When someone new visits your web site, they’re not usually ready to become a customer yet.
They could be in the first stages of finding out what sports performance is all about, or may be comparing local options. Maybe they ARE ready to buy or at least set up a trial with you, but for whatever reason can’t do it in that moment.
This is a very valuable group of potential clients. If you don’t get their attention and keep it while they’re on your site, you risk losing it forever. They might forget to come back, get sidetracked by another activity for their kids, or just postpone signing up until months later — which is months of lost revenue for you.
Unfortunately, most of the sports facility web sites I see (and I see a lot of them) don’t take the few simple steps available to keep in touch with these prospective clients. There’s more than one way to do it, but collecting their email addresses is the simplest and most valuable.
The Value of Collecting Email Addresses
Email marketing sometimes gets overshadowed by social media as a way to keep in touch with fans. There always seems to be a new app that the kids are into, and it’s easy to get caught up in trying to learn the latest.
You can take your pick of social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and now Shapchat. They all have their advantages, and you probably use at least few of them already. However, social media updates can get lost in the shuffle on various feeds. And because different people prefer different social media outlets, updating one doesn’t mean it will get seen by all prospective clients.
Email, on the other hand, is almost universally used — at least with adults, who are usually the ones paying the bills. You’ll still be competing with other promotional emails, but when you’ve been invited into someone’s inbox, you have a great chance of being noticed, and often in real time.
All you really need to do to get started is insert a simple form on your web site.
How to Create Your Form
The tools available to create and edit web sites have come a long way in recent years.
Email marketing systems (Constant Contact, Mailchimp, etc.) and website editors (Squarespace, WordPress, Wix, etc.) have made it pretty simple to add contact forms to your website. (Related Post: How to Build a Sports Facility Website) Some scheduling software programs, including eSoft Planner, also allow you to add forms to your site.
The process generally involves copying a little snippet of code and pasting it into a field on the back end of your website. If you’re paying monthly for email marketing, scheduling software or a web builder, you can probably call and have a customer support rep talk you through exactly how to do it.
I prefer forms made with your email marketing program because it eliminates any need for exporting or importing when you go to send an email.
However, If you don’t use a professional email marketing program yet, you can use your web builder to set up a basic contact form. The submissions generally get emailed to you, and you can decide what to do with the info from there.
What Data to Collect
The simpler the form, the more submissions you’ll get — but the less value each submission will have. A visitor who’s willing to fill out extra fields describing their child’s interests, sports and goals is usually much more likely to become a paying client than someone who just plugs in an email address to keep in touch.
At DNA Sports Center, our most valuable web form was the one visitors submitted to get a free speed training session. It had five fields: several shorter ones for the parent’s contact info and the child’s name and age, and a longer text field for describing their athletic goals. None of the fields were mandatory. In past years, we had a full checklist field of sports and a checklist field of the best times to call, but I eventually removed them because took up too much space on the web site relative to their value.
Along with a multiple-field form, I’d suggest adding a single-field email address form somewhere on your site. You’ll see an example at the top of this very site, and another at the footer of one of my eSoft Planner clients: Bald Eagle Camps. The simpler forms can really grow your subscriber levels because people are quick to sign up.
Scale up Your Email Marketing — or Not
The beauty of adding web forms to your web site is that it’s a one-time task that you can set up and forget about, or use as the foundation of a more advanced marketing strategy, either sooner or later.
People will come across your website in a number of ways without you having to do much (click here for more on search engine visibility). That means if you don’t have a form on your site now, you’re missing out on potential subscribers every day you wait.
You may not get around to emailing your list as regularly as you’d like these days. But when you do find the time or the staff to ramp up your email marketing efforts, you’ll be in much better shape if you have a list of leads to get started.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the number of marketing tactics available for your sports facility. That can cause you to try a bunch of different approaches without giving any one of them enough energy to get any real results. It can also cause in an even worse situation: Putting off your choices and not doing much marketing at all until you’re desperate for new leads.
That’s why I hope you’ll just take one simple step today and add some sort of web form or email sign up to your web site.
eSoft Planner, the software my company built for scheduling and management of sports facilities, includes a simple email sign up form for your web site, but it also lets you manage all of your client and prospect data. You can run reports, export any list, track interactions, and more. If you’d like to see how it works, click here and fill out the form for a free, custom demo.