“I have lived in Fort Worth my entire life and never even knew you were here!”
Recently, a lot of requests have come my way for simple and inexpensive marketing ideas to create a “buzz” around the club and to get your members and event hosts to start talking. Diamond Oaks Country Club has been in Fort Worth, Texas for more than fifty years so it always amazes me that every time we attend a bridal show or some type of expo, I always meet someone who says, “I have lived in Fort Worth my entire life and never even knew you were here!” As a salesperson, I want everyone to know about our club and everything we can do to assist them when it comes to hosting a private event. Big or small we do them all, right?
Many sales people are intimidated by the whole idea of creating a marketing campaign or a marketing strategy, but without it, your sales are doomed. Just remember whether you create one or not your competition most definitely is. Yes, it can be time consuming and yes it usually does cost money (some more than others). Think about Coca-Cola. They are by far number one in the soft drink industry yet they continue to spend literally millions and millions of dollars on their marketing campaign each and every year. It is one thing to become number one and yet another to stay there.
The following are some easily executed ways to improve your sales, strengthen your brand and get people talking.
- Always have a supply of your business cards with you–some in your wallet, or purse, and others in your car for back up. You already have them and you never know who you may meet. I once heard a girl talking to her boyfriend at a restaurant about how her sister had just gotten engaged the night before. I simply handed her my card and offered to help.
- Print a tagline for your business on your business cards, letterhead, fax cover sheets, e-mails and invoices. Nike has “Just Do it!” What can you say about your club that no one else can? Make it catchy and easy to remember.
- Visit several professional associations such as National Association of Catering Executives, Wedding Professionals, Catering Executives, International Special Events Society, June Weddings, or whatever your market has to offer and become a member of two of them. Keep your friend close and your competition closer. They can help you more than you will ever know.
- Create a database with everyone who contacts you and send them a monthly “newsletter” or something similar with tips and tricks and invite them to join you for an upcoming bridal event or golf outing. The direction you can take with this is limitless.
- Develop a wedding packet, and other catering menus for events like a bridal shower, high school banquet, etc., that you can offer your guests. I know this sounds like common sense, but you would be surprised at some of the materials some brides have shown me that they were offered at other venues they visited.
- Create a website, or a special catering section of the club website, to showcase your menus, your services, contact information and location. Use a memorable URL and include it on all marketing materials. Again, you would be surprised that in 2012 some venues still do not have a website.
- Conduct a monthly “Bridal Event”. It can be a seminar, a “how to” or maybe just a simple happy hour with other wedding vendors that you invite the brides to as well. Whatever it is, try to get them involved and let them think of you as the wedding expert.
- Always include testimonials from some of your recent brides and event hosts. People like to read what other people have to say about you and your service. Be proud of that.
- Design and print t-shirts with your logo and give them to your staff to wear free of charge. Every time they visit the store, the mall or a restaurant they will be advertising for you at the same time! My wife and I wear our Diamond Oaks t-shirts quite often and they start many conversations.
- Do the best you possibly can to build a relationship with someone who is an “on-air” personality (TV or radio), or someone who writes for the major newspaper. Through my news reporter connection, I was able to be featured on the 10 o’clock news on Valentine’s Day talking about weddings and the business of hosting them. In other words, I was on the TVs of an estimated 250,000 people throughout all of Dallas and Fort Worth representing my club and what I can do all for free! Build those relationships. It also helps when you have press releases.
- Join a Chamber of Commerce where you can network with area business owners. Easy enough, right? But most people in our industry do not take the time to invest in this.
- Create and place ads in publications your market reads like bridal magazines, food & wine publications and party books. Also, do not forget to think about the non-English speaking market as well. With so many cultures and reasons to celebrate we reach out to all types of people with all types of backgrounds. They are willing to spend their money too, so why not let them give it to you?
- Hand out specialty products such as pens, mouse pads or mugs with your club’s logo or slogan. Who does not like a “take away”? Just watch Celebrity Apprentice, you will see what I mean.
- Get a booth at a trade show or expo attended by the demographic you are trying to attract. Most of the bridal shows in North Texas are on Sundays. Most Sundays I might have one to three bridal consultations, whereas at a bridal show, I could easily speak to well over two hundred brides in one afternoon. Why would you not want that type of exposure?
- Give a speech, or volunteer, for a career day at a high school or college. I am always searching for good people to assist me in representing me and my brand. Colleges are full of these people, you just have to know how to weed out the bad to get to the good.
- Donate a round of golf or a dinner for two to a charity event or auction. Giving back to your community can also give you exposure and show that you support other people’s passions and causes rather than just making money.
- Create a loyalty program to reward existing members and guests. Get creative and think about the types of things you would like to get for being a loyal and returning “regular”.
- Send handwritten thank-you notes to brides and other important guests every chance you get. I like to send them cards on their birthdays and anniversaries.
- Team up with a non-competing business in your area to offer a package promotion. I have three promotional packages and they with me: one with each a preacher, a DJ service and a photographer. Most brides will take your advice on who to hire, so why not work with people you like from outside the club? Make your job as easy as it can be.
- Create a “Weekday Wedding” promotion for Brides willing to get married on a Monday – Thursday with discounted menus, rental fees, upgraded linens, etc. There is very little market for it and if I can host a wedding for 50 people on a Monday night and make $2,000 that is easy money!
What ideas do you have that I have not mentioned? What have you done in the past that worked well or was a total flop and waste of time?
I hope that helps and until next time, just keep selling!