After you’ve spent time drawing up an honest assessment of your business operations (which we covered in part one of this Business Performance Series), it’s time to work on some improvement tasks.
In the next two articles in this series, we take a deep dive into a few key business operation improvement ideas and strategies. Download our free business performance ebook for actionable tips and expert advice.
A common area that needs attention amongst many organisations is marketing.
When you create a new business, there is a natural pathway: make the thing, educate the people about why they need the thing, convince the people you have the best thing and finally, make the sale.
For lots of sports club owners, they have the luxury of cutting out that education piece. Particularly if they operate in a mainstream sport that many budding athletes and parents already have an interest in. They therefore have the opposite problem to a lot of new businesses; they don’t need to drum up interest, they have too much interest and need to create waiting lists.
Because of these waiting lists, clubs often find themselves with a false sense of customer security. The longer the list, the less effort is put into marketing their club.
While this may have worked for your business so far, there will come a time that this strategy just won’t cut it anymore. During more difficult financial times, people may start evaluating their current output – assessing whether your business is a valuable way to spend their time and money. One thing you can do to change up this strategy is to revisit the “why we are the best club/organisation for you” piece of the puzzle.
Six marketing strategies to improve your business
Let’s delve into the six actions you should take to propel your marketing efforts – no matter what your organisation’s goal is.
1. Build your audience
The truth is that a lot of clubs have it a little backwards. Typically, when opening a sports programme, clubs owners would write a business plan, find a space, buy equipment and open the doors. They then wait for people to find them. Essentially, they make the product before they have anyone to sell it to.
Imagine what would happen if you spent some time building a base of lifelong customers / members, or ‘lifers’? Your lifers are the people who love what your organisation stands for, so much so that they buy anything you sell.
In addition, lifers will stay with you for years to come, and talk about you to their friends and family – they become your informal brand ambassadors.
2. Be real and authentic
Remember that people buy from people. Customers, both new and existing, want to know you.
Time spent telling your story and marketing with real, authentic content is not time wasted. Your audience want to know about your company; they want to know the people involved as well as the values you hold. The more you give members a chance to get to know you and your organisation, the stronger your brand.
Whether it’s intentional or unintentional, your business has a brand. And it’s made up of all the stories and experiences from your unique organisational journey.
These stories are part of what makes your business unique. Your marketing strategy will attract members that align and believe in your brand.
3. Tell your story
Storytelling for branding purposes is called ‘story branding’. Telling the story of how your business came to be is an easy and fun marketing tactic. Why did you open your business? What is your mission? What kind of people do you hire and why?
Consider putting your content together in a way that you can share across multiple marketing platforms. For example, use pictures for Instagram posts and stories, write a nice article for your email marketing, or a blog for your website and Facebook.
Tell stories that illustrate your organisation’s personality and how you can help your members. If you’ve succeeded in telling these stories on multiple touchpoints, that final sales piece is just a friendly conversation after they have decided to engage with you.
4. Establish yourself as a local influencer
People want to be associated with the best. So make sure you’re establishing yourself as an industry expert on social media and other commonly visited places in your community, like the LoveAdmin app.
If you want to be seen as a forward-thinking, tech-forward business, your audience will expect you to offer an app. This is an easy way for members to interact with you and stay informed. So, you’ll score major points for adding convenience to their lives.
Because LoveAdmin houses all relevant information about your business, and is also a means for communication, members will get used to checking your app frequently. This then allows them to view your marketing content while contributing directly to your bottom line.
5. Understand your audience and make yourself known
Aside from the LoveAdmin app, where else should existing and new customers find you? You need to fully understand who your audience is, so that you can identify the channels to make yourself known.
If your target audience is young people, and you have a fun and energetic brand, why not join TikTok? Or perhaps you can sell your business better with pictures rather than writing? In that case, make use of Instagram.
Wherever you choose to spend your marketing efforts, choose channels that don’t feel forced or unnatural for your brand. When your content isn’t authentic, you will procrastinate, and the story branding won’t be believable.
6. Consistently engage
Remember, you will build your membership base as long as you are consistently engaging. The best way to find those lifetime members is to build relationships. And that can be done digitally very easily.
Whether it’s replying to their Facebook comments and messages, or sending a quick email enquiry about their general wellbeing, there are always opportunities to interact with your audience.
We are constantly being sold to through ads, voucher codes, and offers. When our audience reads real, personalised comments and messages, it’s more memorable. Reaching out and engaging with your audience also gives you a chance to ask what they want from you – rather than always assuming you know.
Lastly, we will leave you with this little secret to marketing success: whatever you do, do it with consistency. Keep showing up when you think no one is watching, reading, or listening.
When those new members find you, having a nice bank of stories and content will showcase you as an active, cutting-edge organisation. Keep marketing and engaging, and you’ll build that base of lifelong members one piece of content at a time.
If you’d like to read the advice in the rest of this series, click on the links below:
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