How do I market my new business with no money?

Dear Aunty B,


I love your site and your advice! I have a new business sending SMS text messages to sports teams with weekly fixture details to individual team members. We’ve also just started a text message roster advice for a football umpire league. I don’t know anyone else that offers the service of the administration as well as the text message dedicated to sport.


I trialled the idea for two years and worked with a service provider to refine it. I started selling the concept in February this year and so far, anyone who is using the service loves it. At this stage we have a basketball club, a football team, a hockey club, a golf team and now the umpires. My dilemma is I don’t know how to market the idea. What would you suggest I do to grow the business?


Kind regards


Sharlene Waters, [email protected]



And good afternoon to you, new best friend.

Now Sharlene,


I like the idea for the business (although the price of “e-managing” a team for the season is way too low at $12. I checked out your website, Double the price or there is no point getting out of bed in the morning and the Brighton and Double Bay matrons won’t object.)


Next step is to turn into an attention seeker because at this point you need have to be inventive, daring, witty and passionate.


First, sport is fun so have fun! You need a catchy slogan and a series of cheeky postcards, which a good friend will do in return for a few bottles of good wine. Think brown paper bags here – as in what most people cannot manage their way out of… (which might lend itself to a letter box campaign.)


Play around with the “time-poor” image. You could leave the postcards at clubhouses or pop them in a stand on the sausage sizzle table. Do a deal with those roving coffee vans. Put an ad for them on your web site and in return ask them to place a stand of your postcards on their coffee bar.


Think of other groups you could penetrate. Have you had a look at those mum’s online forums? Hop on those and discuss a few issues while talking about your business. Are you on MySpace and Facebook? (That’s what kids are for. Get them to set you up.)


Set yourself up as the team manager’s little helper. Put your face on your website and become an expert on how to manage teams. Try getting some stories in the local newspaper on dealing with the sporting parent from hell – or how to manage parent expectations. Visit annual general meetings in club houses and talk to the team managers about managing difficult parents. Set out a guide on dealing with the sporting parent from hell.


To go national quickly, hit the phones and arrange meetings with the executive officers of the hundreds of sporting associations. Get in touch with the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra to get on their mailing list. Uncle Colin warns that you should look at how they are currently handling the rostering and support of volunteer umpires as the professionals will be catered for by the exec officers and you don’t want to tread on their toes.


Finally, when you have your first dozen, contact every local government council and tell their sports and recreation officers that you have a guaranteed source of hot (and presumably competent) bodies supporting your services and could they spread the word.


Other ideas: how about value adding? For example when they sign up, how about giving each player a set of footy cards featuring the team? The little blokes will show all their mates – and your details are on the back.


While you are at it, redesign your website so there is far more on the front page. No one wants to click more than once to find out exactly what you do. And get your head around search engine marketing – it works.


Gee, that was fun. Anyone else got some ideas for Sharlene email them in and we’ll send you a book if we like the idea!

What are you waiting for? Email your questions, problems and issues to [email protected] right now!

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