At Granite State Race Services we want your event to be as successful as possible, and a big part of that is getting runners to come to your race. Hopefully some of these ideas will help you in your race promotion efforts. Also be sure to check out this great guide to race promotion from Race Directors HQ.
Social Media and Websites
- Advertise on Facebook and Twitter, put images on Instagram. Check out the marketing and promotion articles at Race Directors HQ, and download ChronoTrack's free "Race Directors Guide to Social Media."
- Send an email to all of your race registrants (and previous years' participants) to encourage them to go to your Facebook event page and click whether they are Interested or Going. Do remind them that clicking that they are "Going" does not mean they don't have to register through the usual method. Some people do assume that.
- Take advantage of your race registration system's referral system whereby runners who have already registered can get rebates or other rewards by referring their friends. Most major registration companies offer this.
- List your event on as many online and offline race calendars as possible.
- Make sure you have a website where people can find out information about your race. If you are timed by GSRS our website’s landing page for your race does come up in search engine results.
- Ask runners, especially those with lots of fellow runners who follow them on social media, to post and tweet about your race.
- Make a video describing your race and post to YouTube and on social media.
- Approach runners who blog about the sport to mention your race.
- Use your local government’s online calendars and social media channels.
- Get stories and testimonials from runners who have run your race in the past and get them published in print and social media.
- Don't forget the traditional media. Have your local newspaper, radio and TV stations advertise the race beforehand, and report the results after the event.
- Keep in touch with your runners throughout the year, and use other methods of building runner loyalty.
Signs and Flyers
- Give your race applications to GSRS to put out at our other events
- Put out large signs and banners in local downtown areas advertising your event, hanging over roads, using movie marquees, walls of local businesses, fences
- Put up yard signs around the area, similar to political campaign signs, and in the same kinds of locations.
- Put out flyers where the runners will be, which is everywhere! Schools, gyms, libraries, restaurants, grocery stores, laundromats. The list goes on.
- Create great race teeshirts and other gear and schwag that will be used throughout the year to drive interest in next year’s race.
- Go to other local road races with your race fliers and “talk it up”
- If you are partnering with a charity or community cause, put a link on their website
- Partner with local businesses that could advertise your event on their existing road sign. This could be mutually beneficial by your event including the business in the list of race sponsors
- Have the charities for which you are fundraising use all of their own promotion avenues
- Partner with other races in your town or area to form a race series. Help grow each other’s races.
- Partner with local running and track clubs
- Include a corporate team challenge that may encourage friendly rivalries for area businesses. You may also consider other race divisions such as police/fire, veterans, etc.
- Participate in the New England 65 Plus Runners Club Endorsement Program
- Put special emphasis on children’s divisions and awards, as well as fun and games for kids at the race, then promote your race through the schools
- Provide a “hook” for runners, i.e., free beer, prize money for age group awards, free raffle giveaways to race participants, free food, music and a party atmosphere, theme races where (for example) runners dress up in costume
- Send out emails to runners in your area, or who ran in your race in previous years, offering a discount if they sign up on a special day, such as an upcoming holiday or other noteworthy date.
- Use a catchy name for your race. Just naming it after your town or a local club or individual doesn’t attract attention. Will it be part of a local festival? Name it after the festival. Some names we’ve worked with that get runners’ attention: Wildman Biathlon, Race to the Top of Vermont, Run Your Buns Off, My Dogs Are Barking, Shamrock Shuffle, the Frighteningly Fast 5k and a trail run called Sasquatch. Get creative!
- Create price tiers in your online registration software that encourage people to sign up early.
- Focus on what makes your event special or unique and get the word out.
- Are you charging too much for your event? See what other similar races in your area are charging and don’t charge more than everyone else.
- How about your course? Is there something about it that makes it stand out? Flat and fast? Extraordinarily challenging? Beautiful views? Hopefully it is USATF Certified as to distance so your runners know they are running the correct distance.
- Bring some celebrities to your race.
- Start a "Couch to 5K" program in your community with a common finish goal of running your 5k!
- Put on a great post-race party. See some examples.