Email marketing is an incredibly cheap and easy tool teams can use in the search for fans. Despite the fact that most teams do some sort of email marketing, I’m very surprised how incredibly difficult it is to get registered on to some of these e-mailing lists. Having done a little bit of research in this area, looking mostly at BCS level schools, I had to search high and low, looking through menu after menu, trying to find a place to type in my email address. It’s almost like teams either haven’t figured this out yet or just simply don’t want my information.
For the most part, college sports organizations have much to learn from the business world and this is one area where it is glaringly obvious – email marketing. If you’ve ever come across any kind of personal or small business blog, most of them have a dedicated space on nearly every page asking you for your email address. By entering your email address, you are “opting-in” to receiving messages from that organization or person and agree to the terms and service outlined somewhere on the page. If college sports teams aren’t actively trying to increase their engagement with fans in this way, they are probably missing out on numerous opportunities to connect with people who actually want to receive information about their team. Who better to create an email marketing campaign around, than the people who actually want to receive your emails.
Now, the other half to this whole email marketing thing is what do you do with those email addresses? Well that takes a bit more planning and work on the back end of the marketing department in order to be successful. At the very least, when a user signs up for an email list they should be asked what kind of information they want to receive. In the case of a college sports program, some examples are:
– What sports would you like to hear about? For example: Football, basketball, baseball, softball, all men’s sports, all women’s sports? Check all that apply.
– How often would you like to hear from us? Once a week? Once a month? Once a season?
This is also a good time to ask some yes or no type survey questions. Examples:
– Have you purchased tickets for any games in the past: month, 2 months, 6 months, year?
– How did you get your tickets? Online, phone, friend/family, other?
Start with your funnel wide and open, then think about what to do with those people who actually want to hear about what you have going on. Engage with them. Ask them questions. Give them what they want. Seth Godin is quoted as saying that we’re in the middle of a “connection economy.” This connection economy is about connecting people with the things that matter to them. This is what email marketing can do for you – connect your fans with exactly what your fans are looking for in terms of tickets, concessions, merchandise, etc. You have a problem – you need more fans and more sales. Your fans have a problem – they need quality entertainment and a connection with their community. How are you going to use this “tool” of email marketing to align those two priorities. Let’s start a conversation with our fans. And while you’re at it, let’s start a conversation below in the comments!