How to utilise cost-effective tactics for small-business success

How a dance school or sporting club can engage the community

Last weekend I attended the Moonee Valley Family Fun Day, a sun-filled outdoor event designed to engage the community in leisure-focussed activities.

Local sporting clubs and dance schools took to the colourful stands to boost their membership while also holding workshops and performances.

It reminded me of the value of these community-based initiatives, no matter the size of business, for a variety of reasons:

  • as long as your organisation is selective about the types of events in which it’s involved (in terms of the target audience), this can be a highly cost-effective form of marketing.
  • it provides a ‘face’ or ‘personality’ for your organisation in what is most likely a highly competitive environment (which is similar to the benefits of social media stories when executed well).
  • and for larger organisations – let’s use a bank as an example – it can ‘humanise’ the company and provide a distinction between the welcoming, local branch and the corporate, multinational brand.
  • having a community presence can build an emotional connection with your target audience and provide a sense of belonging for your existing members/clientele.
  • your organisation has an excellent opportunity to display your ‘product’ through performances and workshops – this should obviously be as polished as possible to create a great first impression.
  • your organisation can promote a ‘call to action’ such as free trial classes, a free uniform or by waiving the joining fee.
  • handing out promotional items such as a branded tennis ball for a tennis club can create goodwill towards your organisation; it can also leave a lasting impression for your potential customers after they’ve left the event.
  • the possibility of selling merchandise as an additional revenue stream or as a fundraiser.
Other promotional ideas for local sporting organisations
  • Donate to local school raffles with a clear agreement of brand mentions and hyperlinks (if applicable).
  • Run a sausage sizzle at Bunnings or Officeworks (and ensure your volunteers are personable and represent your organisation’s values).
  • Provide a scholarship to one student or member each year and publicise this to local media.
  • Similarly, publicise any of your club’s achievements to media such as a win at a high-profile competition, or anything novel, for example “the youngest student to have ever begun with the club”.
  • Be active on social media, choose the platforms that are most in line with your target audience, and create posts that compel people to engage with comments or shares.
  • Provide free workshops at local schools with flyers for participants to take home.
  • Include profiles of your personnel on your website and in social media – the copy (text) should include each employee’s qualifications and experience, while still making that person sound approachable .

Posted by: Christina Koullas

What other community-based initiatives could a local sporting club or dance school undertake? What has your organisation tried and what has and hasn’t worked? Submit your comment below.