SMS Marketing for Sports Teams

It costs a lot to attain/retain talented players, maintain facilities, put on huge events, and entertain fans enough to buy tickets and support the team. To sustain the success and momentum your organization needs from fans to continue to compete in your sport, fans need to know you exist. Better yet, fans need to be able to connect with your team emotionally.

This is where SMS Marketing — and, by extension, knowledge of 10DLC rules— becomes essential. 

SMS Marketing generates open rates as high as 99%, compared to channels like email, which create 33% at most. Moreover, those text messages are read by recipients within 15 minutes of delivery. As a sports team marketer, the results speak for themselves. However, this article dives deeper into the use and benefit of SMS Marketing and why your sports team needs it. 

SMS Marketing: The Basic Rules of Engagement And The Reason for Using 10DLC

First and foremost, what is SMS Marketing? SMS Marketing refers to sending marketing messages to fans over text messages. Much like email, although more successful, recipients can ‘opt-in’ and ‘opt-our’ to receive your messages, making them more open-minded and susceptible to your content.

This is crucial now that text message marketing has proven its value in the industry. Statistics show that people check their phones every 10 minutes, and another 75% admit wanting to receive offers from brands over SMS. Sports teams can use this preferred method of communication as a unique opportunity to reach sports fans and connect with them.

Now, what are A2P 10DLC rules?

A2P 10DLC rules are a conversation that must be had when considering a text message marketing strategy. A2P stands for ‘application to person,’ and DLC is an acronym for ’10-digit long code.’ It allows you to send application-to-person text messages using long local codes. Your franchise will have to register your brand with The Campaign Registry (TCR) initially, then register your entire campaign.

Cellphone carriers are introducing a new concept to protect their customers from spam while supporting the connection your sports franchise hopes to nourish over this marketing channel. 

Aside from adhering to the basic rules of engagement — i.e., the ability for consumers to opt in and opt-out — 10DLC can offer your sports team an array of benefits. For instance, you may use 10DLC instead of shortcodes if your company: 

  • It has a low message volume 
  • Needs to meet specific regulatory requirements
  • Wants to be associated with an existing number or local area code
  • Has a strict budget

Different Uses of SMS as a Marketing Strategy

SMS marketing offers sports teams a unique combination of uses that many other channels cannot provide with the same results. From additional support in other marketing campaigns and boosting engagement with fans to tracking results and continuously improving your strategy, here are the top uses of SMS as a marketing strategy. 

Integrate and Support Other Marketing Channels

As you’ve already seen, SMS marketing is a powerhouse on its own. When you combine it with other campaigns and marketing initiatives, you also strengthen the success of other channels. 

According to several reports, fans want to connect with brands and their favorite teams on multiple channels. One report goes as far as naming today’s consumers ‘Hybrid Consumers’ because they engage with their preferred teams and brands across a combination of 20 or more channels. Having multiple channels that are on-brand also helps you build brand awareness and make a connection in a variety of ways. Since there are things other channels can do that SMS isn’t built for, these integrations can help your franchise build a more holistic marketing approach with different channels.

Some examples of great ways you can integrate SMS with other popular channels include:

  • Social media — on your sports team’s social media platforms, leverage Text-to-Win contests to integrate SM and SMS. This will include adding the number you want users to text and the keyword to your account to encourage more SMS traffic and SM engagement. For example, Text SPORTSTEAM to 56789 now to enter the contest!
  • Content marketing — whether it’s an interview with the coach or players or a recap of a recent game, your franchise can use SMS to notify fans of new content to your platform. With a link directly to the blog/article, users will be more inclined to engage with your SMS and read the new content. 

Website and Live Chat — combine your SMS with powerful sales integrations like Salesforce, social messaging apps, Hubspot, Five9, and more with the right platform. This will keep all your fan data and touchpoints in one place and make the connection between you and your fans easier and more efficient.

Engage With Fans

With delivery fast, efficient, and high open rates, engaging with fans over SMS marketing can be a game changer for sports teams. In the sports industry especially, fans want that emotional connection with teams. They’re open to making the connection necessary to fuel their spending on your franchise. 

Giving them what they want on a channel they’re constantly active on will, in turn, give you what you want: more money to support the growth of your sports team. 

Having a reliable outlet to engage fans with their favorite teams is essential to their support and funding. According to a Deloitte study, the average amount fans spend in the off-season increases as engagement increases. In fact, among the fans who identified as ‘fans that love the game,’ researchers observed a 7% increase in daily spending. However, there was a 53% increase among those that identified as fanatics. 

Ways your team can engage with fans include sending the following:

  • Real-time score updates
  • Any major team announcements
  • Exclusive offers and discounts to the game
  • Team schedules
  • Links to merchandise and similar promotions

Opportunities For Monitoring, Tracking, and Improving Strategies

Like any digital solution, you can use SMS for more data and insight into your fanbase. Through direct feedback via text message and behavioral/activity data tracking, your marketing team will be able to build a better model of who your fans are, how you can reach them better, and what it will take for your sports team to resonate with them as much as it can. 

