Here is a free marketing review for a mixed martial arts promotor in Calgary, Canada. The company is aptly named Hard Knocks Fighting and was founded in 2009 by Canadian Olympic wrestler Ari Taub.
Hard Knocks Fighting holds approximately 10-12 events per year reaching 40 countries. To date there have been 41 events. General admission tickets are $50 CAD and youth tickets are $10 CAD for most events. Ari when you read this I would love to know more about the company, perhaps we could record an interview.
Most events are in Calgary. Events have also been held in Estevan, Prince Albert, and Regina, Saskatchewan, Fort St. John, British Columbia, even Medicine Hat, Alberta. The following organizations feature Hard Knocks Fighting stories and events:
Let's dig right into the review, then offer suggestions that will help out Ari and the Hard Knocks people. For simplicity let us also label Hard Knocks Fighting as HKF.
HKF Marketing Channels
The evident HKF marketing efforts include:
Hard Knocks has all the major bases covered and regularly updates them. This is good.
The first thing I do when seeking to improve marketing, is to benchmark against similar businesses that market well. I like to use "big names", as well as smaller business with a similar models. In HKF's case this isn't too difficult and here are the businesses I chose to benchmark against:
The idea is not to copy the best. I look deeper at what the benchmarked companies are having success with. For example, I don't only look at vanity metrics such as the amount of Facebook likes. I look deeper at what sort of posts are generating engagement in the form of shares and likes. Do not focus on the amount of Twitter followers. Dig deeper and find the which type of tweets are shared the most.
No one can tells us what HFK's audience will resonate with. They are likely to resonate with the same material as our benchmarked companies do well with. Therefore I use the benchmark organizations as a first iteration. Marketing is a dynamic creature and we must evolve by testing new methods.
5 Things To Improve HKF's Ticket Sales
1. Use CTA Real Estate Wisely
A nice, clean site will have 2-3, calls to action (CTAs). These are actions we want the reader to take. The main call to action for a promoter would be purchasing tickets. I would also suggest that email capture is important. Let's look at HKF's site.
A great indicator of desired action is a superficial view of a site. What glares at you? In the case of HKF we see:
WSOF does a great job of utilizing their home page real estate. I find it busy but they definitely have a couple of clear actions. These include upcoming fights, a button to buy tickets, and an email capture. They could stand to do without the wall paper background of the next fight as it is redundant. Also they could stand to do without the WSOF Store button.
If HKF wants to convert viewers into ticket purchases, the latest upcoming fight must be the "eye grabber" of the page. There must also be a clear method to buy tickets (or PPV) immediately.
To help promote future events I would also have an email capture list as a secondary CTA. It surprises me how few of the benchmarked sites focus on email capture. It's such a powerful and cheap way of marketing.
Another indicator of CTAs is the order of a website's header buttons. I consider the first 3 buttons prime CTA real estate. Below we see HKF first three buttons as Home, Fighters, and Events.
As for buttons, it comes down to a heat map analysis. A heat map analysis shows where users are clicking the most over a defined period of testing time. In place of that analysis, we can use the benchmarked sites to get a great head start.
Hard Knocks Fighting would also do well to replace the home button with a tickets button. The UFC does a great job of ordering buttons and the remaining sites follow.
2. Capture New Audiences With Social Media
HKF has a good presence on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Yet there are few shares and views. The aim of social media is not to create an interesting Twitter feed or a cool Facebook fan page. That's what a blog is for. The goal with social media is to engage an audience and give them something to share.
One must create posts and tweets that are shareable to reach many people. We do not simply want to reach anybody. We want to reach MMA fans. Thus we must filter.
We must also give reasons to share. It must be cool. It must increase social status. Look for win-wins. In the case of fighters it must help them promote. In return you will reap the same benefits. This is all about connecting and tapping into other audiences.
The World Series of Fighting are professionals at this and it shows. They consistently get more shares and comments than the UFC even though they are far smaller of an organization.
Three actions Ari and the HKF crew could do to increase social media reach is:
I wish I had more opportunities to engage other's audiences such as HKF does. It is a powerful technique.
Some consider YouTube a search engine or social media. In reality it does generate traffic; however, it is better used to host videos. From there one can create interesting pages that embed these videos. Then use social media such as Twitter to drive people to those pages.
3. Move The Blog to HKF's Domain
Most importantly, HKF must get leave the Blogger planform and move the blog onto the HKF domain. The most effective way to communicate your worthiness to Google is plenty of quality content on your domain. This will make a huge difference in HKF's search engine rankings.
If all those posts are not on your domain, you are communicating to Google that HKF is just a 7 page site. Don't even attempt to count the number of pages our benchmarked promoters have. It will take you hours.
Hats off to HKF for posting with regular frequency. Here's the tale of the tape, see what I did there, [insert nerdy laugh]
These news articles are a great place to capture emails or remind people of the next fight.
4. Produce Engaging Articles
Writing is a skill and it is tough. It is difficult to remove ourselves and to focus content to what the reader wants. The writer must measure and refine articles. The key indicators for engagement are:
I found all promoters in this niche to be poor content marketers. For example:
If you want to see good content see the likes of the Huffington Post or BuzzFeed. These companies thrive on compelling articles and engaged readers.
Actions HFK should take to create more engaging articles:
It would be hilarious to see a smaller promoter to completely dominate much larger organization at content marketing.
5. Capture More Emails
We discussed it before yet email marketing is so important is deserves more attention. A list of people who trust you is one of the most valuable assets in your business. Most businesses pay significant money to advertise to an audience. Advertising to your own list is invaluable.
Here is a breakdown of marketing conversions on various platforms [sourced from Monetate]:
HKF promotes upcoming events with email effectively. Actions HKF can take to improve email marketing:
HKF would do well to put a lot of focus on growing the email list. This is the one area that would reap the best growth rewards.
Wrap It Up
In summary, Hard Knocks Fighting could do the following to improve ticket sales:
I hope this helps the crew at Hard Knocks Fighting. I would love to chat to you more about this article and discuss implementation in the areas you want to improve. I can be contacted through the comments or by email.
Appendix: CTA Analysis
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