Blue Sombrero » Blue Sombrero News http://www.bluesombrero.com Free Online Registration and Sports Websites Wed, 19 Sep 2018 15:25:43 +0000 en-CA hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.8 Marketing 101: Take a Digital Approachhttp://www.bluesombrero.com/sports-digital-marketing http://www.bluesombrero.com/sports-digital-marketing#comments Wed, 22 Aug 2018 21:26:52 +0000 http://www.bluesombrero.com/?p=41800 80% of consumers use search engines to find local information. (Think with Google, 2014) Focusing on a digital footprint for youth sports leagues is vital to growing your business and creating awareness. We all use some form of […]

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80% of consumers use search engines to find local information.

(Think with Google, 2014)


Focusing on a digital footprint for youth sports leagues is vital to growing your business and creating awareness. We all use some form of search engines, especially when searching for local businesses and services. So, why not let that reasoning apply to your youth sports organization?

Local Online Presence

Building an online presence is crucial, especially for small businesses and local organizations. Having an established online presence, and continuing to update your websites and social media pages, will aid in building trust and transparency with potential customers and help retain current customers.

Good website design

It is crucial to build or find a website design that not only works for your youth sports league, but stays up-to-date with website trends – especially when it comes to your website being mobile-friendly.

Once you have picked a design for your youth sports website, it’s time to take into consideration the way your website is built, as this can impact your visibility on search engines.

This article by Codeburst.io explains more in depth, but check out this quick overview:

  • Navigation – Clearly labeled and defined locations for a potential customer to easily sign up and register.
  • Content and Visual Elements – This could range from a type of font all the way to images of your youth sports league.
  • Brand Uniformity – Get a quality logo that sets your league apart from others in your area.
  • Engagement – Make sure your website is appealing and filled with relatable content to engage your current and potential customers.

 

Social Media

Social media channels are helpful tools if used properly. You’ll see companies, like Slack or Zendesk, turn to Twitter as part of their support channels. This way, customers can simply send a tweet  asking for help and receive support promptly.

Posting important information on your league’s Facebook page is another way for local clientele to easily find your organization online. As mentioned before, it also helps build trust as information is updated and keeps current and potential customers stay informed on important news.

Plus, having your website integrated with your social media channels is just as necessary for growing awareness! Your customers should always be encouraged to share their experiences with your organization on social media.

Ads

To take it one step further, if you’re interested (and have the bandwidth), social media advertisements can make an impact on growing your local organization. Facebook allows you to easily target within a range of an area and is equipped with tools to create a target audience.

For a more in depth step by step guide on creating Facebook advertisements, take a look at this article by Hubspot.

Stay Connected

We brushed on building trust and updating content on your league’s website and  social media pages, but there are more ways to have a bigger impact on your clientele.

Staying connected with current customers and potential customer is vital! Make sure to utilize communications tools that allow for you to connect with both audiences for all occasions. For example, you can easily send emails to update your league’s members to congratulate them on finishing a strong season. Every interaction counts!


Stay tuned for more tips on by subscribing to our blog by visiting here!

 

 

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How to Maximize Fan Wear Saleshttp://www.bluesombrero.com/maximize-fan-wear-sales http://www.bluesombrero.com/maximize-fan-wear-sales#comments Thu, 26 Jul 2018 20:59:10 +0000 http://www.bluesombrero.com/?p=41058 Give back to your league. Start maximizing your Fan Wear sales.   A trend we’ve noticed is that high performing Fan Wear stores all have one thing in common: The league has done a great job creating awareness […]

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Give back to your league.
Start maximizing your Fan Wear sales.

 

A trend we’ve noticed is that high performing Fan Wear stores all have one thing in common:

The league has done a great job creating awareness about their store.

As a result, these organizations are given the chance to put money back towards new gear for players, buy field equipment, and contribute financially to other important projects.

How? Because every organization gets a contribution back, based on their Fan Wear sales.

Check out this list of strategies that are proven to be successful in promoting and increasing Fan Wear sales:


Use your Website as a Billboard

One of the easiest ways to create awareness is to put images of your custom Fan Wear items in your image rotator, located on your homepage. The rotator is prime real estate for whatever you choose to highlight, since it is seen by every visitor on your website.

