I love playing tennis. Last year my husband gave me lessons for my birthday, so the first thing I did was Google the racquet club he bought them from, hoping to learn more about the instructors, how the classes were structured, and what I’d be learning.
Can you believe this business didn’t have a website? There were a few reviews on Yelp — a mix of positive and negative — but nothing else. All of my communication with the club had to be done by phone, because they also didn’t have an email address.
Anyway, I took the lessons and had such a great time that I decided to buy 6 more weeks. I even booked my son’s birthday party and ordered beautiful custom invitations. A few days later Hurricane Sandy struck.
The tennis club sits right on the water, half way between the Verrazano Bridge and Coney Island, which sustained a lot of damage. The next Saturday I naively drove to my lesson to find a police car blocking the parking lot.
The club was demolished — the big winter bubble they had just put up the week before was deflated and covering the courts. The muni-meters in the parking lot were ripped out of the cement. It was clear they wouldn’t reopen anytime soon.
I tried calling the only number I had, but there was no answer because the place was practically under water. I wasn’t concerned with getting my money back right away, and didn’t care about the birthday party. I felt terrible that this very friendly and capable tennis club was now out of business.
All I wanted was information.
Two months later, when I hadn’t heard from anyone at the club, I started Google-sleuthing based on information I had, like the name of the head instructor. I hunted down his cell number, and he was very nice and apologetic for the owners not reaching out.
Eventually I did hear from the owners and it was all fine, but they still don’t have a website. I Googled them today and they’re listed at the old demolished location, even though their lessons are now at a new facility. OY!
How This Could Have Been Different:
Hurricanes aside, when your buyers Google you and all they learn is on Yelp or Menupages.com, you are just asking for a PR problem. Never ever ever put the fate of your brand in the hands of a 3rd party! At the very least this tennis club needs a website that includes the basics of inbound marketing:
- Clear contact details
- Instructor bios
- Class descriptions and schedules
- A sign-up form for lessons
- Instructional videos
- Information on children’s birthday parties
- Some kind of offer so they can capture leads — a contest to win U.S. Open tickets would be fun!
- A blog that addresses client questions, or things students might be thinking but are afraid to ask. The key is to think about what they might ask Google, and write around those topics.
- “5 Easy Steps for Perfecting Your Backhand”
- “The Best Tennis Racquets for Beginners”
- “What to do When You Don’t Like Your Tennis Instructor”
- “4 Types of Tennis Courts, and How They Affect Your Game”