At a basic level, you should make it easy for community users to identify a contact email and tel. number to enable them to make an enquiry.
If your facilities are being operated by an external provider they often have a central Marketing team to provide this specialist service.
Low Cost Marketing Techniques
If you are managing community use in-house you are unlikely to have a significant marketing budget unless you are operating community use as a group of schools /consortium and you can pool your resources.
Here are our top ten low cost marketing techniques to help raise your profile and attract new audiences:
1) Website presence of your community use offer - either as a dedicated page of your school website (with clear navigation from the home page) or linked to it. Here are some examples:
2) Banners strategically placed on main thoroughfares of your site. Have you considered branding and a logo? Nailsea School have branded their community service‘The Link’, representing a bridge between the school and local community, and the students helped to design the logo.
3) Adverts and notices in free press or community publications.
4) Good news stories/editorial submitted to local and regional press.
5) Articles in school newsletters and those of your partner schools.
6) Use of social media such as twitter and facebook. For example, Freedom Leisure Sports Centre at Downlands Community School have established a high profile Facebook page with 300 members.
7) Offering Open Days and free or low charge taster sessions. For example, Broadgreen International School organised an International Food Day as part of a family learning programme for students and the wider community. The school invited the PFI contractor to attend the event as a special guest and take part in the ‘Ready Steady Cook’ style show organised by the catering contractor. The event was a huge success and as a result, the PFI contractor offered to fund the forthcoming family learning programme.
8) Working in partnership with other community groups that service your target groups. For example University of the Third Age if you are looking to target over 60s, or Youth Services is you are looking to attract 16-24 year olds.
9) Representing your school at local sport/community events (your County Sports Partnership and local authority will usually hold an overview of key event dates).
10) Get in touch with your local college or university and request a Marketing Student for a work placement.
TOP TIP: "Get out into the community to develop relationships with clubs and groups. In the past the Sports Centre has wasted money on advertising etc when getting out and meeting people is a much more effective method of reaching new audiences and developing a community offer" - Ben Tanner, Sports Centre Manager at Our Lady's RC High School
Sports Marketing Tool
Sport England has a free Sports Market Segmentation Tool for you to use and a number of case studies that showcase how other partners have applied marketing methods to target different audiences.
The tool enables you to not only identify what 'segments' are dominant in your community, but also what sporting activities they favour and the best way to communicate with them to market your programmes. Your County Sports Partnership will be able to help you with this tool.