Unlike a great many lifestyle purchases, a club membership (be it golf, gym, racing or social) is a decision to buy into a group. The benefits sought by members often go far beyond the tangible products the club offers.
Members of any club have a basic common interest for sure but a club usually offers a social context, a set of products and or services, a certain status and a safe haven for its members, none of which are usually mentioned in a brochure.
The idea of belonging is attractive to most people to some degree and this is what attracts many. The feelings of safety, importance and acceptance are more than likely what keep members in a particular club.
As such, the clubs ability to reach out of its premises and add value to their members in their daily lives can ensure that a clubs numbers and business health is maintained.
As such, rapidly changing and always improving internet technologies are a boon for clubs that are aware of their members needs and want to grow their membership base.
The club website delivers more than standard information
No longer just an online brochure for those thinking of joining but too shy to visit, today’s website is fast becoming the media and the message for transfer of club benefits to members.
Functions such as membership detail retrieval, event notification and booking, news delivery, notices, loyalty points and more are already becoming standard features and if your club website doesn't have these you need to act urgently to catch up.
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More advanced functions for members are being developed all the time. As technology allows, very clever ideas are being introduced whereby members are delivered benefits they never thought to ask for. Real time weather and course updates for golf courses, scorecards for various club competitions and individual member profile pages with intra member communications apps are just the beginning of the revolution in member services delivered via the club website.
There are 2 key elements for administrators to keep in mind when reviewing their club’s website development scopes.
Firstly, as new technologies and ideas are a constant flow now, the framework your site is developed with needs to be flexible, adaptable and able to be updated by your development team. Some popular CMS (Content Management System) platforms available today may seem cheap in the beginning but come with built in limitations when it comes to outside applications integration and feature development.
Secondly, the CMS platform must be intuitive for your staff to use. As your staff change, the need to train new people on the CMS continues. The more intuitive and simple it is to master the responsibility of making changes to the site’s content, the faster new staff will take up the challenge and invest themselves in doing a good job.
Perhaps the most important feature of today’s effective club websites is the capacity of the site for member interactivity. Responsive design (making the site easy to use on any device – phone, tablet, desktop) is the most important feature your site can boast. It makes the site (and your member’s faith in their club) an easy daily habit rather than a place to go to find things out. If your members can’t resist visiting the site while they are away from their desktop, you have a permanent real-time connection with them. This can be used to deliver and receive no end of value when taking part in the lifestyle of your members.
For further information about what is possible when scoping your new club website and some of the other technologies available to your team, contact Jonathan Poynter – Managing Director Nimbler Digital by email here or on 02 4961 1166.
Nimbler Digital uses and recommends the open source SilverStripe CMS framework for developing highly functional and future-proof club websites.