Football season is one of the strongest marketing periods of the year. Consumers expect quality advertising during commercial breaks, but they’re also anticipating businesses to interact and engage with their favorite football teams. It’s one of the only times of the year that viewers actually ask for advertising… And that means it’s your time to shine. It’s the perfect time to start a targeted, personalized marketing campaign that can help boost your sales and increase your loyal audience
Plus, there’s a huge population of football fans. In America, interest in the NFL (football) is 65% higher than the NBA (basketball) and 152% higher than the MLB (baseball). The NFL draft even averages 3x more searches than the Emmy Awards during their peak times. And it’s not all men; half of NFL fans are women.
That means you could be marketing to a large audience that’s loyal to the sport, to their team, and potentially to your business. You want these kind of dedicated fans on your side.
So how can you “cash in” on the football season and attract this large, loyal audience to your brand?
1. Get in on the social media mania.
Sports fans love to share their love for the game on social media. They’ll search for, create, and share content that’s related to their favorite teams. They’ll look for infographics, videos, and pictures that relate to their players and team. Even moderate fans of the sport will post on social media during major games to be a part of the action.
Football is a lifestyle for a number of Americans. You want to position your brand as a part of that lifestyle.
So you might want to show off your team pride by posting a picture of your employees in their jerseys. Or you can repost an infographic with league statistics. You can even create a graphic of your product surrounded by your team’s colors. Remember that you want to keep your content aligned with your brand.
Make sure you use hashtags related to the team, and you can even tag players and the league directly in the photo. This ensures that fans can easily stumble upon your content when they’re browsing for sports related content on social media.
You should also encourage your fans to share their own content. User-generated content works especially well for sports and other community-based activities. You want to show that you’re creating a conversation around this shared interest, which makes your brand more relatable and approachable. You want to build a community that surrounds your brand based on shared interests and lifestyle.
Note: Don’t forget to be mobile. A Nielson Report found that 60% of mobile and tablet users consume sports-related content on their devices at least once daily. This is especially true of Millennials and Gen Zers. Having a mobile-accessible site is the best way to reach your on-the-go sports fans.
2. Host winner promotions.
Offer discounts or deals after your team wins. Whether you actively support your NFL team or not, you can get in on the win by rewarding their fans. For example, Dunkin gives away free coffee after their home team wins. So, in New England, you can go to a Dunkin Donuts and pick up a free coffee the morning after the Patriots beat the Giants.
This helps optimize on the excitement of the win. You’re sharing in the positive emotions your customers are feeling—and then you’re adding to them. This creates a strong association between your brand and those “warm and fuzzy” feelings. Building this link engenders a long-term relationship between consumer and brand.
It doesn’t have to be a huge promotion. You might offer a few dollars off or a 10% “winners” discount. Or you could do a sports jersey giveaway sweepstakes, or offer a unique gift-with-purchase. You don’t need it to cut into your margins every time your team wins. You just want people to get excited about your business. You want them to start to think not only, “Great, my team just won!” but also “My team won and I can go shopping at my favorite store!”
Plus, you’ll be tapping into a “loyal” market. For example, New England Patriots fans are highly loyal fans. They stick to the Patriots through and through. You want this kind of dedicated personality trait in your customers, because that means they have the capacity to be devoted fans to your brand as well. If you can win over the winners, you’re more likely to attract an engaged customer persona.
Note:If you don’t have a “home team” because you’re online, you can host similar promotions for a variety of teams. Find out which teams your customers root for and host events accordingly. The promotion shouldn’t be based on the team but on your market.
3. Support a local team.
If you’re a local business, you might want to consider sponsoring a high school team or recreational football league. Often, towns care just as much about their own local teams as they do about the NFL games.
Sponsoring a team helps get your name out in the community, which can boost your brand awareness and credibility. It shows that you care about your community, which is especially important for a small business living on nearby business.
A lot of leagues will let you advertise in exchange for your support. For example, you could get your business name on the field, game day brochures, or team jerseys. You can even send staff members to the games to further promote your business and build one-on-one connections within the community.
(Plus, supporting a local team may even count as a tax deduction.)
4. Host a fantasy football league.
You can get all of your employees together to create a fantasy football league, regardless of the size of your business. Even employees who aren’t huge football fans will love the good-hearted competition that comes with a fantasy league. This is a great way to get your employees excited and motivated, creating a greater “buzz” in the office. This also works especially well for remote teams, since you can all come together over a shared interest—even from other sides of the country.
Remember that happy employees deliver better service to your customers. Fostering a strong environment—in this case, through football—is a great way to improve your employee engagement and your business’s interaction with clients.
You can even create a league with other local companies or online businesses. This is a great way to get yourself known in your community or industry, and it also helps you build connections in your network. Fantasy football can be a fun foundation to establishing strong partnerships and collaborations.
If all parties agree, you may also want to create a social media campaign with your business’s fantasy football league. Your followers can keep up with you to see which businesses are winning. When they feel like they are participating, it amplifies the fantasy league’s social aspect. Plus, it’ll show your customers that your brand values fun and community—and that you want them to be a part of that fun!
Small businesses can use the football season just as much as larger corporations. You can support your NFL home team, a local football team, or just the winning team. The goal is just to get in on the conversation and join the excitement. Consumers are more receptive to football marketing than almost any other type of advertising, so now is the time to push promotions, boost sales, and drive home the core values of your brand.
How do you market for the football season? Let us know in the comments below.