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How boost your club’s marketing

A commonplace for improvement amongst all grassroots sports clubs is marketing. When you start a club, there is a natural pathway of: open the club, educate people on why they need to join, convince them that you’re the best, and finally, register members. Most club owners have the luxury of cutting out that education piece because many parents already have an interest in sports and physical activity. Because of this, you tend to have more members than you can handle which is why you have a waiting list. However, a waiting list can often create a false sense of security – the longer the list, the less effort you put into marketing.

In the past, you may have been able to operate like this but in this time of uncertainty, things have to change. As families eventually make a shift back to a “normal” life, they may be looking at clubs a little harder. They will need to decide whether these sports and physical activities were worth their valuable time and money. Whether you’ve chosen to digitally engage your members or just ride out the closure, you may now be unsure of how many past and waitlisted children will return.

One thing you can do to prepare for the future is to revisit “why we are the best sports club for you” piece of the puzzle.

To help you, we’ve listed five ways to boost your club forward with free, organic marketing activities.

1. Build your audience

Typically, when opening a club, you’ll write a plan, find a space, buy equipment, and open the doors. You kiss it, wish it well, and wait for people to find you. Essentially, that’s like making a product before you have anyone to sell it to.

Imagine what would happen if you started building a base of lifelong members, or “lifers”? Lifers are those families who love what you stand for so much they will buy anything you sell – they are your biggest fans. Wouldn’t it be great to have a club full of families so loyal that they not only stay with you for years but also rave about you?

You can and you should spend time building your audience now because people buy from people. Members new and old want to know you. Time spent telling your story and marketing with real, authentic content is time well spent. Parents want to know about your club and the people involved as well as the values you hold. The more you give families a chance to get to know you and your club, the stronger your brand.

While we’re at it, did you know you have a brand? That’s right. Whether it’s intentional or unintentional, your club has a brand and it’s made up of all the stories and experiences from your unique training programmes. These stories are part of what makes your club so great. Your marketing strategy will attract those that align and believe in your brand.

2. Tell your story

Storytelling for branding purposes is called “story branding”.  Telling the story of how your club came to be is an easy and fun marketing tactic. Why did you open a club? What is your mission? What kind of people do you hire to coach and why? Consider putting your content together in a way that you can share across multiple platforms. Use pictures for Instagram posts and stories, write a nice piece for your emails or a blog for your website or Facebook. Tell stories that illustrate your club’s personality and how you can help your members. If you do a good job of telling these stories in multiple places, usually that final sales piece is just a friendly conversation after they have decided that you are the club for their family. A communication plan is a great way to effectively communicate with your members, learn how to create one for your club here.

3. Establish as a local influencer

Letting your club’s stories shine through has the added benefit of establishing you as a local influencer. People want to be associated with the best. Make sure you are establishing yourself as an industry expert on social media and other commonly trafficked places in your community, like the LoveAdmin system. As most parents are now of a generation that keeps up on new technology and social media trends, they will expect you to offer them a simple online solution. It’s an easy way for parents to do business with you and stay informed. You’ll score major points for adding convenience to their lives. Because of LoveAdmin, parents will get used to checking your LoveAdmin shop quite frequently which allows them to view your content.

4. Niche down and make yourself known

Market in an area where you can niche down and make yourself known. If you, your coaches, or your club’s brand is energetic and young, why not jump on the TikTok trend? Or maybe you’re more comfortable with pictures as opposed to writing. Instagram is a great place to publish visual images that connect to people. Facebook is great for short blogs and stellar writing. Wherever you choose to spend your marketing time, choose places where your efforts don’t feel forced. When your content isn’t authentic, you will procrastinate, and the story branding won’t get done.

5. Consistently engage

Remember, even if you’re scared of messing it all up, you can still build your member base as long as you are consistently engaging. The best way to find lifetime members is to build relationships. That can be done digitally. Whether it’s commenting on their Facebook posts, sending a quick emailing inquiring about their general well-being, sending a short DM on social media, there are always options to interact with their content. People are constantly being sold to through ads, coupon codes, and offers so when parents read real, personalised comments and messages it’s memorable. Pro-tip: Have training sessions that don’t fill? Reaching out and engaging gives you a chance to poll them and find out through informal conversations what they’d like to see more of.

Want to know what the marketing secret sauce is made of? The secret is: whatever you do, do it with consistency. Keep showing up when you think no one is watching, reading, or listening. The quiet periods are when the biggest moves are made. When those new members find you, having a nice bank of stories and content will showcase you as an active, cutting-edge sports club. Keep marketing and engaging and you’ll build that base of lifelong members one post at a time!

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