Is Your Marketing Strategy Gold-Medal Worthy? Here's How to Capitalize on the Summer of Sports

Go for the gold with your sports marketing strategy this summer
Published on
Jun 27, 2024
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Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. With major sports events this summer, marketers have an opportunity to reach engaged fans ahead of the holidays. 

Summer 2024 is set to be packed with sporting events that can only inspire marketers around the world to get their heads in the game and go for the gold with themed campaigns—or as themed as their brands allow.

These global events generate excitement and international attention. They also lead to increased spending as consumers travel to host countries.

This presents a golden opportunity for travel and hospitality brands to reach and engage those travelers.

But it’s not just marketers in travel that can benefit this summer. It’s a unique environment ripe for creative marketing campaigns across industries and an opportunity to align marketing strategies with the sports calendar

Four years ago, during a certain global competition, 57% of watchers consumed content via a smartphone or tablet, and considering that 74% of consumers said they’re most likely to shop on their phone while watching TV at night, this is a perfect opportunity to reach a captive and click-happy audience. 

A bonus of using mobile-first marketing strategies that prioritize your owned marketing channels? Better ROI. Paid advertising is expected to be more expensive than years prior. Save your budget and put forward your best performers to tap into this moment of sports marketing. 

Looking for more inspiration for ways to use SMS marketing to increase travel bookings and build loyalty? Take a tour of the SMS campaign examples included in our new travel lookbook

Ready, set, go on your sports marketing strategies

Engage your subscribers with marketing campaigns timed with major sports events this summer—or anytime, really. 

Focus on these best practices when creating your sports marketing strategy.

An SMS marketing sign-up unit offering 10% off an order

1. Grow your SMS and email subscriber list

There’s no such thing as zero place, but there's zero-party data that you should be using to power your email and SMS marketing campaigns this summer–and continue to drive loyalty and engagement throughout the year. 

To grow your subscriber list ahead of your sports marketing campaigns, remember to follow these best practices:

  • Create a high-converting sign-up unit with an actionable headline, an attractive offer like exclusive products or discounts, and a clear call to action.
  • Set your display rules so sign-up units are displayed based on UTM parameters, time, or scroll depth, or by exit intent.
  • Set up a Welcome Journey that includes a friendly hello and sets expectations for future text messaging campaigns. You can use Two-Way Journeys to further personalize your messages or find out if the subscriber is interested in sport or sports-related content.

49% of US consumers say they’d share their phone number in exchange for a great discount, and more than 50% would give out their number for a complimentary gift or free shipping.

When using both email and SMS, consider how you’ll set up your campaigns across both channels to maximize engagement and conversions. Here are a few ways to think about your workflows:

  • ‍For multi-channel subscribers who are engaged on both email and SMS, the best approach is to send them campaigns and triggered messages on both channels—leading with SMS first. ‍
  • For multi-channel subscribers who are only engaged on one (email or SMS), prioritize sending campaigns to the engaged channel more frequently and to the non-engaged channel less frequently. Trigger touchpoints across email and SMS to boost engagement on both. 
  • ‍For single-channel subscribers who are actively engaged, focus on upselling what your other channel has to offer—and make it easy for them to opt in. One way to do this is by creating a joined-a-segment journey in Attentive, and linking out to an SMS-only or email-only landing page to drive sign-ups.

2. Segment and personalize

Use customer interests and past behaviors to create campaigns that can align with the excitement around major sports events this summer. 

Here are some ways to segment your audiences, both for your SMS and email marketing messages:

  • ‍Behavioral data or actions, such as browsing history (e.g., viewed a specific product, added to cart), purchase history, purchase frequency, average order value, or engagement (e.g., clicked on a text message recently).‍
  • Target market or demographic, such as age, gender, or other similar factors. ‍
  • Geographic location, such as a subscriber’s city, state, or local time zone. Location-based segmentation is useful for location-specific events or weather-related messages. For example, helping customer stay dry if it’s going to rain during an upcoming sporting event or stocked up on their favorite snacks if staying indoors and watching an event on TV.
  • Customer interests or preferences, such as their favorite products, categories, styles, or in this case, sports teams or interest in sports-related content.‍
  • Shopping device type, such as mobile (e.g., phone, tablet) or desktop.
In the past, one of the biggest limitations for brands was the inability to effectively understand, curate, and utilize the wealth of data they were collecting on their customers. Now putting easy-to-use, specific data points such as favorite teams, game attendance, and purchase behaviors in the hands of marketers is easier than ever. Better segmentation leads to better personalization which leads to increased conversions and customer engagement.

- Cooper Helfet, VP Strategic Growth, Amperity

Take the guesswork out of who to target and when with AI. Using Attentive AI™ Pro, you can create optimized audiences and find the best time to send for each subscriber, so you can engage the shoppers who are most likely to convert at the perfect moment. Brands that use Attentive AI™ are seeing 120% more clicks and 117% more purchases. 

