This season, I can’t wait to be taken out by someone I just met.
Now, I hope that intrigues you a bit because that is the intent of that phrase – to solicit a response. It is that time of year when almost every curling facility in our country begins the fall advertising campaign to promote curling in their building and to attract new customers.
A definition, according to www.answers.com is: “advertising n. the activity of attracting public attention to a product or business, as by paid announcements in the print, broadcast, or electronic“. Pretty simple stuff really, yet as curling operations, we get stuck in doing the same things over and over again thinking that, by god, this year will be different.
Many buildings in Canada are well over 50 years old and it seems like for the last 50 years we continue to put the same ad in the local papers saying something like: “Open House – September 19th – 7:00pm – Everyone Welcome”. The ad also usually includes the club logo which is almost always crossed brooms and curling stones and might even desperately announce: “We Need Members”.
In the Business of Curling program, we encourage clubs to build attractive, eye-catching ads that also concentrate on the benefits of membership rather than the features of your operation. Here are some sample ads that have worked in the past, have solicited responses and have encouraged people to explore the sport. And that is what we want at the end of the day. We are all so confident in our sport that we know once people try it for the first time; they will fall in love with it. The challenge is getting them on the ice!!
Now that you have gained their attention with your eye-catching ad, it is important that the text portion of your ad answers the one basic question the consumer will most often ask themselves: “What’s in it for me?”. So instead of saying things like, “we have four sheets of ice“, tell them “you can make all the shots on our championship ice“. Instead of “we curl Tuesdays at 7pm“, the ad could say “enjoy two hours of great aerobic exercise in prime time“. Remember, what’s in it for me!
Other key points
There are other key activities that will need your attention if you are going to pull off a great ad campaign. The eye-catching ad outlining the great benefits of your sport has convinced/intrigued new customers to come out to your building. Now they are at the door and First Contact can make or break what may be your only chance to seal the deal.
- The outside of the club must be clean and tidy;
- the inside of the club must be clean and tidy (i.e. no dust bunnies, dirty windows, smelly washrooms);
- be welcoming and enthusiastic and answer all their questions;
- have a package ready which includes a welcoming letter, anything they could possibly need to know about the club, walk them through the building (including the refrigeration room if you can);
- if the ice is in, make sure it looks sharp and have people out there curling so they can see what it’s about;
- keep a sheet open so they can deliver their first rock (remember, they will fall in love with curling when they do!);
- deliver Superior Customer Service!!
Ps. We’d love to see the neat ads that our facilities are using and if you feel like sharing them with us, we’ll publish them for the curling world to enjoy. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, if you want some inspiration, once again the Internet is the best place to “borrow” ideas. Browse around!
You can also advertise outside of the local newspaper. Try and get your message on those rollover television channels the cable companies have. While television time is expensive, you might find this will fit your budget. You will also be surprised at the cost of a 15 second radio ad. They’re cheaper than you think. Finally, there are non-traditional approaches and I think you’ll love this one from Glendale CC in Ontario!
Finally, check out this beauty. The Prince Albert Golf & Curling Club purchased an outdoor billboard (10 feet x 20 feet) to promote their business and it looks like this. Cost them $1,000 for the month. (courtesy of James Michayluk – PAGCC)