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Keeping parents, players, and volunteers informed is vital for a successful season. Whether you need to let them know about upcoming registration dates, the car wash fundraiser next week, or a rogue gopher at the fields, you have all the tools you need directly within Sports Connect. For targeted and timely messaging, your integrated email tool is a great way to spread the word. 

Hundreds of millions of emails have been sent through the Sports Connect platform, and we have accumulated quite the list of best practices along the way. Read on to learn a few simple email tips from our marketing team.  

Reach Their Inbox

The time you spend crafting the perfect message is all for not if the intended recipients aren’t getting your email. Deliverability is a challenge for any business that incorporates email into their communication strategy. There are several factors that influence deliverability, but here are a few basics you should know:

  • Have recipients verify their email address: This seems obvious, but it’s easy for a busy parent to mistype a single letter and be completely perplexed as to why they aren’t receiving your schedule change updates. Encourage your members to double-check their email address upon registration. If they’ve typed it incorrectly, it can be updated within their My Account screen. 
  • Whitelist the sender: Adding a sender to your email’s “whitelist” means that it’s not spam and you wish to continue receiving their messages. Encourage members to add your organization’s email address to their contacts or whitelist the address in order to avoid that pesky spam folder. 
  • Build a strong sender reputation: In other words, you want to show the email providers (such as Gmail) that you’re not a spammer. You can improve your sender reputation by:
    • Sending valuable content/information: When you share information that’s valuable to your reader, it will increase your open and click rates, decrease your unsubscribe rates, and improve your reputation. 
    • Targeting the right audience: It’s a good idea to keep historical contact information for the occasional marketing message, but if you are constantly emailing parents of players who haven’t participated in years, you’re going to get spam complaints and poor engagement that affects your sender reputation. 
    • Not looking suspicious: Avoid spam trigger words in your subject lines, check that your links are working, and make sure your copy is well-constructed. Not taking these into consideration is an easy way to get marked as spam. 
Crafting Your Message

Most of us aren’t email designers by trade. Luckily, you don’t need to be in order to get a professional looking message out in a timely manner. Here’s how:

  • Use an existing email template: No need to recreate the wheel. Your integrated email tool comes equipped with email templates built specifically with the youth sports volunteer in mind. This means you’re not wasting time trying to build new templates in an external tool. We have created easy plug-and-play designs for common messages that youth sports organizations send throughout the season. 
  • Be conscious of the mobile experience: Making your messages on brand and creative is always a good idea, but be aware of how your email renders on a mobile phone versus a desktop computer. Try to avoid excessive formatting. Keep it simple to guarantee the best experience no matter what device the reader is using. 
  • Keep your copy concise: People spend an average of 10 seconds or less reading an email. Don’t ramble. Be sure to keep it concise and put the most important information at the top of your email so it won’t be missed when skimmed.
Before Hitting Send

Your email is crafted and you’re ready to check it off your to-do list. But before you hit send, make sure you have done these last few things to get the most out of your hard work:

  • Test, test, test: For larger group messages or more heavily formatted emails, it’s a good idea to send a test email to yourself or a couple of friends to ensure it is displaying correctly on both desktop and mobile. Love what you’ve created? Be sure to save it as a New Template so you can easily use it again in the future. 
  • Don’t make the subject line an afterthought: There is a very small window of time to catch the attention of your reader in their inbox. You can make a more compelling subject line by making it personal (such as including division name), creating a sense of urgency if your email is timely, and keeping it concise and to the point. 
  • Segment your audience: The last thing you want to do is send every message to every contact that you have. This is a surefire way to rack up the unsubscribes and have a few upset members. If your message only applies to active divisions or certain teams, make sure you are only including those lists in your send.
Messages You Should Be Sending 

Outside of the automated messages that you set up for registration, what other emails should you be sending throughout the season? Here’s a few great ideas you should add to your communication calendar:

  • Fan Wear promotions: Your integrated Fan Wear store is an easy way to raise extra funds throughout the season, but don’t just set it and forget it. Use email to communicate the opportunity to make a purchase all season-long. Read more on our blog, 5 easy ways to earn more with Fan Wear. 
  • Team welcome email: Our friends at MOJO shared why a welcome email is so important. This is a great time to communicate expectations, team goals, sideline behavior, and more.
  • Survey at the end of the season: Request feedback about your member’s experience with their coaches, the club, and more by sending a survey link at the end of the season. You can build your own free survey using a Google Form and simply include the link in your email.
  • Reconnect with past players: Don’t spam families that are no longer involved, but it certainly can’t hurt to occasionally reach out with upcoming registration or club information. This is a great way to grow your registration numbers and keep the community engaged. 

Now you are equipped to send great messages to your members, increase your open rates, and engage with your community. Have more questions about using your Sports Connect email tools? Check out these helpful support articles: