In recent years, athletic events have exploded in popularity. Races are no longer strictly for the superhuman ultra-marathoners or the beastly Ironmen. Now, even mere mortals can spend a Saturday morning challenging their endurance levels and collecting a nice, shiny medal at the finish line. Huzzah!
But as races become more and more popular, it’s getting harder and harder to break through the noise and let folks know that your event exists, how awesome it is and why they need to be there.
So how do you make your race stand out in this competitive market?
Have A Strong Point of Difference
If you want to stand out in the hyper-competitive race market, you need to have a hook- something that makes you unique and helps you break through all the market noise.
So how do you figure out your Point of Difference (P.O.D.)? You want to be super clear on a) who you are as a brand and b) how you’re different from other races with similar branding.
For example, let’s say you’re throwing a military-style obstacle race. You want to ask yourself the question “who are we?” Maybe your brand is all about pushing yourself to the limit, or teamwork, or doing 10,000 mountain climbers in between every obstacle.
Then you want to ask yourself “How am I different from Spartan Race, or Tough Mudder, or any of the million other obstacle races out there?” This question is going to be the key to standing out against your competition. What makes you special?
Unlike middle school, this is one circumstance where the more different you are, the better.
Be Innovative With Your Advertising + Marketing
If your main source of advertising is flyering cars at your local supermarket, it’s time to pull yourself out of the 1980’s and get a wee bit more innovative with your advertising.
It goes without saying that you need to be marketing and engaging online. In 2016, digital is the only way to do things, but you’re probably competing with huge races, and with huge races come huge budgets.
Now, if you have a huge budget, excellent! But for the rest of us who don’t have a money tree in our backyard, you’re going to have to get creative to stand out from the pack. So what you can you do?
How about start a referral rewards program?
Or build urgency by offering special pricing to the first X number of registrations?
Whatever you do, promote the heck out of your event on social media and with your race management software. Run a contest on Instagram where you raffle off a free race registration every day for a week, or sponsor a YouTube series that follows a local athlete training for the race.
Dare to be different.
Make Everything Easy
Registration. Parking. Finding a training plan. Everything.
Athletes are already doing the hard work of training and committing to participate in your event. If you give them a reason to never sign up (or never sign up again), you'll stand out in the wrong way.
Instead, make sure you've got an awesome race registration provider (that would be us), streamline your race day check-in process, create an awesome expo experience, and make sure you are crystal clear in communicating the details and logistics of your event to your athletes.
You want your race to stand out for its good qualities.
Whatever route you go when you’re trying to make your race stand out in this competitive market, make sure you’re doing what feels right for you and your event.
If you’re doing something different, something cool, and something interesting, you will naturally stand out (in a good way) and reap the rewards of those extra registrations.