Promote Your Club Online To Attract New Members
Knowing where to start when you are looking to market your sports club can be tough! With so many options available, finding the most useful can be a long and laborious process.
So, to make your life just a little bit easier, we have pulled together our five tried-and-tested ways to market your club to help you recruit more members, volunteers and supporters to your club.
The first four tips in this guide do not require any budget (your treasurer will love that). The final one is the next step for your club and really up to you if you want to take that step.
All of them, however, are easy to implement, saving your precious time and funds for other vital areas of the club.
1. Create a website
In a world where most people have mobile phones with internet access, a website is more than likely to be the first place that people can find out more information about your club, therefore its vital that you have one…. that is up to date!
A website is your virtual storefront, and much like a brick and mortar shop, it is where people get their first impressions of you and your club.
How do I build a website?
There are many free and easy to use website builders available, so there’s no need to hire an expensive developer to do this for you!
It does not have to be all singing and dancing, to begin with.
We have known of many clubs who have built excellent websites when they get going and do it themselves…..that how Club And Coach got started.
Most of these website builders are designed for general business, therefore may not have the specific features you need to run your club, such as the ability to track membership and collect payments.
While researching how to build your website for nearly free, we found these website builders that have most if not all of the features that we would recommend for any sports clubs website.
|Website Builder||What its useful for||Cost||Will it track membership?||Will it Collect payments|
|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.|
|Wordpress||Has a variety of plug-ins including fixtures, results, automated standings, players rankings, and individual profiles for clubs, players, and staff||Free - £7pm||Yes||Yes|
|Wix||Easy to use website builder with the ability to drag and drop things into your design (no tech skills needed).||Free - £15pm||Yes||Yes|
|TeamSnap||Website builder for a club, league or association. Easily customisable templates||Free - £15pm||Yes||Yes|
|Pitchero||Easy to update with news, fixtures and results and manage teams.||Free - £80pm||Yes||Yes|
|Squarespace||Designer templates which show off your club’s photos and videos.||£10 - £30pm||Yes||Yes|
So you’ve got your website up and running….now what?
As you will know from searching many millions of things we “Google” each day if a website is out of date, has incorrect information or typos everything becomes suspect to those viewing it, along with search engines.
This means it should be up to date and kept that way. Let’s consider your clubs website. Ensure your clubs name, address, phone number, hours of operation (especially if you have a bar), training times, and other pertinent information is all correct and current.
Poor user experiences on your clubs website from a poorly constructed site can cause lasting damage to your clubs reputation, especially when parents are looking.
Your site has a poster for new members embedded, for example, but if a visitor can only see half of it. That would qualify as a failure—suddenly, which makes your site looks cheap, tarnishing your clubs brand, and all your work was for nothing.
Shoddy navigation, broken links, missing content on pages, and slow load times are also sure-fire ways to put visitors off your site.
As the saying goes, You do not get a second chance to make a first impression, and nowhere is this more pertinent than on your clubs website. So dive deep to make sure there are no unwelcome surprises.
What should I put on our site?
Your clubs site will also need to include all of the information that new members (or their parents) will want to know, for example, the cost to join, when is training and what days their age group plays.
If you want to go the extra mile, we recommend that you create sections on your site where you can post news, match reports and stories related to your club. Having a these will also make it easier for new members to discover you through searching on Google.
As it is not always easy to write, we find it difficult, lots of different articles. We recommend assigning writing responsibilities to some people within the club, for example, someone from the juniors, chairman’s newsletter, captain match reports, so that you know the site can be regularly used and kept up to date.
2. Get your club found on search engines!
Ok, so we are not going to go into the mystical world of search engine optimisation and all of its myriad of strategies, structures and other such witchcraft.
We are going to look at a little known or used free resource to give your club more exposure, one that we have found virtually no clubs are taking advantage of.
I am talking about Google My Business – a free business listing that can help your club get found and share information quickly on Google Search and Google Maps.
Setting up a Google My Business listing is a simple way to make sure your business is included in local search results. In fact, SEO experts consider a Google My Business profile to be essential for local search, which will help your club stand out in your area.
For instance, if you search in Google Maps for coffee shops near me (as I searched some sports and none had a presence on GMB), you will see a list of Google My Business listings complete with ratings and detailed business information. If your club, or in this case, coffee business, hasn’t set up your listing, you are missing out.
Mobilosoft, a company that helps shops develop their websites and online presence, calculated the performance of Google My Business presence for its retail clients in 2016. It found that having a Google my Business created 29% more visibility and 60% more activation through clicks to the shop’s website, calls to the shops and asks for directions via Google My Business listings.
If, for example, you have multiple ground locations, you can quickly set up profiles for each ground or venue – which increases your footprint for local search results.
We have written a step by step guide on how to get your clubs Google My Business page here.
3. Be active on social media
As we have written about in our articles on Promoting your club, Social media is a great way to keep all of your fans, near and far, updated on what is happening at the club.
We have found that using social media fantastic for communicating with both new, existing and past member who may have moved away but still have an interest in your club.
If you are new to managing your clubs social media then it can be difficult to know where to begin. We have produced a guide on how to handle your clubs social media efficiently here.
However, here is an overview of how your club can use its social media to attract more members.
What should the aims of my sports club’s social media be?
Here are a few different reasons your club might like to use social media:
- 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
Your social media should be there to document the clubs progress, and not to be too overtly salesy. No one likes reading posts that are always telling them to do something.
