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Effective Local Sports Marketing

Digital Marketing is essentially selling yourself online. The online world is growing rapidly every day, with the increased use of mobile devices; the access to unlimited information is literally at your fingertips. There’s no reason why local businesses shouldn’t capitalise on this. On the outside, building your online profile may seem like a daunting task, but in reality, with the right guidance, it’s not that hard and incredibly important to do.

Decline in Sport Participation

A published report by Sport England in 2016 showed that participation levels had dropped since the London Olympics 2012.

The figures show that nationwide there was a decline of 0.4%. This equates to a drop of 8,700. The biggest drop was in Yorkshire and Humber, with a 1.7% drop that equates to 67,100 fewer people participating in regular sport or exercise.

On a more specific front, sports such as golf have seen a huge decline. In 2006 more than four million golfers teed off regularly. In 2016 that number fell to 2,785,000. In that same period, the number of memberships fell from 850,000 to 652,000.

Experts have claimed that this is largely down to three main factors; time, cost and perception.

Not only golf but tennis has suffered. The success of Andy Murray in recent years has improved tennis, but the facts don’t lie. From 2008 to 2009, we had nearly a million monthly players. In 2015 that number dropped to 694,000, and weekly players dropped from 530,000 down to 384,000.

How does digital marketing fit in?

As I mentioned previously, the online world is growing at an alarming rate. If anybody wants to find information on anything, they’re probably going to search for it online.

One of the biggest problems with golf membership is perception, what people associate with golf. I know for a fact that golf clubs have worked extremely hard to change the way people perceive golf and encourage younger members.

This is all well and good, but if people aren’t aware of the initiatives you are introducing, how will they change their perception? People need to find you online, and you need to showcase what you have to offer.

This is where a strong digital marketing strategy comes into play.


Let’s start at the core of a good digital campaign. SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) makes sure that your website is as strong as it can be on search engines.

When it comes to local Sports Clubs, the most important thing to consider is local SEO. This entails marking sure that you have a My Business page set up correctly and optimised.

Your Google My Business is the best way to showcase your business details prominently. As you can see from the image, it stands out on a search results page and clearly displays all the contact information.
As with most cases, there will be technical problems with your site. For example, broken links, missing Meta data etc. Errors such as these can penalise your search engine rankings, so it’s important to stay on top of these.

Local Link Building

Having your website appear on other local websites is a very strong way of improving your SEO. You can achieve this by building strong relationships with partners to link back to your site and writing high-quality content to which people want to link.


At the core of any strong SEO plan is a content plan. Having an in-depth content plan is the best way people are going to find you organically. Writing posts about terms that people will likely be searching for is a great way to get on top of your competitors.

PPC (Pay-Per-Click)

PPC is a great way to advertise your sports club. Done correctly, you will appear at the top of the search results page for key terms.

PPC is great because you can push specific keywords at whatever time of the year. So for a golf club, you may choose to advertise a special membership offer at the start of the season. A rugby club may promote junior coaching.

As you can see, Starbeck Tennis Club is using PPC to drive new membership.

Not only will Pay-Per-Click allow you to sit in a prominent position on a search results page, but it is also incredibly measurable. You can see which keywords are driving traffic, which ads are more successful than others. This allows us to adapt and improve PPC campaigns to maximise results constantly.

Social Media

Social Media is becoming more and more popular with businesses. Local sports clubs are no different. This is where you can interact with people, and they can interact with you.

People will have their own reasons for joining a sports club. Five reasons why someone may want to join a sports club are:

  • Beginner
  • Motivation
  • Meet new people
  • Build confidence and improve mood
  • Parents want to be without their kids for a few hours

Social Media is the perfect place to showcase what your club has to offer.

Here’s a great example of social media being used. As you can see, it displays what the club offers for a family. People respond to emotion. Connecting with people emotionally is more likely to grow your social media campaign.

Different Types of Social Media

It’s important that you understand the different types of social media and how they can be used to target different people for your sports club.

All Social Media is different and therefore attracts different types of people. You need to adapt your different social media channels accordingly.


  • 88% of 18–29 year olds use Facebook.
  • 84% of 30–49 year olds use Facebook.
  • 72% of 50–64 year old use Facebook.
  • 62% of 65+ year old use Facebook.

Facebook has a large number of users across all demographics. So when thinking about Facebook, you should be thinking that you’ll be appealing to a wider range of people. That’s why the image above is good because it shows how the family can all get involved.

  1. Instagram
  • 59% of 18–29 year olds use Instagram.
  • 33% of 30–49 year olds use Instagram.
  • 18% of 50–64 year olds use Instagram.
  • 8% of people 65+ use Instagram.

There’s no doubt that Instagram attracts a much younger audience. You’re not going to be structuring your Instagram profile the same way that you would your Facebook.

Whereas with Facebook, you would be more family-oriented; Instagram would be aimed more at a younger audience.

If we look at Harrogate Rugby club Instagram, they’ve focused on images more geared towards young male adults. It’s aimed at a younger audience and members who they would like to attract to the club.


  • 36% of 18–29 year olds use Twitter.
  • 23% of 30–49 year olds use Twitter.
  • 21% of 50–64 year olds use Twitter.
  • 10% of 65+ year olds use Twitter.

Twitter is a great way to display information. It’s also a way that you can connect with professional athletes. By retweeting and mentioning professional athletes, you can create a reaction.

If you have any questions regarding Digital Marketing and your Local Sports Club please feel free to contact us.