Welcome to the fourth installment from Beeston Cycling Club as they build up to their annual sportive in June 2014. This month’s blog comes from Beeston CC’s Chairman, John McCay, with an insight into the marketing machine behind the club’s annual sportive.
Starting as a club-member only reliability ride a few years ago, our annual big ride has grown into an established sportive that is now attracting many riders from all over the region and even further afield. This has been achieved because we have kept it as a 100% club run event and we have recognised the importance of marketing the ride to as many people as possible through a wide variety of media channels.
In essence this starts with fixing the date in the calendar. Choosing the right date is crucial as we don’t want to clash with the various local and regional events that are going on at the same time, such as Cycle Live Nottingham, or even the start of the Tour de France! So from a local and national perspective our date of June 29 sits well with what else is going on.
Each year we constantly look to build on and improve the sportive and that goes beyond the experience on the day.
This year the club invested in the development of a new club website that includes a dedicated section for the sportive, featuring relevant and up to date information such as routes, photos, past events and the online entry that is powered by British Cycling. We will be able to track visitors to the site so we can see when the peak hits are and what pages are most popular, which will help us with our marketing activities.
Armed with the date and new improvements for the 2014 event, we can start to plan in the main communication channels to make sure we hit the key dates that are required to get the message out there.
There are many cycling publication deadlines throughout the year that we need to hit to be included in their sportive calendar. The early publication deadlines only require us to provide key information such as date, prices, distances and address.
As the months roll on we steadily push out various marketing activities, flyers and press releases with more information across all our communications channels, including:
- Promotion on our club website in a dedicated sportive section
- Regularly contacting our members via the British Cycling newsletter facility
- Advertising the event on the British Cycling sportive calendar
- Social media, twitter, Facebook, other cycling forums etc.
- Posters in cycling shops
- Emailing cycling clubs throughout the region
- Emailing previous participants
- Sending out press releases to cycling sites and publications
We make sure that the design of all the marketing materials looks professional and engaging to the audience, highlighting the key information. Last year we introduced timing chips to the sportive, which was publicised widely and which we believe contributed to the increase in numbers.
One of the key messages this year will be a cap on entries due to the continuing success and our commitment to ensure that the quality of the event is maintained, so we need to encourage people to sign up earlier than usual to make sure they get a place - which reminds me - entries open soon so don't miss out.