You planned a great camp - now make sure you get athletes in the door with these sports camp registration tips!
In one of the all-time greatest sports movies, Field of Dreams, the cornfields gently whispered, “If you build it, they will come.” Fortunately, for Kevin Costner, this was true. Unfortunately, for sports training business owners, this ideology is far from true! With a sports training business, driven by parents and athletes purchasing lessons and camp registrations, there is a misconception that if you just put a training event out there, customers will flock. The reality is, especially when you are first starting your sports training business, it’s difficult to get new customers, and it’s especially difficult to get the numbers to sell out your sports camp registration right off the bat.
At Upper Hand, our customers host thousands of camps, clinics and training programs through our platform and we’ve seen what does and does not work when hosting a camp.
Below are 5 tips to sell out your sports camp:
1. Easy Online Sports Camp Registration Software:
We could rattle off probably 100+ reasons why you should have a clean, easy way for parents and athletes to pay online, but the main reason is convenience. Parents rarely pay for anything with cash or check anymore unless forced to. Quite frankly, many cringe at the thought of making a payment with cash or check. More important than just having an online mechanism to accept payments, you have to make sure that it’s “dummy” proof. The question you have to ask yourself is, would my grandparents be able to complete this process? If the answer is no, your online sports registration process is not optimized and needs some work. At Upper Hand, we have spent multiple years and a lot of money "dummy" proofing and optimizing our online sports registration channels, and as a result, our average sports academy goes from below a 10% conversion rate to over 30% nearly immediately.
2. Host Free Clinics:
Now, there is the old adage, “If you’re good at something, never do it for free”. We get it. However, businesses offer discounts and free services all the time to get people in the door and experience what they have to offer. It's the first step of the "marketing funnel" (image below). You have to drive traffic in order to get leads, and you have to continue to communicate with these leads to eventually convert them to paying customers. Once they're customers and they know, like and trust your coaching, that leads to brand advocacy, word of mouth referral marketing and repeat purchases. Sports businesses that use Upper Hand to manage their sports training see repeat purchases over 75% of the time and have customers coming back for years. If you’re a great coach and offer excellent coaching services, parents and athletes will come back, and they will continue to pay over long periods of time.
Hosting free clinics gets your name out there, puts parent’s minds at ease by seeing how you structure your training, and most importantly, gives you a foot in the door to offer them larger, paid sports camps down the road. Through Upper Hand’s clinic and camp management tools, you are able to host free clinics to get leads, create custom contact groups with those clinic rosters, and then send targeted invites for paid events following the clinics. The more leads you generate and store in an effective manner, the bigger your business can become. If you are running a sports facility, club or academy and aren’t hosting free clinics in your area, you are doing yourself a huge disservice!
3. Make Friends With Local Athletic Directors and League Administrators:
Parleying off the above topic of hosting free clinics, this is a great way to get in good graces with local athletic directors and league administrators. The reason you should be making friends with these guys is because they hold the key to large channels of potential customers for you to tap into. If you approach them and present yourself as a well-organized and structured sports training business that genuinely wants to help athletes get better, AND offer to host free clinics for their athletes, they are going to do whatever they can to help you out. Again, once you get the leads in your sales funnel, you can begin promoting your paid camps, but these guys are the gatekeepers to large funnels of potential athletes and parents that will pay for your training offerings.
4. Create Urgency:
While you need to be ahead of the game and make sure that you’re opening sports camp registration at least 3-6 months prior to any large camp you’re planning on hosting, there are ways to create urgency. The most successful marketing we see is using tiered pricing based on the date they sign up and limiting the number of spots available. The earlier you sign up, the cheaper it is for the parent. You also want to make sure they know that there are limited spots available. On Upper Hand, you can utilize promotional codes to incentivize parents to sign up earlier and can also turn on the number of slots remaining on your sports camp registration page to show them once only say, 5 or 10 slots are remaining for the camp. This lights a spark under them and encourages them to hurry up and register.
5. Guest Appearances:
A lot of successful camps we see utilize ex-pros or bigger names in the sport to draw attention to their camps. You have to understand that a lot of times when parents are paying for their athletes to attend a sports camp, they aren’t just doing it for their kid to get better at their respective sport, but they are also doing it to give their young athletes an enjoyable experience. Bringing in a bigger name is a great way to accomplish this.
Leverage the 5 tips above, to drastically increase your next camp registration rate.