Proper Email Structure

I Should Probably Use that Degree...

Have I ever told you about the story of how I wasted thousands of my parents’ dollars?  You know the one.   It starts off where I go to college for four, ok, fine.. five years, to get my degree.  That degree I really wanted, so that I could be a high school English teacher.

Then, I got offered a job and decided to turn it down, so I could be married and have kids instead.

It’s a great tale. Unless you’re my parents and you’re out all of that college funded money.

Up until today, the main way in which I used my fancy degree was that I can speak the language fluently.  That’s right folks.  I can travel to England and can speak like a native!  Cheery-O, mate.  Wait.  Wrong country.

Today, we’re going to talk about writing copy in your email.

In a previous post, I showed an example of how nearly 99% of all golf courses write their emails.  It looks something like this:

You know the one.  It has a bunch of pictures that you loaded up into your email program.  Then, you wrote what you believe to be a catchy phrase to get someone to sign up for whatever it is that you’re pitching at the time.  Lessons, holiday party, weekend promotion, etc.

Let’s not forget the Call to Action that most golf course’s put in their email:  Call the Clubhouse for Details

I have lost some serious sleep wondering why golf course’s insist on using such a non-sensical CTA.  Is it because the golf operator doesn’t know how to update their website?  Is it because there isn’t a form to sign up for the product/service they are selling on their website?  Why do most golf courses tell the person in an email to call the clubhouse for details?

Of course, there are a few golf courses who do provide a link to their website in their email.  However, the link is just a direct link to the main page of the website.  It never has anything to do with what the email is selling.  This doesn’t make sense to me either.  I don’t enjoy trying to navigate websites to figure out where the information is located.  I want a direct link to the exact page that explains what the email is selling.

Don’t you?

Two Times You Hit Send

There are really two main times when you will hit send for an email.  Those are: Broadcast & Action Triggered

Let’s take a closer look at those types of emails.

  1. Broadcast Emails

    These are the types of emails that most golf courses send.  They are sent out to your entire population of your list and provide wide spread information.  Hence, the name Broadcast.  These types of emails might include your newsletter or golf course wide promotions.

  2. Action Triggered Emails

    These types of emails are where you begin to build a relationship with your golfer.  Action Triggered emails are sent when your customer performs a specified action.  This can be any number of different ways in which an action is triggered.  These are emails that are sent when they book a tee time, schedule a lesson, ask for a donation, inquire for a special event, schedule a party, sign up for your newsletter.

Consider Your Customer’s Journey

When you write your emails, you need to write with a specific goal in mind.  What is your email trying to achieve?  In thinking about your goal, you need to consider your golfer’s journey.  Most times, the customer journey will follow along some form of this path:


  • Become Aware
  • Subscribe
  • Engage
  • Convert to Customer (make tee time, book event, schedule lesson, etc.)
  • Excitement in Experience
  • Loyalty & Advocacy

Your goal with the overall strategy is that you want to teach your golfers how to behave at your course.  You’re going to do this through storytelling.  If you are an upscale course, then you’ll share stories that paint that picture.  You’ll tell about a business meeting that you had at your course recently or you’ll provide a testimonial of from one of your members.

If you’re a daily fee course, then you’ll tell the story with the overall appearance you want for your course.  If you’re a high end course, you might have a different message from that of a Average Joe golfer.  If you’re casual, then you might inject humor in your story telling.  If your course has a more formalized atmosphere, then you’ll select stories that tell your story.  The most important part is that your language must speak to your golfer.

You want to be inside of your golfer’s head.

Types of Emails

Emails can be grouped in three main buckets.  Those buckets are Transactional, Promotional, Relational.  Most of time, businesses only focus on the Promotional bucket.

When my children were small, they learned about Bucket Dippers and Bucket Fillers.  They were taught they wanted to make sure they were always filling one another’s buckets.  You didn’t always want to be a bucket dipper because then your friend might run out of the positivity in his bucket.  The same can be true of types of emails.  You want to make sure you’re constantly filling all three of your golfers buckets, so they continue to listen to you and engage with your golf course.  Transactional and Relational emails help to fill your golfers buckets.  Promotional emails dip or take from your golfers buckets.

By keeping a balance in your golfer’s bucket, you will eliminate the need to only communicate with your golfers by slashing your pricing.

Let’s Dive a Little Deeper into those three types of emails.

