How Xavier basketball is running the baseline to inbound marketing

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Most basketball teams try to keep all their plays top secret as if they have who shot JFK on those clipboards. Don’t even try to bring a camera into a practice, being carried off by security doesn’t look fun. While this is the norm in college basketball, not all teams follow these rules.

In the 2016 N.C.A.A. tournament which, as its opening weekend drew to a close, had already seen more than its share of upsets and buzzer-beaters. Wisconsin hit a last second 3 and upset the favorites, Xavier. Seventh-seeded Wisconsin upset second-seeded Xavier, 66-63, to reach the round of 16.

The real story is how a small school not known for being a powerhouse in college basketball, was the second-seeded team in the NCAA tournament.

Xavier basketball staff started handing out a stapled newsletter to 800 Ohio area high school coaches in 2001. In just a few years that grew to an email newsletter, that reached 30,000 coaches in 17 countries. Inside this email newsletter was Xavier’s strategies and plays.


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Xavier knew their competitors were following the old playbook. By hosting summer camps and instructional clinics. Xavier decided to go their own direction. By creating a newsletter and sharing their knowledge. They became the go-to authority for high school basketball coaches across the world.

The content presented in the newsletter’s wasn’t outdated plays or boring stats on Xavier players. One newsletter was 81 pages long. Most contain multiple diagrams explaining specific offensive plays that the Musketeers have run. Another newsletter was titled “the ultimate guide to packline defense”. Separating themselves by providing this service. Xavier also marketed their basketball program to students who might not have given them a second look.

When they started their newsletter in 2001, they were ahead of the curve. By practicing inbound marketing strategy. This strategy builds lasting relationships with influential high school basketball coaches. The result has been a stronger and stronger recruiting classes for the Musketeers.


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Xavier is succeeding by publishing the right content in the right place at well you know the right time. They made themselves relevant and helpful to thousands and thousands of people. Adding value to these people’s lives by creating targeted content. This content answered questions and filled the specific needs of their audience. Then they shared that content far and wide.

They were able to do this by following the Inbound methods of Attract, Convert, Close, and Delight.


Like Xavier, you don’t want just any customers, but you want the right customers. You want the people who are most likely to become leads, and form lasting relationships with you. A blog or a newsletter is the best way to attract these desired customers to you. By creating educational content that speaks to them and answers their questions.


Once you have attracted the right customers, the next step is to convert them into leads for your business. Xavier consistently adds people to their email list, keeping in contact with the coaches that have students they wish to recruit. You could say that these recruits are their leads, that they are turning into customers.


So you’ve done your legwork. You figured out who your audience is. You wrote remarkable and valuable content to attract them. You converted them by keeping in contact and gathering more specific information on them. It’s time, for Xavier, it’s National Signing Day. For you, it could be landing that dream client or job.


Once you land that dream client or job your work isn’t done. Now it’s time to continue to engage and delight them by offering not only a great experience but great results. Xavier spent 13 consecutive weeks in the top 10. They had 26 regular season wins. Xavier obviously has this part down to a science.

Check out The Xavier Basketball newsletter HERE