Want to learn more about advanced segmentation strategies? Learn how these 9 advanced audience segments can help you drive engagement and ROI

3. Create engaging, compelling content

Centering campaigns around sports provides marketers with the opportunity to focus on inspirational or emotional storytelling. There are several ways you can tap into that power and inspire your customers to take action.

Collaborations

Collaborate with influential athletes, sports figures, or social media personalities who resonate with your brand's ethos and the audiences you aim to engage. This approach can extend your reach, create excitement, and foster confidence in your brand.

Customer stories

An email marketing campaign from Thread Wallets

Turn your customers into ‌heroes and winners in their industries by sharing inspirational customer stories or user-generated content. 

Thread Wallets celebrates their customers by featuring tagged Instagram posts in a monthly email. Not only is this beneficial for Thread Wallets to show their products in the real world, but it’s fun for their customers to see if their image was selected that month. This a fantastic opportunity to curate user-generated content by asking your followers to share pictures of your products on the road or at a game.

Gift guides and collections

An email marketing campaign from OLLY

Help your customers find the right products by curating gift guides or showcasing collections of similar products or goods.

This summer isn’t just about the best athletes out there playing games. OLLY is here to support their customers and fitness enthusiasts on their everyday wellness journeys by keeping them energized to play this summer with their collection of energy supplements.

Interactive content

The athletes are pushing themselves and competing among the best, and consumers are ready to get in on that action as well. Create interactive pieces of content such as quizzes, surveys, or contests to engage these audiences. Just keep these interactive experiences fast so consumers can enjoy them during commercial breaks.

Your summer of sports SMS marketing playbook

Get inspired to create text messages aligned with sporting events this summer by copying the winning strategies shown in these SMS marketing campaign examples.

An interactive spin-to-win sign-up unit for SMS marketing

Make everyone a winner

A fun way to engage customers and prospective customers (and build your subscriber base) is to have Spin-to-Win sign-up units on your site. Visitors get to spin a wheel and then win an offer or discount in exchange for subscribing to email and SMS alerts.

A sweepstakes SMS message from Wyndham Hotels & Resorts

Host a giveaway

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts offered sports fans an opportunity to win a free trip, plus free nights as a Rewards point member. Even if a subscriber doesn’t win, they’ll have travel on the brain and may opt to book their own sports trip.  

When using SMS marketing, our data shows a 12% average click-through rate for travel and hospitality customers. 

A text message from Igloo offering a limited-edition item

Invite customers to show off their team spirit

Sell sports apparel, gear, or sports-themed products? Remind customers to show off their pride for their favorite teams or athletes just in time for game day.

A text message campaign from Knix

Promote limited-edition items

While Knix provides cozy clothing perfect for watching sports at home, they’re also promoting ‌ limited-edition loungewear—a strategy you can adapt to your own campaigns this summer. Just as certain events occur infrequently and trigger FOMO, you can induce the same by sending reminders to shop for limited-edition products.

A text message using geo data from Farmacy Beauty

Target campaigns by geo-location

Know your customers will be on the move this summer? Use location data to target them with amazing offers. If you don’t have physical stores or multiple locations, you could spin this campaign idea by reminding them to stock up on previously purchased items or finally return to their abandoned cart now that they’re heading home from their sports event.

An SMS message from Food52 sharing a recipe

Share educational content

Keep your brand top-of-mind even if you’re not in the sports industry. Borrow this strategy from Food52, who sent customers a recipe for cinnamon rolls customers could make days in advance of an event or game.

A Two-Way SMS Journey from ba&sh

Engage customers in conversations 

This is a great example of a Two-Way Journeys™ text that allows the customer to text back and increase engagement.

To adapt this text message to sports, you could pose a question about what type of sports enthusiast they are or what sports teams they follow and share curated collections based on their answers. Or, if you’re in the travel sector, you could use this example to help your customers with their packing lists.

An interactive text message from Maker Wine

Entertain the non-sports enthusiasts

Not all attendees at sporting event watch parties are fanatics themselves, but are there to support their favorite sports fan. Chances are good you can get those consumers’ attention with fun games, like Maker Wine did by making their own Wordle game, Wine-dle.

A spring promo text message from Mercato

Come to the rescue

Helping customers with their needs–like Mercato did in the example above–is always relevant no matter if it’s the busy holiday season or preparing to host ‌a game day event. Help customers solve their oops moments with just a click. 

Need more inspiration for your sports marketing (or sports-adjacent) campaigns? Our 2024 Marketing Campaign Calendar is filled with tips and templates for key dates in the US, the UK, Australia, and Canada. You can also browse our SMS gallery, Texts We Love, for more ideas and strategies to try. 

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