5 Things You Can Do to Attract More Teams to Your Event
In today’s competitive youth sports market, the “if you build it they will come” approach is no longer enough – it’s almost always necessary to go the extra mile to attract teams to your event. While there’s no one “big secret” to getting more teams to register, here are a few tried and true ways that we recommend giving a try, whether you’re just getting your event started or looking to boost attendance to your annual tournament, here’s five things you can do to attract more teams:
The Grassroots Approach
In this increasingly digital age, it may be surprising to some that the most effective way to bring new or returning teams to your event is still the old-fashioned method of picking up the phone and making a call. Relationships are king in the tournament industry, and a personal invitation to your event goes a long way.
If it’s a team you already have a connection with, you probably don’t need to do much additional marketing to them ahead of time, but if it’s a new team or organization you’re reaching out to, it’s wise to have some additional information on your event that you can send to them either a day or so before you reach out or to follow up with immediately afterwards. Some things you can send to them could be something as simple as a flyer (like this free one we created on Canva.com) or better yet, sending them to your website – which brings us to our next tip…
While relationships are still key, it’s pretty much a minimum requirement at this point to have some kind of online presence for your event. If you don’t already have one, definitely create a webpage for your tournament. This should be the place that all coaches and team parents can go to and easily find information about your event, including the dates, field locations, age groups and registration costs, among other details.
You will likely also want to consider online registration options, as coaches and organizations are becoming increasingly used to the ease of these kinds of registration systems. Additionally, you should make sure your site is mobile friendly, as it is anticipated that over 61.2% of web page views in 2018 will be from people using their mobile devices.
If you are part of a club or organization that already has a website and you have the ability to create a page on that existing site, great! If you’re starting from scratch, you can choose to work with a web designer, or look into using a free or low-cost website builder that’s relatively easy for anybody to use, like Wix or SquareSpace.
Use Social Media to Your Advantage
In addition to having a dedicated webpage for your event, you can get the word out by using social media platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. According to Joel Franklin, Director of Lacrosse at Legacy Global Sports, “Social media channels enable us to communicate with our fans and prospects. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn have all grown our following and helped us attract new players.”
On Facebook, you can create a separate event page just for your tournament and use that to try and boost attendance. For specific information on how to go about doing that, here is a good general guide to creating and promoting your event on Facebook. Creating the event on Facebook is free, and for as little as $10 / month, you can promote your event specifically to the people who you want to see it (i.e. Team Managers, Coaches, etc.).
Twitter is also a great tool for reaching potential teams or clubs as many of them already have a Twitter account. You can find many organizations’ Twitter pages just by visiting their website and clicking on their social media links – and once you’ve found them, follow them from your organization’s account! Then, if you so choose, you can create a promoted Tweet about your event that can target just those people who you want to reach. To learn more about creating a successful Twitter campaign, here is another guide you may want to check out.
Send Out Those Emails
This is an area that can get a little bit tricky due to many of the anti-spam laws that are now in place almost everywhere in the world – in order to send out a mass email to a list, everybody on that list needs to have “opted-in” to that list at some point, meaning they have to have given you permission to email them.
If your tournament is being hosted by an organization has an existing email list and they are willing to send out emails on your behalf, or you’re running a tournament that you’ve collected emails from over the years (and everybody has opted-in at some point), this can be a great way to reach people and attract them to your event. Generally, a good send schedule to stick to is 1-2 emails / month 6-10 months in advance of your event, then 2-3 / month leading up to your registration deadline. In your emails, you’ll want to include a link to your website, a specific call to action (ie. “Register Here”), basic details about your event (dates, fields, location, age group, hotel information) and anything else that might make your event stand out from others (number of expected teams and recruiters, easily accessible fields, hotels close to fields, etc.).
Additionally, you will always need to make sure people have the ability to unsubscribe to your email so you do not violate those pesky anti-spam laws we mentioned earlier. An easy way to do this is to use a email marketing provider, like MailChimp, which provides free email marketing services for smaller email lists.
Connect with Your Local CVB
Often times people will overlook the help that may be available to them in their own backyard. Many communities have a great CVB or Sports Commission that would just love to help them promote their event and bring more people to their town.
They may be able to assist by working with local businesses to help you make your event more attractive to incoming teams by putting together packages or securing discounts from restaurants and other local attractions for event attendees that you can then include in your own promotions for the event. Some CVBs or Sports Commissions will even provide sponsorship dollars to help fund some of your marketing efforts!
And of course, no great tournament can exist without the right hotel partner to make sure all of their new attendees have a place to stay! Now that you’ve got the ball rolling on your wildly successful tournament, we’d love to help with all of your out of town teams’ rooming needs, and it’s never too early to start.
To find out more about how we can assist with getting all of your team travel needs taken care of, contact us here and we will be happy to chat!