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tonybroad - n/a
1-Mar-08, 04:17 PM
Expenditure for last year on Marketing and PR was 0 and the average number of drivers per meeting fell last year - coincidence ? i don't think so



whilst this drop can be attributed mainly to drivers and drivers spouses/partners giving birth it's still a cause for concern



Whilst not wanting to take on the role of PR & Marketing for the club i'd like to suggest we think of effective ways in which we could market ourselves



my suggestion is we target existing 'club' motorsports i.e. karting, hillclimb, trials, motocross, stock car, proddy bike racing etc. who's interest is fuelled by enthusiasm not cheque books



i recently saw a powerboat club exhibiting at the 2008 Autosport Show at the N.E.C. and they said the level of interest surprised them (compared to the boat show which was a waste of time)and they had attracted converts to their sport from the motorsport industry - they had a big stall in a prime location and paid nearly 10K for it - other stands can be had for around 2K but it is a massive 4 day event with press, media and the industry present - i reckon in one hit we could recover falling numbers and get some worthy recognition for our sport



other suggestions welcome



Tony

Mart366 - n/a
1-Mar-08, 05:34 PM
Have you thought of approaching "The discovery channel"



Prhaps Mark Evans could be interested in " A hovercraft is born"



It has all the elements,





<ul type="square">
[/list]
A Hovercraft built from scratch

A national racing series

Tuition required before use (the training and licensing requirements)





And obviously would need someone from the HCGB to be a technical advisor





Mart

sixpackpert - n/a
1-Mar-08, 05:38 PM
Free ways:



Get some videos loaded onto youtube. Wikipedia has a section for hovercrafts. We could expand the description about hobbyists to 'big up' the racing and cruising sides a bit.



Keywords for this website, are the words 'motor racing events' etc used?



Not so free ways:



Maybe we can get into doing some 'demo' races at other motorsport events like grass track for example. This would obviously only be any good if there were significant spectators at that event and also if the drivers involved were re-imbursed for expenses.



Maybe the club could help the branches with a marketing fund.



Get the race control van sign written, 1200 miles a year on motorways is always good advertising. I know this has been discussed and budget pricing has been found, don't know how far its got though.



Silly idea:



Get Clive (Claire's hubby) to tow an advertising banner every time he goes flying! http://hovercraft.org.uk/images/icons/smiley_icons/icon_lol.gif



Just my 0.02p



P.S. Tony you mentioned power boats, look what I did this weekend http://hovercraft.org.uk/images/icons/smiley_icons/icon_biggrin.gif http://hovercraft.org.uk/images/icons/smiley_icons/icon_biggrin.gif http://hovercraft.org.uk/images/icons/smiley_icons/icon_biggrin.gif http://hovercraft.org.uk/images/icons/smiley_icons/icon_lol.gif



http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e253/sixpackpert/Hovercraftpowerboats.jpg

Mart366 - n/a
1-Mar-08, 06:15 PM
How about advertising in each regions local press,



a one page advertisement one week before the weekends racing should make people notice the event.



Some of the smaller local papers, may have cheaper advertising rates.







mart

sixpackpert - n/a
1-Mar-08, 06:28 PM
The cost involved in advertising is ridiculous, I found that out when trying to get the Severn Treasure Hunt in our local rag. 450 for a half page ad! Even when I said it was for charity the reply was "well you can get the VAT back"! http://hovercraft.org.uk/images/icons/smiley_icons/icon_rolleyes.gif I ended up getting them to just do an editorial which isn't always as good (no space for pictures etc).



At the moment the branch that puts on the race meeting looks after it completely. If it is a very small branch then the funds are not there to spend on sorting out advertising. This is why I suggest that the club has a marketing budget for each race meeting. Also if the branch is very small then they have enough to do to plan the event without having the added hassle of beavering away with the local press (they do require a lot of phone calls to take notice).



Local press and local event websites are a good starting point though.

jar2 - n/a
1-Mar-08, 09:02 PM
As Jon says - there are plenty of "free" ways to advertise using web sites. As far as press advertising is concerned you can try your local authority/council - most of them publish a 'what's on' newsletter and are usually glad to get some content. The local papers usually pick it up and re-print bits.



