The famous line “If you build it, they will come” from Field of Dreams is actually terrible advice for any start-up business, but especially for sports facilities. No matter how large or small the project, just building the physical structure of the facility is not enough – you have to tell people about it, too! By engaging the local community you will develop facility awareness, understand user preferences, generate demand, and develop partnerships. The line should be “If you build it and market the heck out of it, they will come.” Here are a few ways to utilize grassroots marketing to promote your new sports facility:
Local EventsLocal events provide a great opportunity for the facility team to meet & greet community members. From business expos to street festivals, open houses to lunches hosted by the chamber of commerce, these local events are a chance to have a one-on-one interaction with potential customers. Using giveaways and raffles is an effective, low-tech way to gather leads and begin to build the marketing database.
Local Clubs/TeamsThese local sports organizations represent a big opportunity for partnership. By collaborating with club owners and league organizers as opposed to competing with them, your sales crew can book tournaments, fill leagues, and create competitive in-house teams, thereby guaranteeing revenue into the facility.
Social MediaEffectively using social media to generate awareness and demand for your sports facility is a critical piece in a facility’s grassroots marketing campaign. While this tool is used by many for project updates and general posting to update a community, savvy facility marketers can leverage social media to build their marketing database, recruit sponsors and partners, and generate sales by introducing a strategic marketing campaign. Specific targeting can be done by interest, consumer behavior, demographics, and geography to boost the message to your target audiences.
By leveraging these grassroots marketing tactics with a healthy digital strategy and mix of traditional marketing, your facility will be primed to make its first, tenth and hundred-thousandth dollar once open.