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Health Club Marketing Tips 
Saturday, October 31 2009
Fix Your First Points of Contact for a Successful Fall & Winter
Can you even remember your goals and New Year's Resolutions from 10 months ago?  You are a goal setter aren't you?  Well now it's time to look in the mirror, so to speak.  You must take a day or two and look at where you are today vs. where you were on January 1, 2009.  Are you growing, or not growing.

If You're Not Growing, You're Dying

Change is difficult.  You are still reading this because you want to be better at
effectively running your health club.  That is great.  Many owners who subscribe
don't even take the 10 minutes it takes to read this.  You are committed to being
better than the rest. You may even be better already.

The problem with having so much competition is that, in the minds of the prospects,
you all look the same and sound the same so you must all be the same.

That is why it becomes a price war.

The way to win that war is at the First Point of Contact; your four (4) points of contact are truly the key to your marketing success.  If you become better at marketing than your competitors, you will lead the pack, by far.  We work with clubs all over North America because we offer the only integrated and complete marketing system in the fitness industry.  More importantly, we bring 3 benefits they don't get on their own:

  FOCUS - We keep the owners focused on the main thing.

  ACCOUNTABILITY - You are accountable to someone other than yourself.

  SYSTEM - Nothing has ever succeeded, long term without a system.

We have worked with some very creative owners, who are good at marketing, but
have no system.  They send out great messages to the right people, just at the
wrong time and it bombs. The time is near when you'll have to make a tough
decision - fish or cut bait.

You Can Only Expect What You Inspect

A few months ago, we offered readers an opportunity to test your knowledge of their prospects against our real member surveys. We asked you to take the survey as if you were a prospect.  The result - you failed miserably.  It was no surprise to us, because we know how hard it is to run your health club.  You have many hats to wear and need to be all things to all people.

You must survey your members at least once a year.  Don't just ask a small group
milling around your front desk, survey a couple hundred. You'll find gold nuggets
in those surveys.  We guarantee you will find ideas for new ads, retention improvement and up-selling opportunities.

Perception is Reality

The outside perception of your health club is what your current members, past
members, prospects and the local community thinks about your health club. Perception is reality.  Right or wrong doesn't matter.  If you are perceived to be a run down dumpy gym, and you're really a state-of-the-art fitness center, you will get the results of a run down dumpy gym.

In fact, we venture to say that the crux of all marketing problems, including yours,
can be wrapped up into one simple statement:

   Most health clubs' outside perception
       is NOT an accurate reflection of their inside reality.

The inside reality has to do with all the things your health club does that makes you
valuable to your customers from a product, operations, and management standpoint.
The "inside reality" is about what you do and what you are that allows your club to
perform better.  It's what gives you a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
The reason we call it the inside reality is because it's the reality of what you do, and
the customers' perceptions of what you do, aren't necessarily the same.  These two
words; reality and perception are vital to this process of winning in business.

Try Something New

Look at your health club from the prospects point of view.  There are 4 ways for
prospects to choose you over the other health clubs, gyms and fitness centers
in the area.  We call these the First Points of Contact.

You must be better at the first point of contact to win the business:
1.  Call In: Stooge call your own club and listen to how your staff
     sounds.  Now call your competition.
2.  Website: Look at your website carefully. Is it talking TO the
     Prospect or ABOUT You?
3.  Ads: Look at your most recent ads.  You may be doing it
     bassackwards.  Is your ad full of hot buttons and solutions
     or a list of what you have with a discount?  What's more
     important to 'Jim Joyner'?
4.  Walk-ins: What is the impression of your club when a prospect
     stops by?  Are they standing around waiting to be greeted?
     Is the place clean and inviting?  How are they greeted?

If you become great at these 4 area's, you will begin to take over your market.  
Prospects sign up for memberships mostly on perception.  Your first points of contact create those perceptions.

'til next time...
Posted by: Profit Partner AT 12:53 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, July 31 2006
Demand Full Fees: 
Never Discount Again

It may sound like a wish and a prayer, but owners who understand selling value
and have worked to establish their unique selling points (USP's) never have to
discount enrollment fees or dues.  In a few minutes, neither will you.
Every Guru has Told You to Compete on Price
Go to every website of our competitors.  All you see are tactical pieces
(postcards, banners, flyers, etc.) that slap your logo on materials that are
emblazoned with "Special Price"... "Lim*ted Time Offer"... "Join for $1"...
You get the point we are making.

