It’s that time again – time to update the country club website to keep up with the times. Refreshing the website is always a good thing, but there are several things you should consider before getting started.
For most private residential country club communities, new members come from new real estate sales, and new real estate sales are coming from a totally new generation of homebuyers. To add to the challenges, many real estate brokers are unfamiliar with the details of club membership and avoid selling in Club Communities. With the community sold out and real estate agents scarce, Country Club membership directors find themselves with a new set of challenges. They now need to play a stronger role in promoting the value of the Club lifestyle from a real estate perspective.
Membership vs. Real Estate — Your public website is your primary marketing tool for both. While the website is still the lifeblood of your club operations, you now have two masters to serve with very different objectives.
Appeasing your current members with operational support vs. gaining interest from a new generation of homeowners who may not be familiar with the location, the community, the real estate…and yes, the Club offerings:
Your public-facing website is the most critical component to your real estate sales success. Search Engine Optimization is a major priority so that new potential homebuyers and members can find the website in the most popular search engines. Organic traffic, visitors that find you because they are looking, spend more time on the website and has a higher conversion rate to registration. Fresh keyword-rich content on a consistent basis along with a proper website development foundation is important to maximize your results. None of these tactics are important or necessary for membership websites since your web traffic is repeat visits from already existing members.
The most efficient use of your advertising dollars is in online advertising campaigns, through search engines, display networks and social media. All of these platforms set their pricing based on the relevancy of the keywords you are buying vs. the keyword content in your website, social programs and blogs. The higher the relevancy score, the lower your costs. Google search rankings are also impacted by all of your keywords and their relevance to your prospects’ searches.
Existing member demographics may skew your analytical approach to reviewing your website’s performance and potential audience for future homeowners. In order to optimize campaigns and marketing approaches, you must be able to separately analyze the traffic coming from new prospective members to understand the emerging market. Your marketing plan must be continually fine-tuned based on these results and you don’t want inflated numbers from member traffic to depict an inaccurate picture.
Digital marketing experts recognize the importance of setting up conversion goals with strong call-to-action for data capture on a marketing website. Traffic alone doesn’t represent qualified leads which can be converted into real estate sales. Cotton & Company recommends using Google Tag Manager to track all results from SEM, PPC & Content Marketing programs to gauge performance.
If you don’t put effort into building the appropriate SEO foundation for your site, it will be negatively impacted in the search results. Without a proper breadcrumb trail for the spiders to follow, much of your site content will not be crawled. Make sure a comprehensive sitemap and meta tags are utilized and take full advantage of all tags, descriptions and backend SEO programs to leverage every aspect of your website.
Best case scenario, a lead generation agency has control and access to update and refine the program daily. Ongoing evaluation of success and updates when necessary is the best way to utilize your web presence. Building one site and being “done” is not enough. Website content and social media marketing should also be managed on a daily basis, in direct alignment with your objectives for your digital advertising plan. The focus should be on attracting the emerging market who will support your Club into the future.
Yes, it’s a complex puzzle, but one Cotton & Company navigates on a daily basis. We can assist you in putting together a program that meets the needs of everyone involved. If you’d like to speak with us about your current marketing challenges, contact Laurie.Andrews@cottonco.com for more information.