Planning a race event is a lot of work. There are tons of moving parts, and lots of details to make sure you address before race day! Below are 6 planning steps to ensure you have a successful race event and meet your goals!
Set your goals.
The first step in any great project is setting up the goals for your event. Ask yourself:
- What is the goal of this race event? To raise money? To have high turnout? To get a message across? To get the community together? All of the above?
- When and where?
- Why? Why are you doing this? This is tied in with the overall goal, but a different way to ask the question and understand what your overarching goal is.
Identify your target audience.
Before you can set your budget, and pricing, you need to define who your target audience is. Companies running in groups and fundraising large sums of money, for example? Or is your target audience individuals looking to get out and have fun on a Sunday morning? Really defining your audience will help make marketing easier.
Set your budget and tasking.
After you’ve defined your goals and identified your target audience, it’s time to focus on the nitty gritty details. The first question will probably be about money. How much will it cost to host this race, and how much will be charged for people to participate?
Different races have different fundraising models that ultimately influence your bottom line. Will each individual participant pay a fee to register? Or will they have to fundraise for entry, where every participant needs to “raise” a certain amount of money in order to participate.
There are pros and cons to each method. Registration fee is usually cheaper and means more people might sign-up, but you have the potential of getting more money when you set a higher entry level since people will be fundraising that amount instead of obligated to pay it on their own. If one of your goals is to raise money for an organization or charity, a fundraising model might be best as more people are apt to give when they know it will go to a good cause.
This is where the “goals” comes into play. When you understand what you are doing the event for, who your target audience is, and what your budget is, you can more easily figure out these details.
Secure a Location
Once you know your budget, you can secure a location for your race. Goals are important here too, as you’ll want to decide what race options you will want to offer and the space you need. While there might be common locations that races are done locally, keep in mind what race lengths you want to offer, and if the locations you are interested in can serve your purpose.
If the location is not a commonly used race location, check with the city and the owners of the property you want to use if is private, to see what you need to do to hold your event.
Create a marketing plan.
Once you have a budget, pricing, a date, and location you are ready to start letting people know about your race!
You want to separate your marketing and promotional plans for before, during and after your event.
Before the race is where you have the most work. Publicizing your event, making flyers, creating a registration page and website, advertising, setting up a Facebook page, etc.
One great thing to do is to have a hashtag for your event, so you can use it during the event to tag pictures of racers and activities. You can also ask for social media usernames during registration to connect with racers before the event. That way they will see your posts during the event, share them and tag themselves.
The marketing continues after your event. Sharing photos and videos, and testimonials from racers. This becomes great content for marketing before your NEXT race event, but also helps spread the word after the event is over about your race, and what people missed out on if they didn’t attend to get them excited about the next race.
A great way to spread the word locally before your event is using bloggers, networking partners and other local businesses that serve your target audience. This is a great way to spread the word in an inexpensive way.
Use a good online race registration software!
Choosing the right race registration software is key to making registration easy and ensuring check-in on race day goes smoothly.
Make sure the race software you choose includes:
You will want your participants to sign waivers or any other information you need from a legal standpoint. Putting this waiver in your registration is quick and easy, and e-signatures allow you to have that signed without participants printing and sending the form in.
You’ll want to ask whatever questions you need to gather the data you need for your race. Make sure to ask for emergency contact information, so if there is an emergency, you can quickly access that.
This will streamline registration of check-in procedures. You can have your event staff sit with iPads or laptops and quickly look up the last name of every participant and check them in quickly.
You’ll want to follow up with participants after the event to gather information about their experience. This is a great way to grab comments that you can use for marketing and find where you can improve for next time.
Conclusion: Execute a successful race event!
There are many details that go into a successful race event. Water and snacks, entertainment, booths of local salespeople selling and marketing products, etc.
Identifying your target race audience, getting volunteers, budgeting properly, and finding a quality registration software to manage the details for you, go a long way to executing a successful race!