Recently, we discussed 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.  You learned that we confuse our prospects
by first telling them we are great, the best club to look and feel great and have
the best x, y and z.  We then get them scratching their heads as to why are we so eager to just discount and diminish the value of what we have to offer.

Why The Heck Do You Do This?

You resort to discounting for a number of reasons:
Fear- If we don't keep up with all the $19 a month gyms out there, we'll lose
   our membership base.
Herd Mentality- If everyone is doing it, it must be the right way to market. 
   You remember what mom told us about this logic "If Jimmy jumped off the
   bridge would you jump off behind him?"
It's Easy- Lazy marketing and advertising resorts to discounting on prices. 
   There are a number of ways to fix this quickly for a club owner.
No Other Solution- Our minds are so cluttered with an overload of marketing,
   offers, promotions, campaigns and specials we can't think straight.  Trust me,
   this "writers block" is common, but it can be overcome.
Your Prospects Are NOT Seeking Lowest Price
One fact that we cannot emphasize enough is for you and your team to
understand what your prospect is thinking.  Their motivations, fears, concerns
and objections change over the cycle of determining who is going to do the
best job of helping them look and feel great.
Do not confuse selling memberships with being the place where your prospects
can look and feel great.  You are not selling memberships.  The membership is
merely the vehicle to help your member look better, feel better, relax and reach
their personal health, fitness and beauty goals. You are selling benefits.
It is not about the money.  Whether you charge $39 a month or $79 a month
or more, it is the last thing that is of concern for 98% of the people who walk
through your front door.  What is critical to your prospects is:

Convenience- They want to be assured that you are close to their home or office. 
   This is more a decision about time commitment than a financial commitment.
Great Service- They want to feel important and not a number.  You are in the
   hospitality business whether you like it or not.
No Hassles- They want to get in, get fit and get on with their day.  If you do
   that better than the gym down the street; you'll be more successful.
Results- They want proof.  Proof that you can help them reach their goals
   quickly and safely.
Value- Not price.  People will pay more if all their needs are being met.  You can
   charge $150 a month, but you better back it up with great value.

Selling Your Memberships On Value
We were speaking with an owner earlier this week who has historically priced her
club at $39 a month with a $199 Enrollment Fee.  She explained that one of
her tactics was to run discounts each month; each month with a different theme. 
The bottom line, she tried to make the prospect feel like they were getting a "deal"
for acting quickly.  The problem was she built her business on a model that
assumed $199 plus $39 a month.  Because of her discount strategy, she only
averaged $79 in Enrollment Fees for each new member.  That is a 60% reduction
from her business model
.  No wonder she was only taking home $89,000 a year
as the owner!  She was giving all her margin away.  She was committing one of
the Cardinal sins in the business today.  She had lazy sales people, lots of
competition and she was petrified she would lose out to the gym down the street
once people knew they were cheaper.
Incentives...Not Discounts
Remember we discussed the confusion in the prospects mind?  They are told you
are the best thing since sliced bread, but it really isn't that great so we'll chop the
 price down.  There is a better way.
Apply incentives to the mix and you can sell at full price, project a great value and
make membership at your club the experience your members want it to be.  All it
takes is a thorough understanding of what makes you better, unique or different.
You can develop a number of great incentives to encourage your prospect to take
action and join.  It can be encouraging and motivating, as opposed to a feeling of
diminishing worth and value through discounts.
You will find what you need in a number of critical places:
Your Unique Selling Points
Your Competitive Advantages
Your Members Comments and Opinions
Your Inside Reality
Just like we showed you that you do not need to advertise to make a lot of money
in this industry, you also can avoid the Price War mentality.
   1)  Results are best achieved through targeted marketing, plus prospect hot buttons,
        plus competitive intelligence, plus USP's.
   2)  Market to a target audience for best results.
   3)  Use incentives to encourage and eliminate discounts that de-value. 

Until next week...
Posted by: Profit Partner AT 01:04 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

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