The internet plays a bigger role in our lives than we would like to admit. When's my local supermarket opening? Let's ask Google. What sports club should I send my children to? Well, let's ask Google.
Having an online presence is more important than ever before. It's how customers learn about your sports club, research, form their opinion and ultimately decide if they want to attend your classes. How frustrating would it be if I drive past your sports club, I remember the name, I type it into Google and nothing pops up.
Don't miss out on potential customers and start building an online presence, ideally today. There is a variety of ways to start and strategies to connect to your target audience online, so let's get straight into it.
What is an online presence?
Don't confuse websites and online presence - they are distinct. An online presence is everything that can be found about your business online via online search, including your website. Your website is part of your online presence, but not the only factor. It expands to all touch points you have with potential customers online and ideally converts them from prospects to loyal customers.
While existing on the internet is great, building visibility, credibility and reputation online is what ultimately attracts potential customers to your sports club.
1. Create an informative and engaging website
While we already discussed that websites are not the only factor of your online presence, it is still important to have a website. And not only to have a website, but to have a great website, that attracts customers and shows off your club.
How do you make an attractive website?
We understand that not everyone has a web developer on their team, but there are many CMS sites you can use to craft your own website without any extensive IT knowledge. Most beginner-friendly website builders, such as Wix.com, Wordpress, and Squarespace, also come with templates that can be customised to fit your sports club's personal style and brand.
Speaking of personal brand - ensure to make your website visually appealing. Consumers have high expectations these days, hence your website has to be easy to read and contain all relevant information. Check out different colour palettes for websites online to get an idea of what colours work together.
It doesn't have to be a huge website, but give potential customers the information they need. How to get to your school, what safety protocols you are following, what classes you are offering and contact details in case they have questions about your sports club.
Pro Tip: For an even better user experience, you can offer people visiting your new website the option to immediately book a class with an embedded class booking system.
2. Build your social media presence
Another non-negotiable for building an online presence is social media. No one expects you to be across millions of different platforms. On the contrary, it's actually beneficial to focus on just a few. Make sure you commit to the social media channels you can handle. Having one or two channels with good engagement is better than having multiple with low engagement. Quality over quantity.
Research which platform your target audience is active on and go from there. Top tip: With 71% of parents using it, Facebook is the safest choice to start with.
And if you are wondering why you even need to socials to build your online presence, 94% of business leaders agree that their socials build brand reputation and loyalty.
What content should I post on my socials?
Against all believes, having more followers does not automatically mean that your online presence is better. As mentioned before, quality over quantity. Social media is your chance to communicate with your audience, so showcase your sports club, share information, let them know who you are and what your business is all about. Again, focus on posting quality content over quantity. Posts that your audience is interested in or can relate to are performing better and are proven to build a more loyal following. If you need some example content for your social media, we compiled a list for you:
- Success stories of your students
- Celebrating special achievements
- Showing your students in action
- Videos showing your sports club
- Testimonials of customers
- Introduce your coaches
- Sneak peek into training sessions / behind the scenes
- Answer FAQs
- Share important updates
And as previously mentioned, it is not enough to simply be present on social media, be active. Make sure to engage with your audience in the comments, ask questions and encourage conversations and exchange below your posts.
Another important factor to consider is staying consistent with branding across your posts. Stick to the same font, colour, size to build brand recognition. You want your followers to see your post and immediately know that its from your sports club.
3. Create a Google Business Profile
Google Business Profile (GBP), formerly known as Google My Business, is your gateway to increase your visibility on Google, build credibility through reviews, and share relevant information with your customers. And the best part? It's free!
Arguably, your Google Business Profile is more important than your website as it can lead to more local traffic than your website. Your GBP is the first interaction a consumer has with your sports club as it pops up on Google before they start scrolling.
In case you are wondering what a Google Business Profile is, here is Udio's GBP with examples on how to optimise it:
- Include Photos
- Opening hours
- Closing dates (e.g. Christmas)
- Phone number
- + Reviews / FAQs
Why do you need a Google My Business Profile?
Despite making it easier for a potential customer to find your business online, a GMB also helps your sports club to rank higher in local Google results. And a higher rank means more visibility and engagement with your business. It also helps potential customers to find your business through keyword searches, call you, visit your website and read reviews.
How do you create a Google My Business Account?
For creating your Google Business Profile, head on over to: google.com/business/
Ensure that you perfect this listing and stay consistent with your information across all listings and channels. Google compares data online and even slight differences in spelling can lead to Google deeming you non-credible.
4. Discover the power of SEO
Continuing with another free helper to boost your online presence - Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). In simple words, SEO is what gets you on the first page of Google if you type in a certain keyword.
So for example, I type 'Best Cricket Club for Kids', into Google and boom - your sports club is on the first page. SEO is what got you there.
How do you get started with SEO?
SEO takes time, but it will be worth it. Ideally, you want to optimise your website for search engines. This means identifying what terms people are searching for that is relevant to your sports club, such as 'Best Cricket Club for Kids'. These terms are also known as 'keywords'.
In order to pop up on Google for this search term, you want to put the relevant keywords on your website / blogs, i.e. in the page title, the URL, the meta description, H1 headings texts, page content etc. Just make sure that it still follows some logic and doesn't interrupt the reading flow. You still want your content to be readable and not forced.
When using blogging for online presence, ensure to use one keyword (or theme) per blog article and follow the same concept as above meaning to use your keyword in title, heading, image names, meta description and alt texts.
Sounds simple right? Well, it does require a little bit of work and research. Hubspot has a great SEO Beginner's Guide to help you get started.
5. More ways to improve your online presence
On top of the free tools, you can invest in paid advertising, which is similar to SEO with the one difference that you pay for the keywords you want to target. Paid advertising lands you at the top of search engine results pages and fills the gap that SEO might not be able to fill (and it's quicker than SEO).
There are different forms of paid advertising:
- Search Engine Advertising: This refers to ads placed in search engines, such as Google, Bing or other search engines. They are marked with the tag 'Sponsored' or 'Ad' and appear at the top of the search page when searching for a relevant keyword.
- Display Ads: These are ads on websites, apps or social media channels and comprise various formats, such as images, graphics, or videos. Other than Google, display ads can also be found on Meta or Yahoo.
- Social Media Ads: These are ads that are found on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram or Tiktok.
Utilise Email marketing
You might want to think about building an email list to keep your audience informed about special discounts, new offers or any other updates or interesting stories you have to tell about your sports club. A current study has actually found that 99% of email users check their email every day (sometimes as much as 20 times a day!).
It doesn't matter if you are already an established sports club or just starting out, you can always start improving or building your online presence. Your online presence allows your business to be found by potential customers, have more touch points with your sports club, build credibility and reputation, increase brand awareness and ultimately - increase revenue.