Whether your club is new or has been around for years, promoting your club is important for its growth and maintenance. Technology makes it possible to reach out to current and prospective members in various ways, including your club website, social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), emails, printed flyers, and more. It is important to utilize several promotional tools to reach a wide audience, keeping in mind people get information from a variety of sources.
A club’s website, followed by their social media, is often first impression an interested person sees when looking for a running club. Your website should be modern, up-to-date, easy to navigate, and inviting. It should include information about the club, a calendar with upcoming group runs, training programs, events, recent newsletters, how to join, and contact information.
Services such as Network Solutions can be used to register a domain name. RunSignUp.com offers easy to use templates for developing running club websites. These products offer easy to use content management systems (CMS) for website development. Gone are the days of needing a highly-skilled programmer or designer for website development and updates. Most CMS systems are very easy to use and allow for multiple administrators to share the work of keeping a site updated.
Running clubs need to utilize an online membership management system that allows for members to join, renew, purchase club clothing, enter club events as a discount, sign-up and monitor grand prix participation, and much more. Seek out registration provides that are RRCA Corporate Supporters to help you establish your club's membership management tools.
It is important for your club to have a Facebook page, and ideally a Twitter account, as they enable the club to reach a wide audience that is both age and gender diverse. It is important to remember that the club’s social media accounts should drive people to the club's website, not serve as the website. Post announcements in social media accounts that drive people to seek out more information from the club's website.
Regular club emails are an easy way to quickly reach your membership with information. The RRCA has a relationship with Constant Contact who donates back to the RRCA based on members paying for their service. Your online membership management provider should also include an email services as well that your club can utilize.
With the onslaught of technology, a little paper can go a long way. Don't eliminate printing membership or promotional flyers for events that can be placed at local community centers, gyms, running stores and even grocery stores. These flyers should have an introductory blurb about the club and let people know how to get involved.
Another way to reach the local community is through the media. Television, newspaper and radio outlets are always looking for local stories that highlight positive people or events in the community. Press releases and personal contacts are great ways to reach out to these people and spread the word about the local running community. Just pitching a story can help develop relationships with possible event attendees and prospective members. Even if your story doesn’t make the evening news, the local anchor might offer to come out for an event or even want to join the club.
May clubs produce a hard copy newsletter that is mailed periodically throughout the year. A hard copy newsletter is a great way to reach out to your members. If you club does not have the financial ability to produce a hard copy newsletter, consider a digital newsletter that can be emailed to your members.
A club is only as strong as its membership. The best way to build a strong membership is to reach out in numerous ways. Don’t just pick on strategy, develop a blend of strategies that include a website, email communication, social networking, and more. Today, people get their information in a variety of forms and one size no longer fits all for communication.
Calendar of events
RRCA clubs are required to post all club events on the RRCA Calendar. A club calendar could also be maintained on the club’s website or a club can simply link to the RRCA Calendar.