The most valuable services at your sports facility usually require a big investment from your clients.
And big investments aren’t made on a whim.
People might sign up for a one-off camp or even a birthday party without much deliberation, but that’s not the case for long-term memberships and training packages.
These bigger products are the lifeblood of your business. They keep your cash flow consistent and get better results for athletes. To sell them, you need to keep your eye on the long game.
Your clients may want to get to know you, do some research, compare their options, and even talk to their friends before they buy. At any time during this process, if something distracts them or they get spooked, you could lose the sale.
The best marketers understand this and tailor their marketing to clients in each stage of the buying process.
Meet Your Sports Facility Sales Funnel
A “sales funnel” is the term marketers use to describe the stages that a potential client goes through as he develops a relationship with you, from hearing about you for the first time to becoming a repeat customer.
This process is called a “funnel” because each step in the buying process gets a bit narrower as the pool of potential clients shrinks.
Here are the stages of a typical sales funnel:
- Awareness – This is the top of your funnel, the widest part, and includes everyone in your target group of clients. At this stage, you’re letting people know you exist and making a great introduction.
- Interest – Once part of your target group is aware of you, some of those clients will be interested in what you have to offer. In this stage, you’re educating them about how you can help.
- Decision – This stage consists of those who’ve expressed interest but still haven’t decided to buy. In this stage, you need to drive home the benefits your sports academy will deliver.
- Action – The people in this stage have decided that they’d like to join your sports facility, but they just haven’t done it yet. Maybe they’re waiting for the best deal or just need some extra reassurance.
- Retention – The people in this group, the bottom and narrowest part of your funnel, are already your clients. In this stage, your marketing efforts are all about keeping them happy and keeping their business.
Address Each Funnel Stage With Your Marketing
Now that you’ve given some thought to the unique stages your customers go through before they purchase, you can break down your marketing efforts to make sure there’s something for each group.
People in each stage have different needs. For example, a small discount isn’t likely to make someone who has never heard of your company pull out their wallet, but it might work for people who are already interested in your services and have been waiting for the right time to buy.
Here are some examples of how to market to each stage:
Ask Yourself: Where does your ideal customer get their information? Where do they spend time in the community? What do they read online? Who do they follow on social media? (Related: Defining and Targeting Your Ideal Sports Facility Client)
A few awareness-building tactics for sports facilities:
- Create a referral program
- Build up your social media presence
- Create branded apparel and encourage your athletes to wear it
- Buy ad space in local publications or sponsor local teams
- Partner with local influencers
- Run ads on Facebook or Google
Ask Yourself: How can you get people to opt-in to get more information from you? What would interest your ideal client enough to give you space in already-crowded inboxes, feed and schedules?
A few interest-building tactics for sports facilities:
- Add email sign-up forms to your web site (Related: How to Use a Web Form to Land More Clients)
- Create email campaigns surrounding some of the questions your clients ask the most
- Build up your blog and share it
- Host free coaches clinics
Ask Yourself: What would inspire this person to move from just following you to wanting to be a part of your sports facility?
Tactics for this stage may include:
- Persuasive copywriting on landing pages (Related: Get More Clients with Better Marketing Messages)
- Open houses
- Free lessons (Related: The Right Way to Give Free Lessons)
- Discounted evaluations (Related: How to Use Evaluations to Sell Sports Facility Memberships)
Ask Yourself: How can you make it as easy as possible for this person to make their first purchase?
Tactics may include:
- Special, time sensitive offers or discounts
- Making it as easy as possible to buy with online software or payment systems (here’s the one my company made for sport facilities)
- Simplifying the purchase page
- Making it super easy for clients to commit after their free trials, evals, and open house visits
Ask Yourself: How can I make sure my customers are happy and coming back to my facility?
Tactics may include:
- Follow ups and satisfaction surveys
- Remembering birthdays with special gifts
- Loyalty programs (related: Building a Sports Academy Loyalty Program)
There are lots of ways to market your sports academy. You don’t have to do all of them, but you should choose the right ones for you that address each stage of your funnel.
If you’d like to work with me directly on your marketing plan, I am now offering marketing consultations. Here’s more on how to hire me, or you can contact me using the form on this page with any questions.