Unleashing the amazing power of your club’s website and email newsletter

So many sports clubs have their own website but are unsure why they have it or how they can best use it to their advantage.

Very few clubs actually have a regular email newsletter yet it is the most powerful and most effective way of building and maintaining relationships with those who are have a connection with your club.

It is worthwhile to take a minute a think about what your club goals and objectives are. Remember, you can have longer term, strategic goals such as increasing your membership and short-term operational objectives that will change over time.

Examples of operational goals throughout the season could be:

  • At the start of the season promote preseason training and club memberships
  • Sell club apparel
  • As the season progresses the goal could be to sell 200 tickets to the club’s major social event.
  • Get 100 entrants into the annual sporting tournament

From week to week your operational goals are likely to change, which means to make the most of your club website and email newsletters they need to constantly be updated as well.

Why clubs communicate

If we break down the concept of why clubs communicate, we learn there are three completely different reasons for communication:

  • Operational or instructional communication – this informs current club participants of information such as training and game time updates, and social functions etc
  • Building relationships – where we seek to build and maintain relationships with the different groups of people who have an interest in our club. Relationship building communication seeks to form and then grow the relationship between the club and the individual until there is a very strong sense of belonging between the club and each individual.
  • Call to action – where the club is asking for assistance from their audience, for example come to training, buy a ticket to a fundraiser, attend a social event, become a member or sponsor or some other activity required by the club.

In many clubs the only time their audience really hears from them is when the club wants something – call to action communication.

The clubs that are most effective online spend most of their energies building the relationship between the club and the individual on a consistent long-term basis. Building relationships and a strong sense of belonging to your club should be the foundation of your club’s communication strategy with calls to action just fitting into this strategy from time to time.

Core objectives of your club’s communication strategy

Clubs with the most effective online strategies really focus on the four key objectives:

  • Increase the size of the clubs audience, or the number of people with whom the club has a relationship
  • Creating depth within these relationships culminating with the each individual feeling a strong sense of belonging with the club.
  • Engaging future participants
  • Support the delivery of club objectives

Remember the larger your engaged audience the easier it will be to achieve your club goals.

Introduction to websites

Before we look at the various content and functionality options for your website, it is really important to consider who you are targeting your website to.

For most clubs their website is simply targeted at providing news and information to their current members. But an even bigger audience that many clubs overlook is your club’s future players, members and supporters. Many of whom many not have even heard of your club today.

The reality is that your club’s future audience over time is far bigger but equally as important to your club’s future as your existing audience. So when exploring website functionality, remember that there are two key audiences: our current audience and our future audience.

Why is a website so important?

Your club website should be the foundation of your communication strategy. For the main part it is where just about all your club information is stored, with the exception of videos, audio files and in some cases photos.

Well-constructed websites have the capacity to:

  • Inform and engage its visitors
  • Store important club operational and historical information, making it accessible but also ensuring it is never lost over time
  • Do a lot of work traditionally undertaken by volunteers and therefore significantly reduces volunteer workloads
    Has the ability to become a major generator of revenue, either directly through sales of club memberships, ticketing, apparel and the like or indirectly by creating traffic to sponsors and partner websites.

Put simply, having an effective website will make your job as volunteers significantly easier, no matter what your role within the club and at the same time make it easier for the club to achieve its goals.

Club stakeholders

One very important point to consider is to understand exactly who is your club’s audience. Typically, clubs underestimate the huge number of relationships they need to be truly...