Tired of Marketing That Just Flat Out Doesn't Work and
Wastes Your Valuable Time and Money?
I met Tom about 2 years ago. We bumped into each other at my local club during a workout. Tom's one of those "regulars" you see all the time. Keeps to himself. Doesn't talk much. He's just serious and intent on what he's doing.
When you look at time you'd say he's a pretty together guy. His weight is under control. He's in shape and I think he works in the area and comes in about the same time I do, 6:00pm before heading home. While I had seen him around quite a bit, we never said more than the obligatory "Hey, how's it goin'?" But that day two years ago was a huge turning point.
Tom always worked really hard at the gym. He moved from piece of equipment to equipment, jumped on the treadmill, hit the abs machine, pumped a little free weights. You know guys (and gals) like Tom. They're all over your club. It was a good thing he was around that evening. I was on a bench doing presses and got "stuck". Real stupid move on my part and luckily Tom saw me and gave me a hand. It was the last time I ever benched without a spotter.
We got to chatting. He was telling me how frustrated he was. Over the last year he saw no improvements. He was even working out longer and harder than he had in the past. With no success. Everything was the same or worse - strength, endurance, speed...everything. I then asked him a few questions like "What's been your strategy? Your plan? Are you doing anything new to get better results, faster?"
What Tom Told Me Next Is the Secret to Your Success
Tom said "I've tried everything. You name it and I've given it a shot. I go from one thing to another hoping that it will be what I need to take it to the next level." He paused, and then sighed "I'm frustrated and tired. I have no strategy or plan. You see me around the club; I just go from one thing to another hoping and praying to see improvements. Everything that used to work no longer does. It sucks."
I remember that moment as if it were yesterday. It brought total clarity to not only fixing Tom's problems, but also to exactly what club owners want and need to dominate their markets and be the best club in their towns. What Tom and I talked about next has been applied to every successful club I know. It is the secret to marketing and financial success for health club owners across the country.
Tom's Solution is YOUR Solution
Tom only needed a few things to fix his problem. He was too close to the situation to see it himself. It took 5 minutes with me (after he saved me from getting crushed on the bench!) to open his eyes and get him on the path to success. Of course, I didn't realize it at the time. But Tom thanked me just a few weeks later when I saw him again at the club.
Tom and I talked about a few things that lead to success:
1) You do only what's TESTED and PROVEN
2) SYSTEMATIZE it so it's simple and repeatable
3) TRACK your progress - incremental improvement
leads to exponential growth
Revealed: The Solution for Those Who've "Tried It All!"
That conversation with Tom was very revealing. It pointed out and clarified exactly what club owners need to be successful and to dominate their markets. If YOU want to make more money, save time and do the things you really want to do, once you're headache is cured, then you'll need to do what Tom did. You'll need to take a stand and make a few changes.
Here's exactly what the winners in the industry do:
^ Integrate all of your marketing and advertising
^ Start with your first points of contact - front desk, sales team and website
^ Eliminate trial and error marketing experiments
^ Use only what's tested and proven to work in the past
^ Systematize and streamline everywhere (KISS)
^ Implement Lead Generation Systems
^ Systematized your Sales Tools and Closing process
^ Get a Member Retention Plan in place
^ Create Up-Selling systems
^ Get it working automatically
You can build it yourselforhave it done for you. You'll know what's best for you. Do your research and trust your gut. It's usually right!
But don't be like Tom. If nothing changes...nothing changes. Do it now for your financial and emotional success.
Okay. Picture this. You just came off a month of high activity, new members, and a pop in sales after a slow August. Now what. Most clubs see a drop in sales after a nice burst for of a list of reasons:
It's getting nice outside;
It's crummy outside;
It's vacation season;
The ______holiday (you fill in the blank);
People are going away;
Kids are home from school;
It gets dark earlier.....
You've heard them all. Better yet, you've said them all. Here is the bottom line. If you think this month will be slow or if you think this month will be busy; you're right.
Speed of the Boss is the Speed of the Crew
You don't need 17 excuses on why it is slow, you only need one. Just pick the one you like and tell it to your staff and we're done. See you next month!
So Why Are You Still Reading This? Oh, I get it, you must be one of those 10%-er's. The cream of the crop. The owner who wakes up everyday with a knot in your stomach. The type that got into this business to do something special. To be someone in the community. To bring value to people. To make a difference on this earth. Well join the club. I'll keep going then...
