Advice for Secretaries

Marketing For Clubs

Club committees find that running the club takes up most of their time and they do not have the time or the necessary skills to implement a marketing strategy. However, the difficulty that clubs have experienced in trading have increased in recent years, clubs across the country face the problem of declining membership and income. These trends have been caused by the smoking ban; competition from supermarkets; cost increases in beer, wages and utilities; all of these have had an effect on reducing sales and increasing expenditure. In addition a number of pubs and clubs offer hot meals, cheap alcohol, tea coffee, Sky sports which many clubs are unable to offer to its membership.

In the face of these problems many clubs need to have a clear strategy and consider new ideas to provide value to members and maximise revenue. A marketing strategy should help by laying down a plan to follow to help stop the decline in membership and income.

The main source of revenue for a club is bar sales to members. This therefore must be the main aim of any strategy to increase bar sales by encouraging existing members to visit the club more frequently. A subsidiary aim should be to encourage new members.

Components of a marketing strategy should include:-

  • A mission statement and vision for the club
  • Identifying the target market
  • Budgeting to monitor activities such as entertainment, tournaments, events, bar takings, etc.

The club should start by carrying out a survey of members to determine their needs and help develop a plan for the future. The aim should be to encourage greater use of the club and to understand why members aren’t currently attending. A list of suggested survey questions can be obtained from ourselves.

Once a strategy has been agreed upon it should be communicated and money invested in encouraging existing members to attend the club more and to attract new members from the wider community:-

Advertising: A club should consider advertising itself in the local community by:

  • Distributing flyers/leaflets regularly in the area.
  • Place advertising boards/hoardings outside the club to attract the passing trade.
  • Placing advertisements in the local newspaper. Such advertisements are permissible providing they state the club facilities are available for use by ‘members and bona fide guest’

Social Media: many clubs now have a facebook page; this platform together with twitter and instagram can be used to promote various activities in the club.

Website: Sites need to be maintained and regularly updated making it attractive. It could include details of membership, upcoming events, photos of events, prize of bingo and tote etc.

Emails: can be used to communicate with club members and inform them of upcoming events, marketing tools such as mailchimp involve no cost for the club. Most clubs do not currently hold member’s email addresses and should consider obtaining these when next collecting subscriptions.

Notice Board: Can be a useful marketing tool, it should be attractive and display events every month.
Events: In order to retain the existing members, a club should offer a variety of events. These events can include quiz nights, movie nights, sports and fund raising all of which will help generate funds.

Hall Hire: A large hall was once a major asset for clubs but for many is now a burden. The club needs to consider how it can generate more income from this asset. The hall could be used for charity or sporting nights or hired out to other organisations for wedding events, fitness classes, etc.

Darts or Snooker Tournament: This could also promote the club and attract new members.

Sporting Teams: as well as darts and pool teams encourage membership by local football and other teams