Drive Fan Engagement with Marketing Automation

The formula is simple: engagement equals sales. Think you’re just a face in a crowd of 82,500 at MetLife Stadium while watching a New York Giants game? Think again! You may be surprised at the lengthy amount of information an organization is gathering about you. Are you proactive or a procrastinator when it comes to buying tickets for a game? Do you wait until the end of the second quarter to grab a beer? Do you consistently leave before a game is over?

There are several ways to not only manage data already collected, but innovative ways to gather even more. In this case, there’s nothing wrong with being greedy. In four phases and 12 steps, SimplyCast recommends the following methods to drive engagement and put more fans in seats:

Homeofthe12thManHow do you expect to communicate with fans if you don’t have the right contact information?! Make it a priority to regularly update the user databases. Focus on always maintaining the basics: names, mailing addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses. Ask them their preferences. Do they prefer to get a message through text message over email? Ask them how many games they want to attend. A prize may have to be offered as an incentive to encourage fans to take the time to confirm their information.

When spectators visit a stadium/arena, take advantage of real-time data collection. Representatives can mingle with fans and gather basic and more detailed information, like “How often do you come to games?” and “Where do you usually buy tickets?”

Make fans feel welcomed and valued right from the start. It is as easy as sending a personalized welcome email. Nurture users by asking them to subscribe to a weekly digital newsletter for information about upcoming events, exclusives, fan clubs, how to purchase tickets, and links to news stories. Track the links they click and interact with them through social media.

When an order is placed, send a notification right away. Let consumers know you received their request and appreciate their business. In your emails, include information about parking, stadium rules, when gates will open, and frequently asked questions. This would also be a good time to integrate Facebook or Twitter and encourage fans to share that they are attending a particular game/event.

A few days before the game, send a reminder email. On game day, post informational and exciting messages on social media. Engage with fans by asking them to send pictures of themselves. The Nashville Predators use #PredsPride. Ask spectators to text in their votes for the player of the game.

Not all fans need to receive the same communications; there are different sales cycles. The Interested Phase is welcome messages and counting down the start of the new season or upcoming games. The Engaged Phase is a reminder for upcoming events and targeted content based on a user’s history. The Lapsed Phase includes surveys to gain insight, incentives to re-visit a website, and promotions to re-engage.

12245750054_5a3d3025e1_oMerchandise with a team logo or name is a free, walking billboard. Use mobile coupons and special email promotions to drive sales. Let the fans have some say in what information they wish to receive. Some people want details about parking, last-minute tickets, or a reminder to wear white for a White Out.

The possibilities of how to engage fans are endless. If you think you have a brilliant idea, give it a shot. Understand your fans and start engaging them today.

Get A Grip On Elusive Fans

Michigan_Stadium_2011

There are 7.125 billion people in world, yet sport organizations are finding their biggest challenge is happening off the field. It’s attracting, engaging, and retaining elusive fans.

The National Football League, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, and every other governing body are looking for new ways to attract and engage spectators.

7142709055_434d38d505_zThe two biggest issues: time and money.

Americans only have an average of five hours a day for leisure, according to an American Time Use Survey published last year. If someone wanted to attend a sporting event, they have to take the time to contemplate going, buy their tickets, drive to the stadium, find parking, watch the game, wait in traffic to get out of the stadium, and then drive home. More than likely, they’ve already used more than their five hours at the end of the trip.

Folks don’t have to go to a game to have a good time. There are so many other activities that come to mind: watching a movie (either at home or the theater), going to a concert, going shopping, going hiking, or even catching up on sleep.

Can you tell we live in a competitive environment? Let’s pretend no other leisure activities exist besides sports. There are still soMicrosoft_Mediaroom_Guide_Web many options to choose from on a Saturday: 20 college football games airing on TV, tennis and golf tournaments, racing, six soccer matches, high school events, and at least five other competitions.

Technology has changed how individuals consume sports. They no longer have to sit in a stadium, at a bar, or at home to watch a match up. A guy can be out with his wife and daughter at the mall and watch the game on his smartphone. There is even an option to get live updates through apps.

People know their time is valuable. That’s probably why so many of us don’t bother going to games or even watching them on TV. We just want to see the highlights — show the top three plays and the score and we’ve seen the whole game. Everyone at work is only going to be talking about the big moves, right?

Sports_fans_in_rainFans’ expectations are so much higher than they’ve ever been. No one wants to sit in the rain, the cold, or the heat. No one wants to sit on an uncomfortable bleacher that doesn’t have armrests or back support. No one wants to eat just popcorn and hot dogs — they want sushi and vodka.

We haven’t even talked about the money! When one considers going to a game, they have to be willing to take on an investment. They will need to pay for gas to get there/get home, parking, the actual tickets, food and drinks, and probably some team merchandise. A lot of people gripe about the cost of seeing a movie being sky-high, but it’s a bargain when compared to going to a game!

Some other characteristics that define the elusive fan consist of commercialism, individualism, and changes in family structure and behavior.

It’s hard for sport organizations to understand what channels people are using, and it’s even harder to construct the right message.3286023692_e2440cd688_z Generations Y and Z are perhaps the most elusive. If organizations think they have a problem now, the people born ten years from now with be even more elusive.

These brands really need to focus on what people want, when they want it, and where they want it. Organizations have to tell folks why they need to go to/watch sporting events. What’s in it for me? They need to look for innovative ways to create exclusive experiences. Overall, brands must be strong, communicate with fans, and know what’s expected in order to be successful.