Most of the sports facility owners and managers I talk to do a good job of keeping track of the customers who come into their facility for a service. They collect their clients’ contact info and sometimes even take note of their interests for future marketing.
The area that most owners/managers struggle with is going out into the community to gather contact info for new prospects. Being more aggressive about developing your contact database is key to sports facilities management; especially in this tough economy, you can’t expect new leads to keep coming to you on their own.
As we discussed in the past, hosting sports camps at external sites and for community organizations is a great way to develop new and valuable leads. Another strategy is to promote special offers for specific teams and organizations.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Identify the organizations, teams, schools or leagues whose members would benefit from your sports facility’s services. If you’ve already developed an annual marketing plan for your sports facility, identifying these groups should already be part of your routine. Online research is very helpful with this; most community organizations have a web site of some kind, so spending some time searching online can yield a lot of information, especially if no one on your staff has contacts or experience in a certain area.
2. Establish a contact with each organization you’ve identified and discuss a special discount or free service for its members. If you have a batting cage facility, for example, you could offer one free cage rental for each member of a little league team. If you’re a soccer club, let members try one clinic for free. Pay attention to what the organization’s needs are, and do your best to adapt to them with your offer.
3. Offer to contact the members yourself. Most community organizations are run by volunteers, many of whom are short on time and have little experience with e-mail. If you let them control how your offer is marketed to its members, the message might not get out on time or as completely as you’d like. Let your contact know that you’ll use your professional email marketing system (if you don’t have an email marketing system for your sports facility, I can help you set one up) to send out an attractive coupon, so that the members will be more likely to take advantage of the offer and improve their skills. Then, in the email, include an opt-in link for those members to choose to receive other discounts and freebies from your facility so you can continue to market to them in the future.
Your relationships, particularly with the influencers on leagues or teams, are always at the foundation of your efforts to get new prospects this way. Always be on the lookout for networking opportunities with these types of people.