This article was created as a resource for club promoters who are trying to enlist the assistance of their members in the task of attracting new members. All of the articles in this series offer suggestions to club members regarding how they can help to attract new members. Club promoters are encouraged to link to it if they wish to provide suggestions to their members.
Help Your Club – Show Your Pride
You just moved to town. You don’t know a soul. You want to play tennis, squash or badminton, but you don’t know where to start. So you turn to Google for guidance.
You find three clubs that are conveniently close to either home or work and all three appear to be roughly equivalent. So, like most people, you start checking out their reviews. You check Facebook and Google+.
Two of the clubs have a few five star reviews supported by a single sentence or less. One of the clubs has over 50 reviews on Google and more than a hundred on Facebook.
The reviews are not all great. In fact, a small number of them are downright nasty. But taken all together, you end up reading a couple of hundred sentences that give you a clear fairly sense of what is happening inside of that club. You can see that there are lots of enthusiastic members who think the place is wonderful and a few negative Nellies.
Which club will you consider first? The one that offers you a clear view inside their walls or the two who who appear to have tepid support at best?
It is not unusual for the members of non-profit clubs to ask their members to post online reviews. In fact, there are a few who require members to update their reviews annually as a condition of membership.
While it would be unfair to try to dictate the content of those reviews, it is completely reasonable for clubs to ask members to talk about their experiences online so that prospective members can get a glimpse inside.
For members who are already subscribed to Facebook, posting a review to their club’s Facebook page is super simple. It only takes a few minutes but it provides years of value to the club and is essential to attracting new members.
The most useful reviews indicate the approximate level of the player and mention some of the things that they enjoy doing at the club. For added credibility, it is helpful for reviewers to mention something that could be improved along with an acknowledgment from management that the concern is being addressed.
Facebook reviews are nice and they are generally easier to get than Google+ reviews, but Google+ reviews are essential when a club is trying to grow. The club’s star rating is one of the very first things that Googlers see when they start searching for clubs. Google reviews are so essential that some clubs quietly offer free court time coupons to members who have posted or updated their Google reviews in the past 12 months.
Anybody with a Gmail account can submit a Google review almost instantly, because they already have a Google account. Members without Google accounts will need to set one up. This takes time, which is why clubs will sometimes offer an hour of court time as an incentive to get this done.
Once again, player reviews on Google are most useful when the player indicates their level along with some examples of what they do or what they enjoy most. And as always, it is helpful for reviewers to mention something that they are not entirely happy with provided there is an appropriate response from management.
Paying for Reviews
Of course, clubs must be careful here. Both Facebook and Google prohibit clubs from paying for reviews. So it is not a good idea to make such an offer in writing. But there are no rules to prevent club managers from showing their appreciation for positive online reviews. And word about such shows of appreciation tends to circulate rather quickly amongst the members.