When COVID-19 hit in early March, the PGA was mid-tournament so the first email that went out to fans was about the fact that there would be no play the following weekend and then information on a revised schedule, which, in the end, continued on a weekly basis.
That's what Kristie Doak, Senior Manager, Database Marketing at PGA Tour, told MediaPost's Email Insider Summit on Wednesday during a panel discussion on "Notes For An Emergency."
Emails started going out weekly over eight weeks, she said, to stay in contact with fans. Initially, the PGA had not been feeding fans' appetite for the human interest angle. "Going forward, there will be a balance between action, the leaderboard and human interest stories. We used to give them in fits and spurts and now we're looking for those stories to share them."
Now golf has restarted but without the fans so the tour is crafting messages on how to buy merchandise online, take part in a "get active" challenge, raise money for COVID relief, and work out with a favorite player. "We're getting much better engagement rates," Doak said. "Our open rates are up 3.5% and our click-through rates just about doubled."
Also on the panel, led by Lisa Singer, event editorial manager at MediaPost, were Jim Parsons, Marketing & Product Executive at UPS Worldwide Services, and Linda Yu, Director-Outbound Marketing at Zillow.