Effective Marketing Ideas For Clubs & Associations
Updated: Aug 3
Whether your club is at a national or local level, the need for loyal supporters, a new generation of players and corporate sponsors is something all clubs have in common regardless of size, club level or sporting category.
Marketing is an important aspect of running your club because it allows you to connect with your members and the wider community, informing them of who you are and what you do. Club promotion through online or offline marketing channels is a valuable way of attracting new members, encouraging reactivation of lapsed members, sourcing funding or brand sponsors as well as enhancing your clubs brand and reputation.
With so many clubs and associations competing against each other for a share in each of the above mentioned, you’ll need to make sure you have a sound marketing strategy to ensure you’re maximising every opportunity for your club’s growth, returns and sustainability.
Following are a few simple marketing ideas that are both effective and cost-efficient in getting your club out there and achieving results.
Design A Powerful Website
With 14.2 million internet subscribers in Australia (ABS, December 2017) and Australians spending over 5 hours a day across the internet and various social media platforms (We Are Social, February 2018) you can be certain that the majority of people nowadays are using an online platform to access information about their favourite athletes, clubs or associations.
With this in mind, it makes sense that your website be as powerful as possible, developed to meet best practice standards, the needs of your target audiences and provide an easy customer journey. Your website will often be the first stop for any information seekers, be it new fans, members, players, potential sponsors or media. Simply creating a website isn’t enough.
First and foremost a website needs to be user friendly. It needs to encourage a good user experience through its use of good quality visuals, text layout and ease of access to information. The written content needs to be targeted to your intended audience and answer or address any questions or information needs they may have. Your content also needs to be up to date and relevant, so that you are always providing your audience with the right information and at the right time. Don't make your website an uninspired billboard, drive user engagement and repeat visitation to your site. Think how you can use tools such as athlete-driven content to own your club stories and capture your audiences before others do.
Finally, you need to ensure your website is mobile friendly and optimised for search engines so that it can be easily found by your intended audience when they are searching for information online. You'd be surprised how even some of the biggest clubs and associations in the world fail here on this basic fundamental of internet marketing.
Keep Your Audience Up To Date & Engaged With Email
Email is an effective channel to keep players informed, promote your club and its successes to potential investors or sponsors as well as stay in touch with your most loyal fans by sending them bonus material, thank you notes, exclusive content and other things that make them feel appreciated.
With billions of email users worldwide, the ability to tailor and personalize your campaigns for each of your audiences, as well as its low cost and highly transparent tracking capabilities, Email Marketing is an effective tool that all clubs should be taking advantage of. Firstly though there needs to be effective campaign planning to ensure that your email execution is aligned to achieve overall business goals and that email is not used as an adhoc channel, something you "should" do. Working with other systems to develop automated campaigns based on member behaviours takes your marketing to the next level.
Proven to be very effective in increasing sales and driving memberships, email marketing is one of the highest return-on-investment (ROI) tools available for clubs.
Own your Social Media
Social media is critical to any great marketing strategy. Clubs and associations that create strong engagement strategies and allocate time to build their social media will reap the long-term benefits of growing their brand awareness, building a strong reputation in the community, reaching a wider pool of potential members and increasing engagement with their fan base.
Social media gives you the opportunity to showcase your club or players, whether that is to promote when the next game is on, promote a club event or getting your players to engage with their fans or club members. It’s also a great way of promoting game results, images and videos from competitions, questions, trivia and polls, behind-the-scenes updates, personalised video messages from athletes plus team or sports-related contests and giveaways.
In fact, by not growing your presence across Social Media platforms your club is missing out on additional audience reach and engagement, the opportunity for free advertising, and becoming a voice of authority and expertise in your sporting category. Further to this, if you’re not growing your reach and engagement and your competing club is, you can guarantee that potential sponsors will engage with your competitor instead.
It’s important to note that you don’t have to be present on all social networks. In fact, you probably shouldn’t, unless you have the resources to take care of all platforms properly. A good idea is to concentrate on two networks and really master it before slowly branching out to others.
Leverage “Word of Mouth” Online
Regardless of the size of your club or association, you have access to a large extended network of friends, families and acquaintances of your members and your network are often happy to lend their support so get them involved.
It can be as simple as asking your players, club members and fans to spread the word online about any upcoming games and events or Like, Comment and Share any posts you publish online.
Ensure you are using your sponsors, community organisations and the media to put your athletes and club in the public eye as often as possible. Use this time to build your brand awareness and leverage club and player loyalty.
Align Your Online Promotion With Traditional Marketing
As effective as digital marketing can be for clubs, it is just a part of the marketing toolkit. Digital channels must work together with your existing offline channels to ensure you achieve your clubs marketing objectives.
Audiences don’t generally make decisions based on a single ad or message alone. Therefore, no single channel is the solution to promoting your club or association. A multi-channel strategy, integrating consistent messages across the various online and offline channels, is necessary to prevent diluting your message, encourage a consistent brand identity, as well as to maximize your exposure and grow your opportunity base either financially or through driving memberships.
Get Involved With The Community
As mentioned previously, a lot of your backing will come from local supporters. The people you and others in your team or club know personally will most often be your fiercest and most loyal followers.
So, give to your local community first by getting your club involved in a local project, initiating a clean-up drive in your town, have your players volunteer in an old-folks home or children’s hospital or use their influence to appeal for a charity drive.
Not only will that garner you the direct support of people within your local community, but it also has a good chance of getting people to talk about you, spread the word online and potentially land you coverage in the media.
To summarise, no matter the size or prestige of your team or club, finding new members and supporters relies on presenting your team to the outside world in a consistent and positive manner.
It’s about building a brand that members want to engage with, targeting your audiences wherever they might be (online or offline) and creating long-lasting relationships.
If you’d like to find out more about marketing for your club or association, Agency X can provide the support, guidance and training you may need to assist you in achieving your clubs marketing goals by maximising the value of your team, players and brand to drive sales, increase your membership base and secure commercial opportunities.
Contact Agency X today, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07 3088 7933.