This is a guest post by Constantine Louloudis, Head of Partnerships at Let’s Do This, to find out exactly what their platform can do for Race Directors. Constantine won an Olympic Gold Medal at the Rio Olympics and studied at Oxford University in England before making the move to the US.
It’s surprising how challenging it is for many technology companies to describe what exactly it is that they do. So when Bob put this question to us, and invited us to answer it here, we were only too happy to take up the offer.
So what is Let’s Do This? Short answer: we are a marketing platform that race directors pay only when we sell registrations for them.
Here’s what that means: Races list with us for no upfront cost, and we take a commission on each confirmed registration that starts on our platform. Because race directors bear large fixed costs (venue, equipment, website etc) but small marginal costs per runner (medal, tshirt, cups etc), each additional registration we send a race goes almost entirely to their bottom line.
For races, our platform is an alternative marketing channel to Facebook. The two are similar in that race directors can measure the cost and Return On Investment of marketing on each channel. But there are two key differences: 1) on Facebook there’s no guarantee of returns. You pay upfront, and the effectiveness of ads can vary drastically over time. 2) Running ads on Facebook requires time and effort on the part of races. As Facebook’s advertising product has become more sophisticated, so its users have had to invest time and acquire (or hire) new skills.
By contrast, we’re building a system that offers scalable marketing without taking up race directors’ time, and with a zero-risk cost model. This system has grown our partner events by as much as 25%. For these reasons, we’re confident in the value we can bring to races. We like how Ryan Dawkins, founder of Mascot Sports, puts it:
“Let’s Do This has carved out a nice niche in the endurance marketing space. They’re great to work with, and their model doesn’t require us to alter our marketing spend; it complements our programmes by adding more fuel to the fire.”
So how do we get to the runners?
Our value proposition to races is bringing them registrations they wouldn’t otherwise have had. So avoiding crossover of our own marketing with the race’s is central to what we do. We ensure that we reach genuinely new participants by focusing all our efforts on low-intent traffic.
That means we don’t target runners who know which race they want to run. But we do target runners who know only that they want to run “a half marathon in Northern California next spring”. That’s why our homepage has a structured search designed for runners who don’t yet know which event they want to enter, and our landing pages let users find events through an intuitive map view.
We focus on this low-intent traffic for 3 reasons:
i.) If we’re targeting the same runners as our race directors, the race won’t use us next year.
ii.) We’ve seen that if our marketing overlaps with the race’s, we are far more likely to lose out. About 80% of runners who find a race through Let’s Do This go and sign up direct on the race’s website. If we’re marketing to the same runners as the race director, we lose out on even more commissions.
iii.) Our aim is to grow the entire industry by accessing latent demand. Those running 3 times a week but not doing races; millennials spinning instead of racing; folks too intimidated to race because they worry it’s too elite – these are the groups we’re reaching out to.
We bring runners to our site two main ways:
- Training program Lead Ads on facebook. We offer a training program for free if the runner signs up with us. This qualifies and gives value to the runner, and gives us a new registrant, as well as telling us which distance they’re interested in.
- High user retention and word-of-mouth. Acquiring users through facebook costs money. Ultimately our business only works if the users we acquire have a good experience with us, tell their friends about us, and use us again to find their next race. That’s how we’re building a user base.
For avoidance of doubt, we do not run ads on individual races on facebook, unless the race explicitly requests that we do. Even if they make this request, we generally decline since we are likely to lose money on race-specific ads.
Finally, a quick word on what we are not:
- We are not a traditional marketing agency.
Races pay marketing agencies upfront and work intensively with them to boost brand exposure. In a world of Conversion Rates and Cost Per Acquisition, traditional brand marketing still has a place, even if measuring ROI is often impossible. But it isn’t scalable, and it’s not us.
- We are not a registration service.
RunSignUp and others have built sophisticated registration products to serve the needs of race directors. We agree with Bob’s assessment that a consolidation is coming in the registration space, and have neither the relevant product experience nor the desire to enter an area increasingly dominated by a couple of large players.
It’s a pleasure already to be working with a number of RunSignUp races. We’re huge fans of RunSignUp’s product and their commitment to serve their race directors, and are excited to offer a scalable solution to race’s marketing needs. If you have any questions or enquiries, feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.