You’re likely using a wide variety of marketing techniques to boost race interest, but none are as effective as email. A 2016 survey found that the ROI of email (122%) was 4 times higher than social media, direct mail, paid search and online display ads.
Each of the following five email types addresses a different potential participant concern or emotion. Consider what will be most appealing to each demographic you target and start sending.
1. Race Guide
No one wants to run a race without knowing details like what the course looks like or what the temperature will be. The more they know, the more comfortable they’ll be with making the decision to purchase a race ticket:
“Apprehension is inversely proportionate to comprehension. The more we understand the consequences of making a decision or taking an action, the less apprehensive we’ll be about it. The less we understand, the more anxious we will be,” suggests Mike Anderson of The Center for Sales Strategy.
A race guide allows you to quell any potential fears, capture interest through visuals, provide clarity on what to expect and more. Here are a few important details to include your race guide:
- Attractive and high-quality imagery of the course
- Description of the course
- Average and expected temperatures
- Suggested clothing and accessories
- Things to do around town
- Participation from previous years
Value: Social proof
If you’re a new and growing race, potential participants may have never heard of you before. As such, it’s important to provide them with social proof: testimonials from previous participants. Instead of you telling them why they should sign up, you can let happy racers do that for you.
To make these testimonials as effective as possible, pair each one with an image of the person. Faces are one of the most eye-catching elements in marketing materials, according to Garr Reynolds, author and TED presenter, and make the testimonials more relatable and humanized.
If possible, take it a step further with video testimonials. Video is both impactful and engaging and can be shared on your various social networks as well, attracting new participants from all marketing avenues.
3. Featured Coupons and Discounts
Value: Quell financial concerns
Coupons and discounts are powerful. While cost isn’t the only factor in making purchasing decisions, discounts can motivate potential participants to take the plunge.
In fact, in an 18,000-person study, 15 percent said coupons influence their purchasing decisions. Not to mention, 58 percent would prefer to receive their discounts via email, according to Total Retail 2016.
The key is creating the right coupons, the ones that will be most attractive to potential participants. In many cases, a variety of coupons and discounts will help you appeal to your entire audience. For example, a New Customer Only discount is most effective at driving those who have never raced with you before, while BOGO (buy one, get one) was found to reduce unwanted “inventory” among 73% of retailers polled—in race terms, that means unsold tickets.
Spread out the various discounts you plan to offer over a period of time, starting with your new customer discounts. Offer BOGO to drive fast ticket sales as race day gets closer. Pair the latter with testimonials from couples or friends who have raced together, driving participants to think: “Awesome, I can do this with [insert person here]—we just have to split the cost of one ticket!”
4. Partner/Sponsor Announcements
Value: Brand loyalty
If potential participants don’t know your brand very well, but they love the brand you’re partnering with, they may be more motivated to sign up. The chances are even higher if you’re offering free pre-race or race-day products from that partner. As such, partner announcements are a great way to boost race interest among future and past participants.
To make it personal, include a letter from the partner with an explanation of why they chose to partner with you, how they’ll be involved and more. Consider offering a partner discount for anyone who purchases a ticket. This increases the value of participating—they get to save money when shopping with one of their favorite brands too.
5. Volunteer Highlights
Value: Emotional sentiment
Emotion drives sales. Why? “Perhaps the most important characteristic of emotions is that they push us toward action. In response to an emotion, humans are compelled to do something,” according to Peter Noel Murray, Ph.D. Use this to your benefit by creating an emotional story, highlighting the volunteers who make the race happen.
Work with your volunteer coordinator to choose the most impactful and inspiring stories. Like your testimonials, pair each highlight with a photo or video of the volunteer along with a paragraph-long story about the person. Remember to turn these into social assets that can be shared on a variety of other platforms as well.
Email is an easy way to reach current and potential races and serves as a powerful, persuasive marketing tool. With discounts and coupons, testimonials and more, you can drive more interest among past and future racers, boosting ticket sales year after year.
Guest post by Jessica Thiefels. Jessica has been writing for more than 10 years and has managed a number of employees in her various roles. She now owns her own consulting business and has been featured on Forbes and Business Insider. She regularly writes for StartupNation, Manta, Glassdoor and more. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07 and connect on LinkedIn.