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MARKETING OF YOUR MINIATURE GOLF COURSE (part 2) Marketing your miniature golf course is an ongoing task. How well you market your course and establish your “Brand” will be directly proportional to how successful your business will be. One critical area of marketing that is often overlooked is your facility itself. Once you attract someone to your facility you want to make sure that their visit is enjoyable and memorable. Is your facility clean? Is the landscaping neatly trimmed and clear for weeks? Is your staff courteous? Is your staff easily recognizable to your customers? Do they have a specific uniform or shirt that clearly identifies them? The impression your facility and staff leave with your customers is much more valuable than any marketing you can do! ESTABLISHING YOUR MARKETING PLAN The first thing you’ll want to do is ask yourself who you are (your facility). What do you specialize in? Who are your guests and potential guests? Where do you want to be in the marketplace? How are you going to get there? After you have answered these questions and maybe some other related questions, you will have enough information to formulate a marketing mission statement stating your plans and goals. You will want to update your statement periodically as the industry and trends change. Some examples of goals could be to increase visitation, promote general awareness – getting your name out or it could be to foster goodwill in the community. Within your objective, you will want to list specific actions you will take to accomplish your goals. This will include advertising, promotions, press releases, etc. Once you have decided on your objectives and how you plan to achieve them, you need to set a budget. A general rule of thumb is to budget about 5% of the gross sales of the previous year for marketing. If you are just starting your business, look to your business plan and budget according to your income projections. These costs should not reflect the development of advertising vehicles (brochures, TV spots, artwork, web pages, etc.) WHEN TO START MARKETING YOUR COURSE Most successful owners have said that they established their web presence and started introducing themselves to area schools, churches, and other groups anywhere from three to six months before their course was even constructed. They started advertising the grand opening in local papers about three weeks before opening. Closer to the date, they sent out press releases to the local papers and distributed flyers and discount coupons to local stores, delis, and restaurants. Some even invited the press and their families to the facility for a pre-opening party. Another great way to let people know you are there is to put a sign out during construction – “Coming soon, Miniature Golf”. Not only will this build excitement about a new attraction to the area, it is also a good way to find people to work for you. Potential employees will apply during construction, which will give you enough time to pick the people you want to employ instead of hiring just anyone when your facility is open because you need someone right away.