At any grassroots sports club members are a huge source of income, whether they are attending fundraising events, buying tea and coffee or purchasing club merchandise.
The importance of that member-driven income makes the competing for members extremely important in order to attract sponsors, volunteers and even new players and coaches.
That is why engaging with your current audience is vital. Player and coach poaching by local clubs is an unfortunate, but very real problem for many sports clubs who don't pay their players.
Sometimes clubs with bigger purses will come along for your star man, but your club can give yourself the best chance of staving off rival clubs by engaging members using developed digital strategies.
Online platforms are the easiest and most effective means for engaging young and increasingly tech-savvy audiences. We end your digital bootcamp journey by showing you how you can do it.
Communicating through your club website
The best clubs use their website as a portal for communicating with all their members. Attendance at club events or changes in match or practice times all need communicating to members to keep them in the loop with everything that is going on in your club.
As a player, you want to be part of an organised club that helps you be in a position to perform out on the pitch. General club communications about fixture changes and club events then, need to made promptly and effectively. Take a look back at the last two weeks for hints on what tools to use
and how to write them
An engaged club member that's aware of their upcoming club commitments is one that is less likely to stray elsewhere to more organised clubs.
Latest news, match reports
Your sports club website should act as a central hub for the latest news and match reports about all your club's latest results. Creating this regular stream of content engages members, helping them invest in parts of the club they might not necessarily be a part of, such as the youth teams.
Having fresh content on your site means that people are more likely to return to it. Engaged members will be eager to invest more time in their club, and one way they can do that is by reading up on the latest goings on at the club. Plus, because you have an attractive, responsive website that works on any device, that member can engage with their club wherever and however they choose.
Plus, as we've discussed previously
, an increase in traffic makes you more appealing to sponsors. The more visitors to your site, the more eyes will view their business.
It's also pretty vital that content is added in a relevant timeframe. Thanks to the instant nature of social media and the connected world, people now expect to find information as it happens, and these expectations will carry over to your club. Manage your resources and volunteers to make sure somebody is responsible for at least uploading the match results, so that the report can be added later.
Multiple webmaster access on Pitchero means that you can assign these responsibilities to different people, so each team can have as many volunteers as you deem necessary to keep their match facts up to date and content stream fresh and relevant throughout the week.
Promoting events on your club website
You probably already advertise your events using more common channels such as word of mouth, posters or via social media, but now that your website is a hub of fresh content and information, you are in a great position to advertise your events on there.
Your members can sync all club events to their personal calendars via your website too. Through the Pitchero app, they can then get notifications on their phone or tablet So as long as you do your part by communicating these events, members should have no excuses when it comes to engaging with the club.
You can also include the event as part of your communications emails. A weekly round up sent out to all your members delivers them the latest club communications into their inbox. Plus, with a Pitchero site, you can send these automatically every week, each of which would include any upcoming events, as well as the latest results and links to match reports.
Social media - what it's good for
Using social media isn’t just limited to professional clubs, and isn’t something to be feared. It is a tool that can significantly raise the profile of your club with just a small amount of endeavour.
It is important to have a strategy for a club social media account. This doesn’t have to be an in depth, detailed document, but simply assigning roles and making sure the person in charge knows what they want to say, when they want to say it, and what is the best channel to use.
If you have the appropriate volunteers then it is possible to “live tweet” matches, which gives your club an extremely professional look. It means anyone who is interested in your club can keep in touch with the action from anywhere in the world as it happens.
Sports clubs can be really creative with social media to create great shareable content. How about having a player of the week vote on Facebook? Or showing match highlights on Twitter? Rival clubs will suddenly look at your digital content with great envy.
Social media is arguably your number one way of engaging users. Being part of a club that takes full advantage of these modern platforms is an exciting prospect for existing members, keeping them engaged and interested throughout.
Using other marketing channels
As much as using digital channels will bring your club right into the digital age, there is still a need to use more traditional forms of marketing to promote your club. It is important to understand the audience that you are aiming the material at though.
Creating a poster or leaflets and dotting them around the clubhouse allows for members to be told about your club's new digital tools. Make a poster promoting your new website and ask users to follow you on Twitter or Facebook for all the latest news.
These may be more traditional and less digitally relevant, but using them in the initial stages of your digital journey can gently carry everyone into your club's new 21st Century way of thinking.
Content Marketing Specialist.
Professional Ryan Sidebottom look-a-like.