Many football clubs and academies are yet to start using email marketing tools for a number of reasons. It can be due to a lack of experience with email marketing, or a lack of time and resources to set-up an email marketing process.
But a solid email marketing strategy can provide various benefits and time-savings for an organisation, if set-up correctly. In this article, we talk about how to get started with email marketing if you are a football club or academy looking to set up your first email marketing campaigns.
1. Define Your Email Marketing Goals
Before jumping into an email marketing platform, it is important to define what your goals are and what you want to achieve with your email marketing strategy. Is it promoting football training camps, sharing coaching tips, or increasing engagement with your customers?
Clear goals will guide your strategy and will help you decide which email marketing tool is best for you.
2. Choose An Email Marketing Tool
There are many email marketing tools to choose from, but it’s important to choose one that fits your goals and also your budget. A good starting point is to visit the website of different email marketing platforms and to look at their the pricing and provided plans. This will give you a better idea of features are important to you.
Some of the most popular email marketing tools are Brevo.com, MailChimp.com, Hubspot.com and MailerLite.com. Each of these companies offers different packages and prices. All platforms offer a free plan which can allow you to get started. However, one important difference is that some companies limit the number of contacts you store on their platform on the free plan (among other differences).
Other platforms do not limit the number of contacts you can store but instead will limit the number of emails you can send to your contacts per day on the free plan. Having tested various of platforms, we would recommend using Brevo.com because they do not limit the number of contacts that you can store and their free plan has all the features you need to get started with your first campaigns. Once you have more experience, you can start looking into more advanced features which may require you to buy a paid-plan.
3. Import Your Contacts
Once you have chosen the email marketing platform you want to use for your club, the first step is to import your existing contacts (your customers or members) to the platform. Before doing so, it is essential that your contacts have given you permission to store their contact details and to contact them by email and that you comply with the terms & conditions of the email marketing platform you choose.
On most platforms, you can quickly import your contacts by uploading an Microsoft Excel (.XLSX) spreadsheet, a Comma Separated Values (.CSV) file, or a .TXT file.
You will need to read the email marketing service’s help pages for the exact instructions on how exactly to import your contacts and structure your contacts file. But this is usually well explained and all platforms work in a similar way. Here is an example from Brevo.com.
4. Group Your Audience into Lists or Segments
Once your contacts are successfully imported, you can group your contacts into different lists or segments. Creating lists or segments allows you to group together customers or members sharing similar characteristics.
A list is typically a group that you create, such as for example, “Football Camp Participants”, where you can add all your previous football camp participants into one same list. A segment is typically based on the data characteristics of your contacts such as their email address, phone number, first name, last name, city, region, if they previously bought a product of yours, or if they are active customers.
The amount of detail with which you can segment your contacts will depend on how much and how well you consensually collect your customers’ data.
5. Design & Personalise Your First Email Campaign
Now that your contacts are added, and you have created lists or segments of contacts that you want to reach, you can start designing your emails.
Email marketing tools allow you to design engaging emails without any graphic design skills. These emails can contain elements such as images, videos, animations (GIFs), buttons, links to your website, your logo, your brand colours and much more. This is called Rich Media in email marketing.
The obvious advantage is that these graphic elements can make your emails more engaging to your readers and improve the open-rates of your emails, fostering a better email experience for your customers or members.
Email marketing tools also allow personalisation of your email messages at scale. Using your contacts information, you can automatically add information about your contacts inside each of your email to personalise it. For example, instead of starting your email with simply “Hello,”, you can write “Hello Romelu,” by inserting the first name of each of your contacts in the email’s text automatically.
You can read more about email personalisation in our other Oxasport article on our website What is Email Marketing? For Football Academies.
Note: It is also possible to create “standard” emails that don’t use rich media (images, videos, animations, buttons etc.) with email marketing tools. Using standard emails instead of rich media can also be very effective. And you can make use of your created contact lists or segments to target your “standard” emails accurately.
6. Send & Analyse Your Email Campaign
Once, you are happy with your email’s design, you can easily send it out to all the contacts in the list or segment that you selected. Email marketing tools wil show you how many emails you have sent it out and how many contacts you have sent your email to.
Most email marketing tools also have tracking capabilities which can tell you who has opened your emails. This information can be very useful to give you a view on what percentage (%) of your contacts are opening your emails. You can use this percentage information to compare your results with future email campaigns that you send out to your audience, to see if your emails are performing better or worse than before.
Thanks for reading!
We hope this article gave you a better idea of how to get started with email marketing and how you can use it to become an even better football academy. At Oxasport, we help football coaches and academies improve their skills through experiences and educational resources. Check out our Football Education Programs for football coaches and players to discover experiences develop your skills at the best Clubs in the world.