The Galaxy Scores a Goal With Its Email Acquisition Program
Problem: The LA Galaxy, a Major League Soccer team, sought a new and fun way to generate fan interest and add subscribers to the team's email communications.
Solution: Arm interns with iPads to engage fans during games, encouring them to take advantage of special offers by opting in.
Results: The team has added more than 1,000 new fans to its database and is averaging an increase of 350 new subscribers per game.
Earlier this year, Major League Soccer (MLS) team the LA Galaxy decided it wanted to increase the number of its season ticket holders and email subscribers in a way its superstar David Beckham couldn't — by arming its interns with iPads at home games.
A big chunk of Galaxy's ticket sales come from group buyers, or people who come to the games in groups of three or more. With upwards of 5,000 fans coming as a part of a group, the Galaxy knows information such as name and email address of the person who bought the tickets — not anyone else in the group.
"For us the big challenge is: 'How do we get to know more of these people coming in the groups so we can target them and sell to them?'" asks Casey Leppanen, senior marketing manager for LA Galaxy.
The team decided to equip its interns with five iPads loaded with software from ExactTarget partner, FanMail Marketing, to gather this valuable information. During the Galaxy's home games, interns with the iPads ask spectators to sign up for email newsletters by offering a chance to win prizes such as an autographed jersey. Fans then fill out the form on the iPad offering up their name, phone number, and email address. Once the form is filled out, the fan gets a bounce back thank-you email. In that email, the team offers folks the chance to obtioan discounted tickets if they fill out one more survey with up to 10 questions like: Who is your favorite player? and so on.
"We found that fans just enjoy playing around with the iPads," says Leppanen. "It's something cool, something new. A lot of them have never seen an iPad, so for them to hop on there and be able to type in their name, email address, phone number — we've had some success that way."
With a seating capacity of 27,000 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., where the Galaxy plays its home games, there are plenty of opportunities to grow the team's fan base, and the team has taken full advantage.
"We've got just about 5,000 people who have completed the iPad enter to win contest [a free jersey]," notes Leppanen. And each iPad averages up to 100 sign-ups per game.
But some games are better than others. Aside from the 17 home games where this campiagn takes place, the iPads are also on the campaign trail during international and exhibition games. "Any games that are played here in Southern California that we can be at, we'll do ... If we're putting on a USA game that we're directly tied into, we would we out there as well," assures Leppanen. He also notes that international games don't produce the results the home games do, mainly because the attendees are fans of the other team.
As the playoffs approach — with the Galaxy currently in first place (as of press time) — the iPad team will change up its offers a little bit. "The last thing you want to do is for us to lose in a playoff game and these people get a $5 off ticket offer when we don't have any more games left. ... We'll have to change it to something like merchandise. We want to make sure that they can redeem the offer," says Leppanen.
The campaign has also captured the attention of League officials, as the iPad team will be in the house for the MLS Cup, which will be at the Home Depot Center wether the Galaxy are playing or not. This portion of the campaign will serve as a model for the rest of the teams in the MLS to follow once the league is done evaluating if it's financially worth it for them to invest in the iPads.