For many people running marathons is like a religion. Just like Diwali and Christmas, they eagerly wait for Mumbai Marathon, Pune International Marathon, Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, Ladakh Marathon, Goa River Marathon and many such other famous races.
They just don’t wait for it. They prepare for it and participate with same zeal and pomp every year. Every year these marathons spot hundreds and thousands of repetitive faces. These events have become reunion affair for countless folks. That is a result of a flawless marathon promotion strategy coupled with years of community building.
Apparently, every marathon organizer desires their marathon event to be celebrated by the masses. The secret sauce of it is dedicatedly building up on your runner’s community.
And, how do you do that?
First, build up on your present community.
Second, delight your attendees.
Let us discuss each of the two at length here. Here are a few tips on how to build up on your present audience:
1) Research on your current audience
Start studying the numbers that you have of your past attendees. You will be able to draw patterns out of it like the age group, income group, profession, location, behavioral patterns, preferred channel of communication, etc.
Once you have these numbers, create a strategy for building up on communication with them. You can start with seeking feedback. Suggestions for the future marathon race. What are the things that they would like improved in the next round? If, they would recommend your event to their friends.
Last but not the least, ensure to communicate with them over and over (do not bombard them though.) It could be just a hello. A warm birthday wish. A round of survey or a request for referral.
2) Keep your communication targeted
Figure out the platforms that brought you the highest conversions. It could be your social media profiles, the event listing website, or email campaigns. Leverage more on those platforms.
In this digital world, out of sight is out of mind. Therefore, plan and prepare your communication with your audience before in hand. Your messages should not be too salesy. Divide your posts into three broad categories. That would be motivational messages, inside information (discuss how you are preparing and what are the new things attendees would experience), and of course promotional messages (early bird offers, BOGO offers, your spouse can run for free, etc.)
3) Deliver on their expectations
Now that you have communicated with your past attendees; you will be able to find some common pain points and areas of improvement. Work on them. Fix them. And, let your community know that you are working earnestly to fix the issues.
Your community would love it if they feel that they are heard. They would feel connected and involved. That creates a bond of trust and sincerity between your attendees and you.
Moreover, take their help and involve them in the process of improving things. Like, you can request your community members for a referral of a web designer for enhancing the event website. Or, request for volunteering for better managing the event, etc.
Nonetheless, make sure that the process of ticketing and inquiry is smooth and hassle-free. For your information, 65% of registrations are done via mobile phones. Therefore, it is essential that your website and other ticketing platforms are technically sound and free of any bugs. Your event website or page should be SEO-friendly so that audiences can readily find you through Google or other search engines.
To grow your runner’s community ever bigger, it is essential to amuse them every single time. Give them memories that they can cherish and discuss happily; forever. Here are a few tips that you can use to delight your attendees:
1) Your theme should be unique:
Design your Marathon event around a theme that is unique. People feel fantastic to associate themselves with anything that is exclusive. T-shirts, medals, other accessories, venue and everything else concerning the marathon should be different but tastefully done to create a lasting impression.
You can also create a special service for veteran runners or runners that are participating for three years in a row, etc. Make your loyal attendees feel special and appreciated.
Do not shy away to take help and suggestions from expert people and sources. While you do need a tinge of freshness, you can never compromise on experience.
2) Keep it well-organized
The D-Day should be well organized from the entry gate to the finish line to the exit gate. Keep it clean and fresh. Attendees should not find the process cumbersome or confusing in any way. Check-ins should be comfortable and welcoming. Put up signboards everywhere. Coach the volunteers well and request them to be alert and as helpful as they can be.
You can also offer a one day or 2-day training session for runners. Help your runners reach the finishing line. Give them enough moral boost and motivation. Little arrangements like washroom, changing rooms, refreshments, water, etc. should be done to the perfection.
3) Enrich their experiences
Little add-ons like music en route, encouraging quotes, banners of previous runs, live broadcast, media coverage, social media live (Facebook live, YouTube live) will add a lot of engagement. You will be able to reap the benefits of it for long.
In the end, personalize the attendees’ marathon’s experience by sending thank you emails. Let them know you value them, and their commitment towards their health and this marathon duly deserves accolades.
Remember to end the emails with a string for the next communication. Like, give us your feedback; or, remember to check out the pictures of the event on the Facebook Page, etc.
If you want your marathon event to grow ever popular, the way out is to build up on your runner’s community. Building up a community is more like a chain reaction. Give good experiences to your attendees, and it will result in great reviews and fatter attendance. Your agenda should be to attract, entice, engage, and involve your audiences through all the possible channels of communication.