Getting closer to the action: how to keep sports fans engaged

You may think that fans, in their nature, are more engaged with
the team or sport they support than your average customer. And, in some ways,
that’s true. Your fans are already engaged. They actively want to connect with your
brand. They’re emotionally invested in you.

But that’s what makes marketing in the sports sectors so
difficult. Sports conjure up a range of emotions you simply don’t feel when you
buy a pair of trainers or book a haircut.

One day you’re elated.

via GIPHY

The next, it feels like the world has ended.

via GIPHY

Their connection to your brand is entirely emotional. So, when things are going well, especially on the field, engaging is going to be easy. Well, easier. But, when things are going badly, reactions can be erratic, to say the least.

As a sports marketer, you’ve got to stay highly tuned into your
audiences’ mood. This will keep you relevant, and relevance makes engagement a hell
of a lot easier!

This brings us nicely onto our first key takeaway from the
day:

1) Treat fans like part of the team

Fans want to be part of the action. Regardless of whether
they’re regularly attending your events or matches, you should think about every
user in your database as a part of your brand.

Exclusive insights are gold

These can come in a variety of forms, from breaking the latest news to interviews with your players and ambassadors, and competitions to win memorabilia. Depending on the type of fan they are, some content may resonate better. This is where personalization and segmenting your database come into play.

If you’re upfront and open in your welcome program, you can
ask fans what they’d like to receive in their newsletter. If they’re a distant
follower, they might not want to be so concerned with player status updates,
but they do want to know what channel and time the next game is on. Get this
information as quickly as possible to ensure you’re delivering the insight that
will engage the individual the most.

Building your community is essential

Make it as easy as possible for fans to connect – with you,
and with each other. Fan forums can be added to campaigns by including RSS
feeds when building your emails. This not only helps raise the profile of your
forums, but it’s also an invaluable source of user-generated content.

Another way you can foster a strong sense of community amongst your fans is by connecting with your influencers. Whether its social media stars who love playing badminton, or a musician who grew up near your ground, it helps fans feel closer to you, and them.

Never miss a chance to surprise and delight

Take someone from a newsletter subscriber to a member of
your fan club, by offering them the chance to win.

What they win doesn’t have to be big. It could be behind the scenes access to the locker room or a shirt signed by the team. What is important, is that you’re rewarding your fans for their loyalty. Never miss a chance to say thank you – for their support and for staying engaged.

And, don’t forget to get your sponsors involved at this stage. If you’re offering fans the chance to win a tour around your stadium, team-up with your sponsors to help get them there in style. They won’t only be delighted with your brand, but theirs too.

2) Never miss a chance to do something different

Head of Digital at Swansea
AFC
, Rebecca
Edwards-Symmons
, showed us that being brave and taking a risk, can have
amazing results.

Swansea marketing

Swansea AFC’s new American owners empowered them to try
something new –to launch an app unlike any its competitors had. It’s motivation
to do this was simple. It wanted to deliver an experience that had fans at its
core.

With the new app, the Digital team at Swansea wanted fans to
be able to download tickets, access exclusive content and live streams, as well
as offer new opportunities for its sponsors through the creation of bespoke
games.

Its goal was not about revenue, it was about the experience. By implementing single sign-on functionality across all its Swans Club accounts, the team empowered users to engage more, before, during and after games.

3) Champion collaboration

Following on from her amazing talk at the dotdigital Summit,
Fiona Watson from Science in Sport
showed the amazing power of teamwork and collaboration.

To increase its brand awareness, Science in Sport partner with brands that have similar customers but are more obvious competitors. These include the likes of Strava, Muc-off, and Garmin.

To capture new data, Science in Sport set up competitions with the chance to win free merchandise for its partners to promote across their channels. This ranged from a free signed jersey to a year’s supply of SiS sports nutrition.

4) Take inspiration from other industries

Chelsea Warrington, Partner Manager at Movable Ink, outlined three ways sports marketers can learn from other sectors to boost their customer experience.

Retail

Working for a sports brand, you more than likely have merchandise you sell to fans and members. Basically, you’re a retail brand yourself, so you should be using their tactics to boost your customer engagement.

