Soccer tournament marketing plan

I was asked recently by a tournament director if TourneyCentral has a marketing guide for tournaments. She had gone the “traditional” route of what you are supposed to do for marketing her soccer tournament — an email blast from the state association, mailings, making up postcards and handing them out at other tournaments — that had yielded little. Beyond the advice of “read our blog,” I put together a quick email list of the three things she should be doing. It grew into eight and I’m sure nine through fifteen will be added soon in the comments.

The eight things you should have in your soccer tournament marketing plan. (This also works for any event, it so happens I am in the soccer tournament business. Feel free to adapt to your event needs. The magic formula you are looking for is way at the bottom of this article.)

  1. Always market your event like it is your first year. This keeps you fresh! If you are also in the soccer tournament business, there are links at the bottom. Every industry has a “master list” of the players. Go out and find that list. For soccer tournaments, it is really as a primary, then other lists drill down in “authority.” Protip: It is rarely the “official” organizations like state associations, trade groups, chambers, etc who are the authorities… even though they should be.
  2. Social. Instagram search is a top hit right now for tournaments. Mine Instagram accounts for leads and conversions. Posts quick hit stories of behind the scenes; folks love that. Don’t spam; light touch by faving photos you like.
  3. You have a tough nut because you are early in the season which means your tryouts to team application window is really short. You have a tough nut because you are late in the spring season and there is so much competition. You have a tough nut because you are early in the spring season and weather is challenging. Every soccer tournament has a tough nut. Learn how to position these challenges into advantages.
  4. I’m not a fan of discounts, especially multi-team discounts. Teams either want to come because you have a fun event or they don’t. Discounts are quick hit, price-only considerations that do not build a deep brand. They are like sugar before a game to short-cut a balanced diet.
  5. You have something different. Work that message to the appropriate teams teams. There is a complementary market in the spring/fall. Build partnerships with these tournaments and you both market each’s event to your teams. We encourage TourneyCentral tournaments to help each other.
  6. Go all in on social channels like the whole world is watching regardless of how many followers you have. You don’t need that many engagements to move to check you out and apply. (Gary Vaynerchuk put this on Medium recently. It’s a good read.)
  7. Get social, check out the listings linked in blog post, make sure everything is accurate and complete on your site and the links from the listing places are tight (accurate, one click) Don’t buy blast lists; your Mailchimp mailing list should only be organically-gathered contacts.
  8. I really wish I had a magic formula, but there is nothing magic other than
    a) know who you are
    b) know what you want
    c) be tenacious

But mostly don’t give up, don’t get cynical.