Marketing Plan

To make all of your program planning and staff development come together, your club should create a sound marketing plan for your racquetball program that includes both internal and external marketing techniques. Word of mouth, telephone calls, member handouts and displays can help, but professional marketing can create a significant volume of valuable racquetball leads. A budget should be established, and leads should be monitored and tracked. In the beginning, the budget will be based on educated guesswork.

Press releases about tournaments, national or international racquetball information, staff and programming can be published regularly in local papers. Larger newspapers may print upcoming tournament information and results. Sometimes they will print other material, so submit press releases to all area newspapers. Print publicity can result in increased membership, court time revenues, program revenues, lesson income, membership retention and pro shop sales.

Newspaper, radio, direct-mail or cable television advertisements should be used only after your racquetball program is attaining a comfortable level of success. Then, the campaign should be professionally designed to maximize marketing effectiveness and impact.

The promotional outreach portion of your marketing plan is more hard work than glory. Flyers and lead boxes placed inside and outside your facility are effective ways to get the word out about your club and racquetball program.

When using lead boxes, use some type of offer to encourage people to complete the entry form. The offer may be “Register here for a free racquetball racquet,” “Free racquetball lessons,” “Free one-week racquetball membership,” or whatever the racquetball staff and management agree upon.

The leads should be collected at least once a week, and boxes need to be kept looking nice as a token of appreciation to the store owner and a reflection on your club. The club should offer store owners free racquetball memberships for as long as lead boxes are in their stores. Leads need to be logged and called (devise a system to eliminate duplicates) as soon as possible. The call can be made by the racquetball staff.

A letter-sized promotional flyer about racquetball, including a free lesson, to be left in office buildings and businesses is another marketing technique. The name of the business contact should be kept for follow-up. To avoid duplication, staff should keep accurate records of where they have gone.

The cost for lead boxes and flyers is minimal. Staff labor is a cost that is unavoidable, but if done properly, results should make up for this. Accurate tracking and statistical analysis are essential in racquetball marketing to make certain efforts match opportunities, which equals goal attainment.

Finally, when promoting your program, remember that racquetball is easy to learn and great exercise. In fact, a vigorous game of racquetball can burn 550 to 600 calories per hour. Since it is also fun and requires a scheduled court time or class, members are more likely to show up to exercise. Remember that a good, solid business plan, with proactive execution by a motivated staff should bring financial rewards for any racquetball program. So, leave your existing courts alone! If you don’t have any racquetball courts, it may be time to think about remodeling. FM

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