Nowadays, tech is the talk of the town. Social media this, e-mail that… Heck, we do it too! But a mere 16 years ago, race directors had to rely on other means to promote their race. Their traditional tactics worked then, and they work now. So, before you put all your dollars into digital, read on for some good old-fashioned race promotion tactics!
Make Friends with Media
Never underestimate the power of a good article! Send press releases to your local TV, newspaper, magazine and radio stations and focus on why your community should care: is it the first event of its kind? Helping a charity? The more ‘newsworthy’ you can make it, the more likely your story is to be picked up. If your paper publishes an event calendar, request to add your race.
If you struggle to have your story picked up, there’s no harm in asking about ad rates! Many publications have their own design team to help create the ad, if that’s not your forte.
Paper the Town
It’s time to break out the tape and pushpins. Many businesses have a community board that they will allow you to pin a flyer to; if not, ask anyway! They may be willing to keep a few copies by the cash register. Think about the type of people that would be interested in your race and post your flyers in the locations they frequent: think gyms, running stores, rec centers. If you’re hosting a family-friendly fun run, you can even post your flyers in grocery stores and day care centers.
Use Snail Mail
If you’ve hosted this race before, you should have a list of previous participants. Assuming you have their address on file, go ahead and mail them an invitation to register! Personalize each postcard if possible and consider offering a special discount. They’ll appreciate the thought!
Create Walking Advertisements
This one is easy: give your staff shirts with your race name and website on them early on in your race promotion efforts. Custom pens, hats, tote bags or car magnets also work well. You can also consider giving away free swag to early bird registrants; not only does this increase your advertising manpower, but it gives participants an extra incentive to register!
Infiltrate Running Groups
Get ready to get sneaky – just kidding, this isn’t a James Bond moment. But chances are someone on your team is a runner. Why not use them to spread the word to other runners? Find running groups through Meetup.com or your local running store and join in! Consider offering the group a discount if they register together. Either way, genuinely getting to know potential participants is the best way to build goodwill!
Host a Registration Drive
What’s easier than going to a website to register? Having the registration come to you! See if the local gym or running store will let you set up a table to spread the word and register people on the spot. You could also secure a booth at the community fair or farmer’s market; perhaps even at another endurance event’s expo! Bring tablets or laptops if you can; if you can’t, enter the paper registration forms into your online database immediately afterwards and hold on to the forms until after the race. Give flyers and/or swag to folks who aren’t ready to register right away.
Do you have other ideas for offline race promotion? We’d love to hear them in the comments below! In the meantime, find more easy (and almost free!) ways to grow your race by clicking here.
For more race management tips, contact ChronoTrack!