How about giving a bumper/windscreen sticker to all members with the website address?

GavinParson - n/a
2-Mar-08, 06:42 AM
Whilst no doubt I will be called "negative" again, the biggest reason the Club doesn't attract more members is because it's seen as a sport for eccentrics buiding machines in their sheds.

And accept it, it's a fact!

With money getting tight for many people again, the working man may not want to spend time and money building a craft to take part in inland racing events.

The so called young professional with a bit more money won't want to self-build, he'll want to buy a sexy looking bit of kit.



You shouldn't so much be looking to promote the Club, but to promote the use of light hovercraft.

I own a hovercraft, I live next to a big river I can use it whenever I want so why do I need to be a member of the Club? So you can come and over-regulate everything I do?

Do you offer me a discounted cruising insurance? No (not that it is a legal requirement to have it.) If there was a decent comprehensive policy covering theft then it would be worth having.

Is there a calendar of numerous cruising events, overseas holidays etc? No.



So the club only offers inland racing and that appeals to a minority of people who want the challenge of building their own craft.



If I had the financial resources (and the HCGB does) I would market coastal racing/events to the boating world at regattas around the country. It would need the manufacturers to supply a particular craft for it and market it as a "buy a craft and take part" sport. Ideally with a club sponsored entry level craft such as F35. Provide 2 or 3 craft for people to try it out.



We always said it had to look more professional with a direct way of getting into it rather than just homebuild.



Where we went wrong was trying to appeal to Club members to take part in coastal events. We should have gone straight to the outside marketplace and bred it over 2 or 3 years. But hey, that takes time and money.

chrismdaly - n/a
2-Mar-08, 06:59 AM
Simple Maths,



If each member found one person who they thought would enjoy being part of the HCGB and persuaded them to attend a meeting, how many would become new members?

This is how I came to be part of this club.

Word of mouth and personal reccommendation is the most effective generator.

How many people do you meet in an ordinary day that have no idea that; a) You drive a hovercraft,and b) How much fun you can have.

sixpackpert - n/a
2-Mar-08, 08:38 AM
Gavin,



There has already been a cruise on the Severn this year, another one next weekend, the Treasure Hunt in September, The Shannon Cruise and of course the Raid. I know there is not a calendar for local cruises but they can be made public on the cruising forum.



A cruising calendar is a good idea, events could even be added to the existing calendar on the site.



With new CACEC committee elected at the AGM this year with many new members with new ideas you may find new ideas filtering there way through. I share some (not all http://hovercraft.org.uk/images/icons/smiley_icons/icon_smile.gif ) of your views.



Have a good Sunday http://hovercraft.org.uk/images/icons/smiley_icons/icon_biggrin.gif

hovercad - n/a
2-Mar-08, 08:41 AM
Hello All,

One thing that could be done that may attract casual passers by would be to make some of the direction signs larger and advertising the event.

Most people will say that is already being done.

From personal experience I have past the entrance to a site due to the sign being too small or siting on the verge of a road partially hidden by grass etc.

Even with satnat.

After attending a site a few times its not a problem but the idea is to attract passers by.

Also in my television area (Meridian) they have a section called Whats on?

As far as I know its free.

Maybe some one has tried this before.

When a race meet is approaching I print out the information and place on the notice boared at work.



Craig



Just noticed Jon's reply to Gavin.One bit that stuck out was the comment."I know there is not a calendar for local cruises but they are all made public on the cruising forum."

Yes the forum can be accessed by anyone but you have to direct the public to the forum and site and the only way that can be done is by advertising.

How vast amounts of the public turning up to watch a cruise would work but the same principle works no matter if its inland or costal racing.

Please NOTE this is not written to insult anyone or put down any ones hard work they put into the club.

GavinParson - n/a
2-Mar-08, 02:23 PM
Gavin,



There has already been a cruise on the Severn this year, another one next weekend, the Treasure Hunt in September, The Shannon Cruise and of course the Raid.




