So, you’ve planned a camp, class, tournament or league that you’re sure your whole network will love, and you’ve let them all know about it at least a month beforehand.
Now why isn’t it filling up more quickly?
You can blame the usual suspects: personal scheduling conflicts, injuries, budget stresses, and plain ol’ lack of interest (wrong sport, wrong age group) are just a few.
But many of your contacts just need an extra push to enroll. Give it to them with reminders that will catch them at the right time to buy (for example, when they have their credit card on hand, when their spouse is available for a discussion, or even when they’re just not busy and distracted). They might not be ready to pay until the 6th or 8th time they hear about the event.
Here’s what I do at my own sports academy to get attention for my events in a variety of ways and multiple times:
- Visibility in the Facility – Printed fliers or signs placed near the door or the front desk will catch the eye of anyone checking in or out. Skip the expensive glossy brochures: all you really need is the info printed on a standard sheet of paper.
- Remind all Inbound Phone Calls – People trying to get a hold of you or your staff by phone won’t always get through, so include reminders about your upcoming events in your voicemail message. More sophisticated phone systems let you record a custom greeting that will play before the phone even rings, which ensures all callers hear it. Keep your messages brief to avoid annoying your callers.
- Send Email Marketing Campaigns – I generally send an email announcement for a new event 6-8 weeks before its start date, with follow ups every week or so and notifications when the deadline is approaching or the class is almost full. (If you’re new to email marketing or haven’t been happy with the results, click here for some pointers.)
- Make Outbound Contacts – Personal outbound calls and emails are so important for filling your camp that I wrote an entire post explaining how to make them. These contacts should incorporate the athlete’s name and interests and be directly from one of your staff.
- Post on Social Media – It’s a no-brainer to post about upcoming events on your social media accounts, but don’t stop with simple text updates, which only reach a small percentage of your total followers. Add images and videos – not just to your updates themselves, but to the “cover art” for each social media homepage: For example, Facebook has what’s called a “cover photo,” Youtube has “channel art” and Twitter has a profile “header.”
- Post on Scheduling Software – The program your clients use to schedule and pay should let you add custom messages to high visibility areas. For example, eSoft Planner lets you add different marketing messages to the login page, the scheduling dashboard, and on confirmation receipts – three separate chances for a reminders that can lead to a sale.
- Post on Web Site – As I mentioned in my Sports Facility Web Site Guide, you should at least have a news and updates section on your web site where you can post upcoming events. Ideally, there will be a separate page for each event so search engines can find the content more easily. My web site also has a slideshow and news ticker, and I post events prominently there, too.
It typically takes my marketing and sales staff about 5-6 hours per event to get all these materials together, plus the time it takes to make individual phone calls. A full, profitable camp is well worth the upfront investment.
Did I miss any easy camp marketing spots? Please comment below.