Marketing can be overwhelming because there is so much out there… but don’t let it intimidate you! A club director does not need years of experience or an infinite budget to attain your club’s marketing goals.
Billboards are great but aren’t in every marketing budget.
Here are three ways to market your club within a small budget.
One of the most common ways to communicate and advertise to your club’s members and potential members is email. Work to build your audience and keep them regularly informed and up to date. Even if the recipients of your emails do not have children currently playing for your club, or they are not personally competing in any leagues at your club, keeping them informed and engaged assures that they remember to refer your club to others, or they will think of your club when seeking out volleyball opportunities.
The Academy Volleyball Club sets an email schedule for each month, which includes 1) targeted emails to existing club families and 2) the club’s entire distribution list. Current athletes receive 4-5 emails per month, and the master email list will receive between 2-3 emails per month.
HERE is an example of an email that highlights some spring events for all ages that was sent to the full distribution list.
The Academy not only sends emails to potential players but also to school coaches in the area. This keeps them in the know and allows them to be great advocates for your club. You can share free training opportunities or new programs that the coaches can then forward to their volleyball community. You can find an example of this by clicking HERE.
The Academy uses MailChimp to send e-blasts. It’s very user-friendly and provides great analytics such as open rate, click through rate, etc. This is important to measure how effective an email is to your audience. There are other services such as Constant Contact, Benchmark and ActiveCampaign. Click HERE to view a list.
Social media is everything these days and the best part about it, it can be totally FREE! Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can be used to share upcoming events, promotions, and to drive awareness for your club. Marketing is more than just promoting event results or registration for upcoming events. It’s about building relationships and increasing brand awareness.
The Academy shares DYK (did you know) posts, trivia contests, and unique things the club is doing. For example, The Academy just launched a recycling program. Details were shared on all social platforms, as well as email. The posts were not only used to inform athletes and families, but also to show that The Academy is focused on the environment as well training volleyball. View the post on the club’s Twitter page HERE.
Paid advertising can help boost a marketing campaign and potentially reach a broader audience, however it isn’t always necessary. Be creative and try new things! Through trial and error you can see what works and what doesn’t work for your audience. Every club’s audience is unique so find your club’s niche and be authentic.
Engaging the local community is an excellent marketing tool that is often overlooked. With summer right around the corner, there are outdoor festivals and parades every weekend, and your club can be involved! The Academy has utilized festivals as a way to connect with new a market who the club may not reach through social media or email. Having a presence at a community event allows for a personal touch, a way to put a face on your club and making a lasting impression.
Many parents are very new to volleyball and unaware of the opportunities for their child(ren) to learn the sport. Volleyball is not regularly on cable television, and professional volleyball athletes are not highlighting commercial advertisements like professional football, basketball, soccer and baseball athletes are. By participating in community events, your club director, club staff and coaches can be on the front lines, talking directly to kids, parents and active adults. Hold a serving contest or an interactive game with the festival attendees. It’s a great way to meet new people and build your email and social media audience!
Remember, marketing is all about building relationships. Strive to connect with your audience on an emotional level whether it’s through a Facebook message, email, or community event. Marketing should be fun and does not need to break that bank. Enjoy the process, try new things, and don’t be afraid to fail.
About the Author
Katelyn Storms Rizer is the Director of Marketing at The Academy Volleyball Club, a JVA member club in Indianapolis, Indiana. Katelyn has coached volleyball for many years at the club and middle school level. She has been involved in marketing and event planning at Purdue University, Indiana University, and the Cities and Towns of Indiana.