To rise above the competition and get clients excited about your business, you need more than a unique mission. You need to be able to explain and sell your distinct advantages to potential players and their families.
For a great example of how it’s done, we can look at Alchemy Sports Complex, home of Alchemy Soccer Club.
It’s located in Minnesota, where the high demand for indoor sports complexes means there are plenty around. What sets Alchemy Sports Complex apart is its soccer club’s laser-focus on individual player development, implemented by owner and coach Donny Mark.
Here’s are a few lessons we can learn from what he has created.
1. Find a Niche for your Sports Academy
Donny has been a professional soccer player and professional coach for years, both in the U.S. and abroad. So, it wasn’t unusual for parents to ask Donny to start a soccer club once he had opened Alchemy Sports Complex.
He had more than enough experience to start a club, and he even had an idea of what was missing in his market. But before he moved forward, he listened carefully to parents’ complaints about what they weren’t getting at other soccer clubs.
What he heard was that they were upset that despite paying rising prices for what they thought were better club teams, their kids weren’t being coached. The parents accountability for coaches to actually help players improve.
Donny decided that he could uniquely meet the needs of parents who were looking for a club devoted to player development.
2. Create a Brand Around That Niche
Ever since Donny launched his soccer club, he has referred to it as a “developmental youth soccer club.”
Throughout his web site, he makes expectations clear: His program for younger kids helps players mature emotionally, physically and intellectually, and will make them feel confident to learn and happy to come to practice. His program for older kids focuses on the four pillars of technical, tactical, physical and psychological skill, with the goal of preparing each individual player for the college level.
He warns parents that they won’t see kids working on the “adult-like drills” they may have become accustomed to seeing at other, non-developmental programs. He also lets them know that he emphasizes quality technique over quantity and rote repetition.
That’s a far cry from a web site that emphasizes tournament titles and season records, and is exactly what parents had been missing from competing programs.
3. Execute the Brand Every Day
It’s one thing to establish a brand in your marketing materials, but it’s another to make sure your company lives up to the ideas of that brand on a daily basis.
Coach Donny is able to do this by taking an active role running of the club, including training athletes himself and directly managing his staff.
He uses milestones, assessments and systems adapted from the professional level of coaching to measure kids’ progress and keep parents in the loop on their development.
Donny has an added advantage in executing his brand as the property owner, which gives him total flexibility in how he designs and schedules his space. While other clubs rely on rentals for their practice spaces, his club has a home base at Alchemy Sports Complex, where they enjoy dedicated areas for strength, fitness and futsal training in addition to a full turf field.
Donny even blogs occasionally about topics that are important to him, such as the dangers of repeating the wrong technique in drills (“practice makes permanent”). The blog gives visitors a clear sense of Donny’s priorities and style, and further enhances his brand.
Marketing is much more than buying ads, sending mass emails and making follow-up phone calls. All of those efforts should be rooted in a distinct mission, and that’s what Donny has done at Alchemy Sports Complex by building a brand around a niche that was begging to be served.
If you have any thoughts on brand-building at your sports academy, I’d love to hear them. Please leave a comment or send me a message.
Donny uses eSoft Planner, the software my company developed to handle all scheduling and payment at sports facilities. If you’d like to learn more about it, click here and fill out the form for a free demo.