9 Simple Ideas to Grow Your Region
Moms Are Key Decision Maker For New Players
New AYSO players tend to be young. The largest group of new players is U-6, with nearly 90 percent of all new players falling in the U-5 to U-10 age groups. For maximum impact, focus your new-player promotion efforts on young players. The Mom is the primary decision maker for what activities her young children will participate in. She may volunteer Dad to coach, but she's the most likely one doing the research and signing the kids up. The following ideas and tips are designed to help you tell young Moms the AYSO story.
These 9 Simple Ideas To Grow Your Region give you action items you can use to increase the number of NEW players for next season. And remember, parents of young children are some of the most active volunteers!
Tip: One large area for growth is the U-5 program. Parents of younger children are looking for activities, especially team sports. If your Region doesn't already have a U-5 program consider starting one for next season. It's a fantastic program for kids!
Idea No. 1: Always Honor Brand AYSO - Use The Traditional Logo
Brand AYSO is the mental picture that parents get when they think of AYSO. We want that mental picture to be a fun, fair, family soccer experience that is safe and affordable. A logo can represent that mental picture. (As an example, think of the mental image you get when you see a MacDonald's or Coca-Cola logo!)
Use the AYSO Traditional Logo, to help AYSO stand out from all the other activity and sports choices parents have. The Traditional Logo is the logo that is on every AYSO uniform, so it's the one most recognizable to parents. AYSO has 600,000 kids walking around with that logo on their jersey, so take advantage of that tremendous visibility.
Tip: All the official AYSO logos are available for member use in the Logos & Downloads page.
Idea No. 2: Your Web Site Is The Face Of Your Region
The No. 1 decision maker for new AYSO kids are young moms. And young moms are online. That's how they research, communicate and connect. Your Region must have a Web site to be able to reach these young families. Your Web site must be clean, simple and easy to navigate. Show the important information (when and where registration will take place!) on the front page. Here are five items that should be on your Web site homepage:
- The AYSO Traditional Logo.
- Registration times, dates and locations.
- A reminder that parents can pre-register on eAYSO.
- The Parent Orientation Video
- Contact information, especially e-mail address.
Tip: The AYSO parent orientation video is simple to add to your homepage. Visit the Marketing Toolkit page for instructions on how to add it to your Web site. In one click, it tells a parent all about AYSO and what your Region can offer them.
Tip: Always have Region contact info on the homepage. Be sure to have a detailed autoreply (for e-mail) or voice message (for phone). If you can't get back to people immediately (we know you get swamped!) be sure it includes registration dates and location or other important info people are looking for.
Idea No. 3: Have A Call To Action
Every ad, flyer, radio or TV commercial, postcard, etc. needs to have a call to action. Ask the parents to do something they can do right at that moment. Your call to action can be "Register Now to Play Soccer This Fall." The action should be something they can do right then and there. If they can't act immediately, it will tend not to happen at all.
Samples of calls to action:
"Save the Date"
"Sign-up This Saturday"
"Reserve Your Spot Today"
"Call Now for Information"
Give them a message and action they can take soon. If they can't take action quickly, they may forget to take it at all.
Tip: If parents won't be able to register immediately, set it up so potential parents can sign up for a reminder (the campaign can be "Save the Date." Parents that sign up are already interested in signing their child up to play soccer in your Region. Send them a reminder e-mail when it's time to register.
Idea No. 4: Make Registration An Event
Think about where you can find young moms. Some places are supermarkets, doctors' offices, and "big box" stores such as Target or Wal-Mart, Chuck E. Cheese and PTA meetings. Think about how you can make your registration an event. For example, go to your local supermarket and ask if they would be willing (and able...sometimes they have lease or other limitations on these kinds of activities) to let you put a table outside to register families. Ask to talk to the manager. Remember to tell him how many people you expect will show up to re-register. Also ask if he is willing to give the AYSO parents a "special." Discounts, sales and specials are opportunities to encourage foot traffic into the store.
Tip: Find one new registration location. Don't change what you are doing if it's working, but find one new location that will give you the extra benefit of reaching parents new to AYSO. Think outside of the box. Use one of our ideas, or come up with your own. If you come up with one of your own and it turns out to work, please let us know. It's all about working smarter, not harder.
Idea No 5: Get To Know Your Parents
Parents can be one of the most under used resources. Parents with children know other parents with children, so give the families in your Region a challenge to see how many people they can refer. If parents are having a good experience with AYSO, they will tell their friends. Word of mouth is the best advertising you can find. In fact, a recent parent survey showed that most parents get registration information through word of mouth.
Tip: At the last game of the season, hand out a "Tell a Friend about AYSO" flyer to all parents. Encourage them to pass it along!
Idea No. 6: It's Important To Advertise
Advertising is very important to your new-player registration campaign. Flyers and ads are two especially good ways to get your message out. The goal is to have the following seven elements on all flyers and ads:
Traditional Logo - Including the Traditional Logo and Everyone PlaysÂ® will tell moms that your Region is a part of a wider organization, as well as let them know that their child will get to play.
Who? What? When? Where? Why? - You have to let moms know when and where they can register, but just as important why they should register.
Location Exact Address - People may not know a park by name. Make sure the location address is on all your materials.
Contact Information - Give potential families a person to contact with any questions. And, you must respond.
Web Site Address - Web site information must be on the flyer. All your important information will be on your Web site, so it's a good place to encourage parents to visit.
Call To Action - Give the moms a call to action. Make sure they know that they should register now.
Photos Of AYSO Kids Playing Soccer - Or a soccer ball image. Photos are on the Marketing Toolkit Photos page for your use.
Idea No. 7: Use Local Media
Local community newspapers are well-read and can be affordable for your Region advertising. Often they have discounts for non-profit organizations such as your AYSO Region.
Almost every community also now has a parenting publication. Whether they are magazines or newspapers, parents, especially young moms, read them. And these publications are often looking for articles. Especially free articles! AYSO has made a number of articles available for you to offer to these publications at no charge. Let the local media outlet know that they are welcome to use the stories as long as the article includes: "Reprinted Courtesy of AYSO," and your registration information and Web site is in the footer.
Tip: You can also use the AYSO Julie Foudy Commercial to get on TV. For as little as $500 - $1200, you can run a "micro" two week ad campaign on cable TV. The commercial is designed to speak to you moms and we recommend selecting program that targets those moms. It's easy and low-cost. For more information on getting on TV, please contact Pete McPhail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Idea No. 8: Use The AYSO Parent Video
The AYSO Parent Video was created for new parents, and tells all about AYSO. You can embed the video on your Web site. Here are simple instructions. Don't forget to put the video link in all your e-mail signature and e-newsletters.
Idea No. 9: Work With National Sponsors
National sponsors frequently have local distributors or retail locations that you can work with. For example, AYSO national sponsor Herbalife can connect you with a pre-screened local distributor who can add to your registration event with sampling or some extra volunteer help.