Be a Leader!
People NEED to be led. We are all born dependant. Some people stay that way and others choose the tougher road. If you accept the fact that you are already a leader, because of that choice, then you can accept the fact that people will follow your lead. Good or bad, they will follow. So here are the rules:
Set a Goal: Make this month the best month EVER! Make a Plan: Spend 10 minutes (right now not later) being creative Get Your Whole Staff on the Plan: You will need EVERYONE to break a record. Create an Event: (Sell it like it is the invention of toilet paper) Commit To It For a WHOLE Month: (Remember speed of the boss...)
Now some of the 'leaders' who are reading this, clicked off and said "I get it" and they are off manufacturing the greatest month in their history. Others are still looking for more direction and help. Others are saying "What the hell does this have to do with marketing?"
The 5 steps above are the same five steps we ingrain into our clients. Substitute this current month with the next 12 months and you'll get the picture. But you say, "I don't need you... I can do it on my own."
True. But you won't. It is a lot of work and time to go from good to great. Great leaders are great at delegating. If you could get someone to do this for you, month after month for a year, you'll go from good to great.
If you follow baseball, a good hitter ends the year with a .280 batting average. A great hitter ends the year with a .300 batting average. The difference? 12 singles over 600 at-bats. That is mind blowing. A dozen little singles are the difference between good and great. The .300 hitter takes the most batting practice - everyday. The .300 hitter hires extra coaches and trainers to push him, motivate him and help him stay focused.
It is okay to be just "good". The world needs a lot of "good" health and fitness centers. It is not as hard to be good and you're still better than most if you're good. But if you want to be great... You have to tune up your leadership skills and work smarter, everyday.
Managing is Not Leading
We have rolled out great systems in many health clubs of all sizes. Why is it the exact system has fantastic results in some, average in others and mediocre in others? The answer is leadership. Remember step number 5 above. COMMIT to it for a month. A leader commits. They go all in. They sell out. First in and last out. A manager doesn't. They say things like "I like it but my staff won't do it". You can lead a horse to water but you can't make 'em drink. (No, but a leader will figure out a way to make them thirsty).
The road to success has many disappointments, but the person who rises to the top is the one who NEVER gives up.
How to Create Marketing that Get People to Take Action,
Become Your Prospects and Join Your Club
Remember the good old days of health club marketing? You would have your printer throw 5,000 over-sized postcards out into your community and then watch people come thru the front door over the next week or two. You would tour them and they would join that day. Sadly, it's not so easy any more.
What changed over the past 10 years?
In a word - EVERYTHING. People get 5 times more junk mail today than they did 10 years ago. Worse yet, there are more gyms today from which to choose in your area. Even the way people look for a club has changed, thanks to the internet. As a result, there is more "noise" and distractions causing people to have a shorter
attention span. How can we possibly get their attention?
Let's start with your typical prospect and what goes through their heads each day. What do they do with their mail when they get home? If they are like most of us and probably you, they sort it - bills, personal, magazine and "junk" for recycling. What goes in junk? Flyers. Ads . Bulk letters. Other crap; and all that other NOISE.
Guess which pile your postcard goes into...
You are praying that of the 5,000 people who get your expensive postcard, 1,000 don't put it in recycling right away. You are then hoping of those, 100 are even THINKING about joining a health club. And finally, you keep your fingers crossed that 25 of them either call your club (to likely ask you "how much does it cost?") or maybe
actually come walking through your front door.
So, I ask you - How's that working for you these days? Not so good, I imagine.
For most clubs with limited advertising budgets, I would stay away from postcard mailings all together. There are better ways to drive traffic and sell more memberships than postcard mailings. For some clubs, postcards may prove to be part of a well constructed and integrated marketing strategy.
So if you are going to do postcard mailings, at least give yourself a fighting chance to break through the noise, get your marketing noticed and get people who are actively seeking a club membership on your radar screen.
Here's how to do it:
1. Keep your postcard simple. The goal is to get people to take
the next low-risk step of getting to know your club better.
2. Highlight the benefits of membership; not the features of your
club. People want to lose weight, get fit, have fun and feel
energized. They could care less about your club or you.
