Facebook Black-Owned Business Grant: Find Out If You’re Qualified & Learn How To Apply

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The Business Owner’s Guide To Selling On Facebook

The post The Business Owner’s Guide To Selling On Facebook appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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22+ Spa Marketing Ideas To Get More Clients

This post originally appeared at 22+ Spa Marketing Ideas To Get More Clients via ShivarWeb

Spa Marketing Ideas To Get More Clients

Most resort & spa owners would agree that there’s nothing like a full appointment booking. But it’s hard to fill appointments without a regular flow of new clients coming in.

Some spas have a location or reputations that brings in clients with nothing but a phone number. But for most spa owners, you have to go out and market your business to get a quality pool of potential clients.

I’ve consulted on search marketing for many local businesses and beauty business. Based on those experiences, here are some resort & spa marketing ideas that you can use to bring in more clients & appointments.

Create Neighborhood-Specific Website Pages

For clients, “near me” searches are too small, and ZIP code searches are not relevant. Neighborhood / city searches are just right.

That may sound obvious, but most local businesses that I’ve worked with still don’t focus their marketing on neighborhoods. It’s a lot of work. It’s tedious. But it can still be worthwhile.

Create a neighborhood & next to your neighborhood pages to try to rank for “spa in [neighborhood]” searches.

Create Niche Amenity Pages

Lots of clients have specific amenities that they want. Instead of listing your amenities in a giant list, make detailed pages about each amenity. Try to rank for searches like “spa with [amenity]”.

You can use Google Suggest for ideas. Go to Google and type in “[city] spa with” and hit space, but not enter. You’ll see some suggestions.

You can do this with the entire alphabet and as many modifiers as you can think of.

Create pages that match those search queries to show up when people search.

If you want to take this to the next level, you can use a tool like SEMrush’s Keyword Explorer to provide phrase match search terms in bulk. Here’s an example of how the data is displayed. Just type in “[city] spa” or even just “spa”.

Create Local Data Pages

Create resource guides for people learning more about your city. Create lots of them.

Use Google Autosuggest to understand what people are searching for among your amenities – and then put a local spin on it so that you aren’t competing with large publishers.

Develop Your Local Citations & Reviews

You should already have a Google My Business profile so that you can show up in Google Maps.

But you can take it to the next level to show up even more prominently.

First, you can build your Google My Business profile with photos, posts, and full listing details.

Second, go to every local business listing site and make sure that your Business Name, Address, and Phone Number match exactly. Whether it’s on the Yellow Pages, Yelp, or elsewhere – everything must match. These are called your “local citations” and Google uses them to confirm the relevance of local business.

You can use SEMrush’s Local Listing Management Tool to audit all these listings quickly.

Third, create a local review strategy. Having diverse, unique, and regular reviews on your Google My Business page is the number one way to get more views (aka lease applications) from Google Maps.

Steal Ideas from Large Local Competitors / Businesses

I’m not a fan of brainstorming. I think that it’s more effective to build off ideas that have already worked.

No matter your size, you can always look to larger competitors or larger businesses for inspiration.

With resorts & spas, make a list of local businesses that you *think* are being creative – including companies in different industries.

Like local listings and keywords, I then use a marketing tool like SEMrush to spy on those competitors. Type in the URL of a competitor below to see an example.

Here’s what you’ll see.

It looks like a lot. But drill down and categorize each link. You’ll quickly get a sense of what they are doing. You’ll see where they are posting on social media. You’ll see which media outlets have accepted press releases and what types of digital marketing they’re doing.

The trick here is *not* to copy cat them. Instead, take the general idea of what your competitors have done and make it your own – or, make it better.

Work with Local Tourism Agencies

Every city, no matter how small, has an interest in tourism. And spas / resorts are a core part of any tourism package. Make yourself known with local tourism officials, websites, and guides. Too many “local” spas are missing out on a good TripAdvisor profile.

Find those and become a regular fixture.

That extra attention and those links will help every other idea on this list. Google loves links. Social media users find URLs via links.

Your city pages, amenity pages, and everything else on your website will benefit from more inbound links.

Recruit Local Guides from Google Maps

Google Maps dominates local search. They have had a Local Guides program for some time now. They are people who leave frequent, useful reviews. People can subscribe to them to find recommendations.

It’s worth finding Local Guides in your area that are active and pitch them on your spa.

