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Module 1: How to Attract the Perfect Online Audience for Your Sports Club

As a club admin, your job is to entice parents and athletes to sign up when they visit your club’s website, right?

But there’s a problem. A big problem, in fact.

Unlike a personal interaction, where someone engages with you face to face allowing you to build a relationship, in the online world you don’t get a chance to read people and adjust your language based on visual cues.

So, how do you build a relationship with someone you never met who visits your club’s website for information? How do you connect with them without the benefit of direct communication?

By creating a customer avatar for your club and crafting the language on your website in a way that meets their needs.

What’s a Customer Avatar?

A customer avatar is a fictional character that represents your ideal client. It’s important to have an understanding of who they are, what their pains and gains are, as well as the types of content they like to consume on a regular basis.

Social media/networking illustration

Customer avatars help you understand how to speak directly to your online visitors in order to better deliver your message.

The more specific and detailed you can make this persona, the better your connection will be. You’ll be able to know exactly who’s going to read each piece of content on your website.

This means less time trying to figure out what people want and more time actually giving it to them. It also means making it easier for your target audience to relate – increasing your club’s sign-ups.

Why is it important to create a customer avatar?

Creating a customer avatar is essential to any website. Knowing what your ideal client looks like and how they think will help you provide the content that best fits their needs.

Here are five key benefits of creating a customer avatar:

  • It helps you understand how to better serve your target audience
  • It gives you a clear understanding of who your readers are
  • It helps you focus on your client’s needs
  • It makes it easier to create a marketing message that resonates with your audience
  • In the end, it accelerates the journey from first contact to sign-up

How do I Create a Customer Avatar?

In order to create a customer avatar for your club’s website, you’ll need to follow a structured approach to audience discovery.

The goal here is to put yourself in the shoes of your visitors, so that you can write your website content in a way that truly connects with them at an emotional level.

Before a parent or athlete makes the decision to sign up with your club, they need to “feel” that it’ll be a perfect fit for them and you can only achieve that by fully understanding who they are before you begin communicating with them.

Here are 7 steps to creating the perfect customer avatar for your club:

Step 1: Define your customer avatar's demographics

The first step to begin developing a customer avatar is to create a list of demographic characteristics that represent your ideal audience member in detail, including their name, age, gender, occupation, income level and so on.

This list needs to include things like:

  • Age (here you’ll need two age groups, one for parents of young children and one for student athletes)
  • Name (just make them up)
  • Gender
  • For a target audience of parents, their profession, family income and marital status 

Why be so specific? Because in order to connect with your audience you’ll need to tailor the content of your website to meet their very specific needs.

For example, your section about financial aid and scholarships needs to be addressed to a customer avatar of limited means, and to connect with them you need to understand their challenges.

Your section for volunteer coaches needs to be addressed to a customer avatar who thrives on being of service to others, likely a person who has more free time and less financial pressure.

Why come up with a fictitious name? Because when you write your content you’ll be writing for an audience of one: your customer avatar, who is a composite of all members of your target audience.

You might as well give them a name so you can clearly visualize them while you write, creating a deeper connection.

Step 2: Determine their hopes, challenges and motivations

Emotion collage

The goal of this step is to figure out what motivates your customer avatars to participate in your sport.

For parents, it would be having a sense of community to make sure their children are in a nurturing and safe environment.

For student athletes, it could be knowing that they’ll have the proper support and mentorship to succeed, that they’ll be given the tools needed to take their game to the next level. They might also be looking for a club with a strong sense of camaraderie.

In this section, you want to:

  • Make a list of your avatar’s goals
  • Make a list of their challenges and frustrations so you can address them on your site. For example, some athletes might have the frustration of past experiences in team sports where they felt there was favoritism, making them feel left out
  • Make a list of their key motivations for joining a sports club

Step 3. Understand what they care about most

For parents it could be finding a nurturing environment that’ll help their children flourish, not only in sports but also socially.

For student athletes, it could be feeling supported when they are struggling with a specific skill and feeling appreciated and celebrated when they achieve their personal best.

Step 4. Figure out what their pain points are in regards to participation in your sport

It’s a known fact that pain is a stronger motivator than pleasure. Find out what your avatar’s pain points are so you can provide the best solutions to their problems.

For a student athlete, perhaps they had a bad experience with a sports club in the past and want to be reassured the same thing won’t happen again.

For parents, perhaps their children were pushed to the breaking point in the past and are looking for a club that offers a more empowering approach to competition.

Step 5. Find out where they spend time online

Find out where your customer avatar likes to hang out. What sites and groups they frequent and what forums they participate in. Then join some of those groups and forums and read people’s comments to get a better idea of your avatar’s state of mind.

website illustrations

Also, find out what type of content they like to consume through the comments and recommendations they leave, then read the content on those sites so you can get clues from how they market to their visitors.

This competitor intelligence can go a long way to verify that you're on the right track in the development of your customer avatar.

Step 6. Find out what they value most in a sports club

Figure out from the above information and from your online research what your customer avatar values most. Is it a sense of community? A sense of service? Driving toward (and expecting) excellence?

Then find out a way to help them achieve that. Show them that your club shares the same values they do, that you can help them accomplish the results they’re seeking in a way that fulfills their personal values.

Step 7. Use this information to come up with your customer statement

Finally, create your club’s Customer Statement. This should be worded in simple terms, as follows:

“Our club strives to help members who want to  _________________ achieve __________________ so they can ____________________”

Here’s an example:

“XYZ Sports Club strives to help its members who want to learn competitive soccer skills achieve excellence in the sport so they can develop as well rounded athletes”

How Do I Use my Customer Avatar on My Club’s Website?

By now you’ll have created one of several customer avatars, depending on the services your club offers. At a minimum you’ll need one for parents of young children and another one for student athletes.

Your job then is to ensure that every piece of content on your club’s website is addressed to an audience of one: your customer avatar.

By writing content specifically tailored to your target audience you’ll be increasing the chances they’ll feel a sense of connection with your club, a feeling of being understood, appreciated and taken care of.

By having all of your content be intentional in this way, you’ll be building bridges that’ll make signing up to your club the next logical thing to do, increasing your membership effortlessly!

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