Three steps to attract your first customers to the program.
May 3, 2022 by guest author in Sponsored with reviews
Ari Nitikman and Danie Probie of Elevate Ultimate have developed some extremely successful youth ultimate programming. Now they want to share the lessons they learned building the ultimate youth organization from the ground up.
Ultiworld has been compensated for providing this content.
Welcome to part two of our series on how to start your own ultimate youth organization. If you haven’t read the first part of the series, be sure to start here.
Previously, we looked at the four general steps needed to start and grow your own ultimate youth organization. In this article, we’ll focus on step three: start small and get your first ten paying customers (and the challenges you might face).
We (Danie and Ari) officially agreed to partner up and launch Elevate Ultimate in September 2016, and we set a goal to launch our first paid program starting in January 2017. This gave us four months to attract real paying customers. We ended up having 40 high school and 13 elementary athletes in our first winter academy using the following three strategies:
- Competitive analysis and differentiation
- Target the fruits at hand
- Affordable marketing
Competitive analysis and differentiation
The first challenge you might encounter is that there is already another organization offering ultimate to young people in town. However, just because there are some doesn’t mean you can’t start your own. In fact, if they do well, that could be great news, as it shows the market loves Ultimate. If you need more comfort, just go to your local grocery store and check out the bread or cereal aisle. There are hundreds of brands that sell pretty much the same thing: simple carbs with added sugar. While there may be hundreds of carb options, there may be more than one ultimate youth program.
Ask yourself these questions to determine the best path forward:
- What parts of Ultimate Youth does the other organization focus on? Outreach, those school clinics? Young children? High performance high school athletes? All? (The latter is a sign that there is room for another organization.)
- What is the other organization doing well and what is it doing poorly? Do their coaches have a lot of energy but follow and teach a boring schedule? Do they have lots of kids, but a confusing website and lack of online presence?
- How could you position your organization to fill what the other organization lacks?
When we started, there was another ultimate organization that focused on providing high school club team options from June through August. They did a great job of recruiting enough coaches, but the quality varied greatly from team to team, telling us there was no curriculum or coaching standards. With this in mind, we positioned ourselves as an organization that would provide training options for primary and secondary students from September to June, and we focused on creating a standard curriculum so that the quality remained the same, regardless of where the parents registered.
Target the fruits at hand
Now that you understand where your organization fits in the market, the challenge you will face is to get real parents and children to pay and engage with your program.
Boost your confidence by pursuing the fruits at hand. Do you know a teacher in an elementary school? Tell them about your upcoming programs. Know a parent who plays ultimate with two kids? You guessed it: tell them about your upcoming programs. Even if they’re customers of the competitor, explain how you’re different and they might either be persuaded or know a friend who would be a better fit for your program. But don’t forget how tapping into your own network can help fill your pipeline.
The fruits at hand will hopefully get you your first three to five signups. Now the challenge is to make the next ten complete the rest of your schedule. Assuming you don’t have a huge marketing budget, you’ll need to start small with profitable advertising.
Start by sending cold emails and calling local schools in your area and contacting the principal or athletic director. Explain who you are and why you think Ultimate would be great for their students. Offer to come and do clinics for free in exchange for the chance to distribute brochures and be featured in the school’s monthly newsletter to parents. As a bonus, ask them if they would be interested in hosting an ultimate after school club that you run.
Find and join local Reddit and Facebook parent groups. Interact and add value where possible to existing posts. Once you’ve added value a few times, post to the group and promote your upcoming programs.
Finally, knock on doors, talk to parents in parks and distribute brochures. This works best if you have a partner who is a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed High School Ultimate. I know it sounds crazy, but not only does it work, it’s very effective. From April to June 2021, we paid select high school Ultimate players $15 an hour to walk around busy weekend parks to tell parents about upcoming Ultimate Summer Camps. They also told parents that if they gave us their email, we would enter them into a contest to win a free camp. In just four weekends, we received 81 emails and 15 registrations.
If you perform a competitive analysis and differentiate yourself accordingly, find the fruit at hand and engage in inexpensive and effective marketing activities, we are confident that you will be able to launch your own ultimate youth program. with paying customers. The question is: are you ready and willing to get to work?
If all of these steps sound great, but you don’t want to recreate the wheel in terms of building your own program, creating your own door knocking scripts, or creating effective cold email templates for schools, just copy Elevate’s proven systems instead. !
Check out our website and be sure to download the free activity report which includes:
- Elevate’s vision, mission and values
- Our business model
- What parents have to say about us
- What resources are included in the license
- Costs to Consider When Starting an Ultimate Youth Organization