Use Hyper-Local Facebook Ads

A local business has one massive advantage against national brands trying to operate locally – you live in your city and understand it.

Facebook allows for hyper-local advertising. You can run ads that show within a radius of only a few miles. It’s tedious to set up, but it’s relevant and effective.

Learn how to create hyper-local targeting for demographics and geography to find lots of interested clients.

You can run small, targeted campaigns that show multiple places at once.

Use Hyper-Local Google Search Ads

Google Search ads are famously effective and famously expensive. The best client is someone who searches for “spa in [city]”.

But that search click will be very costly.

But like Facebook, you have an “in” – Google Quality Score. Google will show ads higher if they are more relevant even if they don’t have the high bid.

Like Facebook, it’s tedious to set up, but if you can set up a hyper-local campaign, you’ll be able to get Google Search traffic that large competitors can’t bid on.

Use Hyper-Local Google Display Ads

Google’s Display Network also offers opportunities for local advertisers who are willing to put in the work.

Google serves banner & text ads on some of the best ad locations on the Internet. Many placements are expensive for bulk ad buys.

But again, Google would rather serve a relevant ad with a low bid than an irrelevant ad with a high bid. That’s your opportunity to set up a hyper-local campaign focused on specific demographics in a specific area.

List on Locally-Popular Blogs & Travel Guides

Local blogs are often a dime a dozen. The key is to find the ones that are popular – or appear where you want to appear.

List on NextDoor & Local Forums

NextDoor is one of many local social media websites & forums. They are hard to find and hard to join, representing an opportunity for any local, enterprising spa owner.

These networks are interesting because they are specifically local and extremely relevant for local services. They also have new Groupon-style advertising options.

Advertise / Post on Local Subreddits

Reddit is an attractive website for many industries. But local subreddits are especially interesting for local businesses

First, they are hubs for local discussion & recommendations.

Second, they are the first place for people to plan a move visit to ask specific, local questions.

Now, they are decidedly non-commercial with lots of rules. You should get to know them before posting or commenting as a commercial entity.

However, you should explore their sidebar wiki for research.

You should get in touch with the moderators to listen to their rules about business posting. And you should look at running ads or giveaways there.

Post Listings w/ Photos in Instagram

Think about how you can take listing photos & repurpose them across different platforms. Spas have a unique opportunity to create an interesting, relaxing, soothing feed for potential clients. The key is to only be rarely promotional. Make it a feed that is interesting to follow on its own.

Develop a Local Relaxing Pinterest Board

Pinterest is an incredible resource for people looking to live better. You can get in front of prospects with a locally-focused Pinterest board.

Use local photos, recommendations, experiences, etc from real local experience to provide ideas. Promote local artists, makers, etc.

Identify & Market Local Employers

Your clients are all working somewhere. And your prospective clients might be a little stressed out and looking for an accessible provider.

Identify all the largest employers & sources of potential clients nearby. Create resource pages for those employers (especially if they are large).

Create discounts, bonuses, etc. Get in touch with those employers to see if there is a way to collaborate.

Identify & Market Local Businesses & Amenities

Take what you did with local employers and do the same with local amenities and businesses.

Create pages that act as resource hubs for neighborhood business & amenities.

Identify & Market Popular Client Sources

Take previous & existing clients and try to understand where those clients came from and how they found you.

See if there is a way to build off that success.

Cross-Promote Local Businesses

Your clients will spend money nearby. Figure out what other businesses do well when you have 100% bookings. Offer a way to cross-promote, especially if they have multiple locations or a presence with your target client.

Remember that even a link to your website from their website will dramatically help your other online efforts.

Use Events To Get Social Media Attention

Events like open house tours, specials, holidays, etc are marketing staples for resorts. But events have a bonus effect online.

You can list them on multiple platforms to get extra exposure. Facebook is the best place for this tactic, but it also works on Google, Instagram, and event apps like Meet and Four Square.

Use Video Tours To Hack Social Media

Like events, most social media gives preference to video in their feeds. Take interesting video tours of your services & property.

Post the file natively to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Pay a small budget to boost it. And look for opportunities to embed it on your website.

Use Digital Referral Fees for Word of Mouth

Referral fees are also a staple of apartment marketing. But they don’t get the same reach as digital referral codes.

Whether you use a simple bit.ly link, manually hand out custom codes, or use a software service – digital referral codes can help you move limited physical word of mouth to unlimited digital word of mouth.

