6 Effective Marketing Tips for Your Sports Club or Organization
Nowadays, people have all kinds of information at their fingertips, but their attention spans remain limited. The ways people spend their time are also finite, so sports clubs and organizations need to communicate compelling reasons why people should spend their time playing this sport at this club and not another.
With so many ways to market your sports club or organization, it can be difficult to know the best ways to communicate this message to your audience. Too little communication and you run the risk of being forgotten, but too much communication can be overwhelming. It also matters what platforms you use to engage.
Interpodia recently conducted a survey among clients in an effort to learn what communication methods were most popular and effective. The following takeaways summarize six best practices for marketing your sports club or organization.
Build a Professional Website
Probably the first thing that people do when they want to find out more about something is Google it. So when someone Googles you, make sure to have a website that is professional, informative, and establishes a line of communication with viewers.
Our survey found that 100% of our respondents use a website as one of their communication channels. (We’re off to a great start!) The majority use WordPress — it’s free and easy to set up — while the rest use Squarespace, Wix, Drupal, or other content management site.
Using WordPress is a smart move, as it allows builders to extend functionality through tens of thousands of plugins, which cover contact forms, booking calendars, video galleries, SEO tools, and so much more. Plus, WordPress offers thousands of free, high-quality themes that web designers can experiment with to keep things fresh for users.
Engage on Social Media
To supplement the website, you should also build a social media following. People already connect with their friends and interests on social media, so it’s one of the best ways to spread the word about the events, perks, and experiences that come with joining your club.
Nearly all of the clients from our survey use Facebook and, to a lesser degree, Instagram. A third of them use Twitter, while none use TikTok. While it’s true that having a vibrant, engaging social media presence on one platform is better than having a lackluster presence on all platforms, a sure way to maximize your online reach is to foster great social media relations on as many platforms as possible. Right now, it looks like TikTok is an untapped channel for many clubs and organizations!
The best thing about social media, of course, is that it’s a free and effective way to connect directly with your members and any other interested parties.
Do Email and SMS/Text Campaigns
People will discover your organization in all kinds of ways, but keeping their attention requires consistency. That’s where email newsletters and campaigns come in.
Among our users, the most popular platform for email communications is MailChimp (63%), followed by Constant Contact (21%). We recommend MailChimp — it’s free and simple to set up and integrate with your club database.
We’ve written in depth about the five best types of marketing emails for sports clubs, but here they are in a nutshell:
- automated welcome email
- messages from coaches or board members
- monthly newsletters
- club event reminders
- member feedback surveys
These five essential emails convey wide-ranging value and allow you to gather information to improve your mass email communications over time.
Another way to engage with your audience is through SMS/text, but we found that far fewer sport clubs are currently utilizing this method. Only 8% of our respondents are using either TextMagic or SimpleTexting. While emails are ideal for delivering detailed, visual content, SMS/texts are perfect for blasting out event reminders, emergency messages, and other time-sensitive notifications. Pairing email and SMS campaigns together results in more consistent engagement overall.
Determine Frequency of Communications
We know that email communications are important, but how often should you send them out?
Nearly half of our survey respondents say they send out monthly emails, while 17% do so biweekly and 13% do so once a week or more. Another 13% send out quarterly emails, and the rest do so irregularly or never. Monthly emails seem the most popular, but is this really the optimal frequency with which to engage and keep an audience?
The answer will depend on your email performance metrics. How many people open your emails? How many people click through to your site? What about unsubscribers? If your open rate is below 15%, for example, you may need to scale back on the frequency (and perhaps rethink the content) of your emails. Other factors that can affect your open, click, and unsubscribe rates include the email subject line, time of day, and day of the week sent. Analyze the data and test different email series in order to determine the email frequency sweet spot for your particular organization. Once you do, keep it consistent.
Segment Your Audience
In addition to finding the best frequency for email blasts, segmenting your audience is essential to better engagement. For example, newcomer information won’t be relevant to a longtime member, and vice versa. You’ll have to tailor content for different audiences.
Our findings show that segmenting based on membership type was most popular (52%), followed by whether they’re current or past members (39%), registration date (17%), if they haven’t yet renewed membership (17%), their sport discipline (13%), not at all (8%), or other (8%). Respondents were able to choose more than one way to segment.
These stats are encouraging, given that curated content does a good job of targeting people as varied in role, experience level, and background as sports club members.
No matter how small or big your email list, it’s a good idea to segment your audience. You could even do this based on your email open rate, by sending more emails to those who open them at a higher rate.
Alternatively, you can let your subscribers choose how often to receive emails. Your daily, weekly, and monthly content should vary accordingly, but letting members decide their own frequency is often a gesture of engagement in itself — you’re listening to what they want to hear from you.
Find Sponsorships and Partnerships
For some sports organizations, utilizing sponsorships or partnerships is another effective way to optimize your marketing strategy. Partnering with brands, people, and activities that your audience already knows and loves will make it more likely that they will trust you.
Both you and your partners stand to benefit from the arrangement, increasing cash flow and visibility on your end, publicity for your sponsor, and general goodwill within the industry.
To attract sponsors, review our tips for best marketing practices — polish up your website and social media to make a good first impression.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how great your organization or club is as long as people don’t know about it. Following the above best practices for your sports group will help maximize your marketing potential. Regardless of the sport or size of your organization, everyone benefits from a trustworthy, professional online reputation.
Do you have any other tips on marketing sports clubs or organizations? Or have you tried our tips and have results to share? Let us know — our readers would appreciate the input!