.....and none of them official HCGB events, Hooray! keep it simple. Don't over-regulate cruising.

jar2 - n/a
2-Mar-08, 04:22 PM
Just noticed Jon's reply to Gavin.One bit that stuck out was the comment."I know there is not a calendar for local cruises but they are all made public on the cruising forum."

Yes the forum can be accessed by anyone but you have to direct the public to the forum and site and the only way that can be done is by advertising.

How vast amounts of the public turning up to watch a cruise would work but the same principle works no matter if its inland or costal racing.




Craig,



There is a big difference between a cruising event and a racing event. Racing is a spectator sport - cruising isn't (unless you like sitting around for 4-5 hours until the hovercraft return http://hovercraft.org.uk/images/icons/smiley_icons/icon_lol.gif ) The board is used to attract hovercraft owners to cruises rather than spectators.

bryan - n/a
2-Mar-08, 05:22 PM
I understand that the off shore events never got off the ground maybe it was a lack of advertising. As i am sure you know advertising hovercafting at the Severn Treasure hunt is high on our adgenda. For the kids we hope to use the club

house from rc hovers in the main hall and maybe have a corporate group giving rides also an appearance from the 007 craft. Then in the afternoon a rally up a fresh water tributary for in shore racing craft to get invloved.This will bring both sides of the club together.We will be starting the public advertising in late July. As avid cruiser,racing craft owners i,m sure you people would make every effort to join in!I would like to add there are many new members of CACEC which WILL sort out the irregular rules in the near future which have made events trouble some in the past.I must add i do agree with some of the comments.Although my racing career is now over (just as it got going) and i have enjoyed every minute.Taking advantage of club members organising events and myself turning up,racing doing nothing to help then leaving for home was great!!!However i have the oppertunity to give a bit back. Thinking back over the years the advertising for inshore advents has been c**p to the point i have had trouble getting there myself!!Maybe with falling numbers this is about to change.Less talk more action is the key.

sixpackpert - n/a
2-Mar-08, 06:07 PM
How about giving a bumper/windscreen sticker to all members with the website address?








Nice one and easily done as the shop sells car window stickers with the web address on, so they are already made. They could be sent out with the magazine.

ecosurveyor - n/a
2-Mar-08, 06:48 PM
I am booked to display our craft at four public events ( so far ) this year and would be delighted to display Club material if I knew how to get it. One of the events is a large model aircraft show in the South West, so that is a sure hit. Another is the Clevedon Pier Celebration - mentioned on the cruising forum - again there will be a lot of people about.



If whoever arranges publicity can contact me I'll be happy to display advertising displays/boards/leaflets to promote the Club. Better still lets have an official Club presence..... and not just information about racing - but the history and development of light craft plus something on the heavies!



While I'm on, I think there is a case for another type of user that seems to be ignored. I don't have the remotest interest in racing, and don't really want to get involved with long cruises. Having had my fair share of problems some years ago I have a huge respect for salt water and tides and found on several occasions that a ditched craft is a horrendous problem. If you haven't had a major breakdown on tidal mudflats you can't appreciate just what an inert object a dead hovercraft is.



However I love hovercraft and just enjoy operating in a fairly sheltered environment, much as people will go out in a dinghy or cabin cruiser. I don't advocate 'beach buzzing', so wouldn't it be great if the Club could organise some operating days where owners can just use ( and test ) their craft with other members on hand in a safe location. The first event on the Severn was absolutely ideal ( we broke down at the start and never got to the water and hence didn't go to the Treasure Hunt either ). There was no pressure and you could do as much or as little as you wanted with help and advice on hand, all with a really good atmosphere.



I would have thought there is a case for arranging some operating days using racing venues where enthusiasts - not just members - can bring craft, have them checked over by experienced club members and - with all the usual caveats - use them under supervision on land and water. It isn't difficult to involve the press and that would start to pull in people with a general interest and get new members. Unfortunately at present the Club is generally thought of as an organisation for racing but many people just want to make ( or buy ) their own craft and have some fun. I think we are losing a huge section of the market with the risk that someone will start a Club to cater for this aspect.