Transactional Emails

These are emails that are prompted by an action taken by your golfer.

  • Book a Tee Time Confirmation
  • Fill out Inquiry Form Online
  • Buy from your Website
  • Thank You Follow Up
  • Password Reminder
  • Unsubscribe Email

Chances are that you haven’t really thought a whole lot about these types of emails.  The fact is that these emails are quite a bit more important in telling your story than you realize.  It’s where you show your golf course’s personality.  If you’re using the canned email that your service suggested, then you’re missing out on building that relationship with your golfer.

If you struggle with this, then write the email like you’re writing to your friend.  What are the standard things you say when someone books a tee time?  Do you tell them where your bag drop is located?  Give them a procedure on how to check in?  Explain how to check in or where the starter is located?  How is your wording for the description on our dress code?  All of these types of things help to paint the picture of your golf course’s personality.

For instance, in our confirmation email when someone books a tee time, I address our dress policy.  In it, I make a reference that kilts are optional, but encouraged.  You wouldn’t believe how many golfers make a reference to this email when they check in.  They ask the person behind the counter, “Did you write that email?”  They want to meet the person behind the kilt comment.  To me, being a human behind your emails has the same impact of mowing stripes.

Promotional Emails

These are emails that are for promotion.

  • Promotions
  • Specials
  • Upcoming Events
  • Golf Outings
  • Sale Announcements
  • Upgrade Offers

This is the most common type of email that businesses send.  They aren’t bad, per se, but you should be making sure you build a relationship with your golfer by also including Transactional and Relational emails in your overall marketing strategy.

Relational Emails

This type of email is one that is used when you’re sharing information to your golfer.  Think of it like a service that you’re providing to your golfer.  They help to build the overall relationship with your golfer by including them in your social activity both online and off line.

  • Social Updates
  • Welcome Series
  • Surveys
  • Newsletter
  • Intro to Blog Articles
  • Contests

In your overall email marketing strategy, you should be including all three types of emails.j

Structuring Your Emails

Now that we’ve gone over the times that you send an email and why you might send it, let’s dive a little deeper into the overall structure of the email.

I realize that not everyone has the benefit of having an English degree.  I can’t say that I’ve ever had much problem with trying to figure out what I want to write.  Many golf operators just like playing golf.  They don’t like writing.  I get that.  However, I bet you never suffer from talkers block, do you?

When you’re writing an email, you need to pretend like you’re writing to your friend.  Don’t picture the thousands of people on your list.  Just picture your perfect golfer.  The one that you can identify with and then write directly to him.  If you’re struggling with this, then talk to someone about what you’re interested in sharing in an email.  Chances are that the words will start flowing and it’ll come more naturally to you once you hear yourself talking about the subject.

There are really four main parts that make up the structure of an email.

Just to be clear, I’m not talking about those junk emails that are canned inside of your email marketing company.  They’re useless in building a relationship with your golfer.

I’m talking about actually talking to your golfer and building an interest with her until she decides she’s going to purchase something.

The four main parts that create an email:

  • Intro
  • Body
  • Closing
  • P.S.

That looks familiar, right?  Did you just take a trip down memory lane to your high school English days?  To break that down into more detail, let’s examine them a bit more.

  • Intro
    • This is just an introductory story, sentence, question, that grabs your reader’s attention.  This might be where you provide proof that what you’re selling works.
  • Body
    • Here is where you explain what you want to the reader to know about.  This is where you explain the direct benefit to the point of your email.
  • Closing
    • In the closing, you’re going to want to give them a time frame.  Recap and then provide a sense of real urgency.
  • P.S.
    • This is where you can highlight the email and get people to head over to the page of your website where additional information can be found.

There are many ways in which you can use this overall strategy to write good emails.  I’ve created a worksheet that has formulas in place.  Let’s dive into the worksheet a little, so you can use it most efficiently.  There are certain standard email writing formulas.

EXAMPLE: Before – After – Bridge

In this example, the Before occurs in the Intro.  This paints a picture of what the world looks like right now.  After is what occurs in the Body of the email.  This is where you show what the world would like After they buy, sign up, etc. for whatever it is you’re selling in your email.

If you’re struggling with coming up how to format your emails, then consider downloading this worksheet that will provide ten different ways in which you can format your emails.

LET’S TAKE THE GOLF WORLD BY STORM and start writing good actionable emails that provide a good representation of the great game of golf!

Click here to Download the Worksheet