Once I had built the digital footprint for the Manhattan Beach 10K and began populating the social platforms with content, people started paying attention.
All Eyes On The MB10K
Competitor Magazine reached out to the race and asked if they could write about the MB10K in their September issue. I emailed the writer, just to satisfy my own curiosity, and asked if he had ever written about us before. He had not but had noticed the new website and strong presence on social media. While we didn’t have a large amount written about us, it was still nice to be recognized and have a chance to be in it in the first place Pretty exciting in my estimation!
Soon after, I received word from the Los Angeles Kings. They have an annual 5K run/walk in September and they were interested in cross promoting with the MB10K. Next thing I knew I was on a conference call with their marketing department and the Vice President of the Kings Care Foundation discussing a plan of attack to promote both races. Never in my wildest dreams did I think this job would put me in contact with the Kings! This lead to me creating a media page for the MB10K website with branded images that have been used by them and others to cross promote with us.
My next surprise came when I was asked by the MB10K Race Director to speak in front of the Downtown Manhattan Beach Business & Professional Association about a cross promotion with the local retailers. Now if you know me at all, public speaking is not my thing, AT ALL! But I knew if I was to succeed in this new career, opportunities such as this could not be passed up by excuses of being shy and turning all shades of red when eyeballs are focused on me. More importantly, I saw it as an opportunity to show my daughters that you can face your fears and overcome them. Sure enough, that’s what I did. With another Race Committee member there to speak about the background of the race and introduce me, I was able to tell the business owners about an opportunity to cross promote with us.
These cross promoting opportunities absolutely had a huge impact in getting more registrations for the race. But what also helped immensely was our newsletter and Facebook advertising strategies.
During the time that I took over the digital marketing in the spring until race day, their email list grew to over 500 new emails. There’s a pop-up that comes up to those new to the website inviting them to sign up for the newsletter and with every email I sent out there was an opportunity for folks to sign up for it as it was shared out to social media.
MailChimp is the service I use for email newsletters. It is affordable and has attractive templates to choose from. As each newsletter went out, registrations increased. People were actually reading them and using them as a reminder to sign-up.
The newsletters also acted as a way for the race to bring value to our participants - giving them tips about how to train for the 10K, giving them reasons why they should run this race, featuring human-interest stories and focusing on the latest running gear - all things that they’d be interested in. It is a fantastic way to disseminate information in an economical way to a large audience.
I started sprinkling in Facebook ads as race registration opened. Every single time an ad ran, registrations spiked. While the MB10K had spent huge amounts of money on traditional print ads in the past, they were now spending WAY LESS and reaching very large numbers of people on the digital front. Not only did the ads run on Facebook, they were simultaneously running on Instagram. Each ad was targeted towards a specific group or groups. Sometimes I targeted one gender, I played around with various age groups, and focused on very specific interests and geographical locations. As the race drew nearer, more ads went out and registrations increased.
If you have any time to spare and have room in your budget for ads, I would highly recommend writing an email newsletter and running targeted Facebook ads. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with the results.
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Image Credit: Molly Taylor (Facebook ad for the MB10K)
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