GUIDE: 10 tips on how to attract new members to your club
It’s the beginning of the year, so lots of sports clubs in the world, which have an annual membership (membership fee applies for the current year, not 365 days after the person becomes a member), are working hard to encourage former members to extend their membership and to attract new ones.
I have already written about communication of fan-owned clubs (part one and part two) and fan-owned football community. There are several different models of club’s ownership in which fans control at least 50 percent plus 1 shares in the club, but, this guide is not only for the fan-owned clubs.
Being a member of your favourite club is a privilege and some sort of identification. Therefore, every club’s interest, even the ones owned by one person or a group of people, should have a lot of members. Proud members of your club are its best ambassadors, and they will stay by your side during ups and downs. So why not have as many of them as possible?
Take a look at some tips on how to break the previous record of members in your club, how to encourage former members to renew the membership, and how to attract new ones:
I’m delighted at the ongoing excitement about our club. Hopefully more and more Bayern fans will express their identification with the club by becoming members in the future.Karl Hopfner
number of members FC Bayern Munchen had in June 2016
1. Encourage people to become a member throughout the entire year
Even though clubs are most active in attracting new members in the first six months of the year, they should not be discouraged to attract them in the last few months of the year either. As I mentioned, being a member of your favourite club is a privilege, even if you are a member one or a two months a year.
2. Give your members a present
A great way to attract new members and encourage old ones to extend their membership in your club is to give them a unique and memorable gift for becoming a member. For example, a local Croatian futsal club Futsal Dinamo gives its members a unique t-shirt which is different each year on the front side (and has a different colour), but similar on the backside saying „Ponosni član (Proud member)“, with number six under it (members are the team’s sixth player, because futsal is played with five players on the field).
With the new gift each year fans will have additional motive to renew the membership and over time they will become proud collectors of the exclusive gifts. Besides that, your members will get something material in return for becoming a member, which is always great, especially for attracting new members.
3. Send former members a letter of motivation and payment form
If you have a well-managed database of previous members (if you don’t, then THIS should be your priority), you should mail and e-mail them with a motivational letter in which you will explain the importance of renewing their membership. Also, you should try to motivate them to spread the word about your club and membership. Of course, together with motivational letters you should send them a payment form, and all the information on how to renew the membership.
4. A membership stand at you sporting events
During every home game or event your club will have in the current year, you should have a membership stand on which your supporters can fill out a membership form. I don’t have to mention that the stand should be visible and in the right place.
5. Organising friendly matches and events in different towns or neighbourhoods
A lot of sports clubs have lots of members outside their city or neighbourhood. Show your fans and members from different areas that you are thinking about them as well. Organise a friendly match in a different city or neighbourhood, activate local media and inform everyone from that area that your club is in town and that they can become its proud member.
6. Make it easy for your fans to become members
Your current, previous and potential members should know all the information about the membership on your official channels. The ASC “Market Segmentation For Sport Participation” report indicated that 20% of people who want to get involved in a club do not know how to do so. Therefore, make sure that you have clearly indicated sections for members on your website, all of the social media platforms and newsletters.
7. Make Annual Assembly a special event
Lots of fan-owned clubs have their annual assembly in which they talk about numbers, progress and plans for the future. That is what they have to do, and it is a great thing because it encourages transparency in sports, but lots of fans are still not into that kind of content. Why wouldn’t you organise a special event exclusive for members, which will be connected with the annual assembly? For example, a concert, tournament, exhibition, etc. It can motivate a lot of people to become a member of your club because they would like to participate in such an event.
8. Thank your members
Every time you pass a big number of members (100, 1000, 5000, 50000 – depends on the size of your club), you should make a unique visual, inform your supporters about the number of your members and thank them for becoming members. This way everyone (your fans, followers, club administration, competition, etc.) knows how big the “army” of your fans is.
9. Special meeting with members and players (or club representatives)
It is a great thing to invite your members to meet with players and club’s staff. That is some sort of exclusiveness that you give to them. Also, it is great to give discounts on club merchandise or send them birthday cards.
10. Activate famous supporters of your club
People like to copy what celebrities are doing. If the former club’s legend announces he or she has become a proud member, what do you think how many supporters would become motivated to do the same? I would say a lot. And now imagine the same was done by the local rock or showbiz star, or the star of a local club from a different sport.
Being a member of your favourite sports club is a question of people’s attitude and commitment. Owning a membership card of your beloved club is an honour and some sort of identification for most loyal supporters of the club.
Members of sports clubs want only the best for the club (which does not mean that they will not be critical of the Club, especially if it is poorly managed), but often they are the club’s best promoters and ambassadors.
Therefore, your club, especially if it is fan-owned, should make a great effort to attract members throughout the entire year. Give them some exclusiveness, and they will become even prouder for being your fan and member.
If you want to know more about how to create a great strategy for attracting new members, feel free to contact us.