There are many ways to increase revenue for your race event. Event revenue will come from a variety of sources, and to grow your bottom line, you need to understand your constituents and the outcomes that each of them are looking to achieve from the event. If you understand the desires of these revenue sources, and what they are willing to pay to acquire them, you can capture a great deal more from your scheduled event in terms of profits. The two main sources for your revenue will likely be your participants and your sponsors.
There are two principal methods of increasing revenue from the participants of your event. The first is to gain more paying participants, and the second is to capture more money from the participants that sign up. Gaining more participation will involve more effort, but may yield the better return on investment. Below, we will outline how both of these revenue streams will dramatically increase your bottom line.
You can increase your participation if you simplify your registration process. When picking a online registration provider make sure it utilizes a simple checkout process that doesn't require accounts for runners. Fewer pages in your registration process makes it easier to complete registration forms, and you will make more money. Online fees can vary widely among different providers. Compare top race registration providers rates, and benefits.Create a Registration Form
It goes without saying that participants of your race want a great experience. Runners, triathletes and cyclists come with all different backgrounds and preferences. Some are looking for a race that is well organized. Some athletes want to run or participate in a race that is located in a beautiful setting. Others simply want a course that is easy to complete, so that they feel like they can finish. There are even some participants that pick events based solely upon how stylish the shirts are, or how big the medals are.
It can be overwhelming to try to please every type of athlete. You can’t be everything to everyone, but the rule of thumb is to try and please the most people possible inasmuch as it is reasonable. If your race is an annual event, consider emailing out a survey after each race to get feedback. Ask specific questions about the different aspects of your event, and how important they are to your runners. When you understand what the majority of your customers want, you can focus on pleasing the masses. When you execute masterfully at the most important things runners are looking for in your event, you will dramatically increase your participation. Remember that your participants chose your race for a reason, and if you understand why that is, you can focus your efforts on being the best in those things.
There are a myriad of ways to advertise your race, but it is important to learn what methods work best. On your registration page you should have a question similar to, “How did you hear about this event?” You can also track the effectiveness of different advertising sources by using a unique promo code for each campaign. The promo codes with the higher uses are likely your better forms of advertising. With online advertising, such as Google AdWords, you can have cookies set on athlete’s computers that click on the ads, tracking who signs up. There are many other methods of tracking your advertising campaigns; you are strongly encouraged to do some form of tracking to optimize your advertising spend. Begin every year with a marketing plan, and have goals associated with the plan. Set top level goals for the event as a whole, but also consider having goals for each type of advertising. Below are several types of marketing that will grow your race participation:
Most participants will find and register for your event online. Google, Yahoo, and Bing will rank a race website higher than a Facebook group or fan page. This can be done for free at a site like weebly.com, but you will rank higher in the search results if you pay an actual website company to build your website for you. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a field that is best left to the experts, as the rules for ranking are constantly changing. Consider hiring a good web firm to help you in this area if you have the budget for it.
Regularly post interesting editorial content on a blog that people can discuss and follow regularly. This will help youto become the authority in your niche, and your race will be found more regularly by the search engines as interested parties search for specific subjects in Google that you write about on your blog. Content marketing is critical. Giving your readers free, relevant information will endear them to you and advance your goals as it pertains to brand equity. Regularly check your Google Analytics account to learn which blog posts are the most frequently read, and get an idea about which topics are most in demand. Then use that information to your advantage by giving your audience more of what they want.
Many prospective participants won’t realize how to get ready for your race. It may be their first time attempting a race like yours, and having a training program, or even some training tips, can help reduce the stress associated with a first-time race. This will help more people feel like they can actually accomplish your race, and you will obtain more participants.
When you open for registration, be certain to let your base of potential runners know by utilizing your email list. When emailing past or potential race participants, the email should contain a link to all of your social media pages, a link to your website, and a link to your race registration page. An attractive email with a succinct and incentivized call-to-action can improve your brand image, and will result in more registrations.Create a Registration Form
Some of your sponsors may be willing to help promote your event. For example, if you have a chain of grocery stores that is a sponsor, they may be willing to put up a banner for your event at each of their locations, or a bank sponsor may be willing to email all their customers about your event and possibly include some type of promotional discount, helping potential participants feel like they are getting a good deal for being a customer of that bank, which helps both your race and the bank mutually.
Hash tags are a fun way for participants and potential participants to create some buzz around your brand and the event experience. When everyone knows what the official hash tag is, they can all post photos of their experiences with your event, and see other’s who have had similar rewarding experiences photos as well.
Twitter is a fast way to get marketing messages out there, and it also helps you to continue to engage with your audience. You want to be on their minds as much as possible. The more they think of your event, the more they are discussing your event with others. Most people sign up as a result of a recommendation from friends or family members, so utilize this social platform to continue having your prospects think of your event.How to Integrate Social Media
This will help your audience of potential racers start networking right away. Post regularly on your race page, and use interesting and engaging photos as often as possible. Facebook posts with photos or videos have a much higher engagement rate (shares, likes, etc.).
