Bluegrass Runners Case Study

We have a series Customer Case Studies, in which we take your stories and share your challenges and successes as a learning tool for other RunSignUp users.  This Bluegrass Runners Case Study focuses on automated club management tools and membership discounts. 

View the PDF Version of the Bluegrass Runners Case Study

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Bluegrass Runners and RunSignUp

The Bluegrass Runners moved to RunSignUp to make club management and renewals easier and more automated, and benefited from the visibility that Membership Discount and Suggestion gave to the club.


Picture4About Bluegrass Runners

The Bluegrass Runners, Kentucky’s original running club, is a Lexington, KY based running club that was founded in 1972 to promote fitness, fellowship, and fun for runners of all ages and abilities. As a club, they also organize the 2,500 participant Thoroughbred Classic on Thanksgiving morning.Picture3

Automated Member Management

Picture2Prior to RunSignUp, the Bluegrass Runners managed their club memberships via Google doc, with manual Paypal payments. That process was highly manual – for their 12-month membership, they needed to regularly determine whose memberships were expiring, send an email through Mail Chip, and manually add or remove people based on their payment status.

The RunSignUp membership management has helped with renewals – alerts are a really easy way to renew memberships, and increases the percentage who renew on time.

Thoroughbred Classic and Bluegrass Runners Membership

The Thanksgiving Day Thoroughbred Classic draws ~2,500 runners. This year, they were able to turn on the automatic Club Membership discount. With this turned on:

  • Club Members are automatically detected by RunSignUp, and are given a $5 discount on race registration.
  • Non-Club Members automatically receive a suggestion to join the Bluegrass Runners to gain access to the discount.

“We gave a $5 discount to all club members, even if you joined during registration, and we were shocked by how many people did join. In November (Race month), we had 61 new members – that’s more than double the previous month. For years, our membership has hovered around 175-180, and we are now at 256.” – Matt Reno, Bluegrass Runners PresidentPicture1

Simple Donations

The Thoroughbred Classic raises money for seven charities. In 2015, they were able to donate more to their charities than any previous year. Included in that was the $2,124 donated through RunSignUp with a simple donation mechanism in the registration process. One additional benefit of collecting donations in Registration? The Thoroughbred Classic is able to get a sense of what charities are of particular interest to their running community based on the donations received for each option.

What’s Next?

As the Bluegrass Runners learn more of the RunSignUp system, they are excited to start using the Email Marketing that is now integrated in the Club System. Additionally, they want to take another look at the functionality of the free Club Websites to reduce duplicating work by updating information on both their WordPress site and the RunSignUp site.

“Our experience with RunSignUp this year has been really positive. It’s really helped us to modernize and streamline.” – Matt Reno

If you have a success story about your race, store or club, big or small,  email us
…we’d love to explore a Case Study on your topic!

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The Importance of Ambassador Programs & Referrals – Guest Blog

Guest Blog by Big Run Media

While no race is the same, we’ve found that most race directors struggle with the same challenge: how to get participants to their event. With increased competition and continually changing media outlets, it can be difficult to stand-out. A good course, medal, and a t-shirt aren’t gonna cut it. Let’s face it, you are in the entertainment business now. There are lots of races to choose from. Your race has to have buzz. The good news is that there are some easy ways to spread the excitement about your race. Let’s start with your event advocates/ambassadors.

Yinfluencer-image-squareou already have a core group of athletes who love your event and sign up every year. Use them… the right ones. It’s critical for you to vet and qualify ambassadors — the supporters you’re entrusting to generate referrals — before enlisting them to sing your praises. Check their networks and see what kind of reach they have. Are they the right demographic for your event? You are looking for a team that has a good network and that is willing to promote your event to their own network.

After you’ve qualified Ambassadors, encourage them to share their passion through social media. To keep your ambassadors active, you can seed them with weekly missions/challenges. What are challenges? Challenges can be anything that help generate buzz around your event. For example, we ask our advocates to upload their favorite running photos using your event hashtag. Is there a price increase approaching? Have your ambassadors spread the word. Communicating your goals with the ambassadors is critical to the success of the ambassador programs.

So how do you ensure that your Ambassadors share your content? Referral incentives. RunSignUp makes it easy to distribute unique coupon codes to each ambassador through their referral tracking feature. The RunSignUp platform automatically generates a URL for each of your ambassadors and includes that in their confirmation email. Plus, RunSignUp just released a new feature that offers complete flexibility to set up your own rules for motivating Referrers. For example, you can set up a $2 refund for each new participant the referrer attracts. Or set a threshold of 5 registrations and then give the referrer $20. It’s a win-win.

Creating an ambassador program and/or setting up an automated referral system is an important factor to get increased participation for your race. In 2015, our ambassador programs accounted for 12 – 20% of all registrations.

Working with influencers and setting up referral campaigns can be time-consuming.  You need to find and vet individual bloggers, create incentives and then devote resources to managing those campaigns. At Big Run Media, we take all of that work off your plate so that you can focus on the logistics of your event. We know running, we know RunSignUp and we know how to increase participation at races.

About Big Run Media

Big Run Media, LLC is a full-service branding, digital marketing and creative design agency that focuses on active lifestyle brands. Big Run Media provides digital media planning and buying, social media management and influencer marketing campaigns. More information here:

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Updated Waitlist Management

We have updated the Waitlist Management page to make it easier to see what is happening in real time for your waitlist.

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The layout is nicer with better and clearer information. The big new feature is the ability to easily edit a particular person on the wait list. By clicking the Edit button, you get the page below to change their status and give them a certain amount of time to complete registration. When you select someone, RunSignUp automatically sends them an invitation to complete their registration.

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All of the power of automated waitlist management is still there – this just gives you some nice individual control mechanism.

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Calendar Widget Updates

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 8.20.27 AMYou can now include and exclude specific Timer races in addition to races in our Race Calendar Widget. This makes it easier for a timer to have a calendar of all the races they time.

We have also added an option to include only specific races. Here is the new setup:

Updated Calendar Options

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Internal Race and Volunteer Questions

We have added an option to make questions “internal” only. This means that participants never see the question. This is useful for three use cases:

  1. If a question is being asked to participants, but you no longer want to ask the question. By setting it to “Internal”, participants will not have to see it, but you will not lose the data already collected.
  2. Check-In Questions. The internal questions can show during check-in so it is a way to collect in person information. It might just be a second acknowledgement of the waiver.
  3. Questions that Volunteer coordinators mark for each volunteer in their group. For example, you may not want to show all volunteers that there are back stage passes, but allow the Volunteer Coordinators to assign them.

This is setup in each custom question:

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RunSignUp Fast Registration

Fast RonRunSignUp now offers the fastest registration options for races with a collection of services that speed registration:

These all add up to ease the registration process for your participants. This means fewer incomplete registration, increased customer satisfaction and lower customer support.

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