7 Creative Sports Business Marketing Strategies

sports business marketing strategies

There’s a lot of noise in the world – digitally and physically. How can you cut through that noise and make your business stand out with the right sports business marketing strategies?

It all comes down to your marketing strategy and how you engage with your clients.

Marketing isn’t limited to just your prospective clients; it also is important when nurturing your current athletes as well. Here are a few creative sports business marketing strategies to help you attract new athletes and retain existing ones.

1. Write handwritten letters for new members

Memberships are a great way to establish consistent relationships with your athletes, as well as gain a little stability with some recurring revenue. So, how can you make your members feel special?

Consider writing handwritten notes and mailing them to new members. This can be a very simple message thanking them for joining your business community, and expressing your encouragement in helping them achieve their goals.

This small gesture only takes a few minutes of your time, but helps you showcase both your dedication to building a strong community and the personal touch that your business values. And, in today’s digital world, a handwritten note stands out, and helps you break through the noise (while also ensuring new members that they are more than just a number).

Not to mention, incorporating a simple handwritten note into your onboarding process can significantly enhance the overall client experience, as it sets a welcoming tone and fosters a sense of belonging and loyalty. Engaging with new clients on a personal level will help you not only build brand loyalty, but even help you gain insights into how to improve your services to best meet their needs.


2. Branded merch

Branded swag is a strategic way to boost brand visibility and create a sense of community. Often, sports training is a visible activity; offering swag like t-shirts, hats, or other workout gear serves as a mobile advertisement, making your brand more visible during public activities, group sessions, and, out and about in your community. Well-designed and high-quality merchandise and swag also exudes a level of excellence that extends to your training programs, thus enhancing business credibility – an added bonus!

In addition to a marketing tool for prospective clients, branded merchandise also fosters a sense of community and belonging among your current clients. This is particularly powerful in sports, where team spirit, camaraderie, and fellowship play a vital role in achieving success.

There are a few ways to integrate branded merchandise into your marketing strategy:

  • Offer a “new member welcome pack” that includes a t-shirt or water bottle that is given when clients register for a membership.
  • Sell these retail items in a pro shop at your facility or as a part of your training business.
  • Run a contest or promotion, with the top performing clients (or any clients who reach a certain milestone) receive a t-shirt celebrating their accomplishment.
    • Pro tip: You can manage your retail inventory directly through Upper Hand. Here’s how.
  • Leverage your swag as promotional gifts or rewards for participation in certain events or programs.
  • Start a client ambassador program, incentivizing some of your “best” clients to advocate for your business on social media or in public while wearing your logo.

Regardless of how you choose to implement any branded merchandise or swag, consider how it can positively impact your business and your brand.


3. Celebrate your clients’ birthdays

Celebrating your clients’ birthdays is another way to enhance client loyalty and give your marketing a boost. Making your clients feel special can help you create memorable and personalized experiences that set your business apart from the competition. And, it helps strengthen your emotional connection to your brand. This personal touch boosts the overall customer experience, and boosts brand advocacy, thus leading to organic or word-of-mouth growth.

So, how can you celebrate client birthdays? Here are a few ideas:

  • Share a discount for a future training session.
  • Enter the month’s birthdays into a draw for some swag or a special reward.
  • Just send a simple note of appreciation.
  • Highlight client birthdays on a wall in your facility or on social media.

Here’s how you can build our a client birthday campaign in just 30 minutes!


4. Start a referral program

A referral program is another creative way to boost your marketing efforts for your sports training business. This approach capitalizes (and relies) on trust and credibility, but can pay off in a big way. When you are able to turn satisfied clients into brand advocates, their experiences can be more persuasive than traditional advertising. Not to mention the quality of leads is cost-effective and often higher quality.

There’s no one-size-fits-all way to set up a referral program – the specific details should vary based on your offerings and your clientele. But, one thing does remain consistent – they benefit both your new client and your existing one.

Be creative with your referral program, but be sure to avoid being too complex. Ensure that these programs make newcomers feel welcome, and also show appreciation to the referrers. Ensure that your referral program builds on the natural human tendency to share good experiences with others, turning your loyal clients into brand advocates.


5. Craft a business newsletter

Another creative marketing strategy to consider is starting a newsletter for your sports business. This can be a great way for you to share relevant information and content that resonates with your audience’s interests. For example, you could share training or recovery tips, nutrition advice, share new technology or equipment, or give updates about new services or products at your business.

This not only helps keep your business top of mind, but also reinforces your business’s expertise and commitment to helping clients achieve their goals. And, from a marketing perspective, it can help you deliver targeted messages that speak directly to your clients’ needs. As a result, you’re able to form deeper relationships with your clients, making them feel understood and cared for, which is crucial for loyalty and word of mouth referrals.

Additionally, one last thing to consider in terms of a newsletter is the potential for sharing information about your business. You can utilize an email newsletter to share information about upcoming programs and events, collect survey responses and feedback, or to spotlight your clients or athletes. But, overall, a survey is a great way to create a consistent line of communication with your contacts that boosts business.

P.S. We’ve got a new feature coming SOON to Upper Hand. A new “Lead” contact level will enable you to grow your potential clientele without them having an Upper Hand software account. Stay tuned for more information!


6. Host educational workshops or seminars

While not directly related to marketing your current programming, another creative way to reach current and new clients is through offering educational workshops or seminars. By hosting these events, you are able to showcase your expertise and commitment to sports training in many facets.

There are a number of ways you can incorporate these sessions into your repertoire. You may choose to target the athletes themselves, providing opportunities to learn more about nutrition, injury prevention, or sports psychology. Or, you may prefer to design programs to help educate parents on how to best support their athletes, identify signs of burnout, or encourage them to continue in their sports.

Adam Wright, Owner of Animal House Fitness, has begun implementing coaching seminars to help educate other trainers and coaches in his community in order to exponentially increase his impact on athletes’ lives.

Regardless of who you are trying to reach, these programs help boost credibility of your business, proving that you are a trusted resource and expert. This helps build and maintain trust amongst current clients, and, it provides an alternative way to get new contacts through the door.

Bonus tip: Use snippets of content from these sessions in your business newsletter, or on social media to maximize your impact across various channels!


7. Maintain an interactive website

Lastly, an interactive, well-designed website is a cornerstone for creative marketing for sports businesses. Not only is your website a digital brochure, but it’s also a dynamic platform that engages prospective and current customers, communicates your brand essence, and converts interest into action.

When it comes to marketing your business, it’s important to consider the following as it relates to your website:

  • Visually appeal and alignment with your brand’s identity.
  • Use of high quality images or video that capture the essence and atmosphere
  • Intuitive navigation, making it easy to find information, book sessions, and contact your business.
  • Be responsive across multiple devices, from desktop to mobile phone.

By integrating a user-friendly design with interactive elements, such as photos and videos of your facility or sessions, a sports facility booking system, success stories, and more, your website can create a compelling digital experience that mirrors the energy and professionalism of the services you offer.

Ready to implement these sports business marketing strategies?

By engaging in some creative marketing strategies, you’ll be able to give your business a boost while also capturing the essence of your brand. By balancing ways of attracting new clients with making current clients feel special, you’ll be able to build brand awareness and loyalty, and ultimately attract even more business.

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