American football is the ninth most popular sport in the world with around 400 million fans across Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and America. The NFL season starts in September and runs throughout the fall and winter months. Reaching out to the adoring fans of the sport is a smart marketing move, especially during key games such as the Super Bowl. Don’t forget the many fans of fantasy football as well.
Getting your site ready for football season isn’t something you should overlook, even if your business isn’t related directly to sports. Here are some things you can do to get your site ready to go:
1. Know the Key Football Viewing Days
As a smart marketer, you already know that it is important to utilize social media during the times your followers are engaging with your page. Sites like Facebook even offer you access to this information via Insights tools that tell you the peak viewing times for your page. If you combine this information with the fact that Saturday and Sunday are the days that most football games are on television, you have a marketing powerhouse.
Set your site so that it regularly updates on these days, whether that means scheduling blog posts in advance or running a sale during the weekends. An excellent example of a company that ties into various seasonal themes and sends out emails about updates at key times is Old Navy. From fall clothing lines to showing outfits perfect for the season to offering Super Cash rewards, they are keyed into the things their customers enjoy the most.
2. Feature a Popular Player
When it comes to marketing during football season, don’t overlook the famous players in the NFL or even just ones that are hitting the news cycle. You can then pull in these players as a spokesperson or reach out for an interview. If that doesn’t work, you can always create a top-10 list of things you like about the player or why your product would work well for his fans. Just be upfront that he isn’t endorsing your product but that you are endorsing him.
Skittles ran a campaign in this style. Running back Marshawn Lynch is known for interviews where he fails to say very much. A standard response of his is a simple “yes.” Skittles took this idea and ran with it, creating mock press conferences as ads, which were then run during games. They insert different questions, such as whether the player likes dog or cat videos and then they let him eat Skittles during the press conference. The result is a funny ad that the player likely enjoyed as well.
3. Add an NFL Specific Product
This tactic works particularly well with restaurants and food products. Creating a menu with football themed foods can draw in sports enthusiasts. It also gives you an opportunity to create a football theme on your website that highlights the sport. Whether you sell shirts and create a new football-inspired design, or you own that restaurant and feature some videos of the fabulous dishes you’ve created, it’s easy to highlight football season.
One example of this type of marketing comes from the restaurant chain Buffalo Wild Wings. The company started a Facebook petition called “Save Our Season” because so many fans have recently boycotted the NFL industry. Buffalo Wild Wings, or BDubs as customers affectionately call it, was able to gather some social media traction and traffic to their site.
About 45,000 people joined their petition. In turn, BDubs is giving six wings away each game to those fans who signed the petition. This was an excellent way to get customers back in the restaurant and sports fans back into football season. This year, their website pushes “Host Your Draft Party, ” and they are encouraging people to sign up for a table and reserve space.
4. Know Your Target Audience
Out of the many NFL fans out there, about 45% are women. One of the best things you can do before you create a campaign or make any changes to your site is to study your target audience. Create user personas for both male and female visitors.
Lowe’s presents a good example of this type of advertising. They’ve run spots that show women tackling “their inner football selves.” You can easily create videos that tie your brand to the football season and reach out to women at the same time. Think about what a female football fan would need to feed her NFL obsession (clothes, food, supplies) and go from there.
5. Perks for Fans
One thing you want your website to do is to engage your site visitors. One way to pull football season into the mix is to offer some extra perks for fans. You could create a mailing list that will allow you to reach out to them with upcoming seasonal specials or launch a promotion just for football fans.
One example of this type of marketing was implemented by Delta Air Lines last year when they created a program specifically for Seattle football fans. They called the program “12status” and offered membership to anyone who lived in Washington state. They gave members prizes and SkyMiles for passing yards won by the Seahawks at home games. They also offered bonus miles for every 12,000 fans who signed up for the 12status.
Today’s customers often stay tuned in to both television and their smartphones during games. This is a valuable opportunity to market to a large and enthusiastic demographic and expand your reach as a business.