How We Grow Turkey Trots

As we reported in our Thanksgiving Stats blog, we handled a record number of Thanksgiving Day registrations this year – 423,306 compared to 365,618 in 2017. Some of that growth is because we are growing as a company, adding 68 races, and some of that can be attributed to the national increase in Turkey Trot participation. But there’s another reason for the increase: race directors adopting our robust suite of promotion tools to boost participation. Here are a few ways we saw races implementing our marketing tools:

email.pngEmail Marketing:

We reached a new record for the number of emails sent from our email marketing system this month! Total tally: 16.5 Million emails sent

Why does email matter?

It’s all about touch-points and calls to action. Emails allow you to connect with your runners multiple times – and strategically timed emails, like those before a price increase or those including a time-limited coupon code, provide strong incentives for participants to act quickly.

Tip: our integrated email marketing makes it simple to craft and send professional emails. We have a fresh, modern email template you can use to complement your branding – and to save time, you can turn on automated emails to remind previous participants of important events like price increases…without so much as hitting “send”.

rewardReferral Rewards: 

We track referrals by the date of the referral, not the date of the race it’s associated with, so we can’t isolate Turkey Trots on this stat. We can tell you that in November of 2018, 24,427 referral codes were created, resulting in 16,595 completed registrations – and only 1,354 refunds. That’s $13,019.95 given in refunds, as compared to $764,257.08 collected via registrations – or a Return on Investment (ROI) of 5,870%

Why do referrals boost registations? 

Referrals are a classic example of our favorite marketing strategy – viral adoption. Implementing referrals incentivizes your participants to do what every race director dreams of: talk about your race, and share it on social media. Sharing = growing.

Tip: Set a high threshold, high reward referral goal. For example, offer $20 back (or some super-sweet swag) if a referrer gets 5 friends to register. Most people won’t reach 5 referrals, so you won’t be out any money – but you will still get registrations from the 1 or 2 participants they did convince. And for the rare referrer who does reach your threshold and get a refund (or a swag reward)? You’ve built goodwill, and are on your way to cultivating a loyal repeat participant (and referrer).


Across November events, about 20% of participants were part of a team – with that rate jumping up to 30% for races that give an incentive (refund) to teams that reach a specific size.

Why encourage runners to participate as a “team” when there’s no team competition?

Teams serve dual purposes: 1) to encourage runners to share the event with their friends and families (see referrals and viral marketing!), and 2) to create a better race day. Runners who participate with a team of those close to them will ultimately have a more memorable race experience – and it’s that experience that will bring them back next year.

Tip: Turkey Trots are often family traditions! Offer and encourage teams with participants in mixed race distances and different age groups to promote a family-friendly event and get everyone involved. Want to kick it up a notch? Offer a prize for the best team “uniform” and watch the enthusiasm skyrocket!

The final result of all this marketing? Races that brought in over $20 Million in registration fees, and raised over $1 Million in donations from 40,000+ donors. Not bad, for a Thursday in November.

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: