With registration ready to roll (or in the process of getting set up,) it’s time to start getting the word out. But, before we put pen to paper (or keys to screen,) let’s step back and put together a list of people we want to communicate to, what we want to say, and a communications schedule that we want to follow. Yep, it’s time to create a communications plan.
There are different strategies for reaching different people. Some are easy, and some are pretty difficult. But let’s first write down with whom we want to connect. For the sake of this exercise, let’s pretend we are setting up for a new season.
Current Participants: This group is the easiest to find, get in front of, and understand. Played last year? Good chance you’re coming back or at least considering it. We’ve most likely got their email addresses in our system. Rad.
Past Participants: Not to be confused with current athletes and families. These are the ones who dropped in, tried out a program and didn’t continue. Why? Who knows. Maybe they told you, maybe they didn’t, maybe they told the truth…
The fact is, though, that at one point, they stepped up and joined one of your programs. Let’s put together a message to get them back.
Brand New Families: These are not easy. You don’t have any information on them in your HQ database. But to grow, we have to get in front of them.
We’re going to need a little different message for each group, and we’re going to need to think a little out of the box on how we connect with them.
Current Participants: Again easy. “Hey Timmy’s Dad, it’s time to sign up for our fall season. Registration opens on Tuesday here’s the link”. Don’t get too cute, give the hard facts needed to get signed up.
*Bonus Points: Consider a “10% off to sign up early” or “10% off for current families” promotion to really hook in Timmy’s dad.
Past Participants: This one is a little trickier. Again, we don’t know why they left. Maybe a bad experience? Tough coach? Too much practice? Too little? But, be sure to thank them for participating in the past and let them know you’d love them back. Gather some testimonials from current families. Let them know about something new, and share a picture of kids having fun.
*Bonus Points: Consider a “Extend current player discount to past players” to draw them in
Brand New Families: Welcome to your next favorite group. They’re hard to find but crucial to growing your organization. Consider some exciting social media posts and possibly a small giveaway for anyone who “Likes and Shares” your registration post. It’s easy to do - good old fashioned yard signs work awesome as well. In the past five years, we grew our 8U hockey program from 389 kids to 502. A big reason was a push with our current families to tell their friends and about a hundred-yard signs around town.
Now, it’s time to put together a calendar. Don’t be afraid to get started before your registration is ready. Get people excited, let them know when they can register, and put in an “early registration” deal.
In our next installment, we’re going to talk about recruiting and registering coaches. It doesn’t matter if you’re coaches volunteer or if you pay your coaches as staff, we’ll talk about how you can ensure you’re getting the right people in your organization to work with your athletes.