Churning out communications to your members with little thought for who you are speaking to and what medium you are using is not a recipe for success.
As GGA’s Henry DeLozier explains, putting a little more thought and attention to detail into your communications is an impactful, and cost effective, way to make your members feel valued and included.
“Communication in our club is poor”
A phrase that is commonplace in surveys and focus groups we run on behalf of clients across North America – often despite the best efforts of club leaders to improve communications at their clubs.
As much as we would like to prescribe a formula that is guaranteed to improve member relations, the reality is that the communications world evolves continuously, including the ways members consume and exchange information, and the platforms on which they do so.
While this can present a challenge, the evolution in communications technology has also brought opportunities to the fore: opportunities to increase the relevance of your communications, learn more about your members habits and preferences, and branch out to networks of potential new members.
With that in mind, there are some tactics you may wish to consider to enhance your communications relationship with members and club stakeholders:
1. Keep your club website relevant.
As Linda Dillenbeck, a director at Global Golf Advisors and a communications expert, observes, “Most clubs’ websites are outdated, disconnected, and dysfunctional.” Dillenbeck estimates that a private club website has a relatively short shelf-life of around three years. When did you last update your website?
Incremental improvements which factor in the latest in web technology enhancements can increase the aesthetic appeal, user-friendliness and accessibility of your site ten-fold.
Think too about regular updates to your image portfolio and news sections. Investing the time and not letting them become dormant shows members that you care and invokes a sense of pride and belonging.
2. Empower club members to communicate.
The advent of mobile camera technology has handed the power for members to become regular content creators, some of whom may produce high quality photographs and videos of your club.
While you cannot control what they say or post, compelling content drawing on the attributes of your club and amplified to member and stakeholder networks can enhance the club’s reputation among members and the outside world.
Vindicate their efforts by engaging through club social media channels, via email or otherwise. It shows you are interested and supportive, and gives a sprinkling of kudos to what they have produced.
3. Organize information into communication “bites”.
The relative attention span of most recipients is shrinking, so the club should look to communicate in small “bites” – morsels of interesting activities, friends enjoying mutual interests or snippets from club events. Keep it short and to the point.
4. Use tailored media.
Rather than indiscriminately provide all things to all members, ask them to personalize their information expectations and preferences into a member profile so that the club may communicate with each member on the member’s terms.
Regular prompts to update their preferences can provide useful insights into any trends developing over time and how this should be translated to what and how you provision information to them.
5. Measure effectiveness.
Monitor engagement levels from all outgoing communications. Track which members are – and are not – receiving and engaging with information from the club.
By doing so you can start to build out segments of members (starting with engaged / not engaged) and begin to increase the relevance of your communications methods and messages.
Crafting the right messages takes time and attention, as does knowing how to communicate them. By better understanding what methods and messages are most influential to members and stakeholders, you can start making meaningful progress and increasing engagement.
In any case, make it personal.