What makes a successful Tennis Academy? Part 3 – Marketing & your Brand

Updated: Sep 8, 2020

- What is it you want people to see, and what do they actually see?

In Part 2 we’ve discussed “Where do you want to be?”. We discussed in detail how to kickstart, re-evaluate or grow your tennis academy in accordance with your Purpose.

https:// www.topspinsa.com/post/

Also watch out for your free Business case as promised in my previous Blog.

Remember, purpose is about defining who you want to be, what difference you can make and what your academy stands for. We said, clearly define your Vision, Mission, Strategy and Action plan in order for your team to understand:

  • What you are trying to achieve

  • How you are going to achieve it

  • How you are going to measure it to track if you are achieving your objectives.

Start-ups and small businesses battle to spend money on advertising their businesses, but it is imperative for you to get your business out there in the digital space. In this blog we will touch on how you demonstrate to your existing and future clients what you are all about and look at the various ways to get the message to them! Clearly if the message you want to sell is not in line with Purpose (discussed in Part 2) some alignment is needed before you start marketing your brand.

Branding is a non-negotiable

Let’s think of your brand. Remember you are a business and a business needs advertising, and the very basic advertising starts with self-branding. Think about it, you ARE your brand! So how do you advertise yourself when others are watching? Chris Ducker says it so well – “your BRAND is what people say about you when you are not around”. So remember this is first line advertising which cost very little but has an enormous impact on your business.

These questions will help you think about how you reflect your brand:

  • How do others see you/your tennis academy - remember this includes current and potential customers

  • What would your tennis players say about you if they had to describe their tennis coach?

  • How would their parents describe you/your tennis academy?

  • Would they refer you to their friends and future customers?

  • How do you present your tennis academy in discussions, and especially in social media?

  • What facilities do you offer as part of your academy? Is this at a professional standard?

  • Do you invest in conventional and/or digital marketing?

Note: - use the above question whenever you are working with your players, they need to enjoy it and their parents are watching!

Remember that a happy child wants to come back to play tennis, a happy parent pays the bill and happy clients tell others! But remember they do look at how you present yourself, how you interact with the kids as well as what your physical business set-up looks like.

So how do you advertise?

We advertise our businesses by:

  • everything you do and say in selling your coaching services,

  • by existing clients telling potential clients about you, – (word of mouth) and

  • by actively marketing yourself to new clients through conventional marketing or/and digital marketing.

Real Athletes Tennis Academy - Ranked one of the top tennis academies in S.A and is run by national Fed Cup and Davis cup captain (2014 - 2015) Earl Grainger along with a host of expert coaches - " love your website and the newsletter on what makes a successful coach,well written - regards Earl Grainger"

There are various ways to promote your business but today every google search result will give you 5 to 10 must haves that are very far from conventional marketing, here to mention a few:

  • Pay Per Click Google Ads (also called Search Ads)

  • Make videos and showcase them on your own Youtube channel

  • Grow your email list and do regular Email Marketing

  • Social Media Ads e.g. Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn ads

  • Start a Blog Page and write regular Blogs – it’s also good for SEO (search engine optimisation)

  • Learn the SEO basics and incorporate it in all the above

The above are all tools for “digital marketing” and a non-negotiable way of marketing your business in our time. You will have to accept the importance of giving your Academy a credible digital footprint to grow to its full potential – without it your business might not survive at all.

I’ve asked my own digital marketing partner for some advice, and I’m including some information and tips by Terry Bourquin - from Align Digi - below:

The first thing that all businesses need to realise and accept is that they will have to do marketing continually. MARKETING IS NOT A SPRINT, IT'S A MARATHON! It requires a continuous effort over time and never stops. However it is important that one starts with the basics and grow your efforts over time, otherwise it could become very overwhelming! Here are a few tips on how to get your digital footprint going:


Your Website is essential to give you Credibility, which is vital in our digital world as any person can put a profile on social media. You must show that you provide a professional service with quality products/services, and also educate your potential customers about how to use your offering. See your website as the "Shop window" of your business - you have to show them who you are and what you promise with what you exhibit in your window.

Part of the process of a potential client converting to a real customer, is to research your credibility by reading reviews of your current customers on Facebook, Google, and on your Website. YES, they will google your name and NO, they will not think you are a real business if you don't have a professional and updated website! Social Proof on your site is vital as it shows prospects that other customers were happy with your product or service - the modern version of "word-of-mouth advertising!"

