The club community is a large and growing space of friendly, hardworking and supportive individuals. These are just some of the reasons that make the many clubs across our state what they are. With almost 900 licensed community sport, social, cultural and recreational clubs across Western Australia and over 320,000 members, the club community is massive. Nonetheless, this industry continues to grow and many clubs have figured out ways to market themselves and attract new members.
As the saying goes, “there’s always room for improvement”. As clubs, we can always strive to do better in all aspects of the industry. If you are a club that feels you can improve and attract new members, here are four tips to market your club.
1. Your Brand
Your brand is the most important and crucial step to selling your club – it is what makes you who you are. Members and customers are mostly attracted to the brand of a club, which entails what your club stands for, how you look after members, and what services you provide, among other things. How you decide on all of this is important and will take some time. Consider arranging a board meeting to discuss or reaffirm who you are as a club and come up with a sentence or phrase that defines you and your qualities.
The next step is to make sure that all the branding and work conducted by your club – such as the logo, events and meetings – ties back in to the qualities of your club. In this process, you should discuss your club’s personality and values and what will attract members to (or deter them from joining) your club. Investing in your brand will reap great rewards and gain trust and reputation in the community.
Consumers are more likely to buy a product or service based on which company or organisation provides it. For example, if you were asked to choose between cheap, no-brand clothing or a luxury brand, you are more likely to pick the latter option. This is because luxury brands have invested in themselves and built up their reputation and trust over time, which attracts consumers to their products. Likewise, clubs can attract new members by investing in their branding.
2. Spread It Like Wildfire
Well, not literally, but if you can find ways to spread your brand, you should always encourage it. Once you have decided on your brand and what your club stands for, you can look to market it to the broader community. Here are some of the many ways your club can effectively market your brand to the public.
- Print your own merchandise, such as shirts, hats and accessories for members to wear away from club premises, such as at the shopping center. This will help spread the word about your club to a broader audience.
- Host community-based events, such as movie/games nights, fundraisers or competitions.
- Find sponsors who are willing to advertise your club on their platforms.
- Create a marketing plan that your club can utilise over a set amount of time, such as six or twelve months. This can involve a campaign or any of the aforementioned methods in order to market your brand. The plan should include four basic guidelines: objectives, strategies, budget and evaluation. These will be used as procedures your club should follow. There should also be a method to analyse and evaluate the success of the plan.
- Word-of-mouth. If you build reputation and trust between existing members, they are more likely to recommend your club’s services to friends, families or others in the community.
3. Socialise on Social Networks
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are used by a majority of the public. They are platforms that people use to interact with each other and consume information. Therefore, social media is a great tool to market your club, plan events and interact with members and non-members. It is important to use these platforms frequently and effectively in order to engage with the online audience.
As a part of the engagement, you can look to comment, like or share others’ posts and get involved with community conversations. This will help your club grow its online presence and ensure that your club is a trusted voice within the community.
4. Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Many organisations and clubs make the mistake of spending a great deal of time on marketing strategies to gain new members and in the process, forget about retaining current members. This can lead to members being ignored, which in turn can damage the reputation of the club. Marketing your club should also focus on the important task of retaining members and making sure they are satisfied with your club’s services. This means that the marketing strategies used to acquire new members should also include methods for retaining current club members. They will also make sure that your club delivers on the marketing promises and reinforces the quality of its brand.
“Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business.”
In the club industry, marketing your brand relies on the bonds you create with the community and your members, and ensuring that you’re building a positive reputation. You know your club community better than anyone, so only you can determine how you want your brand to look. These four steps are a good start to your journey in marketing your club to the greater community.