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Health Club Marketing Tips 
Sunday, June 05 2005
The Magic Bullet Doesn't exist.

You can stop looking for it. There is no such thing. We have tens of thousands of
advertising results to prove that. You have tried, we have tried, and corporations
which spend 100 million dollars a year on ads have tried. There ain't no such thing.
If there was, you could buy it for $50,000 and it would earn you $100,000 every time
you used it. We have ads that we have used in markets which have yielded the lucky
owners over $50,000. We rush that money maker right into the hungry hands of an owner
in different market, only to see it barely pay for itself. Why is that? It was a
perfect ad.

Here's why: NOISE. Every market has its own noise. This is created by the messages
used by all the companies which are competing for the same dollars which people spend
on health and fitness.

Listen to it... HOME GYMS, WORK OUT TAPES, DIET PROGRAMS, GYMS, HEALTH CLUBS, PILATES, PILLS, FITNESS CENTERS, 30 MINUTE WORKOUTS, 24 MINUTE WORKOUT, COSMETIC SURGERY, YOGA, WELLNESS CENTERS etc. etc. etc...   Get it? This noise creates confusion. When consumers are confused, they freeze. Do nothing. As consumers, we've all been there.

Make Money With LESS Advertising

Huh?  What marketing company in their right mind would tell you to stop advertising? 
Well, Profit Partners may do just that upon an examination of what you are doing today
to develop new business in your community.

You are probably asking yourself, "Why would we stop advertising and risk seeing all of
our prospects dry up and stop coming through our door?"  Good question.  But we want you
to think about WHAT you are actually sending as a message to your audience.  The notion of advertising "memberships for sale" breaks every rule of why someone wants to belong to a
club in the first place.

What Are You Selling?

Ask 100 owners of health clubs what products and services they are selling and 3 out of
every 4 will tell you they are selling memberships to their club.  Respectfully folks,
you are dead WRONG.  You are not selling "memberships"; you are selling a way to LOOK and
FEEL GREAT.  Your club is just a vehicle for people to achieve their health, fitness and
beauty goals in a way THEY believe are going to be most effective.

Think about the HUGE disconnect the fitness industry has created with the type of
advertising you see across the country and in every market; regardless of size and
demographics.  Picture this, every owner works hard to be the "best" club in their market. 
You want to hire top talent, have great equipment, and offer tremendous classes in a clean
and exciting atmosphere.  Those lucky enough to be members can look and feel great while
having a good time, too.

Now read your ads.  The first half will normally talk about how great the club is, how much
the members love belonging to such a fine establishment, etc., etc., etc...  The second half
of the ad will scream "Now taking anyone who reads this ad!  And, we'll even discount it for  you!!!  Hurry!!!"

Do you get what we are saying?  Belonging to a club or having a membership is considered an association, a common attachment, exclusivity to a degree, an alliance of people with similar goals.  Yet, we have confused the community by discounting it and diminishing its value.

The 4 Places Where You Should Spend Your Money

I wish I had a dollar for every owner who has asked us "Hey, can you guys write a great ad for us?"  Unless you understand where you are really getting your members from, anyone would make this request.  It is hard to get angry at owners who want "great ads" yet don't understand where there clients have come from and where their hard-earned money is best spent.

Here is where to  spend your marketing dollars:

  • Aggressively market our club in the community as "the" place for fitness and wellness events.
  • Sponsor local activities that emanate from inside our club and join up with other complimentary businesses.
  • Launch a well constructed Member Referral Program to encourage a client to "sponsor" a prospective new member.
  • Make our club more exclusive with benefits and resources only available to full members and not those on trial.  Make being a member something special. Establish a 12 month plan of internal and external target market oriented campaigns to promote value and incentives.  Eliminate discounting and demand full fees.

"Market to Your Target"

Don't advertise.  Identify narrow and specific target markets (want a few ideas?  How about
Teachers, Healthcare Workers, Student Athletes, Stay At Home Moms and Dads, Municipal Workers) and build a campaign and message that speaks DIRECTLY to that target.

No more broadcast radio or cable TV, no more ValPack Coupons and no more "let's throw this out there and see what sticks" approach.

Take that good money and focus.  Let your competition spend their budgets rattling the cages and waking up those sleeping on their couches.  We'll work with you to make more money in less time.  But, if you still believe there is a magic bullet ad out there. 

PLEASE don't call us. There are plenty of companies and sales reps out there to sell it to you
(it's right next to the pie... in the sky).

Posted by: Profit Partner AT 05:07 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

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