The Australian Sports Commission (ASC) released an amazing piece of research early in 2013, titled “Market Segmentation for Sports Participation”.
The ASC in commissioning the research stated:
“The purpose of the Market Segmentation Study for both Adults and Children was to uncover, explore, identify and clearly articulate the different motivations, attitudes, needs and barriers that influence people’s decisions and behaviours in relation to sport and, in particular, participation in club-based sport. The study is designed to help clubs understand the market and more effectively target their approaches to particular segments.”
What the study found was that there were over 3.8m adults and 1.1m children that wanted to be a part of a sports club but weren’t, an amazing statistic really. Over 20% of Australia’s population wanted to be a part of a sports club but wasn’t.
The report identified a whole range of barriers but one of the most common was that nearly one in five people responded in the research that “they would get involved or do more sport but don’t know how to go about it.”
The research is telling us that many clubs do not effectively communicate with the broader community to let them know even the most basic information such as:
- How to contact the club
- Who to contact
- What activities (sport and social) are offered by the club
- When are these activities undertaken
- How can somebody new to the club get involved
Dedicated Club Communications Officer
This lack of information coming from clubs is absolutely no surprise. Rarely do clubs specifically allocate sufficient (if any) resources to stakeholder communication or understand the complexities and time consuming nature of quality communication.
It is funny in today’s digital day and age, when the topic of communication is raised the conversation automatically turns to social media and such applications as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. While social media is a vitally important part of a club’s communication strategy, traditional methods of communication remain just as powerful as they always have been.
Clubs generally communicate with their players and members very well but generally not so well with those not involved in their club but who may want to be in the future.
Your club website is the most important way of getting information to people who are looking for information about your club and sport. It doesn’t matter how your site looks but what is important is that all the information is simple to access and easy to find. Put yourself in the shoes of a new person looking for club information. Does your site simply focus on providing information to your current members or does it invite new people to the club and provide all the information they will need?
Posters and flyers
Posters and flyers are a fantastic way of communicating with your local community. They take a little time to produce but once you have them take a walk around town and ask shopkeepers if you can put them up in their windows.
Flyers are relatively cheap to print but are very powerful invitation tools when left at the right places, where people gather, such as libraries, RSL’s and shopping centres etc.
You may even like to have club members spend a couple of hours walking around the local community, putting flyers into letter boxes. You will be amazed how many people you talk to about your club while you do this.
Schools, councils and other community groups
Make sure you use the networks of community groups such as your local schools and council. Ask local schools to include club information in their regular newsletters to parents.
Your local council will normally have information about clubs and community activities on their website so make sure your club information is up to date there also.
Another great tool is to regularly create topical media releases about your club and send them regularly to your local media. Having stories in the local media is a great way to connect with your local community.
The perfect media release has three components:
- A story of interest to the local community
- A photo relating to the story
- A quote from a person related to the story.
If you have all three components included in your media release, it will have everything required by media outlets and much more likely to be used.
If your club is one of the many who are actively seeking new members, now is the time to begin inviting the community to your club and a strong communication strategy is the key to success.