You should also link this image to your store to make it a seamless click-to-shop experience for parents. The great part about this is both your website and online Fan Wear shop are working for you 24/7/365, so your fans can see this at any time.

Share on Social Media

One essential way to promote your store is through social media. We suggest signing in and sharing through your league page as well as your personal account, so no one is left out. Don’t have league accounts? We’ll be covering it soon in our Think Like a Marketer series.

You can easily include a direct link to the store and add images of your custom branded Fan Wear items to grab attention if you leverage multiple channels of communications, like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. This is your best chance to entice others to share your Fan Wear store too and do some of the marketing heavy lifting for you!

Show and Tell

Have any meeting, games, or events coming up? This would be a perfect time to share the word about your Fan Wear Store. Sporting your apparel on the field, or off the field, makes quite an impression—it provides an opportunity for parents and players to see and get a feel for your organization’s branded gear first-hand.

Something to Hold

Printing and passing out informational flyers at your next event would help bring a visual image directly to your parents’ hands. Remember to include your website’s URL on the flyers to make it easy for for them to find the store.

These don’t have to be elaborate. A simple image of some gear from the store with your website address is plenty. You can also do this throughout the year when you add new designs, celebrate specific holidays,  or new apparel becomes available.

Targeted Emails

Using our bulk email tool, you can select a targeted group of your members who are in-season, or preparing for the new season, and let them know about your organization’s Fan Wear store.


Patience and persistence is key when it comes to building your organization’s reputation and maximizing your Fan Wear sales. Don’t get frustrated if you try one strategy and the results aren’t great. Hang in there! It takes about three selling touch points before you start making an impact on someone’s buying decisions.

We want your club to be successful with Fan Wear sales and will do whatever we can to help. We’re also always on the lookout for great ideas from our users, so don’t hesitate to give us a shout at adminhelp@bluesombrero.com!

Don’t have a store? Learn more here.

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New Website Design ft. Helios IIhttp://www.bluesombrero.com/helios-ii http://www.bluesombrero.com/helios-ii#comments Fri, 20 Jul 2018 18:48:26 +0000 http://www.bluesombrero.com/?p=40761 Introducing our Newest Website Design: Helios II   The newest member of our website gallery, Helios II, offers a new look and feel to the original Helios design. Here’s a look at Helios II from top to bottom. *Hover over […]

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FeatureFocus_July2018

Introducing our Newest Website Design: Helios II


 

The newest member of our website gallery, Helios II, offers a new look and feel to the original Helios design.

Here’s a look at Helios II from top to bottom.

*Hover over the following screenshots to have the highlighted features explained in more detail*

HELIOS II

Helpful Tip: You can update the header for most of your website modules under the “Module Settings” button on your homepage settings menu.

Learn how to select your website design alongside other website tips and tricks by visiting our Support Site, or contact our team anytime at adminhelp@bluesombrero.com.

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Marketing 101: Growing Your Leaguehttp://www.bluesombrero.com/marketing-youth-sports-league http://www.bluesombrero.com/marketing-youth-sports-league#comments Fri, 13 Jul 2018 20:41:20 +0000 http://www.bluesombrero.com/?p=40702 Marketing essentials to help your league grow.   Welcome to part one of the Think Like a Marketer series! Before we dive into the technical details of how to grow your league, lets go over a quick high-level […]

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Marketing essentials to help your league grow.

 

Welcome to part one of the Think Like a Marketer series! Before we dive into the technical details of how to grow your league, lets go over a quick high-level lesson of Marketing:

 

What is Marketing and why is it important for my youth sports league?

 

What is Marketing: the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.

Why is Marketing important: As the youth sports industry continues to grow, properly marketing your league will become as vital as running your league. You can’t start an organization or more importantly, grow it without effectively getting the word out.

This can be done strategically, when taking the following into consideration:

 

The 4 P’s of Marketing: Product, Price, Place, & Promotion

 

The 4 P’s of Marketing are coined as a process to describe the way all companies, small or large, target their audiences, while differentiating themselves from their competitors.

