by Ed Shanaphy, CMAA, USPTA
We don’t usually think of rebates or discounts as pure marketing efforts, but they are. Rather than sadly thinking of them as giving our loyal customers money back, costing us money, we should think of coupons as gold mines. Rather than just holding a sale at the end of a season in September or October to avoid taking a bath on unsold inventory, hold that inventory and use it wisely the following Spring. Use that inventory at a discount to entice participation the following year! Ensure your members know that only through participation in a clinic, an event, or a lesson, will they be able to claim a coupon for discounted clothing… a country club coupon! Use that unwanted inventory to increase not one, but two revenue streams.
I was listening the other day to a podcast about email marketing and one of the best methods to convert an email to a customer is through rebates. The email marketer was saying that a percentage off offer doesn’t do as well as a straight dollar discount with a time limit. He then continued to discuss how website and email marketers can further aim their efforts at particular products based on the customers purchases, or even, viewing history on a site.
What’s great about our members? We know their purchasing habits. We know if they like golf or tennis, or if they would rather spend time at the pool. We even, if we want, can look up their eating habits – not just their own, but their kids’ eating habits too! We have all this data right at our fingertips.
Then I realized we do the same thing with my tennis and pickleball players at the clubs we manage. We use coupons for our adult camps and other tournaments and events – coupons that offer monetary discounts for a limited time. Usually during the days of the camp or special event, we hand out coupons valid for savings on merchandise, stringing, private lessons, future clinics or even discounts for items such as a buffet in the coming week over at food and beverage. There’s no reason not to cross-sell – we are all one family and all one team working to create great member service, which in turn leads to incredible revenues. And if your members save money, but use the club more, that family’s total average revenue goes up.
From Regattas To Retail!
Why not give deals to perspective members? We should. A simple saving might turn into a down payment to get on the club’s waitlist if that saving is all part of an enjoyable experience.
At yacht clubs, so often we have to collect cash in return for drinks tickets to avoid a “cash bar” and maintain a liquor license during large, tented events such as a regatta – where are there are literally hundreds of perspective customers who came to your club, which is your brand advertised by the burgee – a true symbol for retail! These sailors and their entourages will spend money in your ship’s store!
The same holds true for golf and tennis member-guests – not only should they be viewed as events through which to garner new members, but they should also be huge revenue weekends in your golf and tennis shops. Ensure that your potential customers get into the shop with coupons. And, if your club allows guests to come back more tham just once, why not get them on a live ball clinic court to seal the deal for membership? On the retail side, coupons aimed at dead stock or inventory that you purchased in the Spring but just hasn’t moved, are huge bonuses. These can really “double your money” and avoid losses. Remember, these guests are new customers who haven’t see the stock lying around all season!
Member Service! Happy Birthday Mr. Member!
We have so much data on our Jonas or Northstar software that we sadly leave on the table every day. And when I say on the table, I mean both the figurative and literal meanings! We can even “push” coupons over the club app to celebrate a member’s birthday dinner and ensure they visit the club on their special day. We have the data to celebrate a member’s 20th visit to the dining room. I know some clubs are installing a “points” based system for food sales. We could do that for tennis, golf and pickleball!
How about a coupon inside the silver bowl the club champ receives for winning the top flight on the 18th? I always have a Tervis Tumbler for my adult camp participants and inside is a plethora of coupons: 25% OFF Stringing, 15% OFF Clothing! 50% OFF Private Lessons With Any Guest Pro! Yes, that guest pro is at the club for a week – he or she wants to be on court, so keep them happy!
Coupons are so flexible. You can have a start date, an end date, a limited offer, an unlimited giveaway, a rebate, a reduction, a resale. But whatever you choose to have, ensure it increases usage and revenue in the long run. Country Club Coupons. Create them now, have members cut them later, and love them in the end.
Ed Shanaphy was named a finalist in the United Kingdom’s Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2000 for his direct marketing efforts in the media and music industries. He sadly lost to the other finalist, a shoe designer from Wimbledon named Linda Bennett, who herself went on to great things with her “small”, internationally recognized brand: LK Bennett. And although it was her stores that people loved, she now does over 40% of her sales through direct marketing, on her website. Guess she finally saw the light!