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Van Curl’s ‘Try Curling’ promotion brings in big crowds

February 23, 2022

 

If you offer it, they will come.

That’s the lesson learned by the Vancouver Curling Club, which recently began offering a 1-hour Try Curling promotion.

With more than 550 registrations and more still coming in, the club has seen an average of 30 sign-ups a day, all for a relatively small expense.

“We’ve only spent around $800-$1,000 on this campaign,” says Vancouver Curling Club manager Patrick Prade, who notes they’ve used flyers, Mail Chimp bulk emails, targeted Facebook Ads (boosted posts & general ads), audience retargeting, and Google ads. “Our revenue’s currently at $6,000, and will probably end up likely closer to $10,000 in the end.”

While the Olympics may have helped drive up interest over the past few weeks – and introduced a lot of new people to curling – Prade says that the timing of the Scotties and the Brier have also help generate enthusiasm.

The learn-to-curl sessions, which are organized in groups of four, are taught by instructors who have taken Curl BC’s Club Coach and/or Competition Coach programs. In just an hour, new curlers will learn all the basics, from throwing a rock to sweeping to strategy – with plenty of hands-on experience.

And, while the introductory lessons may just be a once-and-done proposition for some people, it’s clear that a good number are ready to take it a step further.

“We’ve had over 250 people sign up for our 5-week Learn to Curl programs so far this season,” says Prade. “For many of them, those lessons lead right into our Novice/Intermediate League.”

When asked the secret to Van Curl’s success, Prade notes that convenience is king.

“If it’s easier to order Pizza, watch Netflix or shop online to have things arrive at my door… then I’m less likely to try curling—so make sure registration is easy! The demands on people’s time are at an all-time high, so make sure you provide a top-quality experience. Don’t cut corners, pay and train your coaches, and spend money on quality marketing elements like graphic design and ad campaigns.”

“These aren’t generally big money-makers,” he continues, likening the program to a loss-leader. “Breaking even or even taken a small loss should be seen as fine. After all, this is your feeder program to bring people into the sport. As they say, ‘The first one’s free!”