Top retail brands are particularly efficient at using
behavioral data to influence customer actions. Using order confirmation pages
to push similar items in AI-driven product recommendation blocks, are an
amazing way to boost conversions and increase engagement.

Travel

Travel brands such as Best Western, personalize customers’ emails based on the location of their upcoming stay. It pulls in excursions and activities in the local area and suggests these to its visitors.

A sports brand can apply this when fans are traveling to an event or competition. Pull in suggestions for local bars, or car park information, to deliver relevant, engaging and helpful content to your supporters.

Media

Media brand PaddyPower uses APIs to pull in content from other websites to give subscribers the latest information about sporting events.

Sports brands can drive anticipation for upcoming events or matches by pulling in the latest information such as traffic reports, live scores, or team updates. We’re already seeing this tactic being adopted by NHL teams in North America, such as the Montreal Canadiens.

Movable ink marketing

5) Take personalization to new levels

Co-founder of Snaptivity,
Volha Paulovich, spoke about how new technologies are delivering perfectly personalized
experiences.

At Snaptivity, there is a simple formula it believes creates
perfect experiences: content + context + timing = customer engagement.

Today’s experience economy means that people are constantly switching between information sources. While attending a football match, fans can be absorbing information from any number of sources, including the pitch, their phones, and the big screens. Keeping them engaged can be an uphill battle, and that is why context and timing are as important, if not more, than the content your delivering.

Keeping things contextual, such as bearing in mind whether a team has won or lost, is essential. It demonstrates that your there with them, through the highs and the lows.

The Ashes

The post Getting closer to the action: how to keep sports fans engaged appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 4 months ago from blog.dotdigital.com

Humanise your email marketing content and bring customers closer to your brand

Content is one of the most important aspects of an email’s infrastructure. It’s the personality of the email that either grasps the recipient or puts them off. A subscriber’s impression of content can sometimes be instantaneous, so it’s essential to get it spot on from the start.

In The Future of email marketing – 2017 edition, there were a few thought-provoking points on content that really made me reflect on the importance of copy in an email. The below point stood out for me the most:

Email will (and should) have a more conversational voice and tone.

Aweber quoted Maya Angelou, the famed American poet: “people don’t always remember what you say … but they always remember how you made them feel”. We should apply this to an email marketing context: what a brand says can be compelling, but how it’s said leaves the lasting impression (and that’s what really matters).

Brands need to be plain-speaking, casual and not take themselves too seriously. Branding needs to be baked into every sentence. Writing content that oozes personality will help customers relate more to your business, and even feel a part of it. This is an essential goal of email marketing; to keep the core (business) and the periphery (customers) as entwined as possible. Because really, what would a business be without its customers?

According to Aweber, voice and tone are two separate objectives of content; the former is the “mission”, i.e. the message of the email; the latter is the delivery of said mission. This tends to be descriptive and should – in terms of best practice – be conveyed in an emotive way. The key is to humanise the message and make it specifically relatable to a human being’s sub-conscious. Do not view them as subscribers or even customers.

What does this look like in practice?

A great example is Naked Wines’ emails. According to Kunle Campbell, “they [Naked Wines] … relentlessly infuse dynamism into their business” and “their copywriting … is crisply written, with an easily identifiable tone of voice to go along with it”.

It’s worth noting that any business can do this. An email from a financial corporation might find it harder to send a relatable and emotional message than say, a charity or a pet shop. However, as long as you ask yourself the following questions –

  • What does the email mean?
  • What do we want the individual to feel?
  • What do we want the subscriber to do?

– you’ll be on track. Be creative and think outside the box.

 

 

Sources:

https://blog.aweber.com/email-marketing/how-to-develop-tone-of-voice-to-connect-with-your-email-audience.htm

http://www.emailmonday.com/email-marketing-future

https://2xecommerce.com/nakedwines-marketing/ (Kunle Campbell)

The post Humanise your email marketing content and bring customers closer to your brand appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 2 years ago from blog.dotmailer.com