• Jackson Clark

Using Facebook Ads To Recruit People To Your Sporting Club? YES!

Updated: Jul 1, 2020

Attracting new players, coaches and volunteers is generally a key priority for grassroots sporting clubs. It can be what makes or breaks a club’s on and off-field success and is the cause of headaches for presidents and committee members around the country. Every second week during football season there seems to be a hardship story about a struggling old sporting club clinging to survival and desperate for numbers.

Unfortunately, the recruiting efforts from well-meaning club persons often fall on deaf ears due to using outdated approaches. We are in a digital age – so we need to determine how we can most effectively implement strategies online, particularly on social media. Fortunately, there are a number of advertising campaign ideas, customisable for your club, that could complement existing recruiting strategies.

Of course, like any Facebook marketing campaign, we are faced with limitations; I’m certainly not naïve enough to think you can take your local football team from the bottom of the ladder to a winning a premiership flag just by running a couple of ads. If your club looking for a gun forward to kick a ton of goals and take the team to premiership glory then you’re better off writing a big, fat cheque and picking up the phone to call him.

But if you’re involved at a club looking to increase junior participation, attract new players to the sport or just more numbers around the club in general, Facebook advertising can be incredibly effective.


Ad Campaign One:

Most clubs have access to the contact details (e-mail or phone number) of former and current members, players, coaches etc. We are going to use this list to help recruit more people into the club. Don’t stress, we will not be spamming or directly contacting these people. If you’ve never used the Facebook ad platform before, the following may sound a little complicated. But please stick with it!

Once you have found the e-mail list and are in the Facebook ads platform, create a new Custom Audience and select Customer File, then upload that list of e-mail addresses to Facebook.

Next, we will create a lookalike audience.

What better way to recruit players than to send an advertisement to people who Facebook have determined to be extremely similar in characteristics and behaviour to your current or former group?

Remember to adjust the targeting settings to best suit your club’s location, gender and age demographics.

The advertisement could be a video (choose Video Views marketing objective) or poster (choose Traffic or Conversions marketing objective) that expresses the advantages of joining your club, training times and perhaps even includes a call-to-action to contact the coach or football manager.

Let's create a specific example, say you’re recruiting for a Northern Territory Football League club that are trying to attract more players for its women’s team:

First, upload a list of e-mail addresses of all the current and former footballers who have played for your club, then, create a lookalike audience of this list (see above). Next, change the location settings to “Darwin” and set a 25km (or whichever travel distance you feel is realistic) radius around your football club. Finally, adjust your age demographics and ensure that your gender targeting only includes females.


Ad Campaign Two (Attracting Junior Players):

Did you know that Facebook allows us to send advertisements to parents, segmented by specific age groups? How handy is that! Now think about how powerful that can be when trying to attract junior players to your club.

Just like the previous campaign your club will send an advertisement in the form of a video (choose Video Views marketing objective) or poster (choose Traffic or Conversions marketing objective) that expresses the advantages of joining your club. If the club has a special deal with junior membership, such as an offer for a free uniform or a discounted rate, it can be turned into a Lead Generation marketing objective ad, which may even be more effective.

Once in the ad set, go to Detailed Targeting -> Demographics -> Parents and you will see a list of age options to target to. After you select the age group that you’re recruiting for, adjust the targeting settings to best suit your club’s location and gender demographics.


So, instead of relying on word-of-mouth, a desperate plea to the local media or putting an advertisement in school newsletters, why not try Facebook ads? There is so much that can be done for sporting clubs with Facebook advertising. It can help to increase membership & merchandise sales, recruit more players, increase attendances at club functions or whatever else your club’s goals are.

It’s time for sporting clubs to move into the 21st century and start leveraging social media to survive, grow and prosper.