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Record breaking Push the Boat Out at Rudyard Lake Sailing Club

by Mark Jacot, Commodore on 18 May 13-15 May 2017

2016 was a record year for Rudyard Lake Sailing Club in which membership grew by 15% and winning the Communications category at the RYA Club of the Year Awards. In 2017, we set our sights on going one better and organised not one but three events to attract new members.

Our publicity team sprang into action and decided to use a combination of traditional posters and banners and also build on our growing presence on Facebook. With a budget of £500, we decided to split this between 30 huge banners spread at strategic locations and a targeted Facebook advertising campaign. Our Open Day post on Facebook was seen by over 20,000 local people, with 400 indicating they were interested in the event. Likes on our Facebook page also doubled over a four-week period from 250 to over 500. This has really boosted one of our important communications channels.

The results were amazing. Over 500 people attended on the day, nearly FOUR times the previous year's attendance. Not only was it a great advert for sailing, but we signed up 26 new members on the day. The profit on the sale of food and drinks has funded the refurbishment of one of our club Toppers. Doors closed 90 minutes before the official closing time and we were still taking people out on the water 2 hours later. The day was summed up by this visitor "Congratulations to all at RLSC and a great open day. We really enjoyed the event today with what can only be described as the most friendly and welcoming club I have ever visited. Thank you"

This was followed up by two taster days. The first was our inaugural Home Schooling Taster session, arranged thanks to grant funding for Mums and kids who school at home, thanks to a member who educates her children at home. 16 parents and 27 children had a fantastic afternoon on the water, 9 mums and their children signed up on the day to do the 6 weekly sessions starting in June.

On 15th May we ran our Push the Boat out Taster day. 77 people returned from the open day for an additional timetabled slot to try out sailing. More new members joined and we have fully booked our first two training courses for the year. Our novice sailing coordinator, Ian Lee, is going to have a busy season.

Overall, what a start to the year. This has really shown us the power of social media as a communication channel. Our first experiment with Facebook advertising has been well worthwhile. A well-managed Facebook page is becoming our primary communication channel, backed up by a website and more traditional communications such as email.

For more information about Rudyard Lake Sailing Club please like us on our Facebook page, or go to our website, www.rudyardlakesc.org.uk

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