Why Engagement Matters More Than Ever in Racing

Over the next two weeks, I want to explore a topic that’s always hot when it comes to marketing and almost never talked about when it comes to racing: engagement.

First, let’s talk about how to define engagement and why you should care. Generally, engagement is: emotional involvement or commitment.

In our social media and online marketing, engagement means likes, comments, shares, and other actions like subscribes, purchases and referrals.

At the race track, engagement is generally less quantifiable. It starts when a fan or driver enters the speedway and, for example, gets built by:

  • Forming relationships with other fans, drivers and track staff,
  • Cheering for their favorite driver,
  • Attending an autograph session,
  • Bringing a friend or family member,
  • Buying apparel and souvenirs, and
  • Sharing their experience on social media, bringing the concept full circle.

As you might notice above, social media engagement feeds the at-the-track actions and at-the-track engagement can feed social media.

If that doesn’t give you enough of a reason to care about engagement, here’s the what it boils down to:

The more engaged your audience is, the more consistently committed they are to you and your brand. 

So, what does that mean to you?

For drivers, engaged fans might mean more apparel sales, more cheers from the grandstands, more fan votes in contests, more sponsorship opportunities and better performance for your current marketing partners.

For tracks, engaged fans might mean more consistent, higher attendance numbers, more apparel and souvenir sales, more sales of signature concession items, a higher propensity to share their experience at the track, more sponsorship opportunities and better performance for your current marketing partners.

If you’re concerned that the sport is suffering because we’re competing with so many other forms of entertainment for fans’ dollars, you should consider the concept of engagement as your beacon of light.

Because if they love your brand, they’ll engage with everything that it’s aligned with. 

If it aligns with you, an engaged fan will commit to you over and over again with their time, energy and money. On any given day, an engaged fan will choose your apparel over an MMA t-shirt, a trip to your race track over a night at the movies and an investment of marketing dollars if the fit is right.

(Side note: that’s also why consistent branding is so important. If it doesn’t feel like you or your brand, fans won’t engage).

So how do you build and boost engagement in your audience (which also, by the way, usually leads to growing it)?

I’ve got a detailed post coming your way next week that gives you plenty of ideas and concepts to put into action. Want a head start? Boosting engagement starts with knowing who your customer is and what they want. Take some time to create a customer profile that you can work from in the future.

Questions? As always, ask away.

xo.
Kristin

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About the author

Kristin Swartzlander Kristin Swartzlander is passionate about applying business sense to racing 'nonsense' in hopes of growing the sport of dirt track racing. She is a business strategist who works with entrepreneurs and small businesses to help them learn how to use public relations, marketing and social media to achieve their goals. Learn more about social media, marketing and racing sponsorship on the DirtyMouth blog.