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Successfully Market Your Club

Market Your Club

The beginning of the school year is upon us again.  And what an exciting time it is!  Last year’s seniors have graduated and there is a new wave of freshmen starting classes.  So how do you reach out to the entire student population to market and promote your Tennis On Campus program during the crucial opening weeks of the new academic year?  Here are a few simple, yet effective strategies to ensure your club tennis team’s success in your efforts:

Involvement Fairs – Most colleges have some type of student involvement fair during the first few weeks of classes.  The most common types of these involvement fairs include freshman orientations, recreational sports interest fairs, and campus-wide student organization interest fairs.  Each of these events allows you and your club an unique opportunity to connect with other tennis playing students on your campus – or those who want to start playing the sport.  Check with your recreational sports department, office of student activities, and/or office of student affairs for more information on these events specific to your campus.  Here are a few more ideas to maximize what your club can get out of these events:

  • If you have a choice of where you will set up, aim for a high traffic area.
  • Wear your uniforms or club T-shirts – you are organized, so look organized.
  • Bring a few tennis racquets and balls – it’s easy to spot where to get involved with tennis when there are bright yellow balls being volleyed by current club members.
  • Have information available for interested students to take with them. When and where does your club meet? Who do they contact for more information? Do you have a website and/or facebook group?  Draw up a flyer with this and other important information for interested indivuduals to take with them.
  • Get their information! Securing interested individuals’ e-mail addresses allows you to reach out to them after the involvement fair.

Online – Where is the first place you look for information on anything you’re interested in?  Online – right!  And that is where students at your college are going to be looking for information on your Tennis On Campus program.  You need a strong online presence to be relevant to college students today.  Here are some key places where you and your club should be visible online:

  • Club Website – if you don’t have one, create one.  This is the least expensive, easiest, and most effective way to educate students at your college about your club.  eteamz (Active.com) and Google Sites (Google) both have free and easy-to-use website creation tools.  Let your imagination and creative genius run wild with this one.  And stay tuned for a USTA Tennis On Campus National Award for the best club website…
  • Facebook – college students are on here everyday.  Create a group for your club and see what the power of online social networking can do for you.  Make sure to provide a link back to your club’s own website.
  • Tennisoncampus.com – the new online home for the USTA Tennis On Campus program highlights individual clubs with unique profile pages.  If your club is not yet represented on this national platform, click here and take advantage of this Tennis On Campus benefit now.
  • Recreational Sports Department Website – your club should be represented somewhere on here.  Contact your recreational sports department to ensure your club’s contacts and other information is current.  In addition, check to see if you can be displayed on the recreational sports department homepage during key days/weeks for your club at the beginning of the academic year.  Make sure to provide a link to your club’s website on that posting.
  • Student Organization Website – like the recreational sports department website, you’ll want to check with either the office of student activities and/or the office of student affairs to make sure your club is represented on their student organization list.  You’ve probably got it by now, but, again, make sure to provide a link to your club’s website here, too.

Varsity Tennis Teams – What?  Varsity tennis teams?  Why would we want to market our Tennis On Campus program there?  Simple – the worst part of every varsity tennis coach’s job is telling a student-athlete that they did'nt make the team.  Traditionally, these cut individuals had no options to continue playing tennis.  Now, though, your club tennis team provides the perfect outlet for them to stay involved with this great sport!  Moreover, chances are they'll make your team stronger and more competitive.

Intramural Tennis and Tennis Classes – Most colleges offer intramural tennis programs and tennis classes for students.  The intramural programs are run through the recreational sports department and the classes can be run through the physical education department (for credit) or through the recreational sports department (for recreation).  Find out if your college offers intramural tennis and/or tennis classes and promote your club tennis team to these students.  You may be able to get a list of students who are participating and connect with them via e-mail (or have your recreational sports professional or tennis instructor do so on your behalf), or think about going to the tennis courts during intramurals or the classes to speak directly to these students.

TOC TM Customizable Flyer Pic
Take advantage of the
customizable marketing
Traditional Methods – Posting flyers on campus is a college tradition.  To ensure that your club’s flyers stand out amongst the rest, take some time and craft a creative, eye-catching design that draws people in.  Or save some time and use the customizable marketing materials the USTA Tennis On Campus program already provides you.  Make sure to include your team’s website and an e-mail address and/or phone number where interested individuals can get more information.  You may want to use “tagged” flyers to allow individuals to take this information with them, too.  Other similar and traditional methods of marketing your club on campus includes chalking (artistically drawing your club’s information on sidewalks) and tenting (creating small table-top tents for dining halls, libraries, etc.).

Whichever method(s) you choose to pursue, make sure to be smart about where you focus your efforts.  Effective places to market include by campus tennis courts and in the recreational sports department, workout facilities, dining halls, resident halls, and high traffic areas of campus.  Lastly, make sure to get approval, make sure to get approval, make sure to get approval – check with your recreational sports department, office of student activities, and office of student affairs to see what kind of traditional marketing methods are acceptable on your campus and make sure that you’re not breaking any campus rules.

College Newspaper – Yes, your college’s newspaper can be good for more than just a crossword puzzle or sudoku in class!  This is a great place to inform your fellow students about your Tennis On Campus program.  Often, if you are having an informational meeting, announcing the first practices of the year, or letting people know about an upcoming match, there isn’t a charge to you and your team – this is considered “news” or an event the paper is interested in.  And student newspapers are always looking for material to write about.  Learning how to write a press release and having a relationship with the right contact at your school’s newspaper can lead to a lot of free publicity for your club.  Also, if you have any compelling personal interest stories about your team or an individual on your team, make sure to let your school newspaper contact know.  They’re always looking for another story, and, again, this is free press for your team.

If you’re looking to advertise in your school’s newspaper, you will be charged a fee, but inquire about a discounted rate for being a recognized club with your college.  Also, the USTA Tennis On Campus program has a few customizable newspaper ads that you can use.

Do you and your club have other creative ways you market on your campus?  Let us know at tennisoncampus@usta.com.