Marketing is crucial to building a loyal fanbase and increasing revenue. As the primary marketer for a sports team, it can be difficult to decide where to start. Budget is always a priority, but you want to be unique to attract more attention. Luckily, the internet is full of advice and guides for new marketers; unluckily, they often aren’t targeted to one industry or another. Advertising for your team is going to be different from advertising for, say, a dental practice. In this article, we’re talking directly to you, sports marketers. We’ve gathered five of the best strategies for marketing your sports team.
Have a Marketing Strategy
Marketing should never be a last-minute endeavor. Instead, you want to do everything in your power to plan ahead. While some things in sports are unpredictable, like weather delays or global pandemics, making a marketing strategy for the year helps free your time for last-minute problems.
The first step is to get the game day schedule. If you are working with a collegiate team, you should also look at the academic calendar. This ensures you don’t plan any special events during rough periods like midterms or scholarship dinners.
Next, start making your plan. If you aren’t in charge of planning events, coordinate with who is in order to pick good times and locations. Start preparing your advertisement designs with plenty of time to get approvals, make adjustments, and account for any issues with your supplier. Stock up on any merchandise you order for in-person events in case a last-minute invitation comes in to attend an event or, say, visit vulnerable community members. A small promotional item of a favorite team or player can go a long way in brightening a hospitalized child’s day.
Host Fan Events
Fan events are a great way to increase engagement with the community, new and old fans alike. You can host player meet-and-greets, autograph signings, and even fundraiser dinners since it’s always a good marketing move to meet your audience. These events let your fans and the team interact as a community. In addition, these events are pretty easy to advertise through digital and physical strategies: email campaigns, social media posts, flyers in local businesses, etc.
Utilize Social Media
One of the biggest mistakes a new marketer can make is not acknowledging the power of social media. In today’s digital age, social media accounts for a large percentage of a brand’s visibility. It’s best to use more than one platform, but you can start small with popular spaces like Instagram or Facebook and then build your way up to others like TikTok.
Social media offers a variety of ways to market your team. You can share game highlights, promote upcoming events, and engage with fans. You can also do short player profiles, letting fans get to know the players a little better. You can also partner with local businesses to expand your reach (and theirs). You can even let the players get involved with making content, though you’ll want to supervise and review before anything goes live.
Create Branded Merchandise
Branded merchandise and custom promotional materials are a great way to promote your team and generate revenue. They also give you several ways to be unique. Sure, lots of sports teams offer keychains, but how many have you seen selling branded binoculars to fans?
Promotional products come in a wide range, from small affordable magnets to more expensive but unique items like umbrellas and binoculars. You can choose both everyday items and items great for game day!
Offer VIP Experiences
VIP experiences are a great way to incentivize super fans to attend games and events. Behind-the-scenes tours, meet and greets, and even on-field access can bring in the enthusiasts. Two great ideas for these experiences are to include personal photos with a chosen player or the whole team and offer snacks and beverages while people mingle.
Make the Most of Your Time
Marketing doesn’t have an off-season. So don’t go silent when your team isn’t actively participating in games. A lot of major league teams have started supporting other regional teams with their platforms or partnering with local businesses for charity events while the players have extra time.
Pre-season is also a great time to get your marketing strategy together. As opening day draws closer, you can start generating hype on social media: consider making posts about training or highlights from the last season. Anything to get the fans worked up and excited for the upcoming season!