The Club could also sponsor a hovercraft building competition, perhaps using a standard plan and a maximum engine size. If they can have a birdman competition with people throwing themselves off a pier I'm sure it could be done for hovercraft! At least that way craft could be checked and people wouldn't be on their own, trying to learn lessons that others have encountered before.



Just some ideas....



Ross

Mart366 - n/a
2-Mar-08, 09:00 PM
Once thing that could be done quite easily, and would help, is a standard race flyer that could be set up for each venue. then make it a downloadable PDF file.



That way we can get it on works noticeboards very quickly.



Mart

tonybroad - n/a
3-Mar-08, 11:19 AM
there are good suggestions here, well worth further discussion and certainly we can all contribute to the local and free elements mentioned above to aid marketing



cruising seems to be undergoing a revival at the moment and i'm not sure how it's happened but we need to tap into why people have been attracted to it



whilst i think there is a need to promote ourselves globally as an organisation, my main concern and the reason for this thread is to attract more racing numbers which i think needs well considered and focused attention to well targeted future members, where would they come from and how best to attract them, even if it means spendng some money



well considered, focussed, targeted



carry on with suggestions



Tony

sixpackpert - n/a
3-Mar-08, 11:30 AM
cruising seems to be undergoing a revival at the moment and i'm not sure how it's happened but we need to tap into why people have been attracted to it








Obviously it's the charm and wit of cruisers http://hovercraft.org.uk/images/icons/smiley_icons/icon_biggrin.gif http://hovercraft.org.uk/images/icons/smiley_icons/icon_razz.gif



In all seriousness, I can tell you why I have swapped racing for cruising. Having bought a new house cost is one major issue to stopping racing seriously. Also the new house is very near a hossing great river. I want to own a craft that I can use week in week out on the Severn or any other place I choose to go. If I bought a racing craft it would just sit there all winter and then get used/repaired 7 or 8 times in the summer. By buying a cruising craft it will get use all year round. I am still coming to race meetings, as the people I have met are a great bunch and the atmosphere is great, and I will still do some races as I do enjoy the thrill (mojo returned last year http://hovercraft.org.uk/images/icons/smiley_icons/icon_twisted.gif ). As soon as I can I will be getting a GP for big grins on the Severn and beyond! http://hovercraft.org.uk/images/icons/smiley_icons/icon_biggrin.gif http://hovercraft.org.uk/images/icons/smiley_icons/icon_biggrin.gif

noursbabe - n/a
3-Mar-08, 02:20 PM
whilst i think there is a need to promote ourselves globally as an organisation, my main concern and the reason for this thread is to attract more racing numbers which i think needs well considered and focused attention to well targeted future members, where would they come from and how best to attract them, even if it means spendng some money




i'm always taking things back to the drawing boards or thier roots ,and although i have never created a forum i know from experience that when you have created a page on the net the program normally asks for <u></u>key words<u></u>in our case hovercraft ,i use AOL but it uses gooogle to search and when i type in hovercraft after three pages i find HCGB.

when looking for something ;the replies come back as with every thing starting with the number 1 ex: "123Marine". Then its the alphbetical order "ABCmarine" and then the standard A-Z replies.

So i'm not suggesting the club should be renamed to 123HCGB so its first in the directory but that <u></u>key words<u></u>in the program need to be enlarged/modified a bit as to open up to larger public ,looking for a specific topic ,they come inadvertally accross our name and as couriosity killed the cat perhaps click on HCGB to see what it's is all about ;it will only take seconds to add the key words in to the program base so instead of perhaps just the word "hovercraft" words like "motor- sport, cruising , cruise(s) ,off shore , leight weight ,clubs ,aircraft, ect ect can be added on .



