Direct Marketing

Topics covered in this section include:

Direct mail
Leaflet drops
Top Tips

The main benefit of direct marketing is that it is measurable. Good direct marketing should always have a call to action i.e. request a response by telephone, your website, or mail.

Direct mail

Traditionally the most used by golf clubs although more are increasingly turning to the internet and email marketing. It is the most expensive of all the forms with not only the mailshot to prepare but also the distribution. It also relies on high quality mailing list which may be from your own database or through a list broker.

Typically response rates, to a 'cold' mailing list i.e. those who have never heard of you, are betwrrn 0.5% - 2%. If you are mailing to your own database, you can expect higher response rates. It often depends on how old the data is, but you can expect anything between 5% and 10% response.

Direct mail when done via traditional media i.e. leaflets, is expensive so costs versus the likely response need to be considered. A much more cost effective way is via e-marketing.

A good direct mail campaign will have 5 key elements:

1. A good offer or promotion which is clearly explained
2. A good mailing list appropriate to the offer
3. A very strong call to action i.e. what to do next, with a way of measuring response i.e. quote a code, bring a voucher etc.
3. An understanding of what resource is required to deliver fulfilment
4. A means by which the campaign can be quantified once it is over both in terms of cost per acquisition and response rates.

Leaflet drops

Whilst probably the cheapest form of direct marketing, it is not nearly as well targeted and is likely to bring significantly lower response rates. It is useful when you are looking to produce a large number of leads or to identify a potential target market within a larger area.

For example, a new housing development opening near your golf club would be worth leafleting in terms of potential membership offers, green fee offers or simply an opportunity to take up the game.

Make sure an offer is clear and concise and track it if at all possible by inviting people to respond such as a special early bird discount or valued added offer.


This is one of the most expensive forms of direct marketing but can be very responsive, especially in the business market. It is best carried out by professional companies unless you have members of staff who are well trained in telephone contact.

It is best used when following up an initial contact with prospective customers. For example, a mailshot to local businesses advertising your club’s corporate packages can be followed up by a call to the company to gauge any interest.

Some clubs have successfully used telemarketing companies to drive their corporate membership packages but you need to be aware of the often high commission levels and no guarantee of success.

When recruiting a telemarketing company, ask the following questions:
- how many calls to achieve what you want e.g. appointments, bookings etc
- what are the ages of the telemarketing agents and will they fit your image
- how are the telemarketing agents incentivised
- does their cost include the cost of sending additional information by post or email
- what type of reports will you receive i.e. will you get feedback from those who said 'no'

Costs for a good telemarketing agency cost between £175 per day and £300 per day.

Email marketing

Email marketing is increasingly becoming the direct marketing tool of choice for most golf clubs. It is cost effective and easy to measure response. It can also be highly targeted and timely to allow you to react to specific business situations and market accordingly. Please see our section on e-marketing for tips how to implement a successful email marketing campaign.


1. Have one clear message
2. Be clear in your call to action i.e. bold telephone numbers, website address
3. Make it measurable - have a code to quote or a voucher to redeem
4. If using printed material, have an 'undelivered' address on the envelope so that if people have moved, you have their mail returned to you and you can clean your database.
5. If using emarketing, always allow the recipient the option to unsubscribe

  • England Golf Partnership
  • England Golf Trust
  • Sport England
  • Woodhall Spa
  • Get into Golf
  • GolfMark