Marketing Tips

I've been listing amateur roller derby leagues for about 6 years now. In that time, I've seen just about every type of name, website, and listing for new roller derby leagues.

Because amateur roller derby leagues are generally run by league members, without much money, and typically involve people without much marketing experience, there are many times new leagues (or sometimes even very established leagues) don't get the recognition they need to be successful. New skaters and audiences are tough to find as it is- we really have to make the effort now to generate instant recognition.

Ever done a fundraiser and find out all the people you talk to had no idea your league existed? There are some techniques your league can use to get better PR and recognition. These are only my opinions, and I only offer the perspective of someone objectively looking at league websites and trying to find useful information in them for this list. If you're happy with what you have, then great! If you have other tips to share, please send them tochanges@derbyroster.com and I will credit you (if you wish) and list them here. Cat O'Ninetails

TIP #1: Consider your league's name very carefully.

I know we're rebels and want really cool names, but please consider making your league name instantly recognizable as a roller derby league and saving the kitschy names for your teams. As you grow, you will probably have more than one team in the league.

Once upon a time, it was common for roller derby leagues to choose kitschy league names, uniforms, and themes. It certainly helped get the word out when there was a total of 50 leagues. It seems the trend to be quirky has been replaced by a deeper need to be taken seriously as a sport. If you do need to keep the kitsch, reserve it for your team names, bout themes, and skater names.

Keep your league name simple and straightforward. I would even go as far as saying your town's name and Roller Derby is probably the best league name you can use. Using Moscow Roller Derby as an example- doesn't it sound more like a real sport league than Moscow Roller Girls or Moscow Derby Dames- or even Krazy Kremlin Red Skirtz? What does a Derby Dame or Rollergirl or a Red Skirtz do? Roller Girls, Rollergirls, Rollergirlz, Roller Grrrlz, Derby Dames, Derby Damez, Derby Girls.....all of them have one thing in common: Roller Derby- and that is the message you want to get out to the public.

Back in the day , it wasn't a big deal to name your league for your state or province. There just weren't that many leagues. These days, it's more important to pinpoint your locality as much as you can. Be careful though- your fans may not know that your town is famous for its production of potatoes, so calling your league Spud City Roller Derby may not be such a great idea.

Using YourTown Roller Derby will make it a whole lot easier later when you want to skate in a national tournament or you want to acquire a men’s team or a junior team.

TIP #2: Get a website

Does your league have a web presence? Even if you have to start out on one of the social networking sites, put one up as soon as possible! Any established league can tell you this is a fast, free way to get noticed quickly. If you do have to start on a social networking site, for goodness sakes, make your profile accessible to everyone! No one can find you if it's private. Befriend EVERYONE you can find on the site- especially local folks. When you do get a website, look at it objectively as an outside party.

Think globally- people from around the world will be viewing your website. Give as much information as possible, and be very clear. Most importantly- you need your league name, REAL location ("out in the desert somewhere" or "Susie's backyard" won't help when potential fans and skaters are looking for you), and what you are. You take it for granted that everyone knows that Krazy Kremlin Red Skirtz listed in Vodka City is a women's flat track roller derby league in Moscow, Russia. Nope. I can't tell you how many times I've had to guess about a league's orientation or location. Giant blinking graphics, weird fonts, and blasting music will not help your cause either. Once again, try to take the kitsch out of it. That doesn't mean it has to be boring. Keep it smart, professional, and very informative. Don't forget contact information. Do your research and take a look at the very established league sites for formatting tips.

Try to keep your league's inner workings off your website. Use a Yahoo Group or forum or some other way to communicate internal business. Your website is for your fans and potential new skaters.

TIP #3: If you change the league's name or website, make sure people know.

Dead links on derbyroster.com happen all the time. Mostly it's due to a league suddenly switching websites and instead of automatically forwarding to the new one, the link will just go dead or show an older website that is never updated. Know what happens when potential fans stumble upon your old website that hasn't been updated since 2008 or turns up a page error? They go away, figuring your league is dead, too. Keep your website updated fairly frequently with actual derby information; especially at the beginning. You need folks to know you do more than hold car washes and bake sales.

Try not to change your league name once it is established. Think about it. What if McDonalds suddenly became Big Mac Burgers? It's confusing, and all that good PR you did before changing your name will disappear, too. Sometimes it's unavoidable; in which case, make it VERY clear on your website what you used to be and what you are now.

TIP #4: Get a professional to design your logo (and your website if possible)

Not much more to say than that. Hold a contest if you can't afford to pay someone. There are tons of artists who will submit ideas and help you out in order to get recognition for their work- and maybe snag season tickets and merch for their trouble.


Need more help? See our Facebook page for more information about starting a new league: https://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10150274459221158

 
Marketing Tips

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