Improve your Sports CRM results with three simple mind games!

UEFA Champions League Final FC Barcelona fans

Engage your fans through email marketing

You know great sports CRM isn’t just about email - in fact there’s a whole raft of things that formulate a

great customer experience which I’ll write about in time on the Winners website

But the fact is while sending emails may have become a little less sexy in our social, push technology led world, getting the right message to your fans at the right time can be really powerful stuff.

So whether you work for a sports club, franchise, or a sports marketing agency, if you are trying to engage with fans through email, apply these three little mind games and watch your results trend line point in the right direction.

  1. Personalise your subject line

OK this may seem a pretty cheap psychological trick, but you know what? It really works! Putting your fans name on a subject line will grab their attention and improve your open rates.

Don’t believe me?

We tested the principle with four clients who all operate in the sports world. The methodology was simple, create an A/B test with identical content and just the one observable difference, prefixing sample A’s subject line with the fans first name and a comma. Across a very robust sample of campaigning (email volume in the hundreds of thousands) we observed a 48% uplift in open rates where the subject line was personalised.

And adding that personal touch will also help your fan engagement. From the same test we uplifted click through’s from personalised emails by a massive 88%!

  1. Test your call to action button colours

If your fan has opened your email it’s important not to waste that opportunity!

Applying the digital science of user experience (or UX) can bring big benefits with small changes. Testing the clarity and appeal of your design can improve results and even inform your future web design.

One simple thing to test are your call to action buttons. UX experts know that colours have a psychological effect on engagement that will impact conversion rates. Some colours like blue are seen as authority or calming colours, red is associated with danger whereas colours like green and orange are associated with action.

We applied this theory to one sports industry client who were using blue call to action buttons within their emails by A/B testing orange buttons (which complimented their brand). Over two campaigns and more than 30,000 emails we found the orange buttons improved the clients click through rates by 29%, and where fans had never previously engaged with the clients email, click through rates more than doubled.

  1. Segment based on interests

Don’t just sit on your past campaign data, try to milk every ounce of value it can provide.

You don’t need sophisticated modelling to segment your fan base, and if you have sent fans emails in the past then you're sitting on a veritable gold mine of insights.

Some back data will allow you to test the simple but very effective principle that if your fan has shown an interest in something before, there’s a greater chance they will do so again.

Simply extract data on fans who have clicked on a specific story (or stories) relating to a common topic, and use these ‘clickers’ for a relevant, targeted campaign.

We applied this test with a sports industry client that regularly send email campaigns to their fans but did not segment their audience. When helping them run a fan campaign we identified ‘clickers’ who were interested in merchandise and volunteering among their standard newsletter, and targeted the former with a follow up campaign promoting the new away shirt. The result? We achieved open rates of 66% and click through rates of 19% from our targeted segment.

Email marketing may seem a chore, but this should simply never be the case when marketing to sports fans… Remember this is the most fun and most engaged industry of all to be involved in! So try out these tips, watch your fan engagement increase, and look out for more free tips and sports industry musings in the coming weeks by following me on twitter.