Different fans want different experiences from their club – so getting a clear view of fan demographics is critical. The first step is creating an open channel for fans to speak with directors, staff, and stewards.
If you go onto the Lewes FC website, you’ll find almost all of the directors’ and staff members’ email addresses. Instead of keeping contact details hidden, the club decided to make them public – so fans can decide who they contact with questions or concerns.
"Our audience is global. We have club owners in more than 40 countries, so it's not always possible for people to approach us at the club,” Shrey explains. “We host monthly town halls in the evenings with four or five directors, a few staff members, and sometimes special guests on hand to answer questions."
The club gives fans multiple ways to engage with the leadership team and have their say – including an app for club owners, where they can keep up with the latest news, and receive exclusive and early-doors information.
Since the pandemic, Lewes FC town halls have moved online – but the club has experienced increased attendance as a result. Shrey notes that town halls are also an invaluable resource for directors and staff to learn about fans’ perspectives and ideas.
"We talk about everything from match results to brand partnerships. People get to have a live conversation with us, or they can keep their camera off and listen – but still feel part of the decisions their club is making. Town halls give me a chance to understand what the fans are thinking."
Encouraging fans to open up with their club requires transparency and receptiveness from leadership too. Lewes FC bring elements of football that have traditionally been shrouded in mystery into the spotlight – like upcoming changes to the grounds, and diversity targets.
"We started publishing our club strategies because we wanted to be transparent. We get emails from fans who actively review the strategies and ask questions about them. We also have owners who have experience in certain areas and want to offer their help. It keeps us accountable, and fans can see that we're doing what we say we will."
10 top tips on football fan engagement
Learn the best tips for engaging fans in your football club, from getting to know your fans, to partnering with local organisations.
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