Jeff

p.s

Tony

just got the guide to composites this morning ;cant wait to get "stuck" into the sticky resins. Thanks

sixpackpert - n/a
3-Mar-08, 02:30 PM
<table border="0" align="center" width="90%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td class="SmallText">tonybroad wrote on Mon, 03 March 2008 13&#58;19</td></tr><tr><td class="quote">


whilst i think there is a need to promote ourselves globally as an organisation, my main concern and the reason for this thread is to attract more racing numbers which i think needs well considered and focused attention to well targeted future members, where would they come from and how best to attract them, even if it means spendng some money




i'm always taking things back to the drawing boards or thier roots ,and although i have never created a forum i know from experience that when you have created a page on the net the program normally asks for <u></u>key words<u></u>in our case hovercraft ,i use AOL but it uses gooogle to search and when i type in hovercraft after three pages i find HCGB.

when looking for something ;the replies come back as with every thing starting with the number 1 ex: "123Marine". Then its the alphbetical order "ABCmarine" and then the standard A-Z replies.

So i'm not suggesting the club should be renamed to 123HCGB so its first in the directory but that <u></u>key words<u></u>in the program need to be enlarged/modified a bit as to open up to larger public ,looking for a specific topic ,they come inadvertally accross our name and as couriosity killed the cat perhaps click on HCGB to see what it's is all about ;it will only take seconds to add the key words in to the program base so instead of perhaps just the word "hovercraft" words like "motor- sport, cruising , cruise(s) ,off shore , leight weight ,clubs ,aircraft, ect ect can be added on .



Jeff


</td></tr></table>



That's weird, HCGB is number 4 on the first page of my Google!! I mentioned the keywords earlier and you're right it wouldn't take long to add them and the main thing with this is that it's free!!! http://hovercraft.org.uk/images/icons/smiley_icons/icon_cool.gif

jon_curtis - n/a
3-Mar-08, 06:49 PM
you can pay google to be the first hit, with specific key words i.e hovercraft! thats one way they make money!



if you want more racers, you need to get people to races to watch whats going on! why not fully premote the largest meeting of the year, advertise and get people there to watch!



most people have broadband these days, why not have a video of someone going like the clappers in a craft on the home page on opening!





the constructors guide needs to also be re-issued.

sixpackpert - n/a
3-Mar-08, 07:08 PM
After actually getting people to the event, a good way to get people into it is to let them actually have a go in a craft. When you watch a race you really can't appreciate how hard it is and how much work is going into controlling the craft (or we make it look too easy http://hovercraft.org.uk/images/icons/smiley_icons/icon_lol.gif ).



Claydon typically has the largest draw of spectators, weather dependant of course. Last year they had corporate craft operating all day in a separate area for the public to get a taste of driving them. It seemed like a great success but Claydon does have ample room for this sort of event. The other courses on the calendar are limited on space so probably wouldn't be able to set this up.



I personally think that there are other issues that need addressing before we start trying to get more people into the club but I don't think these issues are for discussion here. http://hovercraft.org.uk/images/icons/smiley_icons/icon_confused.gif

Chrisgr31 - n/a
3-Mar-08, 09:11 PM
I suspect a significant reason for failing to attract more people to participating in racing is time.



Effectively in order to be a racer you have to be able to attend most if not all of the race weekends, and of course they are all over the country, and take up the whole weekend. Not having raced I guess that between race weekends there are repairs and changes to be made etc. The result being that it is a very time intensive hobby.



Then there is an issue of how do you actually learn to drive a craft in the first place? Before entering a Novice race you need to be able to cope with the basics, and I guess that most people entering any race would want to be pretty happy that they know how to drive the thing, and get it to goo vaguely in the direction they want to go in! So where do you learn to drive a craft? Its not particularly easy to find a friendly farmer to allow you to practice.



Cruising has definite advantages in that you can go out at any time, generally speaking it is more local, although its not a spectator sport. Mind you its also true that the off-shore racing did get spectator support, although what the offshore racing was doing was taking the racing to where the people were, rather than bringing the people to the racing!

Ian Brooks - n/a
3-Mar-08, 09:12 PM
Test & practise days are a part of the overall vision for the future of the Cruising side of our Club, and I hope that we can put more of them in the calender in due course.



