How To Get Participants To Sign Up To Your Race Again

As a race organizer, you probably want to create an epic race that participants cannot wait to come back to year after year. Aside from offering a superb experience and giving them a challenge to remember, there are a few marketing-related tactics you can use to make sure your racers return each year. First of all, you need to make sure your race is truly great, which Hector helps you with in this article

Open Registration For Next Year On Race Day 

The number one tip for boosting registration sign-ups, is to offer participants an opportunity to again have all the excitement and enjoyment they just felt, directly after they experienced it. 

You can do that, by opening registration for your following race during the weekend of your current race. This way, you use the race day buzz as an extra boost. You can combine this with an irresistible offer – say 25% discount or similar, if they sign up for next year within the following week. 

Don’t have your race date ready yet? Open with a TBC (To Be Confirmed) date! Big events like Formula 1 for example, open ticket sales a year in advance even though they don’t have a confirmed date for the race yet. You just have to be clear on the communication, and let racers know that the race date will be confirmed in X months or on X date. If people really want to do your race, they will plan their vacation and travel around it. 

Email Your Database of Past Participants When Registration Opens

An easy task, but something that many organizers miss: make sure you send out an email (or in these days, perhaps even surprise with a postcard!) to remind them that registration is open. Keep a database or list of all your past participants so you can easily communicate with them. If your race is using RaceID, there is a handy function for sending out both emails + push notifications to their phones from the app. 

One email might be missed, so send a reminder to the ones that did not open the initial one after a few days as well. It cannot hurt in any case, so long as you don’t spam people every day 😉

Consistent Marketing Is Key

Take good quality photos and video. Gather not only the email addresses of your participants, but also look to follow their social media accounts and follow them. Then you can like, follow, and create community within your participant database. Share photos and videos on social media or in email newsletter often to remind everyone how awesome the race was last time! Encourage your followers to share stories, experiences and expectations around your race. Build the hype each year.

Offer a “Devotion” Price 

This takes a bit of time to build up, but it can definitely help you make your race a tradition in yearly travels and calendars by offering a reward for devoted and loyal participants. You can recognize those  who have completed your race 5 years, 10 years and even 20 years in a row with a special-edition medal or gift. 

Another way to think about this, is to create a rewards program around repeat participation. E.g. participants that have completed your race 5 times, get a 5% discount, 10 years, 10% discount, or something similar. 

Change Up The Course & Add Something New 

A challenge is to keep your race interesting. Racers nowadays increasingly seek new challenges and new experiences. An easy way to apply this on your own race, is to try to change it up by slightly changing the course each year, by adding new exciting sections or cool passages with a new view. Or maybe you want the course the same? Then perhaps you can look at other things – perhaps changing your sponsors, participant gifts, pre- and post race activities or any other aspects you can think of. 

Make A Really Good Race T-Shirt 

This last tip is a bit out there, but very smart. Believe it or not, but one race that I did in Spain (Marnaton Open Water) created such a legendary reputation about the design of their finisher t-shirts, that it became one of the main reasons for many to sign up and come to the race! I loved those races too, but many of my friends just wanted one of those uniquely designed t-shirts so badly that they signed up and did the race just for the t-shirt. I’m sure it is not only the design, but also the prestigiousness of wearing that shirt as a finisher. Perhaps you can draw some inspiration from this, and create something unique about your race as well.

Any way you can add value to your race means that you can attract more participants that might be interested in what you’re offering – and also increase the likelihood that they will have a really great time (and thus return next time). It goes without saying that this will allow you to charge more and earn more on each registration as well…

It’s a bit of extra effort obviously, but a pre-race pasta party or similar can really help create a nice atmosphere and break the tension ahead of your race. Post-race activities can be more free-form – many racers who have trained for months for your race want to celebrate their achievements! Create a great atmosphere for them to do this by including a post-race meal, perhaps with local drinks (the microbrewery down the road would probably love to serve your racers refreshments). Music always goes down well, and getting any local celebrities involved – with prize givings, competitions or just hanging out and serving drinks or being a barista – can really add excitement and exclusivity to your race.

Help Racers Train For Your Race

Create tips and insights to your race. Offer training advice and encourage potential participants in their training on their journey to get in shape for your race. Right now a lot of people are out of routines with training. Many lack the motivation to get back that ‘fit feeling’ or the feeling to be strong enough to race again. Encouraging your racers will help them get back in shape and will also help them return to your race.  

Any more tips to share on how to get returning racers? We would love to hear about it in the Race Organizer Facebook group