Marketing your club
Knowing your customers
It can be very powerful to use statistics and feedback when you are marketing your club.
You can use research to tell people about the specific benefits that your sport can have on health and wellbeing. It can also help you understand the type of participants that are involved in your sport, and what's influencing them to take part. This can allow you to focus your marketing activities on reaching these individuals.
Before you start, make use of the research that's already out there. Sport England has lots of research that can help you better understand sporting trends.
Do your own research
You may want to carry out your own market research to help you with your marketing.
Research can help you answer important questions such as:
- Why has membership fallen in the last two years?
- Why does the club on the other side of town have more teams than you?
You can use market research to find out and understand the reasons behind these types of challenges, and use the information to improve the targeting and effectiveness of your club's marketing activity.
Ask for feedback
Club Matters has developed Club Views, a tool specifically for clubs to gather feedback and comments from your members and volunteers. This is to help identify areas where you are performing well, where you can improve and also have a greater understanding of what is important to your members and volunteers.
Getting started with a market research survey
- Decide what information you want to gather from the survey and how you will use the information. Doing this can help you structure the survey so you can collate the results in the most simple and manageable way.
- Use logic. For example, before you ask someone how much they would pay for a new club tie, ask them if they have previously bought one.
- Keep questions and sentences short and easy to understand.
- Avoid asking 'open' questions that can be misinterpreted or ignored. Be specific.
- Use ratings. Ask respondents to give marks out of five, keep it consistent.
- Test the survey on a small group of trusted people before its goes live, you might gain some good feedback
- You can choose from a variety of pre-written questions or customise your own. The Club Matters Club Views Tool gives you the opportunity to develop an online survey for your club. It is free, quick to set up and lets you slice and dice responses to reveal what people really think of your club.
You can use market research to find out and understand the reasons behind these types of challenges. Use the information to improve the targeting and effectiveness of your club's marketing activity.
Plan your marketing
Having a plan in place helps you to concentrate on maximising opportunities for increasing sales, sponsorship, membership and participant numbers. Having a marketing plan in place can benefit your club by:
- Making sure you target the right people, at the right time, in the right way
- Adding a framework and structure to what you do, helping you enhance your club's reputation whilst making the most of your time and money.
- Enhancing your club's reputation
There are four main areas for you to consider when developing your plan:
- Where are you now?
- What do you want to achieve?
- How do you get there?
- How do you know you are there?
Encourage your club and committee members to talk to their friends and family about your club, and don't be scared to share your plan with them so that you can be consistent with the message everyone receives.
Traditional marketing is tried, tested and not to be overlooked. Although the internet has taken us by storm, your club should not ignore traditional forms of marketing, which can have a big impact when well-planned and used for the right reasons. Using the media or direct marketing, is a targeted type of marketing involving sending information to a specific group of people. This can both be advantageous when targeting your local community and reaching a specific group of people. Examples of traditional marketing tools are:
- Word of mouth
- Local Media - press releases
Today, digital marketing mainly involves the use of the internet and differs from traditional marketing in that you can respond quickly to queries, join in conversations and take on board any feedback straight away. Digital marketing gives your potential and existing members and volunteers access to information any time and any place they want it. It is accessible, quick, cost-effective and user-friendly once you know how. The following links and resources will help you decide the best method for your club. Examples of digital marketing are:
- Electronic newsletters
- Social Media
When considering which channel to use, think about the pros and cons of each channel for your club. What would be the most effective for your club? Are some methods better than others for different purposes.
Social media allows conversations to happen between your club and the people important to your club, whether that's your members, volunteers, players, supporters, parents or sponsors. Besides their wide reach, what's great about social networks is that pretty much all of them are free to use. As a consequence they present an inexpensive way for team promotion.
With over 60% of people in the UK actively using social media, it is clear that it is here to stay. There are a wide variety of platforms that a club can utilise such as:
- Be yourself, be original
- Disclose who you represent
- Participate regularly
- Be human, be fun
- Give credit to others
- Include links, photos and videos to keep things interesting
- Be friendly & show personality
- Just focus on the business and push business content out
- Share/retweet without knowing what you are endorsing
- Post too much
- Post too little
- Ignore it – your customers may well already be talking about you
Social Media Safety
Staying safe online and especially on social media, has never been a bigger concern for individuals and organisations alike – including local sports clubs.
While social media provides excellent tools for helping your club engage with members and the public, it can also present a number of risks such as:
- Cyber bullying- through posts which are upsetting to people and often inaccurate
- Causing offence to individuals, or other clubs and organisations
- Exposure to inappropriate content, or nasty comments and pictures
Sponsorship is an excellent way for your club to raise revenue while raising the profile of the organisation that is sponsoring you. You must remember when seeking sponsorship that any agreement you come to will be a two-way thing. Your club will be expected to honour obligations in order to maintain the sponsorship.
You can download our toolkit which walks you through the different steps of marketing sponsorship opportunities, from developing your offering through to how you can best work together.
What can you offer them?
- Their logos printed on your kit, equipment, minibus, sideline banners
- Their logo included on your website, email footers, letter heads
- Their company name mentioned in any events, team publicity and end of season reports
- Hold an event under the name of the sponsor, for example "The Car Sales Co. Cup"
- Hold an event at your sponsor or partner's venue, or allow them to hold an event at your venue. For example, a 'Family Fun Day' held at your club house during your off season
- With a little creativity clubs can open up a whole new range of sponsorship targets.
Download the Club Matters toolkit to give you some win-win sponsorship ideas with a difference.
What can sponsors offer you?
- Financial support
- Club kit, which may have their logo or company colours on it
- Discounts e.g. money off equipment or supplies ordered from their shop, a reduced admission price to events, or a discount when hiring specific services or facilities
- Facilities or a venue to host events
To find out more information about marketing your club, please visit the Club Matters website.