By David Gould, Staff Editor
Golfers in your email database will be understandably skittish about visiting stores this holiday season. And a glance at the sky-high numbers for equipment sales in 2020 suggests that many players have treated themselves to shiny new woods and irons already. The upshot is that instructors who opt for a “Green Friday” approach to lesson selling this year might do very well. Golf has come to mean a little more to people during Covid-19—that’s the moment when they’re most likely to embark on a serious improvement program. Go with this idea and your cash-flow numbers for Q1 could do particularly well, which is always a great feeling for a small business.
One of our emails from last month had a reminder for Proponent members about e-gift cards—we’ll double-down on that right here. Consumers don’t just favor e-gift cards, they depend on them to solve a whole slew of what-to-buy problems. A couple of Christmases ago, Proponent member Kandi Comer did $4,800 in gift-card revenue, about three-quarters of that in the month of December alone. She used the Square.com online platform to conduct her e-commerce business and promoted it beginning in October, using Facebook posts and emailed newsletter content to get her audience thinking about it. Platforms like Clover and Giftly also make it easy for you to make it easy for the gift-buyer.
Proponent advisor Andy Hilts, who knows more than just about anyone about building revenue for golf academies and solo instructors alike, is bullish on the Green Friday concept for teachers. “The more you’re selling instruction in high-volume batches,” says Hilts, “the more you’re moving to the long-term coaching model, in which golfers truly improve and the coach can reach his or her potential, from a compensation standpoint. Gift cards and e-gift certificates, especially in a year when people can’t spend money on travel and restaurants, jump-starts that type of selling and lesson-booking.”
To add yet one more timeliness factor to this effort, consider promoting power-and-distance programs that the gift cards could be used toward. When the golf world spends next week watching Bryson DeChambeau and his fellow bombers turn Augusta National into an executive course, hitting it long will be a thought crossing every amateur’s mind. They may just want to plunk down a few hundred e-dollars for a fitness / clubfitting / swing-technique coaching package that speeds up their clubhead and gains them yardage. Junior packages, for all kids who still won’t be back playing team sports until later in 2021, are another big opportunity. Group clinics and gift cards also go together nicely—sell them to families, women’s groups or couples, once again getting the cash upfront. The extra-extra bonus for a coach who gets active in this effort is “reverse upsell,” in which the user of the card or e-certificate spends above and beyond its face value. A recent survey revealed the eye-catching fact that over 65 percent of gift card holders spend an extra 38 percent beyond the value of the card.
And doesn’t “Green Friday” just sound a lot nicer than “Black Friday”?