Your league’s website is the first place potential clients will see before they register or engage with you in any way. There are of course many ways they could have landed on your website, through your social media marketing efforts or just by chance when searching for something related to your league. No matter how they got there (but especially if it is from your direct marketing efforts!), ensuring your landing page and other SEO components are up and running is key to a successful marketing strategy.
Make sure to create a landing page where all links you have published on Facebook, Twitter and any place else will go to. Making sure this landing page is easy to navigate and has all relevant information you’d want a visitor to know (upcoming events, link to your registration page, social media profiles, etc).
Make it easy for someone to know what you do just by scanning the page. Spend time thinking about the title of your page. The title should outline the benefits your league is going to give the potential applicant. Do not talk about yourself in the title. For example a title like: “We create soccer athletes that excel” is a good title but a better one would be: “Be the best soccer player you can be! We will make you reach your full potential”. The second title talks about the benefits for your applicant, what they are going to get out of joining your league and how they will reach the next level. Under the main title include a subtitle that follows up on the theme of the heading.
The landing page can and should include testimonials and other elements that give your athletes the sense that it is safe to work with you as well as gives them a taste of the kind of experience they will have.
Finally, but obviously the most important part, is a call to action. Include a big link (or better yet button) for them to register. This is what will drive more people to begin the process than anything else.
And below are a few great links that will help you understand how to structure your landing page:
Image source: The Anatomy of a High Converting Landing Page
How to get people to your sports league website.
So after you have created your landing page you need to get people to your site (so they can register of course!). Take into account that getting people to your site is a process and not a one time thing you are going to do. You need to put 1-5 hours a week of work in order to drive traffic to your site (there are people that it is a full time job for them).
There are a number of tools you can also use in order to generate more traffic (and then more applicants to your sports league) to your site and sports registration software.
- Write blog posts that use keywords or are about topics related to your league. Include in each post info about your league events at the bottom, with a link back to your landing page. Great examples for blog posts include:
- How getting your child interested in soccer / swimming (insert your league type) will help them in other areas of life.
- How joining a sports league will improve your social life.
- The health benefits of joining a sports league as opposed to just working out.
- Creating backlinks by commenting on other relevant sites and forums helps to contribute to a successful SEO campaign as this plays a role in your page rankings on search engines. How do you do that? You most likely already follow some blogs and forums that are of interest in your sport field. When you read articles or comments that you think are relevant to your league or that you have something thoughtful to say about it, add your comment. When doing so don’t forget to add a link to your site so that people that think your comment is good can follow up and look at your website. And be sure to comment from your League’s profile page not your personal one!
- Links you post on social media profiles will achieve the same result.
- Create and publish press releases including key words relevant to your community.
- Ask friends, colleagues and other professional contacts to promote your league on their social media pages. Prepare and distribute a small write up with an image and link they can easily copy and paste to help you out!
- This is obvious (we hope) but make sure the keywords and meta tags on your landing page are up to date with keywords relevant to your target market. If you don’t know what this means, be sure to communicate to your website developer and learn more about these tools together to make the post of your website’s code!
Google+ is like Facebook and Twitter in terms of the type of content you publish, but it has the added plus (ha! punny!) of showing up in google search results and can improve your SEO marketing. Make sure your posts on Google+ include links back to your website and connect your website to your Google+ page.
“Even though Google+ is still relatively new and doesn’t seem to be extremely active, it’s still important for businesses to have a presence. People that are active on the network could be potential customers! Also, since it is still early, take advantage of the low activity and build the brand presence you want. That way, when the activity increases, you’ll be ready with the content they want.” (Source)
Be sure to fully complete your Google + profile on your league’s page. Include your website, keywords in your description and about sections as well as great descriptions on photos. If you use Hootsuite or another social media management tool (we discuss why we love Hootsuite to manage your social media marketing efforts in this post), include your Google+ profile in every message you schedule, so you are always updating your Google+ profile and it looks up to date if someone stumbles upon it without first having visited your website or Facebook page.
A blog, as we mentioned above, is another great way to generate new and relevant content with the pertinent keywords. Different audiences can be reached through different social media platforms, so promoting your league anywhere and everywhere will ensure you’re reaching as many people as possible.
More examples of great blog post ideas are…
- Writing blog posts with pictures from the latest game or event
- Spotlights on players or members of your league community
- General updates about progress on specific projects you have going on or upcoming events you’re prepping for
Ideally your posts will be full of content that people will enjoying reading and hopefully, enjoy sharing as well! You can also use your blog space to help with your SEO efforts.
Writing a post about a specific topic that is more general than news about your specific league to get readers who are interested in the general topics to your blog is a great strategy. Include at the bottom of your post a note about your league specifically since it’s related to the topic of the article and you have some indirect but still effective marketing.
For example, publish a blog post on the topic of team building exercises or how to handle over-involved parents. Since these topics are relevant and interesting to a wide audience they have the chance of being shared several times, both within and outside your community. If you also mention your league, say at the bottom of this post in a casual and non-obvious way, as people read and share the post your league is also being marketed to readers.
This is also effective because instead of posting on forums or commenting on other blogs about your event or your league specifically (which can get annoying or cause people to overlook your links you post), you can share this article, which is relevant for a wider audience, while still including info about your league within the article. It’s also yet another space to include links back to your website and landing page.
Email is a great resource for reaching a wide audience with minimal effort on your end. How can you use email as an effective marketing tool?
- If you have a membership or client database, or just emails you’ve collected over time, send them an engaging and simple email announcing your league or an upcoming event you are having (a game, a mixer, etc) with a CLEAR and easy to find link to your website to register and learn more. Also include links to follow your league on Facebook and Twitter. If someone is truly interested, they will probably click on your link to learn more and might even view your Facebook or Twitter page as well, liking/following if they want to stay connected.
- Use a software to help make these emails as it makes email marketing easier and more manageable. You do this either through your existing sports registration software or through a mail contact software. Finding a software is a big decision and there are many objects depending on your needs and budget. We’ve written about choosing the right software in a few posts, most notably in this post about a pre-set process vs. your process when it comes to software choices and comparing different registration management softwares in this post.
Marketing is a HUGE undertaking but if you don’t have the $$$ to hire a fancy marketing team or even one employee to focus solely on marketing, that’s ok! Start with the basics:
- Create a landing page.
- Make sure you have an obvious and clear call to action.
- Get a sports registration software put together that will allow clients to apply and pay quickly and easily.
- Get your meta tags and keywords in place
- Create at least one social media profile (Facebook is a good choice) and start publishing.
Doing these 5 actions will get you on the right track. Once you start seeing the results you will just fall in love with it and it will no longer be “work” anymore 🙂