Create Participant Loyalty with These 5 Strategies

October 01, 2015 - By: Sarah Pease

Best-selling author
Jeffrey Gitomer
says, “You don’t earn loyalty in a day. You earn loyalty day-by-day.” Brands like Apple, Nike, and Target have become masters of this concept because they understand that acquiring a new customer can be up to
25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one
. Here are five strategies race organizers can use to create participant loyalty:

  1. Focus On Your Image Make a good first impression with a well-executed brand image. Every touch point—direct mail, mobile, and onsite—should consistently reinforce your brand message. A solid brand can even turn tragedy into something positive like the Boston Marathon did with ‘Boston Strong.’
  2. Keep In Touch Communicate throughout the year with quality messages instead of sending out a generic email blast only when it’s time to register. Think in terms of building a relationship. By creating personal interactions, your participants are more likely to continue signing up and also become a valuable advocate for the race.
  3. Show Your Appreciation Offer past participants unexpected incentives that make them feel special, like an exclusive registration discount or shuttle service on race day. The North Face VIPeak loyalty reward program lets participants earn and use “PeakPoints” for purchases and local events sign up. Be creative and clear with your message: loyalty is rewarded.
  4. Pull Back the Curtain Be authentic on social media. Give your participants a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into organizing your race and keep product promotion and marketing to a minimum. Post something fun like this tongue-in-cheek video from Nike or exclusive content only ‘insiders’ can access.
  5. Take Time to Listen Ask for feedback; plain and simple. To retain participants and grow your race, you need to know what works and what needs improvement. Send out an online survey or have a face-to-face meeting with your most ardent supporters. Be mindful that once feedback is given, noticeable changes should be made.

What loyalty methods have you successfully used? Tell us in the comments!