Knowing where to begin with marketing your sports club can be tough! There are so many options and not all of them will be effective. To make things a little easier, we’ve put together 6 tried-and-tested marketing methods which will help you to recruit more members to your club. All of the tips in this guide require zero budget and are easy to implement, so that you can save your precious funds and time for other important areas of the club.
Create a website and blog
A website is likely to be the first place that people go to when they want to find out more about your club, so make sure that you have one.
How do I build a website?
There are a lot of free and easy-to-use website builders out there, so there’s no need to hire an expensive developer to do this for you! We’ve found that people can build excellent websites when they get stuck in and do it themselves.
However, not all website builders have the specific features you need as a sports club, such as the ability to track membership and collect payments. These are the website builders we’ve trialled out and recommend that you use:
|Website builder||What’s it useful for?||How much does it cost?||Will it track membership?||Will it collect payments?|
|Pitchero||Easy to update with news, fixtures and results and manage teams.||
30 day free trial.
From £6 p/m
|Clubwebsite||Great for football clubs and leagues. Manage your fixtures, results, league tables, latest news, photos, sponsors.||Free||Yes||Yes, also has a fundraising and cash back option for clubs.|
|Teamsnap||Website builder for a club, league or association. Easily customisable templates.||Free||Yes||Yes|
|WordPress||Has a variety of plug-ins including fixtures, results, automated standings, players rankings, and individual profiles for clubs, players, and staff.||Free||Yes||Yes|
|Squarespace||Designer templates which show off your club’s photos and videos.||14 day free trial. From £10 p/m||Yes||Yes|
|Wix||Easy to use website builder with the ability to drag and drop things into your design (no tech skills needed).||Free||Yes||Yes|
What should I write about on my website?
Look at other sports club websites to get some inspiration and see what kind of layout you like (here’s 30 successful sports websites to get you going!). We’d suggest starting with ‘Home’, ‘About’, ‘Gallery’ and ‘Contact’ pages as a basis. Your website should include all of the information that new members will want to know, like how much it costs to join and what days you meet up.
If you want to go the extra mile, create a blog section on your website where you can post news, updates and stories related to your club. Having a blog on your website means that people are more likely to discover you through searching on Google. Church Wilne Water Sports Club are a great example of using your blog for a variety of reasons; they post about news, events and success stories. Sport Inspired asked their marketing intern to write posts for their blog. You might also like to consider assigning blog responsibilities to one person within the club, so that you know the blog can be regularly used and kept up to date.
Be active on social media
Social media is the perfect way to regularly update all of your followers on what the club is doing. We’ve found it’s brilliant for communicating with both new and existing members. However, if you’ve never managed social media before then it can be difficult to know where to start. Read on to find out how your sports club can use social media to attract more people.
What should the aims of my sports club’s social media be?
There are a variety of different reasons you might like to use social media for your sports club, for example:
- Connect with current members and create a community
- Share news and information about your club
- Answer questions from your community
- Discover and recruit new members
Try not to be too overtly salesy on your channels. No one likes an account that’s always asking them to join something. Although you want to recruit new members, mix up the content of your posts so that they meet all of the different aims above. For example, one post could be a photo of your members playing sport; the next could be telling new members how to get involved. Both of these posts could be just as likely to attract a new member, but one is more forward than the other one.
Which channels should my sports club be using?
Different social media channels are best suited to different things. Don’t feel like you need to be using every channel; it’s better to have a good presence on one channel than spread yourself too thinly across all of them.
To give you an overview of what each channel is like, here’s a quick-fire guide of the most popular networks:
|Channel name||What’s it for?||Who uses it?||How often should I post?|
|Videos, articles, news and photo albums||Almost everyone! Facebook has the most users of all social media channels||1-2 a day|
|Updates that are 140 characters or less||All ages||5-7 times a day|
|Beautiful and fun images||Mostly young people, slightly more females use it than males||1-3 times a day|
|Snapchat||Photos and videos that disappear after 10 seconds||Mostly young people, aged under 24||As often as you like|
How should I manage the time I spend on social media for my sports club?
Social media can be a big time drain if you get sucked into it. Look into using a social media dashboard like Buffer (this is free to use) where you can schedule your social media posts for the week ahead using a calendar. By using a dashboard, you could schedule all your posts on a Sunday evening and not have to think about it for the rest of the week!
What kind of updates should I post to my sport club’s channels?