According to McKinsey, marketing backed by data generates significantly higher sales —as much as 25% in some cases — than those that do not. The report found that this was due to at least two reasons: budgets and algorithms. Marketing budgets can be adjusted and improved according to data results (i.e., allocating budgets to efforts that achieve goals more efficiently). Likewise, algorithms track recipient behaviors that give you insight into when they would be more susceptible to purchasing sports merchandise, tickets, etc. 

With a platform for business SMS, you can schedule, track and monitor the following in your campaigns:

  • All text messages (including those that were sent, received, and deleted)
  • Contact information
  • Timestamps
  • SMS-related clicks (CTR)
  • Number of opens
  • The number of responses, etc.

With this insight, you’ll be able to gauge the success of your SMS marketing campaign, including making real-time improvements when necessary and making more informed decisions in the future.

Benefits of SMS Marketing — For The Fans And Your Team

If your marketing plans don’t include SMS, they aren’t complete. Here are a few notable reasons SMS needs to be in your sports marketing strategy. 

Create an Emotional Connection With Fans

The connection fans can have with your franchise over SMS is much deeper because it’s direct and away from typical distractions users can run into when communicating with you on other channels. It’s also a one-on-one conversation that will make fans feel more special as you answer their specific questions, update them on upcoming games, etc. 

One academic study that explored the correlation between emotions and sports fans’ behaviors found that emotions can directly shape the behaviors of sports fans, affecting how much they participate, engage, purchase merchandise, and attend matches. Another study adds that a strong psychological connection to a sports team can even go as far as influencing fans to continue supporting and rooting for them during losing seasons. 

Reach Fans on Their Preferred Channel

Although research suggests that your franchise should be on several channels to reach and resonate with fans, those channels must be relevant to the audience you’re trying to reach to work. SMS is one of those channels that most people are active on because mobile use has become so mainstream. 

According to some statistics, researchers have found that not only do 85% of people prefer to receive SMS messages over the phone or email, but users were almost 5X more likely to respond to an SMS. This means your franchise can reach and engage with fans on a channel that most spend, on average, three hours and 15 minutes of their time on. 

Two-Way Texting

As long as it is well-managed and maintained, having another channel for people to reach you on will never be wrong. The problem, however, is that many companies work with SMS solutions that allow you to deliver messages but not receive them. One study found that at least every one in three customers says they’ve sent messages to a company without receiving a response.

While this may get your messages read by the right fans, it will not nurture the relationship between your team and fans like you want it to. With the right SMS solution, you’ll have two-way texting and a reliable channel to answer questions, encourage more team support, and create an emotional bond with fans that will elicit loyalty towards your sports team. 

Allows Fans to ‘Opt-in’ and easily ‘Opt-out’

One of the most significant benefits of SMS is that fans opt-in to receive text messages from your franchise. This means they thought about it and gave you their consent to send them messages. This is huge in the marketing world, considering so many consumers are fed up with irrelevant advertising and invasion of privacy. 

It also means you can rest assured that you’re reaching the right audience, and a receptive one, as they need to deliberately opt-in to receive messages. This way, you comply with text messaging laws – for instance, The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) requires written consent to send text marketing materials and ease of opting out. Then, you can leverage a method in which you can be sure that the fans that hear from you are always your right audience. 

Zero-Party Data 

Most marketers know about Google’s recent privacy update that has the marketing world going cookieless (removing third-party data). What does a cookieless world look like? It’s one where brands and organizations like yours cannot source data from online visitors without their consent.

While first-party data will allow you to track and monitor fan data like behaviors, response rates, activity, etc., SMS can also be an excellent channel for getting zero-party data.

This means direct data and insights from your fans. It’s the most reliable data because it doesn’t have to be analyzed or interpreted to become an insight. Your fans give you the insight directly. There’s no better way to get to know them.

TrueDialog: Your Full, Enterprise-Grade Texting Platform With More Features at Half The Price

According to Grand View Research, the SMS Marketing industry in the U.S. is expected to grow to at least $12.6 billion by 2025. This forecast’s compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is approximately 20.3%.

With these statistics backing its support, SMS is undoubtedly an essential marketing component for sports teams. However, not just any business SMS texting solution will get you there. You need TrueDialog.

TrueDialog can offer your sports franchise more features than any other SMS provider through our turnkey, enterprise-grade platform or our brilliantly designed API. These features include two-way texting, team-to-one texting, one-to-millions mass texting, call center texting, a multi-channel urgent alert system, an SMS survey engine, an SMS scheduling engine, a text coupon engine, and more. 

Expand your marketing strategy with TrueDialog by registering for a free trial to discover what SMS can do for your sports team.