Find & Sponsor Local Charities

Sponsoring local charities provides a few marketing benefits.

First, you can likely get a link to your website, which will help your other efforts.

Second, you can tap into a well-networked organization with lots of word of mouth potential.

Third, you can tap into neighborhood goodwill to help with soliciting reviews to help with your Google My Business efforts.

Next Steps

There are a lot of marketing ideas out there for spas and resorts. You don’t have to do all of them. You just have to do one or two well.

Find the one that fits your interests & resources and give it a try. Learn based on your initial experience and improve.

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How To Get A Loan For Your CBD Business (Without Getting Scammed In The Process)

The post How To Get A Loan For Your CBD Business (Without Getting Scammed In The Process) appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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Best Website Builder For Selling Products

This post originally appeared at Best Website Builder For Selling Products via ShivarWeb

Best Website Builder For Selling Products

E-commerce is booming. And not just Amazon. With better fulfillment, COVID-19 changes, and more familiarity, buying online has become normal for everyone. As more people buy products online, the sites that businesses use to sell their items are becoming more critical for competition. 

Website builders can help small businesses make attractive and functional sites to sell their products. They not only make building a website accessible & convenient, they also bundle technically complex functionality like shopping carts, payments, and order management into a single subscription.

However, it can be overwhelming to wade through all the options. The truth is, there isn’t an absolute best website builder for selling products. 

All builders have tradeoffs, and you should pick the one with the right mix of features for your particular budget, resources, and expertise.

In this article, I’ll dive deep into what considerations you should be thinking about during your website builder search. The important thing is that you know how to choose the best option for your needs. Once you’ve got that down, knowing what to choose comes easily.

Summary – Best Website Builder for Selling Products

Based on my experience working with many website builders, there are a few that are a good fit for most people. They all have free plans available to try. They are each best if you want…

  • Simple Ecommerce
  • Square Payments
  • Focus on Simplicity
  • Small Site Appeal

Weebly

Weebly
View Plans
  • Built-in Features
  • Drag + Drop Design
  • Focus on Usability
  • Broad Appeal

Wix

Wix
View Plans
  • Lots of Options
  • Future-proofing
  • Focus on Ecommerce
  • Online Store Appeal

Shopify

View Plans

Focused on content + products?

WordPress.com is a website builder focused on publishing & content that has also has capability to sell products. View Plans.

What Are The Benefits Of Selling Products on Your Own Site?

We will start by taking a look at the benefits of having an e-commerce site for your products. 

More Money Gets Spent Online Every Year

In the first quarter of 2019 alone, consumers in the US spent over $99 billion on e-commerce. If you want your business to remain profitable as online shopping increases, having an online store is vital. More than that, you need an online store that can deliver a quality shopping experience. 

A Website Costs Less Than An Actual Store

Suppose you decide to run a brick-and-mortar store. In that case, there are plenty of costs to consider, including rent, staff salaries, licenses and permits, utility bills, maintenance bills, supplies, and design. 

Meanwhile, running a website provides savings on these costs. Sure, running an e-commerce website comes with its own set of fees, including hosting, marketing, plugins, and feature costs. However, in the long run, these expenses are lower than those of running a physical storefront. Lower costs, in turn, means that the return on investment could be much higher.

A Website Enables You To Provide Convenience To Your Customers

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. When they’re feeling a little lazy, tired, or sick, they’ll appreciate the convenience of doing their shopping without having to walk or drive to a store. 

By allowing people to find what they want faster and more easily online, you encourage them to spend more. The selling proposition is higher, and the friction is lower.

You Benefit From Online Search Traffic

Did you know that about 33 percent of people start the search for products they want on Google?

By having an e-commerce website, you put your products in front of all those eyeballs, making it easier for them to discover your merchandise. 

Assuming you have some solid SEO, which is easy with the right website builder, all the products you list on your site get indexed by Google and other search engines. This indexing drastically increases your chances of making sales, simply because you have more reach.

Primary Considerations When Choosing Selling Your Products on a Website Builder

There is a broad spectrum of online e-commerce platforms out there, and you need to choose one that fits your particular needs. Choosing a website builder is a lot like buying a car. No matter which car you buy, they will all get you from one point to another. 

