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Tips and Tricks for promoting your virtual challenge:
Email Marketing: Instead of spending money on an email marketing platform (like MailChimp or Constant Contact), you can save money by using RunSignup's free email marketing. Just upload your contacts into our email marketing system. Select past and current participants in RunSignup - the system will automatically de-duplicate your lists. Copy and paste your HTML template code. Simple.
Drip Campaigns: A Drip Campaign is a series of emails that go out automatically to keep your participants engaged after registration. For an effective Drip Campaign, you want to select your key messages - don't send too many emails, especially long ones, if you want to avoid annoying your participants. Keep your messaging concise and consistent with your overall viral marketing strategy.
Abandoned Cart Emails: Enable and customize an automated email to go out to participants who abandon their carts to incentivize them to come back and complete their registration.
Price Increase Emails: If you have price increases for your virtual run, enable price increase emails, and customize them for current participants ("get your friends to sign up before the price goes up") and past participants ("sign up before the price goes up").
Referral Rewards: Incentivize participants to refer their friends and family by rewarding them with refunds, swag, and recognition. Why does the Referral Program work so well? Because there is no better advocate for your race than your participants - and this holds true for virtual races.
Once you determine the parameters for your Referral Rewards, all of the refunds and swag selection are fully automated. Make sure you have a fulfillment and shipping plan in place if you decide to offer a Swag Reward!
Keep it simple: Make sure you can easily explain your referral program on your website and confirmation emails. Here's an example of how you can visually explain your referral rewards:
High threshold, high reward: The most effective referral reward set ups are high threshold and high reward. Most referrers don't reach the high threshold to get a reward - so the 1-4 people they do refer are free!
Registration follow-up emails are a must: Use registration follow-up emails 1-10 days after someone registers to capitalize on their excitement and encourage sharing.
Promote early and often: Referral rewards only work if participants know about them! Feature the rewards program on your website, emails, social media, etc.
Teams: Even though we have to stay apart, teams can still be a fun way to virtually bring people together. You can also use them strategically for marketing your virtual race.
Team size refunds/discounts: Set a minimum number of members a team must reach to receive a discount. Automatically reward teams with an automated refund (for participants who have already registered) or discount (for participants registering after meeting the threshold).
Customize your team language: Make it fun! Tie your team challenge into the theme of your virtual race. It's simple to customize your team set up with your theme.
Fundraising Teams: If your event is focused on fundraising for a charitable cause, fundraising teams are the way to go. Be sure to feature the fundraiser leaderboard on your race website so teams can see how well they are doing compared to others.
Offer Multi-Race Bundles: Have a physical, "real" race later in the year or next year? Are registrations stalled, but you need the cash flow now? Set up a multi-race bundle combining your real race with a virtual race that happens now. Automatically give a discount to incentivize participants to sign up for both the virtual and in-person event. In addition to generating revenue, this has the added bonus of getting participants excited about your future physical event.
Customize Social Sharing: Customize the text and images of what participants share on social media to encourage referrals and sharing. The best tip for images is to use pictures with happy people or cool pictures of your virtual race's unique swag - be sure it's something that people will want to click on Facebook!
Outside of RunSignup
Facebook Groups: Love it or hate it, Facebook is key to a successful virtual race. Create a Facebook event and group to engage people where they spend time on the internet.
Encourage event posts: Create a hashtag and encourage participants to share selfies: "Post selfies after your run using #..."
Private or Public Facebook Groups: Create a public or private Facebook group to foster community and a place to ask for advice or share training journeys. Especially during these times when virtual interaction is the norm, these types of groups can be a powerful way to engage your participants.
Social Media Advertising: It pays to advertise your virtual race on social media. People are spending more time on Facebook and Instagram than ever before, and you can reach new audiences paid digital marketing.
Use swag images: Swag is the main reason that people sign up for virtual races. Showcase your shirts, medals, or other swag. You can use Canva(for free) to design nice ad images - they have a number of Facebook ad templates that you can customize.
Include time-limited coupons: Automatically give a discount to people who sign up from an ad by adding an auto-applied coupon URL. Make sure to only make the coupon valid for a day or short period of time to incentivize taking action now.
Charitable Partner: Connect with a charity partner to give your virtual race more meaning. Collect donations on their behalf and/or clearly state what $ amount of the registration fee goes towards the charity.
Virtual Calendar Listings: Your RunSignup website is automatically listed on affiliate calendars (such as Running in the USA). Want to take it a step further? There are other options to get your virtual race listed on more event calendars for a small fee.
EVVNT: This event promotion site enables you to reach a greater target audience than ever before with filters optimized to hit specific categories and cities all around the world. Learn more: https://evvnt.com/