Use Sports Tie-Ins to Build Small Business Sales

by Robert Moskowitz on September 30, 2013
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You don’t have to be a sports fanatic to support a local team — or use related tie-ins to attract customers to your business. Whether it’s football, baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, or another sport that’s popular in your area, you can capitalize on people’s love for the game. Here’s how.

Offer Pre- and Post-Game Specials

En route to the game, people often seek snacks, pillows and blankets, binoculars, and other supplies. Afterward, they typically want a place to relax and share their experiences. Thus, any item you sell that may be in greater demand on game days presents an opportunity to generate extra business, particularly if you offer a special deal with a sports tie-in, either pre- or post-game. If your business sells retail goods, you may be able to add sports-branded merchandise with team tie-ins and other incentives to spur sales.

Of course, you’ll want to get the word out. Beyond using your regular advertising channels, consider building a “game day” page for your website that supports your prospects and customers who want to learn about, and chat about, the local team. You can also send out promotional SMS text messages during the game.

For example, if you own a bar or restaurant, why not send a shout-out to the player who just scored and invite everyone to celebrate at your place? “Great 30-yard TD, Jimbo! Let’s toast your success at Mac’s Tavern, 123 Main St. Fans: Show this text and get half off your first round.”

Give Away Branded Goods That Fans Can Take to the Game

Generate buzz and bring in extra foot traffic on game days by offering giveaways related to the team. More customized items like tee shirts, bibs, decals, buttons and the like can also attract people. Encourage repeat business by adding a sticker with a marketing message, such as “Bring this in with a friend on game day and get 2-for-1 pricing on every blue-tagged item.”

To drive impulse buys, show off your team-related or game-day inventory in a special display near your front door or even out on the sidewalk.

Plan a Barbecue or a Tailgate Party

Even if your business has no retail tie-in with a local team, you can still use game-day enthusiasm to your advantage by hosting a special event. It could be a team-themed barbecue, a tailgate party, or a potluck picnic before or after the game. Doing this near the stadium is likely to attract the biggest crowd.

Hosting such an event raises awareness of your business in the minds of people who cheer for local teams. Meanwhile, try to seize the opportunity to gather contact information, hand out marketing literature, and start building relationships that will result in future sales.

Use Social Media to Get People Talking

Throughout any local sports league’s season, you could incorporate sharing information about each team into your social media outreach efforts. For instance, why not tweet news and reminders about upcoming games to help build excitement?

If you think you have nothing relevant to say about sports, think harder. For example, Cars.com published this list of the best cars for tailgating. That kind of information is a stretch, but it’s a sports tie-in that can spark interest, drive foot traffic, and boost business.

Robert Moskowitz is a business writer for Intuit and is passionate about solving small business problems.

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