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Professional sports teams in general seem to leave much to be desired when it comes to digital marketing.
They all seem to have overly complicated looking websites with giant splash pages, big background images and loads of advertising.
Many teams also seem to follow no best practices when it comes to email marketing, with hard to find sign-up forms, no segmentation and terrible designs.
There is one sports team which continually scores highly in my books, though: Manchester City Football Club. Here’s what I like.
Easy to find email sign-up call-to-action
You’d be surprised how hard it is to find the email sign-up form on most of the other Premier League team websites. It seems like most of them don’t want you to join their mailing list. Man City make it easy with this big, bold call-to-action on their homepage.
Unfortunately, the sign-up process isn’t as smooth as I would hope, with 12 mandatory fields to fill out on the sign-up form. As we’ll see later, they do at least use some of the data that they collect.
Excellent email design
Other Premier League teams could definitely take a lesson from Man City on email design and coding. They have all of the elements I would expect to see in a best practice newsletter template, including:
- Pre-header text.
- Social media integration.
- Primary message with just the right amount of text.
- Customized calls-to-action.
- Great text-image ratio.
The main thing that they could do to improve their design is to optimize it for mobile devices. A responsive design would work really well with their current layout.
Most sports teams take a very narrow view when it comes to email content, focusing on game results, new players and interviews. Man City, of course, include a lot of content about what’s happening on the field as well, but they also include exclusive behind the scenes videos, competitions and social media content.
This content feels like it would appeal to a much broader audience and seems more likely to create a sense of community among fans. Even if you were a casual City fan, you’d probably still enjoy reading their newsletters.
Detailed safe sender instructions
To ensure that Man City fans are receiving their newsletters, a dedicated email asking subscribers to whitelist their email addresses was sent earlier this year (possibly because they changed the addresses they were sending from).
I’ve seen this done many times before but never with such attention to detail. The above email explains why subscribers should do this, what they can expect to receive from Man City in the future and best of all, highly detailed instructions on how to do it for eight of the most popular email clients.
Take a look at the instructions and you can see that adding an email address to your address book isn’t the easiest thing to do, so I’m sure many subscribers found this useful. A link to this email can now be found within the header of all Man City emails for future reference – that’s smart!
Relevant birthday emails
Man City sends one of the best birthday emails I’ve ever seen. Not only do they wish you a happy birthday, they also customize it with facts about the club from the year you were born, which makes this email so much more interesting.
They top it off with a two-for-one deal on stadium tours.
Rate our emails
I think I’ve outlined fairly well why I think Man City have the best email marketing in the Premier League. So it’s good to see that it isn't becoming complacent.
The most recent emails have been asking subscribers to rate them so that they can continue to make improvements to their design and content.