At my indoor training center, the most popular services are for outdoor spring sports (baseball, softball, soccer).
That basically means we get busy as soon the weather gets cold and stay busy until the weather gets nice again (we’re in Cincinnati, so that usually means we’re busiest from December through March).
However, with some luck, April doesn’t usually come with a steep drop in business. Why? Because we refuse to let our busy season become an excuse to stop marketing.
Marketing is often the last thing on the minds of facility owners during the peak season, and understandably so, especially for smaller facilities. But the busy season is actually the most important time to keep up marketing. By the time peak season ends, it’s usually too late to get people into the facility during the following lull.
Enticing folks into your sports facility when the weather is nice, or during any other type of slow season, requires creative programming and plenty of incentives. But most of all, it requires planning.
Ideally, you would have already created a detailed 12-month marketing plan at the beginning of the year, then made sure someone on staff was in charge of enforcing the deadlines on the plan.
However, you don’t have to have the whole year planned out to prevent a post-peak revenue crash – you just have to be thinking several months ahead. The best marketing, especially for events like camps, clinics, and tournaments, starts months before the event’s start date.
At DNA Sports Center, we’ve found that the ideal window for getting the initial word out about a new class, program or promotion is six to eight weeks ahead of time.
That doesn’t mean that the classes will fill up that early, although sometimes they do. But it does get people thinking about the event.
Follow the Schedule
A good advanced marketing plan for your events doesn’t require spending hundreds of dollars on ads. Here’s what we do at DNA, in general:
- 6-8 weeks ahead of event: announce the event on your web site, all social media, email, signage, voicemail message, printed flyers in the facility, and anywhere else you can reach a customer (such as the login page for your scheduling software)
- 4-6 weeks before event: send email and social media reminders
- Beginning of week of the event: Send more urgent reminder with number of spots left
- Day of event, if there are spots left: If there’s any room left, send a final reminder to anyone who has expressed interest
The main problem most facilities have is getting the events announced early enough that their clients are well aware of them (it typically takes about 6-8 touch-points for a client to buy).