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A marketing strategy is a plan for how your club is going to promote itself. 

Developing a marketing strategy to manage your efforts will help you to think about what makes your club different, and how you can get the right message out to the right people.

Having a plan in place helps you to concentrate on maximising opportunities for increasing sales, sponsorship, membership and participant numbers. You’ll find your marketing is more likely to be successful when you’ve taken time to identify what you want to do and when you want to do it.

In its simplest form, there are four main areas for you to consider.

What is your offer?

It is important to be clear on what you are offering and to whom. This is what you are trying to 'sell' or promote to both new and existing 'customers'.

Start off by thinking about who your ‘customers’ are. These are the people you want to attract to your club. They could include members and participants, volunteers, coaches and officials, parents, funders.

Write down a list of all your customers, both existing and those you want to target in your marketing efforts. You then need to think about what you offer each of these groups of people.

Think about the four P's of marketing and ask yourself the questions below. 

What is the Unique Selling Point (USP) of your club? What makes you different to others?
How much does it cost for someone to be part of your club? Is this price right for your target audience? Can you offer different prices for different services or memberships?
Is your club well known in the local community? Do your current members promote your club on your behalf?
Are you easy to find? Do your facilities meet the needs of your offer?

Carry out some research to make sure what you are offering is what the people you're trying to reach are looking for.

Read our guidance on understanding participants and market research for more advice. 

What do you want to achieve?

When developing a marketing plan you should identify the objectives that underpin your overall goals and club vision.

These objectives should be 'SMART': Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.

A general objective from your marketing might be:

"Attract more members"...

...but a SMART objective would be:

"Increase our junior membership by 20% over the next year."

How do you get there?

You need to develop a framework which outlines exactly what you will do and when.

Think about the different options you have for reaching these people. There are lots of marketing channels to choose between such as websites, social media, posters, newsletters, press and media.  

Remember to consider any costs of marketing. These should be factored into your club’s overall budget.

Don't do it alone, get other volunteers involved and play to people's strengths - think of those volunteers who are social media savvy or budding journalists.

How do you know you are there?

Progress should always be monitored to ensure your efforts are not wasted.

Identify how you will know that your plan has been a success.

Put timescales and measures for success against each activity in your action plan. Make sure that these are realistic, and set yourself measures to make sure you are on track.

Remember, don’t be afraid to change tactics if it's not working.