to increase the number of visiting golfers and secure additional functions for us. Having had limited communication with our golfers, we could not update them about the course, or add additional and targeted value to their Golf Day. Also, despite having a wonderful venue with stunning views, a boost was required to raise the awareness of the Clubhouse and facilities available. Having been established for several years, local connections and business relationships had also faded over time, resulting in a lack of referrals and recommendations.
To add to that, Dummer Golf Club was experiencing a transition, due to be sold within a 12-18 month period. This unusual situation made it a little more difficult to find someone willing to take on the short-term role of Marketing Manager. We recognised that due to limited time and lack of skill-set, marketing knowledge and experience was essential to pick up momentum and keep up motivation through the transition phase.
What were the results of these issues?
We were faced with the challenge of finding an individual who had the experience and know-how to correlate previous marketing efforts with their own new solutions, boosting the presence of Dummer Golf Club. We wanted someone who could apply their marketing knowledge to ensure visiting golfers continued to come and play golf despite the club eventually being sold. Also, we acknowledged it was essential to find someone who could promote the Clubhouse facilities, to enable an ongoing revenue stream for the business.
Without this support, Dummer Golf Club would not have the marketing it truly needed to continue to “tick-over” profitably through the transition of being sold. To add to this, we would never have been able to inform our members and visiting golfers of important updates and news, resulting in a lack of interest and no new business. Finally, without finding a solution to promote Dummer Golf Club, we realised that having unused facilities would seriously impact our business and revenue.
What were your first impressions?
When meeting Debbie she presented a clear understanding of what needed to be done and created a marketing plan to ensure the appropriate actions were highlighted and priorities identified. Debbie accurately determined the amount of time the business needed weekly and understood the unusual circumstances of the club being sold. Working 18 hours a week, on a month’s contract, offered us the flexibility we were looking for. Debbie’s attitude to the workload was so positive, she came in with an array of marketing techniques and solutions ready to make the difference we were looking for.
I knew I made the right decision asking Debbie to join us. She started immediately with a marketing audit, which presented exactly what needed to be done first. This small action brought clarity to me, which was greatly appreciated as a busy General Manager, with lots of plates spinning. Debbie’s marketing consultancy continued to reduce the stress felt by the whole team due to her extensive knowledge and marketing experience.
What have you found most useful?
Debbie has introduced us to many free marketing platforms and systems. Social media scheduling software such as Hootsuite, a graphic design tool called Canva and SendinBlue, a very useful email platform. We now have tools in place for successful and cost-effective digital marketing. With regular and consistent posts on our social media channels, awareness of the club has increased. We are also able to keep our website up to date, resulting in a noticeable increase in website traffic.
With Debbie’s Google Analytics knowledge, I learnt so much more about our website visitors and more importantly what they were interested in. Debbie presented monthly marketing reports breaking down the highlights and her recommendations. Having all this data and information, just made decisions so much easier and quicker for me to make. Also, I was able to pinpoint where I needed to invest in the business, with more confidence and most importantly no budget wastage.
How has your business been positively impacted?
Throughout Debbie’s time at Dummer Golf Club our objective was to see an increase in revenue, golf memberships and general enquiries. Thanks to Debbie’s marketing efforts we can say we have seen an increase in all our goals. Despite 2020 being a difficult year due to COVID-19, we have continued to make a profit, even with the limitations on hospitality. A target that would not have been met without Debbie’s help.
To add to this, before Debbie’s arrival we had under 100 visiting golfers’ email addresses, making it challenging to communicate with them. We now have around 4,000 contact details and an impressive open rate, showing that Debbie has nurtured and improved the visitor’s experience with us. To further this point, our reviews have doubled, with excellent customer feedback and comments both online and offline. It’s always fantastic to hear kind words from visitors.
Finally, Debbie has also built relationships with multiple local businesses within the events industry, increasing referrals, and as a result the number of functions that have been held over the last two years. This has brought in new business and revenue in areas we had not originally planned for, which is always a bonus for any business owner.
Although Debbie was hired as a Marketing Manager she has been a Marketing Consultant, a Data Analyst and even a Hostess. Debbie has truly been a fundamental aspect of the success of the club over recent years, I cannot recommend her enough.
Thank you Debbie!