3. Have one (1) offer that requires someone to register or download
it from your website. Not 3 offers. Not 5 offers. Just one.
4. Set up a landing page to receive the people who log on to your
site. Ask for their Name and Email address only. Deliver to them
their coupon to redeem your offer (7 days free, Free Training
Session, $100 of Enrollment Fee, etc.).
5. Make the offer time sensitive. Create a sense of urgency.
6. Drip market on them. Encourage them to come experience your
club first hand.
7. Monitor your web sign ups and be patient.
People who get your postcard and are ready to join this week will come in right away; regardless of your offer. Your postcard may be enough to get them to drive over to your club. For the other 97%, you want to capture their information, give them something of value and let them go through the typical buying cycle.
Old marketing is dead. You must adapt your marketing to the way people want to buy.
Remember, people HATE being sold, but they LOVE to buy. Do it on their terms to crush your competition.
Differentiation, niche marketing, and positioning. These and other related business
buzzwords have no doubt crossed every gym owner and marketing director's eyes and ears in recent years.
But what do these words really mean to you in your gym? Usually they mean that a
gym will attempt to sell memberships and classes that are somehow different than the
competitions to a certain, specific target market. In theory, this is a great idea.
If you could just reach that one segment of the market with your great and
Welcome to reality. If your gym is innovative enough to develop a truly unique
package and facility that is earning you a profit, the following inevitably happens:
competition springs up from nowhere to imitate you, undersell your price, and steal
your market share. It's immutable.
So as your next line of defense, you choose to position yourself as the quality
leader among health clubs. Or as the low price leader. Or as the service king. You
soon find yourself in a battle with four other gyms - all claiming to have the most
variety, lowest prices, highest quality or best service.
A marketing free-for-all usually ensues. Each gym owner tries in vain to shout with
the loudest voice that his health club is superior. Headlines get bigger, radio ads
get more obnoxious, advertising agencies get richer. More significantly, members
begin to discount any claim made by any of the gyms. The alternative is to slam
(put down) your competition. That doesn't work either. The public hates negative
campaigns. Remember the last election?
Is niche marketing the way to go then? Obviously, different is better than "me
too." The question isn't whether or not to be different, but rather how to
communicate those differences in a way that your members will believe and embrace
them. Your Real Opportunity for Innovation Lies in the Marketing. You don't have
to be the best gym, you just need to be better at marketing. The winner is always
the one who is better at marketing their message.
Here's What Marketing Really Is...
You need to realize three things about business to understand marketing. These
three things are always true, regardless of what type of gym you own: 1) All gyms do
just one thing: They Woo Potential Members - Period. 2) All potential members want
just one thing: The Best Deal - Period. 3) Your marketing should do just one thing: Articulate Why You're The Best Deal - Period. You can build confidence if you
articulate your advantage. Make sure you do it in a way that is Short And To The Point and easy to understand. (SATTP)
This is not a complicated thing. If you dispute any of the three points, please
call us to discuss it at once. We don't want to be wrong about such simple stuff.
But if this is such simple stuff...then why do most health clubs have so much
trouble executing a decent marketing plan? We say it's because, in general, we are lazy communicators.
See if this scenario sounds familiar. When you get home from work, your spouse asks
you how your day was. What do you usually say? "Fine, okay, I'm tired, great, it
stunk". Do these words actually communicate anything? What about when you see someone you know at the store and you ask, "Whatcha doin'?" (as if you really care or can't tell by looking) and he answers, "Fine," which is actually the answer to the other
question he was expecting, which is "How ya doin'?" We are a society of lazy
communicators...we are on communication autopilot. Don't think, just talk.
These communication habits spill over into marketing and advertising all the time.
Show me 99% of all marketing material created and I'll show you a huge jumble of
hyperbole, fluff, platitudes, and yawnably unbelievable, black hole nothing words.
Words like cheapest, professionalism, service, quality, speedy, convenient, and
best. These words do absolutely nothing to communicate why you're the best deal.
NOTHING. Claude Hopkins, the greatest advertising man in history, summed it up: "Platitudes and generalities roll off the human understanding like water from a
duck. They leave no impression whatever."