However, you might want other features depending on your specific needs, such as your budget, the type of products you sell, how many shoppers you expect to have, the maintenance costs, and the number of changes you have to make during operations. 

With an e-commerce website builder, you’re getting the same core functionality across the board. You get the ability to build a platform on which you can list your products, have a shopping cart that people can add products to, and a payment processor. 

However, there may also be other considerations you might have that would ultimately influence your decision. Below are some of the most important of these:

How User-friendly Is The Website Builder? 

Some website builders are more interested in offering as many features as possible, rather than making their platform user friendly for consumers. 

A feature-packed builder isn’t necessarily wrong; it is just a trade-off that you should understand. You might not mind looking through the platform’s knowledge base or asking questions on how to solve particular problems in the forum. 

On the other hand, you might instead prefer something easy to use that lacks advanced features. It depends on how much time you want to spend building and managing your website.

This consideration is also important for selling products. Are you looking to build a full ecommerce operation with hundreds of SKUs or are you looking to selling a dozen pieces of merchandise?

For example, Shopify is far and away the most versatile ecommerce website builder. But it has a lot of ecommerce features that some website owners don’t need (like inventory management) in addition to missing some website publishing features that some website owners might need (like blog comments).

Other website builders like Wix might provide a super-simple setup with easy product integration while limiting growth into a large ecommerce operation with strong organic traffic.

How Is The Customer Service? 

A related issue is customer support. In case you’re stuck, it’s a great convenience to ask someone for help. Whether you have the technical knowledge, you should see what customer service options the website builder offers. 

Shopify-Support

Having the opportunity to ask for help via phone, email, or chat application can be valuable during the website design process, and if you have any questions during regular business operations.

Additionally, think about how you prefer to solve issues. Some platforms like Shopify and WordPress have huge numbers of freelancers available to help with any task in addition to internal support.

What Is Your Budget? 

Just like your budget helps you narrow down your list of options at a car dealership, so does it thin down your choices for website builders. 

The more money you spend, the more feature-rich your platform. Fortunately, however, most of the essential features for a simple e-commerce website are quite affordable for most business owners.

You want to get the most that you can for your budget without wasting money on extras features that you will never use. 

Does The Platform Allow For Custom Designs?

A significant consideration you will need to make when choosing an e-commerce website building platform is whether it allows custom design. 

Wix Designs
Wix Designs

Most platforms have a range of “themes” from which you can choose. However, some of them make it especially hard to build a custom design or change existing themes. 

A simple drag-and-drop interface with lots of themes is easy to use, but you run the risk of having an e-commerce website that looks like other e-commerce websites (or struggling to make it *just right*). This is the track that Wix & Weebly take.

On the other hand, a platform that allows for custom designs might be a little harder to use, but it gives you endless options for how your website will look. This is the track that Shopify takes. They have a drag & drop builder, but really push you to buy or build your own custom design.

Shopify Theme Selection

A compromise could be a builder that allows you to alter existing themes to make them look different from competitors.

Secondary Considerations: What Else Do You Need to Think About When Choosing a Website Builder

When choosing the best website builder for selling items online, you need to consider more than the basics. Here is what else you should be thinking. 

Can You Add Extensions or Apps?

If you want to add plugins and extensions to your website, you should probably go for a platform that allows you to make such additions. 

Shopify-Apps

Note, however, that the more leeway a platform gives you to customize your site with plugins and extensions, the more complicated things will be.

Weebly Apps

It may also mean spending extra as many third-party extensions are for sale.

Will You Be Doing Content Marketing?

Is an online store all you want, or would you like to incorporate a blog or social media feed for some content marketing? Some website builders only offer pure e-commerce stores, while others provide lots of features to build marketing strategies right into your store.

WordPress.com Editor

Such content marketing tools can save time in the future because they make marketing more straightforward and cheaper. 

Does The Platform Allow For Offline Sales?

Standard e-commerce platforms allow you to manage your inventory and orders. However, some are better at managing your offline sales than others. Depending on how heavy your offline sales traffic is, you might want a platform that syncs well with this aspect of your operation.

SEO & Marketing Tools

SEO is an integral part of making your website and products easily discoverable online. Look for an e-commerce platform that employs SEO best practices and gives you as much control as you need over your website’s SEO features.

Hosting

Some e-commerce platforms will include hosting in some form while others only provide you with a website builder, leaving you to arrange the hosting. An all-in-one e-commerce platform will make your life easier, as the hosting will be taken care of as part of the package.