Here is an outline of what the 4 P’s look like for most youth sports organizations:

Product: The service of providing youth sports activities to consumers, such as youth baseball/softball programs
Price: The costs of registration, equipment, time, and fan wear parents pay for
Promotion: Relevant content and channels for advertising your youth sports league
Place: Sports leagues are seasonal, so advertise your organization in the right place, at the right time

As intimidating as they seem, every organization utilizes these points instinctively. For example, as your league’s season approaches, your team might start to pass out flyers at local schools around your community, or your organization might host a car wash to raise money for your league. Marketing your league can be done at all levels – whether it’s a grassroots approach or you decide to focus on a digital strategy.

What’s most important is how your organization executes your marketing game plan, while seamlessly taking the 4 P’s into consideration.

Work smarter, not harder.

 

No matter how big or small your youth sports association is, there is always room to grow; meaning, you will always need to be marketing your league. But, marketing your league doesn’t need to take up all of your time.

Stay tuned for our upcoming posts in our Think Like a Marketer series for tips on how to brand, market, and grow your league!

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June Support Playbookhttp://www.bluesombrero.com/june-support-playbook http://www.bluesombrero.com/june-support-playbook#comments Sat, 30 Jun 2018 20:14:33 +0000 http://www.bluesombrero.com/?p=40443 Support Playbook June 2018 Edition   If you have not seen our past Support Playbook editions, we highly recommend taking a few minutes at the end of each month to browse these emails. They contain a recap of the month’s […]

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Support Playbook June 2018 Edition

 

2018-02-26_9-58-35

If you have not seen our past Support Playbook editions, we highly recommend taking a few minutes at the end of each month to browse these emails. They contain a recap of the month’s product enhancements, administrator tips & tricks, frequently asked support topics, and more.

June was another feature-heavy month as a few big items were released. Fan Wear is now included in the registration process, we added a new email group to assist with player retention, it is now possible to opt players into payment plans when a bulk transfer is initiated, and our Registration Listing module now features a new countdown clock!

A new Playbook and blog series, Market Your League, kicks off in June and July, and is geared towards helping volunteers learn best practices around gaining exposure for their leagues. Stay on top of our blog page and future playbook editions to gain helpful tips and tricks from our marketing experts.

Finally, Don’t Forget about some important guidelines around our Mass Text feature. And for the accountants, or non-accountants doing an accountant’s work, there are a series of reports built into Team Sports HQ that will give you insight into your revenue and organization’s bottom line.

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Fan Wear in Registrationhttp://www.bluesombrero.com/fan-wear-registration http://www.bluesombrero.com/fan-wear-registration#comments Fri, 22 Jun 2018 18:14:16 +0000 http://www.bluesombrero.com/?p=40291 Fan Wear in Registration is here. Being a youth sports administrator requires dedication and patience. The work doesn’t stop after you set up your organization’s website, create programs, or run your season. The extra effort put into promoting […]

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Fan Wear in Registration is here.

Being a youth sports administrator requires dedication and patience. The work doesn’t stop after you set up your organization’s website, create programs, or run your season. The extra effort put into promoting your league to new families is also a year round task and we want to make this as easy and pain-free as possible.

As we’ve rolled out our brand new (and free) Fan Wear stores, we’ve made it even easier for parents to place their orders for gear; making this is a great opportunity for parents to promote your league’s brand by wearing your apparel at games or around town.

We are excited to introduce Fan Wear in Registration. Not only is it quick and easy for administrators to set up and activate a Fan Wear store, but now parents can seamlessly place their orders for branded gear at the same time they register. Prior to the final checkout screen, parents are shown a handful of recommended products from your league’s online store to add to their shopping cart.

It’s a total win/win! Your organization has another avenue for earning money, since you get a contribution back on all sales, AND it’s convenient for parents to place their orders for branded gear before their season starts.

If you have any questions about the Fan Wear in Registration process, check out this support guide.

