It’s no secret that New Year’s is the most important time of the year for fitness and health clubs. It’s the time of year when club owners look forward to filling their clubs with new members and beefing up their EFT’s. It’s the time of the year when the marketplace if filled with eager new prospective clients, hoping to find a health club that will help them transform their body for the new year and burn off those extra holiday pounds.
It is also the time of year when the marketplace is flooded with advertising and messaging focused on weight loss, making a new start, and fulfilling New Year’s Resolutions. These messages do strike a nerve with most people in the marketplace, but with so much competition, it can be very difficult for a Fitness Gym or Health Club to stand out and grab the attention of those that are looking to lose weight.
So, that begs the question; what is your health clubs strategy for the new year? You have a few choices.
1. Aggressively attack the market with a media mix.
2. Grass Roots attack with Direct Mail, Gorilla Marketing, and Referral Programs
3. Do nothing and hope members come to you.
Let’s explore these options in a little more detail.
Aggressively attack the market with a media mix.
Having a balanced media mix is a great way to ensure prolonged marketing success. Never before have companies had so many different avenues available to them to promote products and services. TV, Radio, Texting, Email, Online, Social Media, Print, Direct Mail, the list is almost endless. The more places that a new prospect sees and interacts with your brand, the more likely that your brand will be top of mind when they have made a decision to purchase. Each media campaign should be designed interact with each other and lead the prospect to your many customer touch points. For example, a radio ad my advertise an exclusive “New Member Offer” and drive customers to your website. Your website then provides information about your club, then also provides the avenues to your social networks. A Direct Mail campaign or a print ad should function in the same manner.
The biggest detractor to having an aggressive media mix is the question of ROI. An aggressive media mix can be expensive to maintain, so your club will need a way to accurately measure the cost of mass media advertising, and weigh it against the return, or income you are receiving. For large health club chains, this is often much easier, as they have larger marketing budgets and a larger staff dedicated to monitoring their marketing and advertising. Unfortunately, for small to medium health clubs, the resources are just not available to successfully undergo and manage a marketing and advertising plan of this magnitude. In most cases, the best approach for small to medium sized fitness clubs and health clubs is a grass roots approach.
Grass Roots attack with Direct Mail, Gorilla Marketing, and Referral Programs
For most health clubs, marketing dollars must be spent very carefully. One of the biggest factors in the ROI of a marketing program is getting your message in front the right people. Lets do the math: Studies show that less than 55% of people read newspapers, only 75% of people have internet access, 95% have telephones, and only 98% have TV’s. But, one thing we can be sure of is that 100% of us have mailboxes! That’s good math!
Direct mail offers you the ability to target your prospects by many factors, including age, income, radius around your health club, household members, etc.. This gives you the power to guarantee that your will be seen by the right people! And make no mistake, it will be seen. With direct mail, you can’t “change the channel”, you can’t hit “delete”, you can’t “turn off” your mailbox, and you can’t mark certain mail as “span”. EVERYONE MUST GET THIER MAIL!
In addition, it is fact that when people receive something in the mail that has value to them, they will keep it. If you target the right demographics, and send out a promotion that has value, chances are you will get a great return on our investment. A positive ROI on a direct mail piece very easy achieve, as the cost of a direct mail campaign can be drastically lower than other avenues of advertising.
A balanced program of New Prospect Mailings, as well as Current Member Incentive Mailings will help keep your brand top of mind. Mix that with internal advertising and incentive programs, you have a very affordable recipe for having a healthy EFT and phones that keep ringing. Starting a direct mail campaign can be very turn-key, with very little up front cost, so there is little risk. Of course, you do have the option to just sit there and to nothing…
3. Do nothing and hope members come to you.
Any time you spend money on marketing, there is some level chance involved. Some campaigns and promotions may be a home run, some may do just “OK”, and some may fizzle. That is a scary proposition to many, but it is the cold truth. When launching a campaign, choose a vendor that specializes in health club marketing and health club direct mail, and trust their expertise. You may know your club, but a health club direct mail expert knows what promotions the market is responding too. On a daily basis, they monitor hundreds and thousands of direct mail campaigns and measure the success of each one in order to point their clients into the right direction with their direct mail promotions.
Choose wisely and trust the experts to do their job. If the fear of the unknown causes your health club to sit steady and do nothing to promote your brand, then you are on the road to disaster. Eventually, your brand message will cease to exist, and your membership base will begin to atrophy.