However, this option might be more expensive than shopping for your host on your own, and you might have less control over things like domain ownership and SEO. Some platforms like WordPress.com allow you to move to a self-hosted website easily since it runs with the same WooCommerce plugin that powers a self-hosted ecommerce store.

It is crucial to pick a platform that meets your needs in this area.

General Tips on Choosing Specific Site Builders 

What kind of options are available? There are plenty of website builders on the market, but some stand out. 

While there are plenty of options on the market, there are some examples of what you can expect from different ranges of website builders. 

Getting A Highly Customizable Builder

Some website builders offer innumerable options and plugins.

The challenge with customizable builders is that you might face a steep learning curve. Especially for beginners, navigating a website builder/content management system can be challenging. You’ll also need to explore (and possibly pay for) third-party plugins for your store.

Powerful site builders with endless options can enable you to create the ideal storefront, however. The catch could be that you have to hire someone to handle the store setup if you don’t have the time or the tech skills to do it yourself. 

Getting A Site Builder And Hosting In One Package

There are plenty of site builder plus hosting options to choose from when it comes to e-commerce.

Building a website via drag-and-drop design is simple. You get high uptime, unlimited bandwidth on many tiers, a fast content delivery network, and the ability to buy and own your domain name.

Weebly Built-in Tutorial

The flip side of bigger site builder plus hosting packages is that they are not free. There are paid plans that you need to invest in, which means you should budget to spend some money on the platform every month. You need to understand that package options are not a one-time expense and plan accordingly.

Should You Choose A Recognizable Name?

There are many recognizable names in the e-commerce industry, like BigCommerce, Shopify, GoDaddy, Squarespace, and more.

With many big-name site builders, you can expect everything to be handled for you, including shopping carts, email forwarding, and even a free domain, depending on the platform.

The great thing about bigger platforms is that they save you from the headache of trying to figure things like security and hosting all by yourself.

The flip side is that many of these site builders will cost you a monthly subscription that varies according to the features you choose to include in your store. This investment may be too significant if you are only selling a few products or focusing on marketing instead of sales. 

One other thing to note about more recognizable site builders is that it is very easy to research their services because so many people use them. Ease of research is one of the reasons to go with a recognizable name. 

Next Steps

As you can see, there are plenty of options when it comes to e-commerce website builders. You have lots of choices, but that also makes it easy to get overwhelmed. 

Based on my experience working with many website builders, there are a few that are a good fit for most people. They all have free plans available to try. They are each best if you want…

  • Simple Ecommerce
  • Simple Payments
  • Focus on Simplicity
  • Small Site Appeal

Weebly

Weebly
View Plans
  • Built-in Features
  • Drag + Drop Design
  • Focus on Usability
  • Broad Appeal

Wix

Wix
View Plans
  • Lots of Options
  • Future-proofing
  • Focus on Ecommerce
  • Online Store Appeal

Shopify

View Plans

Focused on content + products?

WordPress.com is a website builder focused on publishing & content that has also has capability to sell products. View Plans.

By taking stock of your specific needs and comparing them to what is available in the market, you can pick an e-commerce website builder that fits your needs. 

The good news is that the platforms listed above will meet the needs of most online store owners, so choosing from among them makes the work easier. Whichever option you go for, the important thing to remember is that having an online store is better than not having a store at all.

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CARES Act Small Business Grants: Check Your Local Governments For Funding

The post CARES Act Small Business Grants: Check Your Local Governments For Funding appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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22+ Golf Course Marketing Ideas To Get More Golfers

This post originally appeared at 22+ Golf Course Marketing Ideas To Get More Golfers via ShivarWeb

Golf Course Marketing Ideas To Get More Golfers

Most golf course owners would agree that there’s nothing like fully booked tee times. But it’s hard to book tee times if you don’t have golfers calling or landing on your website.

Some golf courses have a location or reputation that brings in golfers with nothing but a phone line. But for most golf course managers, you have to go out and market your course to get a solid roster of regular tee times.

I’ve consulted on search marketing for several local businesses large and small. I’ve also consulted for search marketing for one of the largest golf equipment retailers in the US. With that experience in mind, here are a few marketing ideas for golf courses.

Create City-Specific Website Pages

For golfers, regional searches are too big, “near me” searches aren’t quite right, but city searches can be just right.