To properly market and advertise your event takes extensive effort. If you can find a volunteer committee to help you with various responsibilities, this will expand how fast you can spread the word about your race. Also, perhaps someone in the committee may have some ideas you haven’t considered of places to relay the message of your event, or maybe one of them could do some free design or artwork. If you are really lucky, you may find a web developer amongst your committee members to help improve your race website pro bono.
Not everyone is an ultra-marathoner. If you have a marathon, you could also add a half marathon and a 5K. If you have a 5K event, you could add a 10K or a half marathon. This will broaden the base of how many people will have an interest in participating in your event.
If there is a local fitness blogger that has a large following, consider giving them a free entry to participate in your event in exchange for them writing a blog article about how great your event is. If there is a running expert in the area, possibly offer them a free entry as well, and you could ask them to tell their friends and social network following to run your event.
You already know friend/family referrals is your number one source for race growth, so give out incentives for people to help you grow your race. RaceEntry.com has two different incentives for referrals that are automated to make it easier for you to grow your race. The first is called the “Social Discount”, and the second is called the “referral program”.Learn About Referral Program
It is natural to procrastinate, but a good motivation to get runners to sign up quicker is to have price increases set in place. The price increases will help you to get more people signed up faster. These runners that sign up early will be built-in marketers for you early on, because people want to run with friends and family. The people that sign up later will be paying you more money. Make sure that price increases occur on a day of the week that you have historically seen to be a day most people sign up. Usually, you will want to avoid weekends for price increases. Make sure you email, tweet, and post on Facebook previous to every price increase to drive up registrations. People enjoy taking advantage of last second savings.
People are most excited about your event right after they have just run and had an exciting experience at your race. Take advantage of this enthusiasm by allowing them to register for next year right after this year is over. You may be surprised at how many people will sign up a year early. Offer a discount for early signups.
If you reward participants when they participate for a certain number of years, it gives them a reason to keep coming back. Aside from a discount, or schwag that you may offer as part of this “loyalty rewards program”, it gives runners who participate in your race year after year bragging rights. In turn, that gets people talking about your event more frequently, and brings even more runners.
You may decide to create a running series that includes races in your geographical location spaced throughout the year. You could trade emailing your participant lists. You could market at each other’s expos in trade, etc.Add My Race to Calendar
Some of the most successful race companies have enhanced their success by putting on their event in multiple cities. When you have a great event that has had good success in one city, the chances are that it will be well received in other cities/states as well. The other locations may not be as close to home, but it is easier to duplicate your event than it was to create the first one. You will already have an email list, a brand, race equipment, etc. If opening up your race in other markets seems like too much work, consider franchising your race, and making money from other race directors that want to help you grow your event in other markets.
There are countless places you can advertise online, such as Google AdWords, running websites, Facebook ads, Promoted Tweets, etc. You can also implement retargeting, which keeps you top of mind with runners who have already visited your website. Consider doing sponsored blog posts on well-known running blogs to spread your influence and expose more potential runners to your race.Create A Race Today
Probably the best print media is to just put banners up all over town at busy intersections. You can also try printing fliers and distributing them at other running events or running stores. You can print posters to be hung at businesses. Other print media you may try includes newspaper advertising, billboards, and magazine ads.
One of the best places to advertise is at other races. Running, cycling, and triathlon events share some of the same pool of participants. These races have your target audience, and there is no better place to promote your race.
The main part of your event is the race itself, so make sure that you have a nice looking race map that helps to entice participants to choose your event. RaceEntry.com can help you create an interactive race map that will help you increase your participation. Learn more about race maps.Create a Race Map
Anytime you gain a new sponsor, or make a change to your event, you should write a press release. Submit these to every local news agency in your market. Make sure that your press release includes a link to your website, and a link to your registration page.
There are a few ways to get your pool of runners to spend more money. The first is to sell merchandise. Merchandise is a great stream of revenue, because in addition to bringing in more money, it also turns your participants into walking billboards wearing your logo around town. You can sell merchandise online during the registration process, and then offer it a second time at your race expo/packet pick up.
The second way to increase event revenue from your participants is through price increases. Price increases not only get people signing up earlier, but they have procrastinators paying you more money for the same event. There are people that would rather pay you more money with the option to sign up later in case they get injured or have a schedule conflict. Let them pay you more money.
Lastly, you can consider having a charitable cause associated with your race. Many events are for a charitable cause anyways, so why not ask for donations on the registration process? RaceEntry.com can help you garner donations during the registration process. Contact us today to learn more about our donation pages for the registration process.
Whether you have a large race series, or a small charity 5K that you want to increase event participation for, RaceEntry.com has the tools you need to dramatically increase your event participation. Our easy-to-use online race registration system will help you save time and make more money. Not all of the marketing strategies above may be right for you, but let us help you put together a marketing plan to reach your race’s full potential!Create A Race Today