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June 2018 Product Updates and Enhancementshttp://www.bluesombrero.com/june-2018-product-enhancements http://www.bluesombrero.com/june-2018-product-enhancements#comments Wed, 20 Jun 2018 21:30:59 +0000 http://www.bluesombrero.com/?p=39585   Every month we strive to reach a goal of pushing new customer-facing enhancements to better our user experience. Here’s a quick update on the exciting things that our team has been working on through the month of June! What’s […]

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ProductEnhancements_June2018 (1)

 

Every month we strive to reach a goal of pushing new customer-facing enhancements to better our user experience. Here’s a quick update on the exciting things that our team has been working on through the month of June!

What’s new with Team Sports HQ?


Registration Updates


 

Registration Listing Module Countdown Clock

Administrators can now use our Registration Listing website module to tease upcoming programs before they are open to register. If a program has a future registration open date, a countdown clock will tick down and then turn into a ‘Register Now’ button when families are able to sign up. Once the program is open, the registration listing will display the season dates (start date and end date).

2018-06-19_23h52_18


 Communication Updates


 

New Email Group Helps Retain Players!

We recently added a series of reports to help address player retention, including the Inactive Participants Report. This month, a new email group, “All Inactive Participants”, has been added to help administrators take action and communicate to players who have participated in the past, but are not signed up for any current activities.

The goal of this report and email group is to identify players who may be slipping away from an organization and help administrators attempt to retain them. Communicating open registrations or upcoming activities to these players can keep them involved before they drop out of a sport or go to another neighboring organization.

Edit Custom Email Groups

Creating custom email groups allows administrators to combine multiple pre-created email buckets into one list, or to add individual email addresses to a list such as email subscribers, board members, or extended family. Once a custom email group is created, administrators can now edit and remove recipients from a list. This way, if a recipient was added to a group by mistake or no longer wants to receive emails, there is no need to start over and create a whole new group.

Simply select the custom group and click the “View/Remove Members” option that appears next to the group name.


 Order Management Updates


Bulk Transfer Players into a Payment Plan

Bulk Transfer saves lots of time when large groups of players need to be moved into another program or division. If an administrator initiates a bulk transfer into a program that supports payment plans, each player included in the transfer can be opted into one of these installment plans. Whether you are transferring one player or one hundred players, we want everyone to benefit from the convenience of spreading out costs via our Automated Payment Plans.

 


 Schedule Updates


 

Archive Schedules

Once all events from a game or practice schedule are completed, administrators will want to remove this schedule from being visible. However, deleting the schedule entirely will remove all historical data related to those events, such as scores, standings, and match-ups. A new option to Archive Schedules is now available for this purpose.

Archived schedules will be hidden from view, but the history of those events will be maintained. To view data associated with these archived schedules, navigate to the Archived Schedules page to unarchive or delete these schedules.

Additional Recipients for Schedule Notifications

Administrators can now add additional recipients to a schedule so that they can receive schedule notifications. This may include referees, additional team personnel, extended family, or anyone that may need to be included on event updates, cancellations, reschedules, or postponements. During Step 1 of creating a schedule, add email addresses into the new Additional Recipients text box, with multiple email addresses being separated by a semi-colon (;).


When our customers want something, we listen. Our team wants to hear from you, so we can help provide the best user experience in the industry. If you ever have an idea on where we could improve, you can always submit an enhancement request. We appreciate all feedback!

 

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Fan Wear is here. Activate your store today.http://www.bluesombrero.com/activate-fan-wear-store http://www.bluesombrero.com/activate-fan-wear-store#comments Thu, 17 May 2018 15:32:08 +0000 http://www.bluesombrero.com/?p=39169 Proud parents are always excited to sport apparel with their team’s colors and logos. The problem is, too many youth sports organizations don’t have the time or means to offer custom fan wear. Youth leagues often have to […]

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Proud parents are always excited to sport apparel with their team’s colors and logos. The problem is, too many youth sports organizations don’t have the time or means to offer custom fan wear. Youth leagues often have to pay for temporary online stores, deal with the hassle of coordinating printing with vendors, or end up over ordering on inventory.

With every DICK’S Team Sports HQ website, we offer the opportunity for something great:

An all-in-one Fan Wear store.
No upfront costs or minimum orders.


