Every time you make a connection with your racers, from pre-registering for your events, to registering for your event on race day, you need to get their contact information. Even if it is just an email, find a simple way to get them to become a part of your master list of potential racer contact information. Why? Well, for two very important reasons:
Future Use. Great online tools like Constant Contact (constantcontact.com) and MailChimp (mailchimp.com) are wonderful ways to keep track of all the contacts you will collect over time. But they can shut you down from contacting folks if too many of them start viewing your emails as spam. When you ask for a racers email address, you need to remember where you obtained their permission to use it. Often, people who trust you will give you their email address and then forget they ever did. If you ask for permission (and remind them when that permission was obtained), then you can often find a more receptive audience when you begin to reach out and inform them of your new event. But if you don’t have a plan to collect these emails and keep your potential customers informed, how are they ever going to know you have an event coming up?
Pre-Made Audience. When you have something to say, mass email tools are an excellent way to send out your newsletters or a notice that details your upcoming events. But the key is to actually have “something to say”! When pre-registration has opened for your race, tell them. If your new schedule is out, tell them! You should be letting your Contact List know when you have something you think they should take notice of. Staying quiet for 6-months then letting your races know of your event just weeks before it starts, does not help you build a following that is actively interested in your events. Racers plan months in advance to attend certain races, so if you think you need to work out all the details before you reach out, chances are many of them will not show up. So tell them what you are doing! Even if you don’t have dates yet. At least give them some idea that you are planning on having a race in the Spring or Summer. Better to get yourself on their radar early, then to hide in the shadows and pop up at the last minute.
If you make it a habit to collect your racer’s contact information when every you can, you will start to build a list that can really make a difference when it comes to turn out. This list can also be a great way to get racer feedback on things you need to add, subtract, or fix about your events. And if you’re not consistently reaching out to your customers for feedback, you are missing an opportunity to build better races!