Tennis Event Marketing: Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
By Laura Bowen
As the director of marketing for the USTA Florida Section, one of the questions I get asked most often by tennis providers is, “How can I get more people to attend my tennis event?”
Whether it’s a festival, Play Day, tournament, exhibition, or other tennis event, we all want to max out on attendance. But achieving that goal requires some solid planning before and beyond the actual event, and getting outside of the usual channels.
Here are a few quick tips to help you plan for a bigger (and better) tennis event:
1. Think about your consumer
Who would be interested in your tennis event? Why would they want to attend? Don’t be afraid to narrow your audience. People want different things, and trying to be all things to everyone often muddies the value proposition.
2. Find out where your consumer is already going for information and activities
For example, if you are looking to bring in new participants, hanging posters at your tennis facility is likely not going to reach a new audience. Think of where those consumers are going now and build a presence in those channels.
Are there major community events in your area that naturally attract this audience? If so, create an experience at those events that will help promote your play opportunities. Avoid scheduling your event on a date when you will compete with another, possibly more popular, event.
3. Offer an incentive for those who register early
Promotional products are best applied to get people to register for a current event and attend future events. Think about what your minimum participant count is and offer an incentive (food, drink, giveaway item) for that number of registrants. Not only will you seed the pot, but it will help you know early on if you might need to cancel or reschedule due to low participation.
4. Use the current event to sell the next one
The best opportunity to sell your next event or play opportunity is at a current one. Once participants (especially new players) leave your event, getting them to return becomes incredibly difficult.
Be sure to have another event scheduled, or better yet, use your event as a kick-off to regular play opportunities and encourage them to sign up on the spot (at a discount).
5. Technology is your friend
Using an electronic registration system for your event will help you capture information on your participants that you can use to communicate with them before and after the event. Social media ads are a great way to expand your reach at a very low cost.
Of course, getting the participants engaged in social media during the event itself is another great way to cross-promote and reach people for future events. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are all great tools to show how much fun your event is. Be sure to promote your next event while posting about this one.
Laura Bowen is the director of marketing & membership for USTA Florida. This column was adapted from USTA Florida’s Weekly E-News from June 2015.
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