10 ways football clubs can use digital to increase fan engagement
Football clubs have become retailers, publishers, broadcasters and media owners, all rolled into one. With the increase in global competition, websites for football clubs have to step up their game. Engaging with fans and earning their loyalty is more important than ever. Websites for football clubs need to be first with their news to stay relevant. And they need to give every fan personalised content.
Fans take pride in their team. With the right Sitecore solution, you can give them a website worth singing about. What is Sitecore, you ask? It’s a rich, extendable website content management (CMS) platform highly rated by Gartner. Sitecore’s easy-to-use digital tools can help you improve fan engagement, increase ticket and merchandise sales, and see real ROI.
Here are 10 ways websites for football clubs can use Sitecore digital marketing tools to stand out from the crowd:
1. Target your fans by location
Sitecore IP geolocation gives you valuable insight into your site user’s location. With this you can deliver targeted promotions to local fans and promote travel to those further away.
And with Sitecore device detection you’ll know whether customers are on the move. If they’re in the area, why not get fans to stop at the stadium with a promotional offer? This is a great way to push last minute ticket sales or to improve takings in the club shop before an upcoming fixture.
These tools will also let your commercial partners engage in location-specific marketing, making their advertisements more profitable.
2. Personalise your ticket sales approach
The Sitecore Experience Database collects data on every individual customer within Customer Experience Profiles. This data can be integrated with your ticketing system to target fans based on their attendance history.
So you can finally get your armchair fans inside the stadium with personalised promotions for first time attendees. Or tempt loyal fans with hospitality options and season ticket options. By working with your database of lapsed customers this is a great way to get fans back in the habit of attending matches.
By integrating your customer data, you’re more likely to engage with your users and increase ticket sales. Rather than wasting media space promoting match tickets to season ticket holders, you could encourage them to bring friends or family along.
3. Use premium content to capture customer data
Many Premier League football clubs offer “premium content” through their website. This content is often hidden away or hinted at.
Video marketing is a quick and engaging way of communicating with your fans. But integrated videos are also great from an SEO perspective. They help your content rank higher in Google searches.
With Sitecore you can easily integrate teasers of your premium content in your main freely available material. So you can reach a wider audience and up-sell your premium services. You could also bundle premium content to season ticket holders. This gives season ticket holders a reason to come back to your site and gets new fans to consider buying a season ticket.
4. Reward loyalty to keep fans engaged
Websites for football clubs need to make their fans feel included and rewarded. A simple “Welcome back, Mr Smith!” message for registered users can make a real impact on the overall customer experience. Or make a real fuss of your season ticket holders with banners and links to exclusive content produced specifically for them.
Integration with Sitecore’s Experience Profile gives marketers a single view of customers and all their past digital interactions. Which is great if you’re looking to engage with fans through marketing personalisation.
5. Expand your website’s reach to a global fan base
For fans further afield, Sitecore lets you easily integrate with translation software, like Lionbridge, for automated translations of your site. Sitecore also makes it easy to reuse content across multiple sites from a central media library. This connected approach means less time and effort spent managing each individual site. So your site is kept consistent and easy to manage.
6. Market merchandise based on fans’ preferences and behaviour
Websites for football clubs can offer fans incentives for purchasing merchandise to increase sales. Integrate with your shop’s customer data to up-sell merchandise based on purchase history and membership status.
So you’re not offering Home shirts to fans who already have them. But you could promote Kids merchandise to fans who’ve previously bought child tickets for games. And if the user has bought merchandise in the past, you can show them similar products they might like or the latest kit release with the name and number of their favourite player.
7. Get a single view of every fan with integrated systems
Marketing campaigns tend to span across several systems. Sitecore’s built-in integration technology makes it simple to get all the systems you need side by side.
Some common systems used by websites for football clubs include:
- Customer Relations Manager (CRM) – capture detailed customer data and keep it all in one place. This will inform all your other systems and content.
- Membership database– use membership details to personalise content and promotional offers for different membership levels.
- Capturing Junior fans -football fans choose their team by the age of 9, but fans can’t register until they’re 13. Implied personalisation leading to explicit registration from guardians and family marketing.
- Sign in with social media – let users register quicker and easier with integration social media logins such as Facebook, Google+, Twitter or LinkedIn.
- Ticketing systems– make it easier for fans to buy from your website and use purchase history to personalise content.
- Retail/Ecommerce systems– show off your merchandise to increase sales.
- Statistics Feeds –statistics partners for football clubs, such as OPTA, are easily integrated with Sitecore to provide deep rich content for fans.
- Hospitality sales database– Promote both match day and none match day options to corporate clients. Personalise the experience to give high spending business customers a relevant experience.
- Social/News feeds – keep fans up to date with team news for an ‘always on’ appearance that amplifies content in social media direct from your Sitecore dashboard.
- Advertisement management system – use customer data to personalise advertisements so they’re more relevant and engaging for users. Use video advertising, re-targeting and native advertising options to get maximum value for commercial partners and advertisers.
- EPOS – Offer free ‘click and collect’ with online purchases with promotional deals to get fans to the stadium and see it as an attraction.
From the Sitecore admin console you can easily publish content in social media, email marketing, mobile apps and external microsites. This connected approach makes various processes easier for your fans, meaning they’re more likely to complete them.
8. Track business goals with Sitecore Analytics
Sitecore websites for football clubs benefit from built-in analytics. So marketers can engage in path analysis, testing and goal tracking. Sitecore Analytics lets you create detailed profiles for every fan and audience segment. And as it sits neatly alongside your customer data in Sitecore, you can improve your single view of every visitor to your site.
Detailed reporting of your site’s performance will also be a plus to stakeholders. Let them know where you’ve made improvements and how successful they’ve been. This helps to reassure them that they’ll see ROI.
9. Make sure your site can handle heavy traffic
The scalability of your site is crucial. You’re likely to have increased traffic when transfer deadlines are looming, sudden personnel changes, fixture and ticket releases and new kit reveals. You need to be sure your site can carry the load.
The scalability of the Sitecore architecture is constantly developing. These developments let Sitecore manage an impressive amount of data. And this amount can grow without affecting site performance. Sitecore allows for horizontal scaling, so it’s pretty limitless. When you need it, you can just add servers and Sitecore will pick up the slack.
10. Keep your site secure to give fans peace of mind
When building Sitecore websites for football clubs, Sitecore security precautions should be in place from the start. This means you don’t experience any nasty problems with your installation down the road.
And if things ever do get out of hand, it’s nice to know that your digital partner has your back. Kagool are the only UK Sitecore Partner that offers 24×7 out of hours Sitecore support to our customers.
What can Kagool and Sitecore do for your website?
Here at Kagool we’ve got a great bunch of talented digital specialists. Our team have worked on major websites for some of the world’s leading football clubs. Plus, we have experience helping clubs develop their brand and digital strategy to increase engagement with fans. Contact us to get case studies from some of the leading football clubs using Sitecore. Find out how personalisation and Sitecore’s digital marketing tools have made it the platform of choice for digital sports marketing.
We’re the biggest UK Platinum Partner to be exclusively Sitecore. And the only digital agency in the UK to have six Sitecore MVPs (professionals chosen by Sitecore for their technical excellence). Our focus helps us create unique methods, tailored to the platform.
If you’re already on Sitecore, ask us about a Sitecore audit to make sure you’re getting the most from your investment.