That may sound obvious, but any golf courses still don’t try to lock down their local area.

It can be tedious, but having local pages that target different areas surrounding your actual location can be useful.

If you have a single apartment complex, create a neighborhood & next to your neighborhood pages to try to rank for “golf in [city]” searches.

Automate Tee Times + App Integration

There is an adage in retail that if you don’t have it, your customer can’t buy it. For golf courses, an analogous adage is that if you don’t have the tee time, you don’t have the customer.

There are dozens of golf course software providers. Find one that can automate and digitize your tee times if you haven’t already, and make sure that they feed into every popular app on the App Store.

Create Niche Amenity Pages

Lots of golfers have specific amenities and/or requirements that they want. Instead of listing your amenities in a giant list, make detailed pages about each amenity. Try to rank for searches like “golf course with [amenity]”.

You can use Google Suggest for ideas. Go to Google and type in “golf course with” and hit space, but not enter. You’ll see some suggestions.

You can do this with the entire alphabet and as many modifiers as you can think of.

Create pages that match those search queries to show up when people search.

If you want to take this to the next level, you can use a tool like SEMrush’s Keyword Explorer to provide phrase match search terms in bulk.

Create Local Data Pages

Create resource guides for people moving to your city. Create lots of them.

Use Google Autosuggest to understand what people are searching for in your city.

Develop Your Local Citations & Reviews

You should already have a Google My Business profile so that you can show up in Google Maps.

But you can take it to the next level to show up even more prominently.

First, you can build your Google My Business profile with photos, posts, and full listing details.

Second, go to every local business listing site and make sure that your Business Name, Address, and Phone Number match exactly. Whether it’s on the Yellow Pages, Yelp, or elsewhere – everything must match. These are called your “local citations” and Google uses them to confirm the relevance of local business.

You can use SEMrush’s Local Listing Management Tool to audit all these listings quickly.

Third, create a local review strategy. Having diverse, unique, and regular reviews on your Google My Business page is the number one way to get more views (aka lease applications) from Google Maps.

Steal Ideas from Large Local Competitors / Businesses

I’m not a fan of brainstorming. I think that it’s more effective to build off ideas that have already worked.

No matter your size, you can always look to larger competitors or larger businesses for inspiration.

With a golf course, make a list of local businesses that you *think* are being creative – including companies in different industries.

Like local listings and keywords, I then use a marketing tool like SEMrush to spy on those competitors. Type in the URL of a competitor below to see an example.

Here’s what you’ll see.

It looks like a lot. But drill down and categorize each link. You’ll quickly get a sense of what they are doing. You’ll see where they are posting on social media. You’ll see which media outlets have accepted press releases and what types of digital marketing they’re doing.

The trick here is *not* to copy cat them. Instead, take the general idea of what your competitors have done and make it your own – or, make it better.

For golf courses, you can even take local golf retailers or sporting good stores and try to dovetail off their efforts.

Work with Local Tourism Agencies

Every city, no matter how small, has an interest in tourism. And golf courses are a core part of any tourism package. Make yourself known with local tourism officials, websites, and guides. Too many “local” courses are missing out on a good TripAdvisor profile.

Find those and become a regular fixture.

That extra attention and those links will help every other idea on this list. Google loves links. Social media users find URLs via links.

Your city pages, amenity pages, and everything else on your website will benefit from more inbound links.

Use Hyper-Local Facebook Ads

A local business has one massive advantage against national brands trying to operate locally – you live in your city and understand it.

Facebook allows for hyper-local advertising. You can run ads that show within a radius of only a few miles. It’s tedious to set up, but it’s relevant and effective.

Learn how to create hyper-local targeting for demographics and geography to find lots of interested golfers.

You can run small, targeted campaigns that show multiple places at once.

Use Hyper-Local Google Search Ads

Google Search ads are famously effective and famously expensive. The best tenant is someone who searches for “golf courses in [city]”.

But that search click will be very costly.

But like Facebook, you have an “in” – Google Quality Score. Google will show ads higher if they are more relevant even if they don’t have the high bid.

Like Facebook, it’s tedious to set up, but if you can set up a hyper-local campaign, you’ll be able to get Google Search traffic that large competitors can’t bid on.

Use Hyper-Local Google Display Ads

Google’s Display Network also offers opportunities for local advertisers who are willing to put in the work.