You can use social media to post anything that your followers would like to see or know about. Take a mobile phone out with you to your next club practice and start snapping some pictures and videos. Rest assured that you don’t need a fancy video camera to put a video up on social media, it can all be done using your mobile phone. Who knows, you might even get a viral video like this one of the world’s fastest 15 year-old rugby player!
You can use hashtags on your posts to ensure that more people discover your page. Attract new members by posting photos and videos of your team playing sport and using hashtags that sports lovers will be scrolling through. We recommend using 2-3 hashtags on a tweet and 7-15 on an Instagram post. Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags but using too many will annoy your followers. Here are some example hashtags you could use:
#sports #sport #active #fit #fitness #football #soccer #basketball #exercise #ball #gametime #workout #game #games #training #rugby #boxing
Or use the following combination:
#yoursport + #yourcity + one/two hashtags from above list
If you do decide to write a blog, you can post each blog post to your social media channels too. If you want to know how many people click on your social media post to read the blog, you can track the links through a link shortener like Bitly. Bitly will tell you how many people clicked on the link, as well as shortening the links that you post so they take up less space.
How do I know if I’m doing a good job with social media?
You’ll know you’re doing a good job if you’re getting interaction and engagement from the community. Are people following you? Do they like and comment on what you’re posting? Is your inbox full of messages? These are all good signs that people are enjoying what you’re doing.
To get the best results and do a good job with social media, be clear about what you’re trying to get out of it before you start using it.
Put up posters and hand out leaflets
As well as all of the online activity we’ve spoken about, like websites and social media, offline marketing is still important. Posters and leaflets are a great way to reach people in your local area who might not have heard about you before.
There are so many free design tools you can use to create posters and leaflets to promote your club. Canva is the tool that we recommend for sports clubs – it’s super quick to get the hang of and you can create beautiful designs for free. You can find out how to get started with designing posters and leaflets for your club over on Canva’s website. Make sure that your poster or leaflet is eye-catching and informative, so that people want to find out more about you and they know how to get in touch.
Cut your printing costs by asking one of your members to very kindly print the designs out using the printer at their office. Think about places where your new members might hang out, like local supermarkets or gyms, then spend some time putting up posters and handing out leaflets at those places. Remember, for some locations you’ll need permission first.
Offer free taster sessions
Taster sessions are a great way to get people along to your club, especially if they’re free. Once you’ve got people down to your grounds, make sure that you give them an overview of what the club does and most importantly a fun chance to try it out.
If you’re trying to get young people to join your club, reach out to local schools and invite their students to these sessions. Try and think of imaginative ways to keep the students interested after the taster session ends. For example, you could offer discounted membership to any students joining your club for their Duke of Edinburgh Award.
Connect with local businesses and politicians
The chances are that your sports club is doing a lot to improve the local community, so you should let people know about it! Invite local businesses to come along and watch your club play. They might like to promote the club on their own marketing channels. Your club could even get in touch with your local MP and let them know about the difference you’re making to the area. You never know what kind of publicity they could help you with!
You could also ask the companies and businesses you connect with to fundraise for you on GoRaise when they shop online. Imagine how much you could raise if you got a donation every time a company and its employees bought stationery, booked hotels or train tickets!
Encourage word of mouth marketing
Word of mouth is still one of the most important marketing methods. People are much more likely to join a club when it’s been recommended to them by someone they know and trust.
How can I use word of mouth marketing?
Let all of your current members know that you’re looking to recruit new people and ask them to bring friends along to join.
You can use word of mouth marketing online too. If you have an email newsletter that you send out, you could ask your members to forward it onto new people. Try making a post on social media then asking your members to share it and tag a new person who could potentially be interested in joining the club.
Here’s an example post you could write:
Did you know that people can rate your club out of 5 stars on Facebook? Ask your members to give you some ratings so that other people can see how great your club is.
You can see all of the ratings you’ve got under the “Reviews” tab on the left-hand side of your Facebook page.
Ideally, you want to have lots of 4 and 5 star reviews.
How to manage and measure your marketing efforts
Whilst these marketing methods don’t require any budget, they will require some of your time. We know that time is a valuable commodity so we recommend nominating a dedicated member of your sports club who can be responsible for your marketing activity. Perhaps you have a member with a background in marketing or someone who is keen to get more experience? Set some clear goals together so you both know how many new members you’re trying to recruit.
When new members join, remember to ask them how they found out about you. By doing so, you’ll know which of your marketing tactics is a success. Happy recruiting!
Get started with GoRaise
Need to raise some extra funds for your club as well? With GoRaise, you can raise money for your club every time you and your friends shop online. Find out more or get in touch with us to get started.
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