Nine Keys For Growing Your Teaching Business
1. Develop a Unique Selling Proposition (U.S.P.). Marketers have spent decades trying to create a strong reason to buy a particular brand. Building a strong teaching brand means having a U.S.P. that attracts golfers to your lesson tee. The U.S.P. is the tangible part of the product that says “Buy this and you will get this specific benefit”. Your U.S.P. needs to differentiate you from other instructors in your market. U.S.P.s that can work well include being the first, being the leader, having a market specialty or offering a new technology.
2. Grow your database at every opportunity. This is your gold mine. The most cost-effective marketing tool you can have at your disposal is a database of the golfers who are most likely to purchase your teaching services. If you are at a public course or driving range you should be able to capture a few hundred new e-mails each month using proven gathering techniques. These can include having golfers sign up for a giveaway drawing, in return for a discount or incentive offer, when booking tee times or lessons, to receive your teaching newsletter or when golfers complete a facility comment card.
3. Communicate with your customers and potential customers on a regular basis. Once you have a database in place and a newsletter template built into your website, sending out monthly newsletters or special offers takes little time and no additional money. For many savvy teachers new revenues generated from a monthly e-newsletter will be 10-20 times the expense incurred.
4. Make your website work for you. It is the hub of your communications and it needs to work hard for you. Make sure it is the workhorse in your arsenal of database collection techniques. Make sure it is effectively selling your brand (your U.S.P.) and calling visitors to action on every page. Make sure it is taking advantage of search engine rules so that it shows up near the top of the search list when local golfers are looking for golf instruction (your website hosting service should be able to help with this). And, finally, make sure your website’s menu is easy to navigate and that your key offerings are highlighted at the top of the page.
5. Don’t be shy: Put your brand (logo, slogan, etc.) on everything involved in your teaching including range balls, bag tags, staff clothing, advertisements, website and on all press releases. Keep the message simple, consistent and ubiquitous.
6. Create free publicity and make yourself the regional golf celebrity by working with local publications to provide a series of golf tips during peak golf season. This is a very cost effective way to put your name in front of your prime audience. While an article in Golf Digest is wonderful, the reality is that you can reach the 250-1000 golfers most likely to use your services by getting published at the local and regional level.
7. Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Instead, maintain your Unique Selling Proposition and refine and grow it at every opportunity. Add more certifications in your specialty, continue your education in your area of expertise, add new technology that complements your specialty and benchmark the world’s best teachers in your specialty and keep looking for ways to improve your lessons and your communication skills. The simple fact is the game’s best instructors never stop refining their teaching techniques while staying true to their core methodology.
8. Don’t discount lessons, instead create more value. Offer weekly supervised practice sessions for your students. Include a clubfitting session at the end of a lesson series. Add new technologies to your lessons such as TrackMan, FlightScope or the SAMPutt Lab. Create special offerings for select groups such as competitive juniors or beginner women. All of these ideas create leverage for you to stop discounting by creating greater value for every student and better targeting their individual needs.
9. Use the 10% Rule. Block off at least 10% of your total weekly working time to manage and create the above. If you don’t build time into your schedule, none of these keys to growing your business will happen.
-Lorin Anderson, Executive Director