One of the toughest challenges of organizing a race is being able to attract runners. Most large cities have multiple running events each week, so being able to set yours apart is the key to holding a successful event. So, how do you grow your registrant list? Today, we’re going to share 4 ways to attract runners to your race.
Although you may have competing events to consider, you also have a secret weapon: your existing audience. The power of your existing audience, including vendors and committed registrants from prior years, is something that you can leverage to make your participation grow each year.
Imagine that your race is like a crowdfunding campaign, where you lean on your audience to build interest among their peers. In order for a campaign like that to work, you need to make it something they want to share. Here are four ideas to get you going so you can attract runners:
Offer Giveaway Contests for Early-Bird Registrants
Get sponsors or vendors to donate prizes for early-bird registrants so you can encourage people to send in their contact details early, or even make social media engagement part of the entry requirements. This gives you a line directly to your registrants well in advance of your event so you can continue to share teasers and content to them in the lead up.
As the number of registrants begins to grow, you can start using the registrant numbers as proof of the excitement that is building around your event to generate even more enthusiasm and attract runners who haven’t already signed up.
Create a Unique Theme
If you have a themed event, set that theme and commit to it. Now is your chance to set yourself apart by making your race more than just a running event. Make it an experience. Leverage that theme in all of your teasers, promotions, and communications. That theme should be creatively woven throughout your event in an interactive way that will give your participants lasting memories. And find as many ways as you can to document those memories so you are building shareable content for the next year.
Incentivize Team Captains
If your event is a team event, remember that your team captains are your influencers. Influencer marketing doesn’t have to be for celebrities only. Influencer marketing is just involves partnering with someone who has pull in their own sphere – a sphere that represents your target market – and incentivizing them to share your message.
If you make it worth their while, some of your team captains may end up being great producers for you. Decide what kind of merit-based incentives you can offer and make it as appealing as you can. Even if all you can offer is bragging rights with some fancy trappings – a mention and quote from them in one of the media articles you’ve secured, their name and team name prominently on the website – give them something to shoot for that will be attractive.
Encourage Goal Setting
This idea can work no matter what type of event you have. Whether you are organizing a fundraiser run event for a nonprofit, a marathon, a trail race, a themed event, or another type of event, the chances are that many of your participants have goals. They could be results-related, fitness-related, or something else entirely that is connected to your event.
You can encourage your registrants to set goals in a more passive way, or you could be as organized as making it part of your registration process so they can decide if they want to set one. Knowing your registrants’ goals is a great way to know how to encourage them and build their loyalty to your event. Congratulating all those who achieved their goals is another. You could even turn it into a social media campaign and use a custom event hashtag to follow everyone’s progress and community build.
Your runners sharing their goals and their progress to their own network – and making mentions of your event in the process – is the type of content that will drive a lot of positive attention for your event. This crowdsourced content is something you can initiate that will help you attract runners that you wouldn’t have had access to otherwise.
One of the trickiest parts of organizing a race is finding ways to set yours apart from others in your area to make it a must-do experience. Your greatest strength may very well be the volume of your current audience. We hope these four ideas help you come up with some new ways to attract runners to your race.