How Golf can help you create an effective email programme | DMA

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How Golf can help you create an effective email programme


Your email programme will be made up of a series of emails rather than a ‘hole in one’ and just as the aim of golf is to get the ball in the hole, your email programme will have an ‘end objective’ be that to move a prospect to a customer, to encourage further sales, or to build customer loyalty from a specific group of customers.

So what can we learn from Golf. What makes a good golfer, great?

I write this as a golfer with a handicap of 18, and I know that you play golf on a course, and not on a golf field (I heard someone actually say that a few days back), however as I see it success in golf is based on four things.


Obviously you need to be a good golfer. You need to be able to hit the ball (ideally miles), be able to get a golf ball out of a bunker and be good at putting. If you want to a professional golfer, then you’ll need to practice (a lot), I'd say Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 hours concept is easily applicable here.


Let’s assume you are now a pro-golfer. To win the next thing you need to be really good at is planning. You need to do your homework. That is where your ‘caddy’ comes in, and it is the reason why you will hear golf commentators talk about ‘walking the course’.

The caddy will help you to understand the golf course, that is where you need to hit the ball to get around the course in the fewest number of shots possible. When you see a golfer talk to their caddy and look in their little black book, they are checking their notes - and that’s only possible because they’ve done their homework.


By consistency, I mean the application of talent against the strategic plan.

The best golfers are the best because they are able to hit the ball into the same spot on a consistent basis. However each course is completely different, so to be successful it’s all about the application of their (golfing) ability against their plan to tackle the golf course.

On Sky Sport's commentary, I heard that Colin Montgomerie’s strategy (yesterday in the US Open) was greens in regulation. That means give yourself two putts on every green.

To achieve that strategy he will need to keep his ball in the fairway at all times and that will help him to decide which shot to play at each time. He made the cut, so it seemed to be working for him.


If you watch any Golf tournament you will hear this word mentioned a lot. Stick to the plan, be consistent and be patient.

Creating a successful email programme

The same four things are true when creating a successful email programme for your business.


Your business is successful because it’s great at something. It offers something so great that customers are willing to pay money for it.


Your strategy is your plan. How your business is going to get even better.

If you are building an email programme for your business then it is setting the objective for your marketing programme which could be…

- moving a prospect to a new customer

- moving a lapsed customer to an engaged customer

- creating customer loyalty

- linking customer spending to the product lifecycle they’ve previously purchased.

And then defining the journey that will best encourage your audience to meet this objective.

To follow the golf example, your strategy will define if your email programme needs to be a par 3 (step process), a par 4 (step process) or even a par 5 (step process) to be the most effective?


Putting your plan into practice consistently.

Finding the best time to send each message based on the ‘position’ of the audience, and then consistently making sure that the right marketing message is applied to the right person at the right time.

But as with Golf you need to be agile in your approach. Your email programme should be an agile marketing programme, You need to be able to flex your email progamme with changing circumstances.


It may take a while to get your email programme working effectively.

Unlike a batch process of a single message to a large audience, your campaign may take a while before you have any real data to support decision making. It's a marathon not a sprint. Stick to the plan, be consistent and be patient.

To quote the great golfer Gary Player, when asked about his 'luck' at winning, his famous response was "the more I practice, the luckier I get"


Like winning a golf tournament, or in some cases even getting around a golf course in under 100 shots) to create an effective email programme isn’t easy. It requires time, effort and occasionally a bit of patience to get it right.

Like the best golfers, it also helps to have a great caddy such as Websand (that's a hint, not a sales pitch :))

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