Gain all of these amazing benefits by activating your store:

 

Activate your DICK'S Team Sports HQ Fan Wear storeIt’s a way to earn money back for your league.

It’s always available; on-demand ordering 24/7.

It’s set up within your website in a few clicks.

It’s direct shipping to your fans.

It’s completely hassle-free.

It’s in your control.

It’s FREE.

Setting up is easy. Upload a logo, pick your organization’s colors, and you’re done.

We’ll take care of the rest. No coordinating, ordering, shipping, or keeping track of inventory required.

Plus, your program gets a contribution back from all Fan Wear sales every quarter.

Are you as excited as we are? Learn more here.

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April 2018 Customer Focused Enhancementshttp://www.bluesombrero.com/april-2018-enhancements http://www.bluesombrero.com/april-2018-enhancements#comments Fri, 20 Apr 2018 21:10:03 +0000 http://www.bluesombrero.com/?p=38384 Every month we strive to reach a goal of pushing new customer-facing enhancements to better our user experience. Here’s a quick update on the exciting things the Blue Sombrero team has been working on! What’s new? Site Wide […]

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DICK'S TEAM SPORTS HQ

Every month we strive to reach a goal of pushing new customer-facing enhancements to better our user experience. Here’s a quick update on the exciting things the Blue Sombrero team has been working on!

What’s new?


Site Wide Events!

Our Admins have been huge proponents of our team adding Site Wide Events.

Site Wide events are applicable to all members of an Admin’s organization. They do not conflict with pre-existing scheduled events. These events can be used for club-wide events, such as picture days, board meetings, or league outings.

DICK'S TEAM SPORTS HQ

Check out this support guide to see how you can create your next Site Wide event.

New Participant Reports

When it comes to being an Admin, seeing users’ and participants’ details is important; which is why our development team has been working on adding new types of “User Details” reports.

1. Inactive Participants Reports

Allows Admins to see which participants are considered “Inactive,” including any information about them. “Inactive” includes users not registered on a wait list, do not have an order in their shopping cart, and are not registered in a current program.

2. Returning Participants Reports

Admins can now easily compare participants between two different programs. This report can assist in cross-checking which participants are registered for a program and which are not.

How does this make your life easier?

With the Inactive Participants Report, if a program has players on a wait list, admins may need to contact them. All you have to do is pull a quick Inactive Participants’ report to be able to see how many participants exist, who they are, and their contact information.

When it comes to the Returning Participants Report, any Admin can cross-reference who is a new participant and who is returning from last season. *Hint, this could be helpful for decision-making purposes for a Board Member as well.

and last but not least…

Homepage Announcement Banner

Something a little more exciting, while making Admins’ lives easier: Announcement Banners.

DICK'S TEAM SPORTS HQ

Admins can now make live updates for users to see on the site (see above). All announcements will be at the top of the page and equipped with a selection of icons to accompany any type of message. Read this awesome support guide to learn how you can post your next announcement.


When our customers want something, we listen. Our team wants to hear from you, so we can help provide the best user experience in the industry. If you ever have an idea on where we could improve, you can always submit an enhancement request. We appreciate all feedback!

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How to Improve SEO on Your Blue Sombrero Website PT. 3http://www.bluesombrero.com/improve-seo-youth-league-website http://www.bluesombrero.com/improve-seo-youth-league-website#comments Wed, 18 Apr 2018 15:00:07 +0000 http://www.bluesombrero.com/?p=37914 We’ve covered the basics of search engine optimization (SEO) and gone over what it means to have an optimized webpage. So, what about when it comes to your youth league’s website? Take a look at all of the […]

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SEO IMPORTANCE YOUTH SPORTS

We’ve covered the basics of search engine optimization (SEO) and gone over what it means to have an optimized webpage. So, what about when it comes to your youth league’s website?

Take a look at all of the tips below for optimizing your league’s website.

Setting up your domain

A great start to gaining a better ranking is solidifying a unique domain name. So, instead of the default URL for your Blue Sombrero website, this is a domain you will purchase through an independent provider, such as GoDaddy.com.

