• Jackson Clark

How To Use Facebook Ads To Increase Membership Sales For Your Football Club

Updated: Jul 1, 2020

I’ve always been very passionate about sports, so as an online marketer, I’m fascinated how these two fields overlap. Growing up around Australian Football my entire life, it impresses me that the AFL appear to be following the lead of the NBA, NFL and other globally recognised sporting organisations by implementing solid digital strategies.

During my research, I observed that most Facebook advertising campaigns by the AFL and its 18 clubs centred around membership sales. These campaigns were super effective with the AFL receiving a 20-to-1 return on investment from ad spend and an extra $4 million in revenue generated for the season (AdNews, 2018).

Most state league football clubs and league governing bodies offer supporter membership packages, so it surprises me the majority clubs are not using the ‘big league’ as inspiration and running their own Facebook advertising campaigns. It is cheaper and easier than you think. It can be a secret weapon for state-league and local football clubs, so here are some example campaigns to help increase membership sales.

Facebook Advertising Campaign to Increase Membership Sales

Ad Campaign One:

Produce a video of around two to three minutes in length about your football club or league. It could be a video that directly explains the benefits of signing up as a member, a highlights package of the previous season or any other engaging video content.

Go into the Facebook advertising platform and choose Video Views, Traffic, Conversions or Lead Generation as the campaign objective depending on the campaign structure and resources available. Video Views and Traffic campaign objectives usually result in a cheaper cost per engagement because Facebook is essentially rewarding your advertisement for keeping users on its platform. However, Conversions and Lead Generation are more actionable campaign structures and can result in more membership sign-ups.

There are many targeting options for a campaign like this, depending on your Facebook ad expertise. Ideally, this advertisement would be sent to a Custom Audience – either via an e-mail list of former members or data from website visitors. If this is not an option, target to the location, ages and demographics, which best suit your club.

Remember to include a call-to-action and tell your audience explicitly what you would like them to do (sign-up to become a member). Generally, the 'warmer' the audience the more membership sign-ups you’re likely to receive.

Ad Campaign Two:

Another option is to retarget to those people who watched a certain percentage – let’s go with 50% – of your video in the first campaign by sending them a follow-up advertisement.

You do this by creating a new Custom Audience, selecting Engagement and following the steps from there.

Choose Lead Generation or Conversions campaign objective and create a different piece of content with a call-to-action to sign up for a membership.

Ad Campaign Three (Extra Option):

So, now we’ve sent a follow-up advertisement to those who watched at least 50% of the video, but what about those who watched some of the video, but less than 50%? We can continue to engage those potential membership buyers by sending them further content about membership options and the benefits they’ll receive by signing up. Talk about what makes your club exciting this upcoming season and why supporters should come along to the games.

The campaign marketing objective will depend on the content, but video, and selecting Video Views, is generally the most effective type when trying to turn a cold audience into a warm audience (great for retargeting potential).

We are looking for any piece of content that could help move someone further down the sales ladder and closer to buying a membership for your club. If any of those directions or terminology sounded confusing to you, it might be wise to watch some Facebook advertising tutorials on YouTube.

State-league and local football clubs are underutilising digital marketing, and particularly, Facebook advertising.