How Small Businesses Can Lead in Women’s Sports Marketing

This morning I read an article about how marketers and brands are undervaluing women’s sport, with particular emphasis on the current FIFA Women’s World Cup (Marketing Week). The article reported that, according to FIFA, the competition will reach 30 million female football players and 336 million fans worldwide. In the UK, every match is being shown on the BBC.

summer-playing-grass-sportSo, why haven’t I really heard anything about it? Do I have my head under a rock, or are marketers really missing a trick in attracting what should be its core audience – women. Other than a small number of major brands, there appears to be very little promotion surrounding the Women’s World Cup. Despite the recent success of Sport England’s ‘This Girl Can’ campaign in raising awareness of women’s sport and general fitness, it can still be seen that there is little uptake in marketing to support women’s sports – just take a look at the listings of your sports channels and see how many women’s sports are being televised. This doesn’t give much incentive to the big brands to get involved.

So could small businesses take the lead in this?

For any small business looking to target women, the sponsorship of a local women’s sports team or advertising at the location where the activity is done would be a surefire way of catching their eye – whilst also supporting that activity at a grassroots level. Specific marketing activities linking to your business to support local teams or larger competitions may also be likely to generate PR for your business, all of which is mutually beneficial for both sport and business.

The golden rule for such targeted marketing is not to be contrite. Make sure your offer is worthwhile to the audience to really get them on board, and encourage their loyalty.

If more small businesses lead the way in supporting women’s sport, then the larger brands may follow as interest increases. This provides small business with a rare opportunity to be leaders in a lesser supported area, and so should be an activity which is both supported and celebrated.

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Ten Offline Ways to Promote Your Business

Times have changed. The first place that people look for businesses, products and services now is online. Think about the last thing you purchased, either personally or professionally… I bet you checked their website or looked for alternative suppliers to make sure you were getting the best deal.

So it goes without saying that you have to have an online presence nowadays in order to ensure the success of your business. However, that doesn’t mean that you should ignore offline marketing methods to promote your business. Here are ten quick tips on where you can promote your business, without going online:

  1. Exhibitions – having a stand at a B2B (business to business) or B2C (business to consumer) exhibition can do wonders for businesses, as it allows you to have face to face dialogue with new customers.
  2. Direct Mail – send your existing customers information or offers via post. An exciting offer addressed just to them will make your business stand out amongst the many offers they receive everyday in their email inbox.
  3. Networking – again, don’t underestimate the power of face to face relationships. Get out there and find a group which suits you and your business, and start building firm business relationships.
  4. Local advertising – engage your nearest audience. What do they read, where do they visit? Place an advert in your parish magazine or at a prominent location and remind your closest customers where you are.
  5. Sponsor an Event – sponsor an event relevant to your business and/or your local community (i.e. a charity event, summer fair, business awards, etc) and gain recognition as a result with the audience of that event.
  6. Brand your Building or Vehicle – having your business information and logo on your vehicle or building is a constant, visible reminder of your business.
  7. Host an Event – have a spa evening in your beauty salon, a bake-off in your cafe, or a networking lunch in your office. Get people to come to you, and give them a special service to encourage them to come back as paying customers.
  8. Offer Yourself as a Speaker – many networking groups, WI’s, Rotary clubs, etc, are often looking for interesting speakers to entertain their members. Become a public speaker, and sell your business at the same time.
  9. PR – write press releases and articles for newspapers and magazines highlighting exciting things happening in your business and commenting on topical issues relating to your business.
  10. Word of Mouth – spreading the word will always be one of the most effective ways of promoting your business, so offer an exclusive discount for customers who recommend a friend or, at the very least, say thank you when someone does.