For many of us, the thought of website analytics conjures up images of complicated graphs and spending hours sat in front of a computer, examining data and statistics. Well, it doesn't always have to be this way. In this edition of the Pitchero Bootcamp, I'll explain how your sports club can easily use analytics to grow club membership and attract sponsors.
What are analytics?
Before we go any further, it's important to understand exactly what is meant by the term website analytics. Website analytics are the measurement, analysis and reporting of your website traffic and how users are using your website.
Most organisations will use this data to improve both the website and your marketing actions, to help attract new visitors, engage current members or increase sales.
This data can range from a simple count of how many visitors you have had to your site in the past week, to more advanced analysis such as conversion tracking or shopping cart abandonment reporting.
Whilst this may sound very time-consuming, there are lots of great tools that will do most of this data collection for us (Google Analytics will be the one I refer to throughout this post), with some website providers even offering a built in website analytics package. It's then our job to make sense of this data and use it to benefit the club.
Why is this important?
We've already briefly touched upon some of the reasons why analytics are important, but for a busy, club-focussed volunteer, it's essential to be aware of just why website analytics are worth your time. If your club won't benefit, then your efforts are probably best placed somewhere else.
So as an indicator for it's importance, here's a stat for you from an IBM study: Organisations that embrace analytics are 2x more likely to out perform others. Now, we're not saying that embracing website analytics will help you win the league; but it's a vital part of creating an unbeatable digital presence.
With this in mind, I'm going to focus on 2 main topics:
- Using analytics to attract new visitors/members
- Using analytics for sponsorship
Using analytics to attract new visitors/members
To attract new members, you should firstly understand your existing audience and its behaviour on the site. In all analytics software you will be able to find information about the people that visit your site, such as gender, age range and location; plus a detailed view of the pages on your site that attract the most traffic.
Age and gender stats can really help you to understand your audience a little better and you may be surprised at the outcomes too - don't forget all the parents and grandparents that come to your site to see how their child or grandchild performed at the weekend. Whilst the location data can give you a great ego boost, knowing that your website is being viewed in across the globe.
You can use this data to identify possible areas you can attract new members. For example, if you find the most popular visitors to your site are 35-45 year old men, then the introduction of a vets team could be a great way of getting more people in the local area in to your club.
Now to look at your website traffic. Some of the popular metrics here will be the number of visitors, pageviews and pages per session; but to find more valuable data you should use a content drill down to see which areas of your site are more popular than others.
You should keep the findings from this at the core of your plans for adding new content and communicating with members. For example, using certain words in news titles if you find they attract more pageviews.
I would also like you to take a look at the traffic to the individual team areas of your website. If you find that one of your age groups is attracting far fewer visitors to their page than others, you've identified a possible area for growth, so you should formulate a plan of action to increase traffic to this age group.
Using analytics for sponsorship
OK, so now you've got to grips with site behaviour and how to optimise and increase traffic. You've also got a wealth of data that you can use to approach existing and potential club sponsors with.
Whether it's your local pub, or a global corporation, every sponsor wants to see some form of return from their sponsorship. In sport, this return usually comes from exposure to your clubs' members, in the hope that it will drum-up some new business for them.
Traditionally, this exposure would come from offline channels such as a logo on a shirt or through hoardings/signage around your pitch, but as clubs enhance the digital offerings through websites and mobile apps, many clubs (and sponsors) are taking advantage of this channel to increase sponsorship revenue.
Analytics should play a huge part in your pitch to attract sponsors to the website. Think about it. If you can show your sponsor that the page with their sponsor image has had 1,000 visitors in the past 7 days, that is a hugely powerful tool - especially when you think that a sponsor logo on a kit might only be seen by 50 people on a match day.
A top tip that I have found when speaking to clubs, is to offer a tier system when approaching these sponsors. Here's how it might work:
- The sponsors logo would appear on low traffic pages such as a particular team or player page.
- The sponsors logo would appear on pages with higher traffic or multiple team or player profiles.
- The sponsors logo would appear on the club homepage and across all pages.
- The sponsor would be referred to as "Website Sponsor" and the logo would appear in the website header of all pages.
You're then able to target sponsors based on their budget and give them an estimated reach for the amount they spend.
As we've discussed, using analytics to look at website performance, can bring many benefits to your club, such as increases in membership and sponsorship revenue - it doesn't matter how big or small your club is! If you have not done so already, I would strongly recommend looking at the potential analytics tools available with your club website.
With Pitchero, all clubs will be able to see basic traffic data such as pageviews, visitors etc., but for a complete suite of tools I would strongly recommend the use of Google Analytics. There's a free plan that should give you everything you need and many website providers have an integration, including Pitchero.
Getting started with Google Analytics might seem daunting, but it can be done in just a few steps. Read this great guide on getting started and learning the basics of Google Analytics.
This weeks post also opens it up nicely for next week, where we will be discussing all elements of raising revenue through your website - you won't want to miss it!
Lancastrian lost in Yorkshire.