There's a soccer ball skirting around the floor—somewhere. But most of the action is taking place a little higher up as one player, full steam, batters into another. Both players fly into the air, crashing to and bouncing off the floor. Doesn't sound like a lucrative business model, does it?
Well, you'd be wrong. That description is of the newest game in town: bubble soccer, a fresh take on the traditional soccer game where participants play on a field while wrapped inside a plastic bubble from the waist up. It's a full-on contact sport that gives players a chance to collide and bounce around their opponents as they attempt to score a goal.
The activity has its roots in Europe, where the first game was organized by Henrik Elvestad and Johan Golden in Norway, eventually becoming a popular trend in Japan and China—and now, the Unites States. Bubble soccer businesses have been popping up (no pun intended) all over the country, utilizing a business model much like CrossFit, where local entrepreneurs purchase equipment and then make money through registrations and events.
If you're jumping on board this craze—or growing your already-established business—there are several things you can do to market your business effectively and generate customers each season. Here are some tips on how to grow your bubble soccer business.
1. Host groups and special events.
In addition to attracting participants to play in a league or join a team, recruit groups such as corporate team members, families, youth church groups, and community organizations to create a league of their own or attend special events you are hosting throughout the year.
You could attract youth groups by connecting with existing soccer league and athletic event organizers. You could also approach human resource managers at area businesses and corporate offices that may be interested in organizing events and activities for their employees.
When you need to extend packages and group pricing options, make use of an online booking software program that allows you to set up multiple pricing configurations and a tiered pricing structure. Use the program to set up all of your pricing options and combinations in the backend so that a prospective guest can make reservations for multiple people in a few simple steps.
2. Make full use of social media marketing tools.
Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can be valuable platforms for a bubble soccer business to promote their activities, generate a following of fans, and create a buzz around upcoming tournaments and events. Small Business Can reports 59 percent of social media users think companies who use or are active in social media seem more approachable.
Create an online profile on all three sites so you can post updates and photos from games, show prospective guests what the bubble soccer experience is like, and attract a loyal following of local and regional interest. For example, Bubble Soccer Denver posts short video clips of bubble soccer games throughout the week on its Facebook Page, keeping fans informed with information about upcoming leagues and registration details. This YouTube video by BumperBall USA, a company that caters to bubble ball fans and players in Westchester and NYC , garnered 1,613 views on YouTube alone.
3. Run local promotions.
If you're just launching in a community, market yourself on local sites and online forums —not the major daily deal promotion sites, but those attached to a local newspaper or magazine's website. Give prospective visitors and first-timers a chance to try out the bubble soccer experience at a deep discount by running a special promotion, giving customers are given an exclusive promo code to use at checkout. And make your life a bit easier: You can set up promo code and discount redemptions through an online booking software program so that one of your staff members doesn't have to manually log in the purchase or authorize the transaction.
4. Partner with a trusted company for supplies and resources.
Work with reputable suppliers of the required equipment and, in the process, ensure you get the help you need if the bubble ball needs to be repaired or replaced. Companies like BubbleBall have set up exclusive partnership programs for entrepreneurs who want to set up their own league and enjoy territory exclusivity for their BubbleBall operation. They provide a full package of promotional materials, local marketing for customer referrals, and an operations manual to ensure optimal team structure and revenue generation activities. BubbleSoccerUSA also has a partnership program and can facilitate a Bubble Soccer event for those who want to host a tournament.
Don't be afraid to reach out to local businesses to spark some interest, either. Connecting with companies listed on the local chamber of commerce, visitor's bureaus, and even area hotels and resorts can pique the interest of both locals and travelers to the area looking for something fun to do.
5. Manage reservations with an online calendar.
Avoid the time-consuming task of keeping your calendar of events, games, tournaments, and lessons you offer up-to-date by managing an online calendar. Choose an online booking software that allows you to manage a real-time online calendar so that players and tournament attendees can see exactly when spots are available without having to call you directly. This can give customers options when choosing date and time slots that fit their schedule. Since everything is taken care of through an online checkout process, the guest can complete their payment and receive a confirmation about their reservation instantly.
6. Keep track of customers and inventory digitally.
It can be almost impossible to keep track of league participants, schedules, and equipment inventory using a spreadsheet or a paper ledger for this type of business. Using an online booking software program can eliminate many administrative tasks associated with running your bubble soccer business, helping you stay on top of customer communications and inventory management during the busiest of seasons. You can set up automated email reminders and thank you emails to stay in touch with your customers, and also have a bird's eye view of all of your bubble soccer suits and other equipment you are using each season.
7. Sell and manage gift cards online.
Many people new to the concept of the bubble soccer game will be interested in sharing their experience with friends and family by gifting a game or session. Make this easy for them by offering gift cards and gift packages that can be purchased online with a few clicks. Use an online booking software program that allows you to sell gift cards in one click and also adds gift cards as an 'add on' purchase as an option at checkout.
From managing customers and inventory digitally, to hosting groups and special events throughout the year, there are several ways to make an impact in your local community and maximize revenue for your bubble soccer business. Use these tips and strategies to keep that calendar full while building a name for yourself as a leading bubble soccer operator in your area.