An Insight into digital Communications

Betchworth Golf Club Website and Application Development:

How do you establish and maintain connection with current or prospective members via digital marketing when the online community is increasingly bombarded with promotional messages from competitors?

Technology is developing at a rapid rate, a speed at which most clubs can not keep in tandem with. With the creation and further development of social media sites and promotional opportunities, it has never been so easy to contact with current and potential members at a click of a button. The difficulty is staying in contact with prospective members via digital marketing, establishing and maintaining the connection whilst other clubs and competitors clutter up your current and prospective members news feed and email box. 

A way in which pioneering clubs are trying to establish digital competitive advantage is the development of a mobile application to maintain contact through a new consumer touch point, sending “push messages” directly to the current and prospective member rather than sending in-direct messages via a tweet, status or such other messaging ways. Although developing and maintaining an application has its difficulties, benefits and rewards can be found.

The CMAE had the pleasure of talking to Timothy Lowe, Director of Golf at the Betchworth Golf Club, Dorking, UK, about their new mobile device application and revamp of their website.

When asked about what the catalysis was for developing an application and website, Timothy commented;


“Betchworth has always been a forward thinking club and now is no exception! The website was developed 5 years ago and whilst up to date with content, It was feeling a little out of date. Websites these days tent to have a shelf life (depending on who you speak to) of about 2/3 years before they need a good professional, refresh/ revamp. I decided with the board that it was time to look at cleaning up the site and give it a more modern feel as well as offer some further and more standard online services, such as online tee bookings and payments. Images are being used more these days (look at pinterest and instagram) and our photography was certainly out of date as well so an opportunity arose to improve this and integrate those new images in the new technologies We will continue working on imagery throughout 2013 as well.

The Application was taken from my background and wanting to keep ahead of the times although with over 147 million smartphone users in the UK and growing at a rate of 25%, this is not the future, it has already arrived and you could say we are just keeping up! It will also improve the Betchworth Park Golf Club’s online presence. 

There are now a number of companies offering both mobile websites and apps (sometimes these are confused), however I bad been in touch with yourbusinessapp via LinkedIn for some time and we took on the project together”

For some restricting clubs, the inclusion of an application and new website in an existing communication strategy can add complexity due to the multiple platforms being used at the same time to promote similar if not the same messages. Timothy explained that it was easy for Betchworth to add the application and new website to their existing communication plan due to the integration of the already existing communication platforms, such as social media sites, newsletter, on the new website and application through embedding live tweets, Facebook statuses, data collection for E-mailing the newsletter. This is something a club has to consider when looking at upgrading their website and looking into other digital marketing means, are the existing communication platforms integrated in the new tool or if not, can they be easily connected to one another?

Timothy stressed the necessity for clubs to be forward thinking when developing their digital marketing plan, utilising Google as much as possible to increase the SEO due to Google becoming the generic trademark when an individual seeks to search for information such as WHERE TO PLAY GOLF or WHICH GOLF CLUB TO USE. 

Another new feature that he stated that will be utilised extensively in the quest to gain online competitive advantage is the applications push messaging tool. This is a new type of communication messages that appear on the mobile device screen which the read rate is typically 97%+, an extremely effective communication tool that is free and simple to use.

Timothy stated 5 implications faced and areas to question when developing the application and website;
  1. Time
  2. Timing
  3. Content
  4. Who do you use?
  5. Am I Getting what I want?
Timothy also commented on the process he recommends clubs to take when looking to develop their website and a mobile application;

“Choose the company that you are happy to work with – Don’t just assume that your current provider will give you the best service. Make sure you know what is available and what you can expect before you make the final commitments.”

“Get clear on what you want from both the app and the website by doing research on what options there are available and what other websites and apps are providing as  services.”

“Make sure you have your social media in shape and ready to share on the app and website. Take some time out to make sure that the logos and the feel across all your online activities is complimentary.”

“Update your content – Most websites need updating not only because they look like the year they were built in, but most actually have the same content from that period as well. Chances are, your prices and offers have changed .

“Get ready for the final stages – Tell people you are launching a new website, members visitors and all your social media followers. Get them ready to visit your site and share it with the rest of the world;”

“Points to consider;”

“1 – Do your research

2 – Choose a provider

3 – Know what you want each to offer

4 – Update your social media

5 – Provide editors with as much content as possible including pictures and videos

6 – Tell everyone about it”