Marketing Tips & Tools
Marketing Your League
The basis of a strong Little League program is a good community following. Therefore, the marketing of a Little League program in the local community is pivotal to keeping interest and enthusiasm among potential and current players and families as well as community businesses, organizations and government.
Many leagues secure an individual or team of volunteers to organize the league's marketing activities. Since much of the league's marketing activities may be focused on generating funds for league operations, these individuals may occupy the roles of Sponsorship or Fundraising Manager.
Marketing plays several important roles in the operation of the league. It can help:
Drive Player Registration Secure Local Sponsorships & Donations
Encourage Volunteerism Build Awareness in the Community
With any of the above goals in mind, try to answer the following questions as you communicate out to your community through marketing efforts:
Who am I talking to? Where do I want them to do it?
What do I want them to know or do? Why should they do it?
When do I need them to do something? Where can they learn more?
Driving Player Registration and Volunteerism
To begin, your league should discuss the following topics at a planning meeting before the season begins:
- Discuss your registration plans. Determine if you will conduct online, in-person or a combination of registration practices.
- Identify your league's player participation breakdown from last year. Determine if there are certain divisions that you should focus on recruiting players for (e.g., Tee Ball).
- Determine the message. Start with these questions:
- Are you targeting new players or returning players?
- Are you recruiting volunteers?
- Were your participation numbers strong in the Minors but not in Tee Ball?
- For each of these, you may choose to target a specific audience with a message. For example, if you want to encourage more Tee Ball age players to sign up, perhaps you focus on promoting the Tee Ball program and its benefits - "Learn the Game. Have Fun. Meet New Friends."
- Identify ways to spread that word of your league's registration and volunteer opportunities. Some ways to promote registration could include:
- Utilize a league web site to announce registration dates and volunteer positions. Create a league boundary map using eteamz.com to help new families find the your league.
- Advertise in the local papers, community bulletins, church bulletins or local parenting publications and web sites; contact newspaper editors and community calendar listing representatives to post your registration information or volunteer positions available.
- Contact local radio and television news stations with dates/times of your registration and volunteer needs. Ask for inclusion in their broadcasts and on their web sites.
- Produce flyers and hang posters at local schools, libraries, grocery stores, pharmacies, department stores, family physician's offices and other locations with community bulletin boards. Ask permission before posting any flyers or leaving copies for distribution.
- Send an email to the parents of last year's participants to encourage registration. Send an email to parents of players who missed a year of play and encourage them to re-register. Be sure to include what is new and exciting in the letter.
- Produce banners and yard/road signs to place in high traffic areas to announce registration dates/locations. Gain permission from local government or business on placement of these signs.
- Set up a pre-registration option on your web site or through online registration, collect pertinent information and alert players/families to when registration is open.
More Involved Approaches
- Hold a meeting prior to registration to educate parents on the divisions and opportunities for their children and to meet league representatives.
- Consider holding registration at a venue that attracts young families. Create a special incentive to come to the venue. For example, hold registration at a local grocery store or restaurant. Offer a coupon for shopping or a free snack for attending.
- Send a postcard or brochure to parents of potential participants in your community. Work with your local post office to identify zip codes where potential participants could reside. Ask a local printer to donate their printing services.
- Hold a registration opportunity at the end of the current season, perhaps during an end-of-the-season pizza party.
- Send Little League Public Service Announcements (PSA) to local cable and television stations and ask that they tag with your registration dates/locations.
- Utilize social media, like Facebook, to post updates and provide for discussion between league members and the community. Use it to answer questions from parents and volunteers.