We are in the process of organising a "training day" for non-members, which right now has to be "unofficial" due to the some unintended difficulties with our paperwork, however, I'm sure that we will be able to deal with the issues, and I would like to see a number of "club open" events each year as a means to bring in new members. However, we have to walk before we can run, and it will take time.



For now, please keep telling the comittee what it is that you want - we have a new committee now, with many new members and we need feedback, and lots of it, to make sure that we do exactly what YOU want - the club exists for its members, after all! So write, 'phone, semaphore or plain old 'ear bend', any of the committee you can reach, and tell them what you want...



The new committee is (in no special order):



Russ Hudson

John Robertson

Bryan White

Jon Pert

Ken Rigley

Graham Nutt

Bill Baker

Ian Brooks

Chris Searle

Chris Barlow

Anne Scrimshaw

Rob Trussler



Cheers

Ian

Paul Fitz - n/a
3-Mar-08, 09:19 PM
<table border="0" align="center" width="90%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td class="SmallText">Quote:</td></tr><tr><td class="quote">
That's weird, HCGB is number 4 on the first page of my Google!!
</td></tr></table>



Which shows Jon P, that you are using Google-UK. If you were to use the international google seach the HCGB shows up around the 19-22 mark, i.e. possibly page 3.



So Webby had better get busy on sorting those tags! http://hovercraft.org.uk/images/icons/smiley_icons/icon_smile.gif

Arny - n/a
3-Mar-08, 10:14 PM
There seems to be some misunderstanding on how Google and the other search engines work.



It isn't a simple case of adding tags to get higher rankings. Google in particular has a very complex and, for the most part, hidden method of ranking pages. It used to be a simple case of adding metatags to a page but those days are long gone.



Getting good Google (or other search engine) rankings is a difficult and often time-consuming business. Google places very high importance on content... what is in the page, what the heading are, what links there are etc. It places high importance on inbound links into the site and the relevence and similarity of those links as well as the similarity of outbound links.



Each page much be tuned towards a small set of keywords by subtle inclusion in headings and the body text... not too many times and not too few. Pages titles, file names and graphic ALT tags all contribute. It isn't easy!



I use a combination of experience and software to tune my sites with some success (regularly top 10 in my chosen keywords).



To get a chance of improving our natural rankings we will need to, amongst other things:



<ul type="square">
tune the site for the chosen keywords with each page being tuned for keywords relevent to the contents of the page
continue with the links page and embark on a careful program of link exchange with other relevent sites
embark on a program of blogging by starting our own blogs and posting on other peoples blogs including one-way links into the site (google LOVES relevent one-way links especially from blogs!)
ensure that a relevent title, description and metatags are included on every page
Ensure relevent H1/H2 tags are included on every page
Ensure that every photo has a relevent and descriptive ALT tag
ensure that a Google xml sitemap and a yahoo sitemap is included for the site and correctly registered with the search engines. Ensure that it is regularly updated and resubmitted
do not register the site with free directories indiscriminately... it can seriously pull down the ranking
do not add small, unreadable or invisible text... Google hates anything that cannot be read by a human
[/list]



This is not an exhaustive list but it is a good start.



Much of this may already be being done but I can see from looking at the html that much of it isn't. It is time-consuming and difficult and the results can take months to start to show but IMO it is definitely worth it.

nickyd - n/a
4-Mar-08, 07:41 AM
Looks like you have just volunteered yourself Paul http://hovercraft.org.uk/images/icons/smiley_icons/icon_lol.gif

Arny - n/a
4-Mar-08, 07:48 AM
Actually, I really wouldn't mind being involved but it is the kind of thing that is best done by the webmaster or at least someone who is actually looking after the site because it gets a little silly if one person has to ask another to make small changes.



Having said that... if people do want me to help out with the site I would be very happy to do so when I return from my trip and things have settled down again.In the meantime, if the webby would like my advice he/she only has to ask and it shall be so. http://hovercraft.org.uk/images/icons/smiley_icons/icon_biggrin.gif



I do have a couple of ideas that the club might be interested in regarding the web site for when it is redeveloped so watch this space http://hovercraft.org.uk/images/icons/smiley_icons/icon_smile.gif