How to increase returning participants to your event

Are you ready to turn your race into an event that leaves everyone counting down the days until the next one? We’re here to spill the beans on how to transform your race into an experience so amazing that participants will keep coming back year after year

This article will go through 3 steps on how to increase returning participants to your race.

Step 1: Make Your Participants Your Priority 

In recent years, a lot of races have been canceled due to not having enough participants. How do you solve this problem? The very first step is to understand that without the right amount of participants, you cannot have a successful race. So you need to prioritize the experience of your participants.

This means from the very start i.e. from when participants first get in contact with your race (through marketing or word of mouth), to signing up to the race (should be digital and straightforward), to helping them get ready for the race (offer training plans), to meeting the volunteers at your event (should be friendly and energetic), to running through the finish line (they should feel like heroes), and then seeing the “thank you for participating” post on the races social media channels after. 

This first step is actually the one that rules all the other steps. Without prioritizing the experience of your participants, you will not be able to host a good race. Learn more about what we call the participant experience.

Step 2: Offer them a good deal! 

Picture this: participants crossing the finish line, exhilaration in the air, and an epic energy!  Why not seize this moment to turbocharge your registrations? You should open up registration for your next race right during the current race weekend. Capture the buzz and offer a deal they can’t resist.

For example, 25% off if they commit to the next adventure within the week or have a tiered system for rising prices. Even if your race date is still up in the air, use the magic of “TBC” (To Be Confirmed) and let your racers know the date will be locked down soon. The formula is simple: hype + planning = success!

Also, take the opportunity to honor the true racers with special-edition medals or gifts after hitting milestones like 5 or 10 years of participation

Step 3: Communicate with Your Participants Often and Early 

Make sure you communicate with your participants often and early! How long would it take to train for the race to successfully participate? Is it 8 months in advance? Then you should communicate at least 2 months before that. Give yourself the opportunity to reach as many as possible through emails, website updates, posters, videos and images on social media. Email participants before registration opens, when it has opened, and then a friendly reminder for the ones who missed it won’t hurt. And if you’re all in with RaceID, you’re in luck! We can help organizers with our feature “invite participants from last year” with a fast an easy way to invite all previous participants. Send emails and push notifications to your participants whenever you need. Get a free communication plan for race organizers here.

Also, get ready to snap, shoot, and share! High-quality pics and vids are your backstage passes to building a strong participant community. Share moments from your participants on your social media – it’s like being their biggest cheerleader online. Post those epic shots, videos, and stories to remind everyone why your event is so good. Encourage participants to share their stories and consistently share it with others on your channels! If you need help with Marketing, we offer Marketing Packages as an add-on to our Event Management System. 

So, there you have it, three easy steps to make sure your participants keep coming back, year after year.