We’re thrilled to have interviewed David Bushnell, club manager and webmaster of the Hull Wasps, the premier basketball team of Hull, England. Since 2008, the team has grown to become a national league club, represented by a superbly designed website. We talked to Dave for an inside look on what makes a basketball team shine not only on the court but also on the web. Read this inspirational story on being a champion in sports management as well as online marketing!
David Bushnell is responsible for the commercial development and marketing of the Hull Wasps, including the design and management of the impressive Hull Wasps website. David has more than 5 years of experience in business and marketing within the media industry and helped establish the club to where it is today.
Can you tell us more about the Hull Wasps?
We’re an England Basketball registered national league club based in Hull. We are Hull’s biggest and highest level club and have been for more than 5 years.
We started in June 2008 when there was no senior mens club in Hull. We had the desire to bring national league standard basketball to the city. We’ve been in Division 4 North each season so far but have made progress in our league position every year. This year we have strengthened our squad again to give us the best chance of being promoted to Division 3 this season.
As the four directors, we’ve put a lot of hard work in over the last 5 and a half years to really promote and build a fan base around the club. Creating a fan base helps us attract sponsors to the club which is essential for maintaining a strong foundation.
Why have you decided to create an online profile for your team?
My background is in marketing so I know how important it is for any new organisation to have a very professional looking website. You only get one chance to make a first impression and generally speaking, your website is the first thing that people look for when they hear about you.
As club chairman, what methods have you used to promote the team?
Promoting the club is hard, particularly in a town dominated by Football and Rugby at professional level, but we’ve worked hard to get the word around through a very digital based marketing strategy. Social media has played a huge part and our website of course plays a part in that too. The website has to look strong and create a good first impression and using Webnode has allowed us to do that very well.
We’d love to know what you consider to be the most important feature of your website.
When we first launched the website, the fact that you can easily set up news feeds. News is crucial for any sports club. You have to keep news coming out to keep fans interested and keep returning and connected to the brand. However, there were many other features I loved such as the capability to set up ‘lists’ very easily. We used that to quickly create a list of our first team players and give photos and quick biographies about each one.
Nowadays, YouTube and other social media integration plays a big part. (Check out the Hull Wasps’ YouTube channel!) In 2008, the website was the primary source of news, but today it’s all about our social media output. Integrating our Facebook Likes box continually drives further likes on our page.
The design of your website is impressive. What is your experience with using Webnode to build your site?
It’s very easy to get started. The templates are well designed. We used one template to get going but I then edited the CSS not long afterward to change the whole look and feel how I wanted it.
From a technical point of view, I’d had some experience of creating websites but could never do all the advanced features that Webnode offers. I was recommended by a friend of mine and when I looked at the CMS provided by Webnode, I saw how easy it was and thought it was the best way to get started. In 2008, Webnode was a fairly unique concept. The only other option was to build something on WordPress but that was much more complicated, so I chose to set up on Webnode and it didn’t take very long.
As the online world has changed, fans follow us more through social media now, so we decided that this year, it was time for a change again and to redesign the content so it the home page was focused on new visitors wanting to find out more, rather than returning fans.
Photography plays a big part in the overall appearance of course as well and we have an excellent club photographer in Keith from BiggerImageStudios.com who takes some excellent shots for us. Bad photos can have a detrimental effect to your appearance so I’d recommend to everyone that they get genuine, quality photography to use on their websites.
How do you connect with fans?
Social media plays a huge part, but so does email. We’ve integrated an email sign up box along with a Facebook box, plus links to our YouTube channel and twitter feed, that’s really important. Each news story we now create has to go out on social media for people to know about it. People in general expect to have things sent to them online now, rather than having to go and search for it themselves. It’s just the way our online behaviour has changed over the last 5 years.
What do you do to attract new visitors and fans to your website?
We do lots of digital marketing through email and social media. We also run offline campaigns targeting local residents and schools. If you compare August, September and October from this year, we’ve had double the number of unique visitors this year than we did in the same 3 month period last year. It’s a good indicator that we’re doing something right and going in the right direction.
What are the future plans for your team and your website?
We have a long term plan to reach the top-tier of British Basketball, the BBL. We’re gearing up our infrastructure to do that, but our brand appearance, including the website, plays a key role in that and I believe our website is up there with the best basketball club websites in the UK. We have to keep evolving though and we’re always looking at ways to improve the experience and our offering to the fans to keep them coming.
Thanks a lot Dave, for taking the time to tell us more about the club and your marketing strategy. We’d like to congratulate you on the amazing work you’ve done and wish you all the best for the future!
How do you use your website for marketing your activities?