I don’t need to tell you that the race world is POPPIN'. As athletes, we’ve never had more options! On any given day, in any given city we have a smorgasbord of races to choose from to fit our running/biking/swimming fancy.
So how do you make sure that it’s YOUR race we choose when the time comes to pony up and a pick an event?
Here are 5 things athletes are looking for when choosing a race:
The first thing that athletes are looking for when choosing a race is a hook. A hook is something to draw them in and get excited about your race as opposed to the hundred other races that they currently have in their inbox. A hook is what’s going to take your athletes from “meh” to “sign me up right meow”.
What you choose for your hook is entirely dependent on you, your race and who you want to be in the race world. Think of it as your point of difference - it’s the thing that’s going to set you apart from the pack.
Maybe you hire a bunch of food trucks to feed your mucho hangry athletes post race. Maybe you dedicate half of your race proceeds to a local charity you believe in (and your athletes believe in, too). Maybe you target all of those YA literature enthusiast and insist that everyone dress up like their favorite Harry Potter character (aka MY DREAM RACE). Seriously, don’t hold back.
Look, everyone wants to feel like the brands or races that they follow get them. Your athletes want to see something about your race that speaks directly to them and who they are. Pick a hook that appeals to your target athletes and run with it (pun intended).
Keeping It Professional
Another thing we athletes look for is a certain level of professionalism when we’re signing up for a race.
Now, don’t get me wrong - I’m not saying you need to hire the web design team from Google to design your race registration website or have your training plan developed by former Olympians. But if I go to your online race registration and it looks like something my 5 year old nephew could have designed using AOL Website Builder, then yea…I’m probably not going to sign up for your race.
Here’s the thing - if you can’t be bothered enough to put your best foot forward and develop a professional presence before the race, how can I trust that you’re going to be able to pull off the actual race?
Newsflash: I can’t. Not keeping it professional with your website, marketing materials and presence in the market basically screams “expect an event cancellation due to us not having our sh*t together” to your athletes.
Invest in solid design, good copywriting and consistent branding to build trust with your athletes (and ultimately get those dollar bills for race registrations).
An Easy Race Registration Process
Oy, this is a big one. Seriously, there is NOTHING that will scare an athlete away quicker than a long, complicated, tedious registration process. Seriously, we will RUN in the opposite direction (and right into the arms of your competition) if registration is too hard. Think of it as a big red flag.
If I have to fill out a 16 page long form, send you color copies of 3 forms of ID, get medical clearance and prove I can do a backflip before you’ll consider my registration, I can only imagine what a cluster actually participating in the race is going to be.
Do us a solid and keep it simple. Only ask for the information you absolutely need to process race registrations. Make the form easy to fill out and easy to submit.
Trust me, you don’t need to know if I can do a backflip.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: we athletes LOVE the free stuff. (I mean, c’mon…who doesn’t?!) And if I’m on the fence between two races and I find out that one has a killer schwag bag with all the protein bars and energy chews a girl can dream of, you can bet your Nikes THAT’S the one I’m signing up for.
Got some awesome schwag that will have your athletes foaming at the mouth like Cujo? TELL THEM ABOUT IT. Include it in your email marketing or race collateral to get them excited and 100% on board with choosing your race.
This isn’t necessarily true for every athlete, but it’s true for THIS athlete: when I’m looking for a new race, I also want a new challenge. Whether it’s a new distance, a new terrain, or a new type of race (helllloooooo, underwater marathon!), I’m always looking for a new way to push my limits as an athlete.
And if you give me a new challenge, I’ll give you my registration. #doneanddone
If you make sure you’ve got these 5 things on lock, you can be sure that your race will emerge victorious in the athlete’s battle-of-the-events.