How We Reached 250,000 People for Less than $500 (in 4 Days)

carolina speedway

I am very fortunate to have an incredibly diverse clientele. It's what keeps me on my toes and keeps the creative juices flowing! One of my clients is Carolina Speedway, located in Gastonia, NC. It's a historic dirt track that operates every Friday night from March through October. There's nothing like the roar of the race cars as you approach the track. If you've never been to a dirt track (no, not NASCAR - this is the real roots of motorsports, exciting bumping and sliding on red clay of the Carolinas) you need to go. You're about as close to the action as humanly possible, without being in the driver's seat! Carolina Speedway had a new racing series coming to the track as well as a special guest from a popular reality tv show. They needed to fill the seats, and with Mother Nature giving them a run for their money this season, they needed to make up for some previous rainouts. We decided to put social media and email marketing to work for them. Here's what we did:

Carolina Speedway Bobby Brantley
Carolina Speedway Bobby Brantley

1. The speedway has a great email list - over 2,000 passionate race fans. We advertise the link to their email fan club on social media and front and center on their website. We email fans every Wednesday (no matter what), and fans get used to receiving this communication. We did do one additional 'last minute' message the Thursday evening prior to the race.

2. We posted various times on Facebook and Twitter a race 'flyer'/poster image.

3. Two weeks prior to the race, we did a quick 'boost post' of the flyer and paid $300 to reach 75,000 'fans and friends of fans.' Somehow, Facebook allowed this to go through - I was truly amazed, as I have had a REALLY hard time squeaking through Facebook's 'no more than 20% of an image covered in text rule.'

4. The quickie boost post got them 203 page likes, 60 comments, 193 shares and reached over 71,000 people. Not bad you say...however, we weren't convinced we reached all the 'right' fans, since we knew that the tv celebrity was popular all over the SouthEast, and we wanted to target those who would actually GO to the race.

5. The week of the race, we used Facebook's Power Editor and used the SAME post and targeted men and women ages 18-44 in Gastonia, NC and a 50 mile radius. We did not do a different post for a few reasons - 1. Facebook had previously approved the ad, so we knew we were in the clear and 2. it had TONS of engagement on it with really good looking numbers, so it would look more 'viral' to someone seeing it. Everyone likes to be the 'popular kid!' We spent $50/day for 3 days. With that targeting, we reached an additional 35,000 people, grabbed 215 shares and almost 200 more likes to the page. This was VERY targeted, and with half the budget, we did very well.

6. Finally, we decided to shake things up a little bit and offer the chance to win an autographed t-shirt. This was important as the track had just purchased some new camouflage t-shirts, and wanted to sell them during the race. On Thursday evening around 6:00pm, we posted the image to the right. Almost immediately, we were getting close to 50 shares A MINUTE. By Friday evening, just prior to the race, that post had reached 131,000 people and had been shared 2,149 times - for FREE! In fact, we had such a great response, that the track gave away 3 shirts.


So, you're probably wondering how it all turned out, right? Did the track have a big night? Was the celebrity worth it? Did the social media postings work? The short answer is YES - to all of them! They had their biggest race attendance of the season (and they've had some BIG races, with huge crowds), lots of new faces were there probably due to the celebrity, but a way to give the track lots of exposure to gain a new fan was brought to their doorstep, and yes, for $450 total in Facebook Ad spending and the cost of three t-shirts, it was WELL worth it. It should be noted that the track did do guerrilla marketing, a newspaper release and some radio. However, the only advertising medium with analytics, is social media.

The biggest take away from this is to remember to use the Facebook Power Editor (instead of just randomly hitting 'boost post'), and really figuring out who you are trying to reach. You'll ultimately spend less by really zeroing in on your target audience. And, use some creativity. Ask for the 'share', give something 'valuable' away, and give people the 'chance' to get something really special if you can. In the end we are all selling an 'experience.' Whether it's a dirt track, a beach vacation, a new piece of jewelry to wear on your special day or a great meal.

Let me know if you need help navigating Facebook's boosting and ads! And if you want to check out Carolina Speedway on a hot Friday night - head on over to their Facebook Page!