We all know that marketing is important to our tennis programmes, but that doesn’t mean we need to spend money on T-shirts and balloons! There are some basic rules that you should stick to and they’re not complicated or expensive. It’s all a part of working and thinking in a professional manner to grow a successful and profitable business! Here are the simple marketing rules that i2c swear by – and which we believe are essential for helping you to grow your tennis business!
This article was first co-written by i2c Directors Mark and Richard for the ITF Coaching and Sports Science Review in 2009, we’ve updated and revised it for 2017.
BONUS: Download our template for your own basic customer database, Customer database template (16 downloads)
Rule #1: Value and respect your customers
Treat your customers with respect and be genuinely thankful for their business; these wonderful people have chosen to come to you for their tennis and they pay you with their hard-earned cash. If you don’t treat them properly then they can just as easily go to a different coach. So, they should be treated as valued customers.
Successful coaches make much of their income (and therefore profit) from regular customers. Retaining existing players is up to 10 times cheaper than attracting new players, and much easier. Grow your reputation by being customer focussed – your clients are buying you!
i2c’s top tips:
- Always return customer’s emails and phone calls, and if you can’t respond immediately, tell them when you will respond.
- Have a diary to keep track of your timetable – that way you’ll avoid the embarrassment of missing a lesson and disappointing customers.
- Always start and end lessons and programmes on time.
- Customers who feel valued will tell other people how good you are. So, your reputation will grow.
Rule #2: Build and maintain a customer database
Do you collect lots of customer information (phone numbers, birth dates, email addresses) on enrolment and registration forms, but you’ve never kept it or entered it into a spreadsheet? Then you are missing out on an easy and inexpensive way to grow your business. Your customer database doesn’t need to be complicated, it just needs to have headings to sort the information. An excel spreadsheet is perfect.
By always having your customers complete well-structured application forms, important information such as names, email addresses, mobile phone numbers and playing level can be entered into a simple database and kept.
i2c’s top tips:
- Keep your customer details up to date.
- Record birthdays and send your clients an e-birthday card. They will really appreciate it and it’s unlikely your competitors are doing the same!
- Record information about existing and potential customers. Keep details electronically – manually written details can easily be misread!
- Great customer records will help you to retain existing customers and build loyalty by providing a personalised service and communication.
Rule #3: Upsell programmes and coaching to your customers
One of the best ways to increase your income is to sell more to your existing customers. You know that your existing customers are tennis fans and they are loyal to your coaching business – so, you don’t need to sell them your skill and capability. You can keep in touch with customers easily and inexpensively by emailing to your customer database.
i2c’s top tips:
- Advertise more efficiently by target marketing. Select players from your database, and advertise activities and courses specially geared towards their standard or characteristics (for example for an Under 10’s tournament or a new adult course).
- If you tell your customers about extra programmes that are relevant to the coaching they already purchase from you, then they won’t feel that you are being pushy; they’ll see you as being helpful.
- Take advantage of every customer touch-point to promote your programmes.
- Offering vouchers and special offers is a great way to convince customers to spend a little more.
By following these simple steps, your business will become more customer focussed, and more profitable.