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Rowing Clubs Are Not Using Social Media Effectively: The Cheapest Way to Market your Club

Social Media. We hear a lot about it, and most of us are on it, and if I were to suggest that we in the rowing community don’t leverage it effectively, many would disagree. What I am suggesting is that our community doesn't know the difference between simply using social media, and maximizing social media to achieve your organization’s goals. What if I was to tell you that for less than the cost of a new sweep rigger, you could sustain an effective, yearly campaign of growth and local community awareness for your rowing organization?


Rowing Organizations are not using social media the right way.

For any organization with a growth mindset, (I always define growth as either an increase in participants, an improvement of the overall membership experience, or a greater presence in the larger community) social media is the most effective and efficient marketing channel available. Because most of us only use it socially, and because we don’t have an army of marketing professionals working in our sport (NCAA, NFL, NBA, MLB, etc.), it never occurs to people to actually advertise their club on social media. In the simplest terms, we should not just be posting pictures of sunsets and water fowl, we should be PAYING for advertising via these sites.


Why is social media marketing so effective for rowing organizations? We can start with the efficiency of targeting: Like a small business, most rowing organizations only need to reach people within a 20-30 mile radius. Social media sites like Facebook and Instagram allow for this specificity of geographic reach. In addition, social media advertising offers targeting by gender, age, and interest (rowing, outdoor sports, athletics, watersports, etc). No other media outlet can achieve that level of focus without a heavily curated (and very expensive) mailing list.


The cost is what makes this form of marketing so effective however. The cost of every click from a social media advertisement to your club’s website is unsurprisingly referred to as the “Cost per Click” or CPC. The clubs I have worked with thus far have seen a CPC average around $1.00. If you could pay $10 to bring in 10 new members to your club, would you do it? By way of comparison, the industry-wide average for cost per click ranges $2.00-$5.00. When it comes to impressions (number of unique, targeted, users that see your advertisement) that cost for rowing organizations drops down to $.002 per impression. That is an extraordinarily cost-effective marketing campaign.


Simply put without all the marketing-speak, this means that you can reach thousands of people in your community, who are specifically interested in rowing, fitness, or any outside activity, segmented by age, and/or gender, for between 5 and 10 dollars for each advertisement. For less than the cost of a new sweep rigger, you could be advertising your club year-round and actively reaching out to people who have never even considered trying rowing, or even knew there was a club. Even more importantly, we can continue to reach back out to those college rowers who have left the sport.


There are a few rowing organizations already leveraging social media effectively. Unsurprisingly they represent some of the largest and most successful clubs and rowing companies in the country. They have dedicated marketing professionals/social media managers in place. A smaller club does not need a full time professional however, in order to start leveraging these tools. It can be done effectively on a simpler scale, with a minimal budget, and has the potential to establish a larger presence in your community. For the growth-minded rowing organization, social media marketing is the best way forward.



Madder Consulting has helped numerous rowing organizations set up their social media campaigns for growth, and as a sustained effort for community presence and outreach. I offer multiple solutions for rowing organizations facing marketing challenges around access, offerings, experience and demographics. Talk to me about how you can maximize social media to achieve your organization’s goals! john@madderconsult.com

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