Every time you make a connection with your racers, from pre-registering for your events to registering 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.
Well, for two very important reasons:
Building a Contact List of email addresses is the fuel you will pour into your Marketing Plan.
The bigger the list, the better the change of increased racer participation.
This list can start as a simple spreadsheet, but eventually, you’re going to need to leverage online tools.
One of those tools is MailChimp (mailchimp.com).
MailChimp is a wonderful way to keep track of all the contacts you will collect over time.
Because it’s free to use with Contact Lists under 2,000 email address and very easy to learn.
Both of these reasons are important for a Race Director just starting out.
It gives you time and room to grow your list, and when you do hit the 2,000 email address threshold, you will be established enough to roll that cost into your larger marketing plan.
Informing your new Contact List of your next race via email is an excellent outreach initiative.
However, you have to work within the rules that keep you away from becoming a spammer!
When you ask your racers for their email address, you need to remember where you obtained their permission to use it.
Why do you need to do this?
All too often, people who give you their email address forget they ever did.
When you contact them for the first time, they may not remember who you are or how you obtained their email address.
That’s why you need to introduce yourself and remind them who you are.
It doesn’t matter that you already asked them for their permission before or on race day.
You need to remind them when and where that permission was obtained.
That simple step will create a receptive audience when you begin to reach out and inform them of your next event.
Permission is important, which is why you need to build it into your race management process.
There are all sorts of reasons why racers will unsubscribe from your Contact List.
Some move, some don’t race anymore, and others just don’t like email clogging up their inbox.
Regardless of the reason, you have to LET THEM GO!
Do not re-add them to your Contact List and contact them again UNLESS they give their permission AGAIN.
Tools like MailChimp WILL shut you down from contacting folks if too many of them start viewing your emails as spam.
So don’t be a spammer!
Have a plan to collect racer emails and only use those emails keep your potential customers informed.
Let them decide if they want to be informed about your upcoming events.
Call to Action
When you have something to say, mass email tools are an excellent way to send out your newsletters or details about 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 going on.
That’s the point of keeping a Contact List — Informing!
Staying quiet for 6-months then letting your racers know of an 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.
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 your company on their radar early, then to hide in the shadows and pop up at the last minute.
Build That List
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 turnout.
Your Contact List is also a great way to get racer feedback on things you need to add, subtract, or fix.
It can become the conduit between you and your loyal customers, especially when they start asking when your next event.
Ultimately, your Contact List becomes the connection you need to consistently reach out to your customers.
If you use it correctly, you stand a good chance of having a large percentage of them showing up to your next race.
And now you know.