“I don’t want more athletes” said no sports club ever! - Top 10 tips to grow your club
For most coaches, money isn’t the part of coaching that motivates them. In fact, most coaches teach on a voluntary basis. Some even put their own money into their clubs, not just their time. People who aren’t involved in coaching/sports may not understand why coaches would so willingly give up their time for nothing in return. But we know, as well as you, that what we get in return for coaching is a lot more sentimental than financial payment.
We get to take home the feeling of passion and pride when an athlete hits a milestone. We get to remember the coaches who developed the passion that’s now engrained deeply within ourselves and try our hardest to instill that passion in our own athletes; because we believe it made us better people. And we get to do what we love, whilst helping others.
Although many of our clubs run non-profit with an entirely voluntary coaching team; increasing the number of athletes is just as important as for the clubs who run for profit. Other than the financial needs such as covering the cost of the training space and building a kitty for new club equipment, clubs may wish to grow their clubs for other reasons. For example, the coach needs to justify continuing to run classes and the athletes need to know it’s worth their while joining the class. So, there needs to be enough members attending. Plus, the more people at your sessions, the bigger the oppurtunity to help others.
So, with that being said, here’s some professional advice on how to grow your sports club.
1. Make your website a priority
With over 99% of adults (between 18 and 34) being online, we think it’s a little bit crazy to not have a club website. For many individuals, the first port of call when searching for a club is to find their website. Can you imagine the students you may be missing out on by not having your own site?
On the other side of not having a website… is having a bad website. Don’t settle for low quality website builders that come ‘free’ with some pieces of software. In our experience these are badly thought-out with unattractive/unresponsive designs. If you’ve not got the budget to get a high-quality website designed, use an online website builder like Squarespace. You’ll get a highly professional website with an array of templates to choose from.
And no, your website won’t link with your sports club membership software, but your club will come across 10x more professional. And if other clubs within your area aren’t online, or don’t have good quality websites, this could boost your club as the ‘market leader’ in your sport.
2. Use Facebook, Instagram & Twitter
Social media has many benefits for sports clubs. New members will almost certainly search for a website/social media account initially and if one doesn’t exist, you may be missing out on these members. Social media is an amazing way to showcase your club and the talent within it to encourage people to want to become a part of it too.
Plus, each social media platform has some clever features which you may find useful:
• The ability to use Facebook’s Messenger service to respond to prospective member’s communication. The average amount of people who open emails are between 5 and 10%. With Facebook Messenger, that percentage boosts to 70-80%.
• Being able to utilize Instagram’s stories to keep followers regularly updated.
• Your tweets being easily shareable (or ‘re-tweeted’) on Twitter to reach larger audiences.
3. Regularly update social media
There’s almost no use having your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts if you’re not going to update them. These platforms can be used to showcase all of your talent and exciting oppurtunities within the club.
Keep a bank of photos and videos so that you always have something to share, even on days when there isn’t training. One of your gymnasts just completed their first ever tumble? Perfect! Film it and get it on. Your martial arts students just received their gradings? Let everyone know! If someone is wanting to join a club like yours, the more they see about your club and the awesome things you do, the more they’ll want to be a part of it.
4. Schedule social media in advance
Whilst you may be excited to upload tonight’s training videos onto your Instagram account, scheduling posts in advance is a great way of making sure that regular content is being uploaded to your accounts, regardless of what goes on in training.
Did you know that on Facebook, you can schedule your posts in advance? To do this, when you’re writing a post, just hit ‘Schedule’ in the drop down box near the ‘Share Now’ button and you can select your date.
This way, you can sit down for half an hour to an hour, once per week and get all your posts scheduled to go out. Then you can forget about them whilst they roll out.
5. Use photos and videos
Using ‘visual’ content is great way of making your club’s posts stand out. Did you know that you’re likely to remember just 10% of information 3 days after you read it? But if an image is alongside, 65% of the information is retained.
Also, it’s a fantastic idea to use as much video as you can. Video on mobile has increased by a huge 10 million daily viewing minutes over the last 24 months. Try to take as many videos/photos of training as possible (with your students’ permission of course). This will hopefully increase people’s engagements with your posts and result in you getting prospective new students.
If you haven’t already, you should create some photo and social media consent forms for students/their parents to opt in/out of when they sign up to your club. With sports club membership software such as Coacha, you can add your consent form to your signup form and members can accept opt in before you even accept them into your club. That way, you’re both covered.
6. Link to your website
You may or may not be familiar with the term Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It’s basically trying to control where your website sits within Google. If you try and include your website link in your social media posts (and anywhere else online), this should hopefully increase the likelihood of your website getting higher in Google’s rankings. Making it easier for prospective members to get in touch.
7. Motivate people to talk about you
One of the most invaluable marketing techniques is ‘word of mouth’. People trust their friends, so they’re more likely to go with a recommendation from them. But how do you get people to talk about you? There are a few things you could do to help with this:
• Make it a part of your routine to ask current members to leave positive reviews on your Facebook account. Even if people don’t see anyone that they know, seeing so many positive reviews is definitely a good thing.
• Share what’s going on in your club so that people are excited by what they see. Ask your students to share your posts too.
• Introduce a ‘refer a friend’ scheme. Whereby if a student introduces someone new, they get a week for free.
8. Use local press
A great way to get in touch with your local area is by using your local press. You could get in touch with your local newspaper or town/village magazine with any stories you think are worth sharing. You can normally either:
• Invite press to cover an event. If your martial arts school is holding a grading with special guests, you could invite the press to cover the event and ask them to mention the fact you’re taking on new students too.
• Pay for an advert in your local newspaper/magazine.
• Submit a press release to a local magazine if you have a story you think they’ll be interested in. For example, if a group of your volleyball players have been selected to play nationally. Then you can ask them to mention that you have openings for new players to join.
9. Run a beginners-only course
Lots of people may be afraid to join a new class due to them being the only newbies. But if you run a dedicated ‘beginners-only’ class, they’ll be rest-assured that they won’t be alone.
It’s also a great way of encouraging people to come along who may be worried about not knowing anyone. Being in a group of people will mean that attendees will be in the same boat as eachother and not feel alienated at all. You could hold ‘beginners-only’ gymnastics course consisting of 8 classes over 8 weeks, covering the initial foundations. And when the course is complete, the students can be filtered into the rest of the classes now that their skills and confidence have improved.
You may be thinking, ‘where do I find new students to fill this course?’. Well that’s where points 1-8 of this article come in. It’s time to put the tips to good use!
10. The bonus tip
If you’re thinking, ‘how do I administrate courses?’ like those in point 9 above, systems like Coacha make running them so easy.
From members submitting their information into your signup form, to automatically generating registers for your Beginner’s Course, to sending emails/texts to specific groups; running your whole club through Coacha is super simple.
Not to mention the fact it helps you comply with GDPR and safeguarding best practices.
We hope these tips will be put to good use to help you grow your club and continue spreading your passion onto as many new athletes as you can.