Your Website is also where your BLOGS live. This is the most important part of your credibility... potential customers must be able to read content that gives them value added information about relevant topics in your field, before seeing you as the real deal. Blogs position you as an expert in your field, so that people will take you seriously when they read about your business. Blogs are also a big part of the marketer's "magic solution" to use as SEO (search engine optimisation), to increase your Google organic ranking. The more you write, the more relevant Google will rank your business in your industry, and the more they will push you to the first page when people search for your kind of products and services.

An E-commerce website is an Online Store where people can view your products and decide what to buy online. It includes a checkout process with secured Pay Gate so that customers can pay for their purchases there and then - WHICH MEANS MONEY IN YOUR ACCOUNT IMMEDIATELY. Even if you have only one product to sell – this is vital.


A Facebook- and a LinkedIn Business Page is a non-negotiable for your Business, as this is where potential clients will find you when they search for your product or service on Social Media. Instagram Business is also growing fast as a credible business channel.

Use these business pages (not your personal profiles!) as valuable tools in combination with your website, as you can track and respond to messages, and clients can also request quotes on these sites. Many people who would not have necessarily reached your website, can now reach you through social media. All your Business information should be visible on these pages for clients to be able to find you. Important that you post regularly on social media platforms, about relevant content to establish your "Know, Like and Trust-factor". The more you post, the more your followers will engage with you, and the more new clients you will get. In addition you are required to have a Business Page to run Paid Ad Campaigns on any of these platforms.


You don't just want free content being posted. It's great for getting shares and likes but it only reaches about 2% of the people that are already following you on Facebook. If you are serious about building your Business you need to get the word out to the thousands of people out there that could be potential clients! The only way to do this is to pay the Social Media and Search Platforms to show your Ads to a targeted audience.

Facebook is the largest Social Media platform and thus the perfect start to doing some advertising for your business. Facebook owns Instagram and ads are displayed on both platforms. Their algorithms are built to get your message out to the right people.

23 million South Africans are active on Facebook monthly (2019 stats), and the average DAILY time they spend there is 2 hrs 48 mins! Google is the largest Search Engine in the world. Google SA has a traffic statistic of 83 million people PER MONTH of people actively searching for information and products. LinkedIn is a pure business platform with around 7 million users that you can target.

Integrated digital marketing is when you combine "search" traffic with "social media" traffic through ads on Google and Facebook (can include Instagram/LinkedIn – depending on your marketing strategy), and point them to a sales funnel - where you have a special offer running. Through this you generate sales and leads for your Customer Database, to be used for continuous Email marketing, and that points to your Blogs and your Online Store. This is the secret to building your business through the power of digital marketing! Important to start with the basics though and progress from there.


Digital Marketers use Facebook's unique targeting methods and algorithms to pinpoint prospective clients in your area. They will run an Ad campaign for you to encourage more potential clients to 'Like' and 'Follow' your pages and profiles, so that you can build your "know, like and trust-factor". Engaged social media followers will book with you once they have taken notice of your business, and have started following your blogs and posts - because they will feel like they "know" you already.

We recommend that you first start with a Facebook Ad Campaign as a baseline, as many of your potential clients will be active on Facebook. You can always opt to do Google Ads or/and LinkedIn Ads at a later stage if the need exists.

Thank you Terry for the valuable information and for the 30% special offer for our Tennis Coaches – when you click on the link above and use “Kick-start” as PROMO CODE in your message.

So does this work?

Yes! But as Terry said it is a continuous effort. What I liked most about digital marketing is that you can measure your return on investment, you can target your campaigns to the relevant clients, you can see how many people and who have seen your campaigns and you have control over your spend – so fortunately it’s not a black hole where your money disappears without results.

Remember no business can grow without advertising, the world of advertising has changed dramatically, and you need to adapt and use this to your advantage.

Next Steps!

  • Focus on how you “advertise yourself” – How others see you.

  • Focus on how others see your training and the set-up of your tennis academy.

  • Speak to your players and their parents and ask them for their testimonials and use this to advertise your tennis academy.

  • Make sure your “shop front” (website) is up to speed and testimonials are available.

  • Bring a professional on-board to help with your digital marketing.

Next month we look at the way you set up your Academy and what you can do to impress your clients with tools and other eye catchers.

Please register on our website and we will gladly forward you a FREE business case template to assist with your business planning or e-mail us on info@topspinsa.co.za.

Philip van Antwerpen

Online Supplier of Tennis and Beach Tennis Gear

View - 20% Discount offer on all Rackets

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