A tip to remember while deciding on a domain is, the more readable and easier to type, the better. Having an easy-to-type URL makes it easier for online visitors to find you; meaning you receive more traffic and will be ranked higher among search engines.

When establishing a domain, you should attempt to incorporate your team’s name or organization’s name, as well as the location.

*Hint: Think about what a parent searches when interested in registering their child for a sport*

Take a look at what one of our partner’s website as an example: http://www.ondeckacademy.com/.

*Please note, it is easy to set and forget this task, but domains eventually expire and you will be required by the provider to renew them. If you don’t renew, someone may be able to snag your domain before it’s too late!

If you’re interested in changing your domain, contact adminhelp@bluesombrero.com once you have purchased a domain name through an independent provider. **Make sure to include your website URL and your new domain URL when reaching out**

 

Basic Steps to Start Optimizing your Blue Sombrero Webpage

The following steps to optimizing your webpage should be taken for each page you elect to display on your website.**

1. Log in as Club Admin or Website Manager – Admin -> click ‘Website’ from the menu bar at the top

2. You’ll see all of your Current Pages. Use your knowledge from the previous blog and use strategic keywords throughout your pages’ descriptions.

Try to incorporate your keywords and supplemental keywords throughout each page. And, don’t be stingy when it comes to creating pages! The more quality and engaging content, the better.

3. Once you choose a page and —> click ‘Settings’ (gear icon on the right side). You will see the following:

Page Name = Menu Bar

Page Title = What is shown in the browser and search engine (you can be more descriptive here)

 

4. Make sure your Page Title keyword is included in your Description. Meaning, for each page you set up, make sure to have the Title match what is in the Description as well. Consistency is key! See the example below.

DICK'S TEAM SPORTS HQ

 

When you conduct a Google search for your youth league website, this is the content that shows up under the name of your page. It gives potential visitors (aka parents or participants) a snapshot of what your website offers. See the example results below.

 

DICK'S TEAM SPORTS HQ

 

The Importance of Inbound Links

Inbound links are links that come from other websites and re-route to your own website.

For example, by us hyperlinking On Deck Academy’s website, search engines are picking up on this. The more often this happens, search engines will pick up on it. It looks as if
someone is ‘vouching’ for you.

The more you have from other quality sites, the better off you’ll be. So where do you find these sites?

Here are some other places to look for potential inbound links:

  • Your Social Media Pages (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)
  • Sports Organizations or Leagues you Participate in
  • Newspaper ‘Local Sports Roundup’ Articles
  • Local Sports Blogs
  • Local Businesses Owned by Parents or Sponsors
  • Local Parks and Recreation Websites

To get you started on your inbound link efforts, log into your social media pages and add these links to the information sections of your social media pages — think “About Us” sections. You should also feature your website link throughout social media posts, especially as you get ready for a new season.

For others such as a local newspaper, this may take some extra work like emailing the local editor and making your case for inclusion.

Additional SEO Tips: Think like a Marketer

As you go through building out pages for your website, keep your goals in mind. There is no wrong goal, but beginning with these two simple ones is a great start:

  1. Keep my audience informed
  2. Gain more participants

By adding photos, videos, or other types of media not only engages your members and potential participants, but it helps your SEO ranking as well.

For example, when adding photos to your rotator, which all of our website designs are equipped with, you are able to add a URL and an image description. This could be linked to a different page on your website, or an external website, such as your organization’s Facebook page. Think like a Marketer when it comes to your youth league website!

If you need some inspiration, take a look at On Deck Academy’s pages. Their website has great examples for how content should be presented on your website, as they’ve done a fantastic job of using keywords and having quality content, social media, and photos.

The whole purpose of building a better SEO ranking is for your website to get more awareness – whether it’s current participants or future players, keep your website engaging! As we mentioned before, even small additions can be hugely beneficial so you don’t need to get carried away with this. But, if you are actively trying to improve the SEO of your site, this will be something you can continue to pursue month after month.

This concludes our SEO Education series, but we’ll be publishing more posts on how to Think More Like a Marketer, when it comes to your youth sports league.
If you need more background on what SEO is in  terms of youth sports, feel free to take a look at our previous blog posts from our SEO Education series:

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