Cheer Marketing 101: Marketing Your Way Through Tryouts

March 9, 2010

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By Tanya Roesel

It’s hard to believe it’s that time of year again … But here we are, preparing to bring in new athletes while retaining the ones we have. This time of year is when the saying “You have to spend money to make money” comes into play, and this is where you are going to spend the majority of your advertising dollars.

Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute
Now is the time to market your gym. It takes repeated advertising for a potential customer to not only recognize your ad, but to actually absorb the information and make a call. If your tryouts are scheduled for May, you need to begin your advertising in March so that you are maximizing and getting the fullest potential from it. Although you may not need to put the tryout information out this early, you will need to get your gym’s name out there and intrigue those who may not know about you or those who are looking for a change.

Pique Interest
It’s human nature — we all like suspense and drama! So why not use that to your advantage in marketing your tryouts? Whether it’s a “Coming Soon …” or a “It’s Time For Change,” the more suspense and mystery you put in your ad, the more attention it will attract. For example, when Midwest Cheer Elite opened its second location, we spent four weeks on advertising, with week one advertisements stating “It’s coming to Toledo” with our logo. Week two went on to state “You’ve been waiting for a change” with the logo again, so that by the time the final ad went out four weeks into the campaign, we already had a customer base of those who were drawn by curiosity. Creating intrigue will create you a customer.

Get your Name Out There
From shirts to fliers to car stickers, the more people see your name, the more potential customers you will draw. Create a postcard about your tryouts and give each athlete 10 cards. Have the athletes put their names on the back and hand them to 10 friends. For each postcard that is returned at tryouts, the athlete’s name will be put in a drawing for anything from iPods, gift cards or practice apparel.
Organize an “All-Star Day” where your athletes wear a particular gym shirt to school. Better yet, create a “tryout shirt” with the dates and times of your tryouts and have the kids wear them to school that day. They have now become your walking billboards.
Host a free Open Gym for your current all-stars as well as future customers. Give free shirts out to all who attend and make sure to staff it well. Everyone loves something for free, but you want to make sure that the impression you make is a great one … You only get one shot to do it right!

Make Sure your Information is Ready
Before you start getting tryout dates out there, make sure you are ready as a gym to answer all the questions you will begin to receive. Packets with competition dates, practice schedules and pricing needs to be in print format, ready to be given out at a second’s notice. The last impression you want to make is one of disorganization. If a potential customer calls and you don’t know the information or give the wrong information, you may have not only lost that one customer, but the referrals from that customer as well.

Good luck this year with tryouts, and always keep in mind, one new customer could create a dozen more. Make sure the impression you make is a good one!

Tanya Roesel founded Midwest Cheer Elite, an all-star gym in West Chester, in 2003. She has more than 18 years of experience in the cheer industry and has coached several teams to national titles. A regular participant in coaches conferences and judge for national competition circuits, Roesel hopes that Cheer Marketing 101 will help cheer gyms and businesses work together and reach their full potential for the good of the sport.

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