What can you do with a month to go?
Push The Boat Out is just a month away and once again more Midlands clubs and centres are running events, from 55 last year to 59, which gives the region even greater potential to inspire newcomers.
So with the countdown clock ticking what can you still do to make sure people know about your event?
1) Local listings - the majority of commercial local radio stations have a 'What's On' section of their website where you can sign up and register your event details to get on air and online event coverage. Also research what other listings opportunities there are locally with local papers, BBC radio, tourism board, local authorities. Research too if especially radio and papers have 'What's On' editors and make sure your event details are sent to them. You want to be listed everywhere you can.
2) BBC Get Inspired - BBC Get Inspired is BBC’s initiative to promote sporting events run by clubs across the UK to audiences through an activity finder linked to BBC broadcast and programming. Push The Boat Out ticks all the criteria to sign up for BBC Get Inspired find out exactly what it can do for you and get registered via the Elsewhere on the Web link to the right.
3) Encourage members to bring a friend - if everyone who already sails at your club brought a pal we could all retire now! We tend to focus on 'external' promotion when it comes to Push the Boat Out but your internal audience is just as valuable so make sure they do their bit too.
4) Social media - who do you want to attend your Open Day? What local groups can you connect with via Facebook and Twitter to spread the word about what you're doing. Ask them to post and/or share details of your event to their followers and include a nice, smiley photo of people enjoying your Open/taster days in the past to paint a picture of what the sport's about.
5) Nail your key messaging - how cheap is it to sail at your club per month and do you have boats members can hire at low cost? Two of the biggest misconceptions about sailing is that it is expensive and elitist and you need to own a boat to do it. We know that's not true so make sure you tell everyone else when you are promoting Push The Boat Out. Also focus on the social and the family appeal of your club as we know they are big draws for people. Use imagery that reflects all this in your promotion.
6) Don't stop telling people - word of mouth still rules when it comes to getting numbers through the door time and time again. Your members are your best marketing tool so give them the information and let them get to work! The school gate brigade and the workplace ‘waiting for the kettle to boil’ posse are amongst the prime ‘casual chatting’ audiences, and getting out into the local community is key.
7) Use the Push The Boat Out marketing resources - when you signed up to Push the Boat Out you have access to a whole heap of RYA marketing resources via the Clubs section of the RYA website you can download and tailor for your event from website banners, posters and press templates (plus a load of operational support documents). Get banners and posters put up around the entrance to the club (and anywhere else strategically you can get away with it) and do it now. You want to dripfeed the fact your event is happening into people's subconscious.
8) Is it plastered on your homepage? Sounds obvious but your website is your shop window. If people are being directed to your website for event information don't make that information impossible to find - if people can't find something in a couple of clicks they won't bother and you will have lost a potential new member.
9. Keep up the momentum - don't think 'Oh we've sent a press release', 'We've put up a poster', 'We've told someone about it on Facebook', people don't always see things first time around so you have to keep doing something. Not to the point where folk get fed up of hearing about it and you turn them off but enough to keep gently nudging them. This includes in the week before your event ringing your local radio stations and trying to plug your event on air. Each station has a different presenter and most will have a 'Tell us what you're doing this weekend' type feature so tell them.
10) Use the RYA 'Start Boating' videos - if you haven't checked out the RYA's 'Start Boating' video library on You Tube do. Depending on what your club may want to specifically promote, from windsurfing to dinghies, powerboating to racing, This Girl Can to OnBoard, there are heaps of videos ready to use that you can embed in your website and share as part of your social media campaign. There's this Push The Boat Out one too. You can find the videos via the Elsewhere on the Web link to the right.
Some people won't be able to attend your Push The Boat Out event but who might be interested. Make sure those people know too, through your messaging, that even if they can't come to this event there are still ways they can arrange a taster and have a go, come to another Open Day you might have scheduled and/or any other taster sessions that are in the calendar.
With the America's World Series in Portsmouth and Rio 2016 ensuring the profile of the sport will remain high throughout the year, Push The Boat Out is the first chance to whet people's appetites for a summer of sailing. Hopefully by October we will be talking about a lot of new people regularly on the water across the Midlands.
Find books for your course at the RYA Shop
Our handy guide shows the books & DVDs that go with your course!