Google serves banner & text ads on some of the best ad locations on the Internet. Many placements are expensive for bulk ad buys.

But again, Google would rather serve a relevant ad with a low bid than an irrelevant ad with a high bid. That’s your opportunity to set up a hyper-local campaign focused on specific demographics in a specific area.

List on Locally-Popular Golf Guides

Golfing websites are a dime a dozen. They will send traffic to your listing. But there are a ton of them.

The key is to find a few key apartment websites that are popular in your area – and focus on those.

You can use Google Trends, customer interviews, SEMrush, or simply looking at the Google Search Results to see who is more popular for your city / neighborhood.

List on NextDoor & Local Forums

NextDoor is one of many local social media websites & forums. They are hard to find and hard to join, representing an opportunity for any local, enterprising golf manager.

These networks are interesting because they are specifically local and extremely relevant for local businesses. They also run Groupon-style deals and local sponsorships with high engagement.

Advertise / Post on Golf Review Sites

Golf Course review sites are interesting because they not only send customers themselves, but they also feed reviews / ratings to local websites.

Do what you can to grow your presence there, especially if you attract a lot of tourists or new customers.

Develop an Interesting Instagram Feed

There are some businesses that don’t really belong on Instagram. But golf courses absolutely do belong. Golf courses are inherently scenic.

Work on developing an Instagram feed that is genuinely nice to scroll past. Spend some money commissioning 100 or so professional photos. Schedule those out for the next year on Instagram and balance them with specials or other local photography. Respond to comments and use local hashtags. Invite players to submit their own photos.

Develop an Email List w/ Tee Times

Capture emails with tee times. Use your email list appropriately to bring those players back and leave reviews.

Identify & Market Local Employers

Your customers are all working somewhere. Despite the decline in work-related golf outings, golf still makes for a great outing for acquaintances.

Identify all the largest employers & sources of potential customers nearby. Create resource pages for those employers (especially if they are large).

Create discounts, bonuses, etc. Get in touch with those employers to see if there is a way to collaborate.

Identify & Market Local Sports & Amenities

Take what you did with local employers and do the same with local amenities and resources like schools, colleges, associations, etc.

Create pages that act as resource hubs for neighborhood recreation opportunities.

Identify & Market Popular Referral Sources

Take previous & existing customers and try to understand where those customers came from and how they found you.

See if there is a way to build off that success.

Cross-Promote Sports Retailers

Sports retailers make a perfect match for local golf courses. Look for collaboration. Even if you technically compete with them via a pro shop, you have a lot more to gain from working with them than against.

Cross-Promote Local Businesses

Your customers will spend money nearby. Figure out what other businesses do well when you are packed. Offer a way to cross-promote, especially if they have multiple locations or a direct draw with customers (ie, a sit-down restaurant or resort facility).

Remember that even a simple link to your website from their website will dramatically help your other online efforts.

Use Tournaments To Get Social Media Attention

Events like tournaments, youth training, fundraisers, etc are a golf course staple. But events have a bonus effect online.

You can list them on multiple platforms to get extra exposure.

Facebook is the best place for this tactic, but it also works on Google, Instagram, and event apps like Meet and Four Square.

Use Video Tours To Hack Social Media

Like events, most social media gives preference to video in their feeds. Take interesting video tours of your course. Recruit drone enthusiasts and budding videographers with free access in exchange for promotion & free videos.

Post the file natively to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Pay a small budget to boost it. And look for opportunities to embed it on your website.

Use Digital Referral Fees for Word of Mouth

Referral fees are also a staple of golf course marketing. But they don’t get the same reach as digital referral codes.

Whether you use a simple bit.ly link, manually hand out custom codes (i.e., like raffle tickets), or use a software service – digital referral codes can help you move limited physical word of mouth to unlimited digital word of mouth.

Find & Sponsor Local Charities

Sponsoring local charities provides a few marketing benefits.

First, you can likely get a link to your website, which will help your other efforts.

Second, you can tap into a well-networked organization with lots of word of mouth potential.

Third, you can tap into neighborhood goodwill to help with soliciting reviews to help with your Google My Business efforts.

Next Steps

There are a lot of marketing ideas out there for golf course managers. You don’t have to do all of them. You just have to do one or two well.

Find the one that fits your interests & resources and give it a try. Learn based on your initial experience and improve.

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