Having an effective marketing plan for your event can play a critical role in your tournament and organizations success both short and long term. We understand the ability to invest into your marketing may vary wildly for different sports and organizations, and hiring marketing experts to assist may not be an option, especially for newer event owners trying to break into the marketplace with limited funds. We believe the below event marketing tips for tournament organizers should provide some valuable insight into ways to boost your events on any budget!
A professional online presence goes a long way
The foundation for good marketing in our opinion starts with your organizations general website and branding. A good first impression is invaluable, and when trying to convince athletes and teams to participate in your events, the ability to look professional and legit, while also delivering the right information as quickly as possible to as many priority leads as possible will help tremendously in your efforts to grow.
While you could invest in a sports marketing or creative company to assist you in developing these aspects of your brand and marketing, you can also manage much of it yourself through various free tools available on the internet today. It’s easier than ever to build a custom website through websites like Wix and Squarespace, or learn how to use popular design programs to design your own creative like logos, flyers, etc with a little time invested to become proficient enough to get by. Bottom line is having a professional look will be a good foundation for how you get information out in today’s digital age!
Have an active social media presence
Looking to reach more athletes or keep your current athletes more engaged and thinking about your brand and events year-round? Social media is a great way to accomplish both of these and beef up your marketing efforts without much experience. Actively posting information your players and fans may be interested in should be organic and information and conversational, not just a constant sales pitch about your event or organization. While it requires some time to maintain, there are tools that can drastically help you in managing multiple accounts with ease worth looking into if you’re serious about your social media growth.
Social media can be a great medium for driving athletes and fans via advertising as well, where many platforms such as facebook and instagram have detailed targeting methods to help you in finding real, interested fans and players for your events. Even if just remarketing to your current fan base, I would suggest becoming familiar with all it has to offer, including as a form of event communication, player feedback, community building and more.
Cross-promote with other event owners
A good way to get the word out about your event is to network with other event owners, either outside your market or non-competing organizations in other regions, to cross-promote and help each other find new teams. Most smaller organizations are in the same boat, always looking to grow and get the word out about their tournaments, and helping by assisting to send teams to each other’s events or simply help promote in non-competing avenues can be an easy way to get the word out that benefits both parties.
Another option to look at is hosting events cooperatively, such as a youth organization and adult organization running a tournament the same day at the some complex, or a soccer organization working with a softball group to utilize other fields that are available at the same complex. The benefits of this type of cooperation can be many, from reducing costs of fields, increasing your sponsorship value with more larger and more diverse participation, allowing athletes to participate in both events making increasing giving them more bang for their buck when traveling and more. Check out this article for more details on why and how working together can be a great option for many organizations.
Sanction your events with the right organization
Aligning your tournament(s) with the right sanctioning body or supporting larger organization can be a huge help in developing stronger events. Sanctioning bodies can provide some very strong benefits worth the price of partnering, including insurance coverage, assistance promoting your event, securing fields, officials, and possibly even staffing.
Perhaps most importantly is the ability to feed into their National or World Championship caliber tournaments that players participating in your events can get points, rankings and/or bids and paid entries that can differentiate your event from other competitors. For some sports, there are multiple larger organizations or governing bodies worth associating with, and looking through the assistance they provide, their reputation and getting a feel for which is best for you and your participants alike is an important aspect of developing a successful tournament or series of events.
Create and promote an experience, not just a tournament
One of the best ways I feel can assist you with marketing your event, aside from simply organizing a well run tournament, is to develop an atmosphere around the event that keeps the player and fan experience high and wanting to come back. The market can be cluttered with tournaments in the normal format, where athletes show up, play and leave. While there’s nothing wrong with that, adding value to your customers through an engaging captains meeting experience, after parties, on-site vendors, sponsors and giveaways, skills competitions, kids activities and more can create an experience that the players will more likely want to attend and return for. Being able to effectively promote these activities may help you drive more teams, participants and fans and give you an edge over your competition as well.
There are so many creative ways to market events out there and we would love to hear from you what ideas and strategies you’ve used or heard of worth sharing! Post your best in the comments below!