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Sports championships and marketing go together like copy and paste. It’s a marketer’s dream to have so many people tuned in to one event on TV and social media. 

Although the National Football Championship game might make you think of large brands like Doritos and Miller Lite, there’s plenty of opportunity for small businesses too.

Keep reading to discover the top ways you can put the spotlight on your small business during 2021’s big game.

Creating Your Marketing Game Day Plan

Every good game plan starts with a goal. For a football team, it’s simple — win the game. For small businesses, well, you get to choose. 

Do you want to increase your takeout sales by 20%? Do you want to find new customers? Or maybe you just want more engagement on social media. 

Either way, start with one or two clear marketing goals in mind. It’s good to have one revenue-based plan and another geared towards increasing your brand awareness.

Nielsen found that 99.9 million people tuned in to the 2020 Championship game and generated 43.9 million game-day social media interactions. Kantar Media reported the average price of a 30-second game-day ad was over $4 million.

So, even though prime time TV advertising slots might break the budget for a small business, social media presents a sizable opportunity for engagement.

Here’s how your small business can stand out during the big game in 2021.

1. Don’t False Start and Fudge the Pregame

Major sporting events bring people together like none other. Fans love to gather and support their teams, even if there’s more virtual gathering involved now. 

Even watching the game requires a considerable amount of preparation. People put together decorations, bets, and food.

Whenever people need to prepare for something, content marketing comes into play. Content marketing is a way to extend your brand awareness by providing free relevant value to people. 

For example, you can share game day recipes, team-related trivia, or game-day activity inspiration. Think about how your customers plan to celebrate the game and see where your brand can help them. 

Show your customers how they can use your products to create the perfect watch party. Don’t wait until game day to get started. By then, it’ll be too late.

2. Choose Your Starting Lineup Wisely

Working with influencers is an excellent way to boost your brand awareness and increase social media reach. 

Micro-influencers are individuals that have somewhere between 1,000-100,000 followers on any given platform. Influencers with moderate followings but high engagement can help get your brand in front of potential customers.

Start by seeing who already interacts with your brand on social media. You can also search for top posts in relevant hashtags or use a free marketing tool to find your brand’s partner. 

Keep an eye out for high-quality content and engagement. In other words, look beyond a user’s follower numbers to see if people like and share the content.

3. Don’t Fumble Your Special Takeout Deals

Spending on takeout deals skyrockets when the big game comes around. Nielsen estimates Americans will spend $278 million on potato chips alone.

Safe to say, you don’t want to miss out on takeout deals. Other top food purchases include pizza, chicken wings, deli salads, and vegetable trays. 

Create promos featuring game-friendly food combos, like tortilla chips and guacamole. And make sure to advertise your promotions in-store and on social media ahead of time.

4. Avoid Going Offside With Misguided Humor

Past game days’ ads have shown us people love two things — puppies and humor. Humor is a powerful tool for creating shareable (even viral) content, especially on social media. 

You can use memes, GIFs, and videos to leverage humor on game day. However, make sure you read the room before sharing a humorous post to your brand’s profile. You don’t want to go viral for the wrong reasons.

If you prepare content ahead of time, review it the morning of the game if any recent events might have changed your posts’ context.

5. Steer Clear of Unsportsmanlike Conduct 

Besides nachos, the big game is all about competition. Most fans are taking to social media to support one team or another. 

While it can be useful to tap into the competitive spirit (especially if you’re in a city whose team is competing), we recommend you keep it respectful. 

Ads that slam other competitors or posts that degrade any of the athletes have a way of backfiring on brands. Remember, brands have different rules than people. Don’t lose customers because you crossed the line being competitive.

At the end of the big game, only one team walks away from the champion. But thousands of businesses can win if they play their cards right. 

Learn more about getting your website game-day ready with fast and reliable hosting from Bluehost. Our professional marketing services can help get your website optimized with better visibility on search engines or create pay-per-click ads to market your business.

  • Machielle Thomas

    Machielle is a content enthusiast who has a passion for bridging the gap between audiences and brands through impactful storytelling. Machielle has also spoken at dozens of WordCamps throughout the years.

    Texas State University
    Previous Experience
    Brand Content, Content Marketing, Brand Lead, Operations Lead, Course Instructor
    Other publications
    Shopify, Contently
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