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21 Ideas for Marketing a Bike Race

Looking to get more cyclists registered for your bike race? Using multiple channels and building an enticing experience is critical to grow a new (or seasoned) bike race. Here we present 21 ideas to promote your bike race including social media, email marketing, website, pricing strategies, and much more.

Having a well organized bike race on a beautiful route doesn't necessarily mean you'll get crowds of paid registrants signing up. There can be a lot of competition for races and in early years especially, it's challenging to translate a great experience into paid consumer demand.

Social media is an easy place to start, but often times that's not enough plus only a small percentage of your Facebook and Instagram followers will see your posts. Browse our list of 21 ideas to market your bike race and pick 3-6 ideas to focus on as your grow your race.

Good luck!

1. Set up your Facebook Page & Facebook Event (they BOTH matter)

This is a totally free way to promote your event and the majority of your audience is likely on Facebook. Even if you have a Facebook page, don't forget to also set up a Facebook event. Facebook will send event posts to a much larger percent of your followers than page posts which gives you a big advantage when you want to make sure as many followers as possible are seeing your updates.

2. Email Past Race Participants Regularly With Interesting Updates

In a noisy world of social media, your email list is your number one marketing asset. Unlike your Facebook followers, you own a direct line of communication to your email list so don't treat it lightly. When you have important updates or big announcements, make sure to email your list. Email enjoys a much higher engagement rate than social media posts.

3. Add Date-Based Price Tiering

A sense of urgency causes people to take action and get registered for your event. Having 3-4 price increases as your event approaches is a great way to encourage followers to get registered and avoid a price increase. Incentivize early signups with your lowest pricing then have price increases 6, 3, and 1 month before your event.

4. List Your Event on Free Regional Event Listings

Most regions have local websites with free bike event listings and calendars. Submit your event to make sure that when people are searching for events to join, you're prominently displayed on the event calendar.

5. Use High Quality Photos to Showcase The Beauty of Your Ride

Cellphone images are much, much higher quality than they used to be. Get the most beautiful, high-quality images possible and add them to big prominent places like in a full width placement at the top of your website and Facebook page. It might even be worth it to hire a photographer to capture standout imagery that compels people to join.

6. Advertise on Regional Cycling Websites

We had to include this one 😉. The best place to promote your race is where your audience is already all spending time. Regional cycling websites share cycling news, events, and community updates. And most importantly, they're where the cycling community goes to find new cycling experiences to sign up.

7. Write Regular Blog Posts for People to Follow Your Story

Make your event a story that people want to follow by regularly writing updates along the way. Share about how you chose the routes, the story behind your great volunteers, or top 5 reasons to join along on your ride. Share it on social media and send it to your email list. This is a great way to continue staying top of mind and get people excited to follow along with how your event is developing.

8. Offer a Few Distances (But Not Too Many)

Everyone is different. 100 miles is too far for some people but 50 miles is too short for other people. Offer a few distances but not too many. The more distances you offer, the thinner the group rollout becomes and less energy people can feel at your event. Our recommendation? 3 distances is great spread. That way people have some options but you don't have have to support 6 different start and end times and the logistics become simpler.

9. Create a Route That Includes All the Best Highlights and Let Everyone Know Why It's Amazing

If possible, have all of your routes options include as many of the best highlights as possible. Then get photos of those of those spots or write a blog post about the highlights and share it far and wide.

10. Set a Registration Limit You Know You Can Hit & Then Sell Out

Having a sold out event does wonders for future years. In early years, set a lower registration limit and when you sell out, let everyone know (this year and next year). You'll create more demand for your event in future years and you can always raise the limit each year.

11. Add a Free Training Program

Whether your race is 25, 50, 100, or 500 miles there are people who are going to have to train up to that distance. Offer a free training plan to help riders see how they could grow the level of your race.

12. Open Registration Early

People plan their cycling calendar very far in advance. If your event isn't available to register for until later in the year, you might lose registrants to other events that opened up registration earlier than yours. Read the room; see when other events open registration, and then open yours around the same time so you can get on everyone's calendars.

13. Offer a Free Gift to the First 50 or 100 Registrants

It doesn't have to be expensive. Offer a free sticker pack, hat, t-shirt, or freebie to the first X number of people registered to inspire an early wave of registrations.

14. Advertise on Facebook for $1/day.

All races should do this. If you have a small audience of followers, that's great! It means it's really cheap to advertise to them on Facebook. Boost a Facebook post that promotes your event and set your spending to $1/day. Run it for a few weeks then take a break and boost another promotional post.

15. Share Regular Behind the Scenes Updates on Social Media

People enjoy following your story, especially when your posts aren't all promotional and sales-y. Share behind the scenes photos about route scouting, volunteers who are working hard, celebrate other races, and other random updates to give followers a sense of getting to know the heartbeat behind race day.

16. In Early Years, Price Your Race Lower

The worst thing you can do is set your prices too high so that people don't register, then lower prices the next year. Reduction in prices equates to a perception of a low quality event. In early years, set your prices low to make it easy for everyone to be a part of it without it feeling like a big risk to register. As it becomes more popular, you can raise prices to a more normal level.

17. Offering Free T-Shirts? Make Sure to Nail It

Nobody needs another cheap t-shirt with a low quality, boring design. If this is you, you might be better off saving the expense and not offering free shirts at all. If you do decide to give free t-shirts, make it the most comfortable tri-blend fabric possible so people want to wear it all the time. Pay a good designer to create something cool that makes people feel like they're taking the entire event experience home with them. Bonus? The more they wear it, the more free visibility you get.

18. Offer Free Food or Drink at the Finish Line (It Benefits You Twice)

Everybody loves free food and drink. It creates more value for your event and nearly everyone will take you up on free post-race free food and drink. But the second benefit is that causes everyone to stick around, socialize, and creates an automatic post-race community vibe instead of heading right home and losing out on the post-race community energy.

19. Make Your Website Simple, But Irresistibly Beautiful

Your website does not need 10 pages. You only need a few pages (or even just one!), but make it beautiful so people just have to join in. Your website needs a catchy intro, a section about the routes, race day logistics/timeline, and a big, flashy "Register" button in the main menu that stands out above everything else. That's it. Keep it simple.

20. Come Up With a "Hook" that Makes Your Race Different Than Every Other Race

Simply having another race, isn't enough to get people to register. Come up with a unique angle that sets you apart. Maybe your race starts at midnight, has several river crossings, has an afterparty in a barn, or has cheesecake at every support station. Maybe those aren't great ideas, but the best races have something unique that everyone recognizes and wants to be a part of.

21. Ask Past Racers for Testimonials

Reach out directly to some past racers and ask for a testimonial. Share these on social media and publish them directly on your website. This is especially impactful if you can get testimonials from riders that everyone knows and follows.




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