If you want to recruit new members, mix up what you put in your posts so that they meet all of the different aims looked at above. For example, one post could be a photo of your members playing sport; the next could be informing potential new members how to get involved. Both of these posts could be as likely to attract a new member to your club. This also goes for posting on different platforms, i.e. don’t paste the same message on all of your social media accounts, mix it up and optimise the posts for each one.
Which platforms should my club be using?
Of the 100 or so social media channels available, each is best suited to different things. We do not recommend that you use every channel; it is better to have a good presence on one or two channels than spread yourself too thinly across a number of them.
Here is an overview of a study by Coschedule of what each of the most popular social media channels is like:
|Platform||Whats it for?||Who uses it?||How Often to Post|
|Videos, articles, news and photo albums||Almost everyone! Facebook has the most users of all social media channels||1-2 times per day|
|Short Videos and Updates that are 280 characters or less||All ages||Upto 15 times per day|
|Beautiful and fun images||Mostly young people, slightly more females use it than males||1-3 times per day|
|Snapchat||Photos and videos that disappear after 10 seconds||Mostly young people, aged under 35||As often a s you can|
How should I manage the time I spend on social media for my sports club?
We have all got lost down the rabbit hole that is Social media; it can be a huge time drain if you get sucked into it.
What should I post on my club’s social media?
You can use your clubs social media to post anything that your fans and potential fans would like to see or know about. You do not need a fancy HD/4K video camera to capture videos and pictures to put up on social media; it can all be done using your mobile phone. Take phone to your next training session or match. Who knows, you might even get a viral video like this one of Coleraine Vs Donemana Cricket Club.
You can post each article that’s published on your website to your social media channels too. This can be done automatically for you by most website platforms such as WordPress, Wix or Weebly.
4. Maximize other people
Send Match reports to your local papers.
Ok, so this may sound counterintuitive, to send match reports to your local and national press. However, most have online sections, and when they add your match reports, this will give you not only another audience but a more significant online presence. If you can, ideally you should ask for a link from their website to yours, this will help your rankings in search engines.
Sign up for directories
Again this is to increase your presence online, through making sure your clubs name appears in a range of areas. Most governing bodies and local authority sports partnerships have a list of clubs on their site, make sure yours is up to date with the correct information.
You can also ensure that large directories like Yell, Thompson Directories, Local Pages or local directories. As these are massive sites that are great for search engines. It would also be worth looking into signing up to your local business directories and even the chamber of commerce, especially if you have a function area.
5. Paid advertising
Ok, before you roll your eyes and go back to the social media rabbit hole watch, we urge you to consider using paid adverts to promote your club.
Paid online advertising is a great way to guide more traffic to your clubs website and increase awareness of your club in your local area.
We are only looking at the big two Google, as accounts for 80% of search traffic on the web, and with Facebook ads, another behemoth in the advertising world.
Let’s start with the biggest of them all, Google! According to Statista, “in December 2016, Google was ranked first amongst the most visited multi-platform web properties in the United States with 246 million U.S. unique visitors, it also accounts for over 90 of all searches worldwide according to Statcounter
Google has two types of paid ads through Google AdWords, namely, display ads and text ads.
Display ads are the type that appears while you are browsing on various websites, generally in the sidebar and targeted through past searches. This is why you see adverts for that fluffy toy you were looking at for your partner everywhere you go!
Text ads are the results at the top or the side of every Google search page.
These are adverts that a company pays for so that people will notice their business whenever they are searching Google. When using these, you only have to pay whenever someone clicks on your advert; this is also known as pay-per-click advertising (PPC).
Given the massive influence that Google has, it is essential to take time to see if Google AdWords can be beneficial to promote your club.
An added bonus is that if your club is a charity you can apply for Google Adwords vouchers for free
Despite what you have probably heard in the press, Facebook is most certainly not dead. It still had a massive 75% of the social media market, with 2.13 billion active monthly users and 1.4 billion of them log in daily. People spent more time on Facebook (22%) than Google and Youtube combined (11%)
Facebook ads run on the same pay-per-click (or pay-per-impression) idea as Google’s ads. According to the Huffington Post, “thanks to the amount of personal information in Facebook’s database, they allow you to get ridiculously detailed with your targeting. Anything a user can put into their profile—age, sex, location, education, religion, interests, politics, job title, marital status, etc.—can be used as a filter for your ads.”
So, if for example, you want to target 8-year-olds, who are not (meant) to be on Facebook, for your youth section that starts in a few weeks, you could focus on their parents by targeting.
Females aged between 35 and 45, as the average age for women having children is around 30 according to tho the ONS, living within 3/5/10 miles of your club….you could go even more in depth than this if you want.
Using this information you can pay for advertising on Facebook in many ways. You can Boost a post, for example, if you want to get a higher reach on an event or launch. You can also run regular ads that appear in peoples feeds.
You can find a guide to promoting your club (change the word business to club, and it works) Facebook ads here
The best part is that Facebook Ads are surprisingly affordable!
There are many other platforms that you could advertise on such as Instagram, Twitter, Bing and Oath (owner of Yahoo and AOL). We will leave it there for now though.
We wish you all the best in getting more members and developing your club.
If you have found this article useful or think that we have missed anything, please let us know by sharing it on your social media or getting in touch via email.