Oh, the email list. Ask any marketer, and they’ll tell you that a large, targeted email list is the Holy Grail of marketing. It’s the bee’s knees, the cat’s pajamas, the puppy’s tuxedo… you get my drift. There’s no better way to build a lasting relationship with your athletes, increase brand recognition in your markets and ultimately drive race registrations to your events.
Obviously, you’re collecting all of your athletes’ emails on your online race registration platform or on race day at registration or bib assignment (and if you’re not… really? How are you communicating with your athletes? Are you living in 1992 and calling them on your Zack Morris car phone? Hop on that email train immediately!).
But what about athletes who haven’t had the pleasure of meeting you and your event? How do you build out your email list with athletes who are the perfect fit for your race, but just might need more information and a gentle push (or full on shove) in the right direction?
Give Them An Offer They Can’t Refuse
At the risk of sounding like Captain Obvious for a moment, do you know what ALL the people love?
Saving money. And a great way to build out your email list is to give them an opportunity to save money on your event. (#duh)
Add an announcement to your online race registration platform that offers athletes a discount code when they sign up for your email list. If they were on the fence about your event, you can bet your bottom dollar that an extra 15% or $10 off will be just the push they need.
Build a Lead Magnet
If you’ve been following marketing trends, you know that in 2016 Content is KING. Races all over the country are stepping up their content game and it’s time for you to do the same.
A great way to ride the content wave to a higher opt-in rate is to create a lead magnet. A lead magnet is a killer piece of content that you freely distribute to attract new opt-ins (hence the magnet reference). In other words, you give the killer content and the athlete gives you an email address.
The number #1 rule of lead magnets is to focus on offering value, not on sales. Patience, young grasshopper - the email address is the payoff. You’ll have plenty of time to sell folks on your event later.
An example of a lead magnet could be “100 Training Tips To PR At Your Next Race” or “A Beginner’s Guide To Picking The Right Running Shoe”. You want it to be catchy, relevant and something that’s going to entice your potential new athlete to click “Sign Me Up”.
Not Too Many, Not Too Few… But Just Right
Building an email list and then not being able to retain subscribers is basically like losing weight and then immediately stuffing your face with donuts until you gain all the weight back. It makes all the work you did completely pointless (although admittedly delicious, in the case of the donuts).
Focusing on retention is a key component of building out your email list. And a key component of retention is sending the perfect amount of emails: not too many, not too few… but just right.
It might take a bit of experimentation to find that email frequency sweet spot, but use your common sense. Don’t send so many emails that you start to resemble that annoying aunt who calls every day at the worst times and just won’t leave you alone, and don’t send so few that people literally forget who you are from email to email.
Mix No Strings Attached Value and Sales
Marketing 101 Tip: The worst thing you can do while building your email list is to only send emails trying to sell your subscribers. I promise you, if you do this, you’ll have a mass exodus on your hands quicker than you can say, “Only $19.95 if you sign up TODAY!”.
For every sales email you send, you want to send 2 - 3 emails where you provide no strings attached value (keyword being value here) to your community. Think training tips, information about your charity partners, athlete spotlights or general event information.
As a final word of advice, keep in mind that building out your email list is a marathon, not a sprint (HA! See what I did there?). You can’t expect to implement one strategy and wake up to 10,000 new opt-ins. But if you work hard and work smart, you can build an email list of athletes who are picking up everything that you’re throwing down and will sign up for your events for years to come.