The past year and a half has been full of obstacles for sports clubs and organizations. Events were postponed, canceled, or held online where possible, and often athletes haven’t been able to practice together or play with an audience. But as the world reopens, you should be ready to welcome back your members through safe and meaningful in-person events.
If you’re feeling anxious about putting on events again, you’re not alone. That’s why we’ve put together the following guide to help you increase event registration sign-ups this year, next year, and every year after.
Focus on the Event Experience
One of the best ways to get people to come back every year is to make sure the event speaks for itself! Focus on what athletes, coaches, officials, and volunteers experience. Do they have enough time and space to socialize, network, or compete? Do they have access to exclusive opportunities or free swag?
If you nail every aspect of the event — from what people see, hear, and do — people will remember and come back for more next year. For example, if your club is hosting a summer camp for kids, make sure your facilities, schedules, and staff are suited for educating and entertaining younger athletes.
Also collect feedback through post-event surveys. Ask attendees what they enjoyed and what could have been done differently. Then implement these changes for next year’s event, and make sure people know what’s new this time around. By listening to what your members want, you’ll attract last year’s registrants as well as some new ones!
Advertise Perks for Early Registration
Another way to incentivize people to sign up for events is to offer perks to early bird registrants. These benefits can include discounts for future events, exclusive merch, or sports gear. It doesn’t have to be fancy — you can reward early birds with a discount for that event only. If you give a little, your members will respond.
Send out reminders of early bird and regular deadlines as they come up. In this time of uncertainty, give your members as much time as possible to decide on their participation. They need to stay informed so that they can make the best decisions regarding upcoming events for themselves or their children. Read up on our marketing tips to learn what channels to use, and how often, to reach out to members.
Engage Actively Online and In-Person
As a sports club, your position in the community is vital. Whether you market yourself as a place to stay active and make friends or a place to hone tournament-level skills, you’ll need to connect with members even when they’re not physically at your facilities.
If you don’t already have a website, make one! It’s the number one way to make sure you get found by the right people. The next step would be to build a social media presence to engage with members where they are. Tweet out event registration links or get creative by posting Instagram Reels showcasing new club offerings. If your audience is younger, try TikTok, as we found it is currently underutilized by most sports clubs.
Moving forward, event planners will need to take safety and cleanliness into greater consideration. As people seek more in-person experiences, they want assurance that the locations they visit not only fulfill the purposes of the event but also proper safety protocols. This might mean more outdoor venues or indoor settings with good airflow, all with reduced physical touchpoints.
Improve Communication and User Experience
From initial registration to post-event surveys, it is important to nail the end-to-end consumer experience.
Let them know you’re excited to host them at upcoming events by communicating actively through email newsletters and social media. To keep them engaged, offer special promotions for first-time registrants or return registrants. Make sure registration websites are inviting and easy to use. Follow up with attendees using post-event surveys so that they know you’re constantly thinking of ways to improve their experience.
It’s also important to have clean, safe data that will help enable frequent segmented communications. Audience segmentation is when you group your audience into smaller subgroups and curate marketing content for each one. The data gathered from these subgroups should be clean and safe, meaning it’s usable, consistent, and free of errors.
Fundraising is a great way to increase sign-ups to your events. People will be motivated to come if they’ll be helping to raise money for occasions and causes they care about.
For example, if you host a half marathon, partner with a charity that raises money for ALS or breast cancer research. The charity can purchase tickets — entry places — for participants, who then have the option to create donation pages to raise money through their network as they run the race. You can even offer a prize to the participant who raises the most money.
Plus, when people share the fundraiser on their socials, it counts as additional marketing for your organization.
Offer Refundable Registration
Now more than ever, people need peace of mind in an unpredictable world. Offering refundable registration is one way you can put people at ease.
Through Interpodia, you can offer members the option to purchase upgraded refund terms in case of unforeseen circumstances. The refund terms allow purchasers to get a 100% refund if they are unable to attend the event. Your organization will still retain full registration dues, and the purchaser gets a full refund through our partner.
Every day, people juggle schedules for work, school, family, and other activities. But you can make sports easy for them.
If you’re hosting events, start by making those events as great as possible. Engage with participants online and in person. To find event partners, think local — with limited travel, allying with local organizations uplifts the community and supports small businesses.
Find a balance between creating meaningful in-person experiences and maintaining health and safety. This may mean optimizing your digital platforms or upgrading your marketing strategy. People are more likely to sign up again if they have a great user experience. And finally, be transparent and flexible: communicate early and openly with your members if event plans change.
Have any more ideas to share with us? Comment below!
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