Sports are no less than a form of worship for people around the world. There may be hundreds of different cultures that separate people from each other, but sports has proven to be a unifying factor despite differences. Take football, garnering over 3.5 billion followers worldwide, for example.
The central cogs in the sports machine are the athletes and the teams formed around them. Fans hail them as heroes and ardently follow every single step of their favorite sportsman and the associated team.
However, the fame, name, and wide reach don’t just manifest themselves. Strategic marketing practices act behind them to put the name of the athlete and the team in front of the world audience. Even if the team and the athlete are not ace players, good sports marketing can raise the brand value.
Here is a guide to effectively market athletes and teams on a global stage.
Brand New Social Era
One advantage the athlete marketing has today over marketing in the former times is the digital world. Social media channels have grown in the past few years to reach a large portion of the global audience. It’s rapidly growing to compete with traditional forms of advertising.
Although several social media channels are for marketing purposes, online advertising is cheaper, can be customized and targeted, and is fast becoming the main form of media and content consumption for all age brackets.
No campaign for athlete marketing today will be complete without integrating social media and digital marketing tactics.
Know Your Fans and Connect
The selling point of athletes and sports teams is that fans idolize them. For each athlete and team, a specific segment of people are already ardent fans, and another segment has the potential to become dedicated fans. This is where most of the marketing efforts should be targeted.
The first step in marketing athletes is to identify the target audience. These are going to be staunch followers of sports and have the capacity to turn into fans. If you market to the wrong audience, say people who don’t even watch sports, it is wasted money.
After having your target audience, find out all the free places like groups, forums, and social media channels they hang out with and connect with them.
Choose the Social Platforms to Market
Social media and digital channels allow the players to connect with their craziest fans in a direct and personal way. You can directly take your sports brand to the right audience and control the narrative your way. This is why social channels should be the main part of your marketing campaigns.
There are several online social platforms where you can get started, but you must choose a few to target at the beginning. Some options include Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, YouTube, and more. The channel you choose will depend on the tone and narrative of your sports brand.
For example, Instagram focuses mainly on photos and short-form videos. If your marketing campaigns are based on visual resources, like sharing snippets or BTS, this can be the right platform for you.
Set Up an Attractive Website
Before you start creating content to market, set up a website as an information portal and one-stop platform for all things related to your team and athletes. It can have upcoming tournaments, events, and matches listed. You can add a section for sponsorships or information about all team members or put content related to your team. You can even have a forum for fans to unite and discuss sports.
All press releases and important information should be published on your website. The website can be as extensive or as brief as you want. Nowadays, it’s easier to build a website. It can be done via WordPress or other content management systems. The efficient way is to hire a web developer to build you a customized website.
Create Unique Contents and Build Engagement
Now that you have different online channels set up, start creating engaging content for different platforms. Social media channels would need different types of content, and so will your website.
Social media content is usually based on photos and videos. Always add a catchy description or title with the media. Use relevant hashtags to promote your content. Post at times of the day when engagement is high in your target audience. Use different strategies to gain social media followers, like holding contests and giveaways, collaborating with popular influencers and brands to make content, advertising on their channels, etc.
Website content is mostly about blog marketing. For this, you need to create informational, entertainment, or other forms of articles with a subtle promotion and publish them on your website. The content can also be in the form of photos and videos.
If your content is SEO optimized for social media and websites, you can reach a wider audience with organic content alone. You can also run paid ads on Google via PPC and on social media to get the top spot for your social platforms.
While your online marketing campaign is running, put in efforts for offline marketing as well.
Hand out flyers and put up posters or billboards at popular spots. You can collaborate with popular brands, like Mcdonald’s, to offer customized deals related to your team and athletes. You can connect with fans at events and give out free shirts of your team.
Create buzz around your brand by using tactics like guerilla marketing and word of mouth. Run a cool campaign by doing something trendy or launch a socially responsible campaign, such as using sustainable fiber for your team’s uniform.
Use trends and pop culture notions to stand out and be different.
If done right, athlete marketing and branding can give you a chance to play in the top league. Sports marketing doesn’t have to take a lot of effort. It just needs to be done with the right strategies.
Keep creating engaging content, mix up the strategies, and connect with fans. Once you hit the target, it will be worth the effort!