Marketing Your Fencing Club Post-Olympics

You’ll need to test your tactics to dial in on the best strategy for your club. (Photo via Bigstock)

You’ll need to test your tactics to dial in on the best strategy for your club. (Photo via Bigstock)

Every four years the Olympics provides and opportunity for increased mass awareness of smaller niche sports like fencing.

Here are a few ways to jump on the awareness of the Olympics now to see a boost for your local fencing club:

1. Let people know you exist. Many areas of the country are served by not just one, but several fencing clubs, yet people don’t know that there is fencing in their area.

For this you also want to develop your 30 second pitch. Too often fencers are very excited about fencing and we tend to over-explain it. Work on and practice a very short explanation of the sport.

You wonder why so many news pieces refer to fencing as “physical chess”? It’s easy to understand and hits the mental + physical aspects of the sport. If you don’t like the physical chess description, then work on your own and practice it.

2. Submit articles to the media. Incoming USA fencing President, Donald Anthony, suggests that these pieces should be op-ed pieces that highlight something newsworthy related to Olympics or timely news. Even if they don’t use your first article, you’ll get your name in there as a reference on fencing should they do a piece in the future.

Some examples would be:

  • When the Shin Lam situation occurred, have an opinion, write it and contact the local news about your perspective.
  • If you are in a city with a large Korean population, write about the success of Korea over the Europeans in a traditionally European sport.

When you are going to submit a story pitch, contact the sports editors for your local media (tv and print) and use all 3 methods of contact – email, phone, and their social media accounts (if they have them). You never know which one they will respond to.

3. Test programs like Living Social and Groupon. For this, it helps to have other fencing clubs you can share experience and information with. Some fencing clubs are seeing great success with Living Social, and some with Groupon. Part of it depends on the offer, the business terms of those deals, and the people you are targeting.

Use your elevator pitch from step 1 to be able to write a great headline and advertising offer and then work to measure your results.

These programs provide great exposure but are geared more to the experience seekers, so you’ll want to both provide a great experience (youth camps or a small beginner session have been popular) and have a retention strategy developed so you are adding them as a member after the initial class completes.

For all of these ideas, you’ll need to test, evaluate, and refine them to get to the mix that works right for your club.

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