Stand Out, Don't Blend In
Look at all the gyms within a five mile radius of you. Some of these gyms claim to
be "the" experts. Most tell me in bullet points that they charge the lowest fees,
even if even if you are just looking for month to month memberships. Almost all of
them tout that they have the major brand equipment. None of them, however, give
me compelling reason why I should call them instead of their competitors. The "unique"
a claims of each gym have become generic, unappealing, and meaningless to the
potential member...who is just waiting to be sold.
Surprisingly, very few health clubs really make more than a token attempt to distinguish themselves from their competitors. Once a gym stakes out a position in
the marketplace, the usual strategy is to foolishly proclaim to all potential
members, "Here we are, now give us all the memberships that you have been giving
to our competition...for no justifiable, rational reason."
Fortunately, you can cash in on what your competitors are doing wrong. The most
powerful tool you can use to stand head and shoulders above your competition is a clear, concise compelling message on why you are the best choice for fitness. Your
message is the singular, unique benefit that your members can expect to receive
when they favor your health club instead of your competitor's - stated in specific,
graphically illustrated terms.
The key point is to have something good to say, say it well and say it often and
you will win.
This week's message may very well help you and your club from being crushed and pounded by the next big-box gym to hit the area.
We want you to be encouraged and excited to realize that, YES, you can and will not only compete with the newest game in town; but you'll be positioned to grab more than your fair share of memberships.
We recently discussed the important differences between MARKETING and ADVERTISING. We strongly encourage you to build out a systematic marketing strategy to create lots of great things to say about your club, say them powerfully and get the messages out often. Once this strategic component is built, you can focus on the tactical resources you'll need to advertise.
As a student of great marketing, you have come to learn that a great ad will do a heck of a lot more than scream "Low Price!" with a photo of a world-class athlete ripped to the max. You will build advertisements that follow the Marketing Equation:
Interrupt with hot buttons, Engage with benefits, Educate why you're better, and Offer something of value and low risk.
What we are saying is that you first need to "call out" to your prospect. You first and foremost have to grab the attention of those even thinking about joining a health club. Second, you need to immediately let them know that you are the solution to
their needs; to announce the benefits of your club. Third, prove to the reader that you are their best option; we call it 'differentiation'. Lastly, you need a call to action; a step that someone can take that is low risk to see if they can really trust you and what you're saying.
9 Simple Steps To Crush Your Competition
For every 10 gyms and clubs that fail in the US, the first sign of the Grim Reaper is a drop in response to your advertising. We aren't talking about the typical seasonal drop you may get at times during the year or a 10% fall-off from the month before. What we are talking about is a real stretch of flat-lining; you know, a couple of months back to back torture where making payroll is not so certain.
We hope you've never been there. It ain't pretty. Let's make sure you never experience it, or if you have and managed to swim to shore, you never get that gut-wrenching feeling again.
Step #1: Use present tense, second person.
Don't say "Members look and feel great at Fran's Fitness Factory"
Say "You will look and feel great at Fran's Fitness Factory"
When we review your ads we look for you - you - you!!
Step #2: Use sub-headlines.
It catches the attention of 90% of your readers who are just
glancing your postcard or ad. It is great spot to highlight your
low risk offer.
Step #3: Say it in plain English.
Successful copy copywriters employ the KISS system -
"Keep it simple, stupid". When it doubt, leave it out.
Step #4: Choose simple words.
Use short and simple words to express what you mean. Everyone
understands short words and do just as good a job.
Step #5: Give away free information.
Remember this one rule - Free information first, sales speak
second. It is a good way to get interest in your club.
Step #6: Arouse curiosity.
The best ads arouse curiosity instead of satisfying it. Don't
"give the secret away" before someone shows interest.
Step #7:Do not say "call to speak to our salesperson".
The kiss of death. Especially in our industry. You want to put
the membership purchase on their terms - not yours.
Step #8: Make every ad a complete sales presentation.
Many times owners are afraid of too much copy in an ad. If you
follow the marketing equation, the ad will cover the first and last
word needed for someone to take the next step.
Step #9: Urge the prospect to act!
This seems so obvious, but it is widely overlooked. You want your
prospect to do something...tell them! Tell them what to do. If you
can give them a definite reason to do it now, all the better.
What we are suggesting is that you can apply all 9 of these principles to every form of advertising you create. To have a system. Think of all the different ways you advertise today - newspaper ads, magazines, flyers, banners, letters, postcards, your website and any other means you use to get people to read your marketing and to join your club.
Take some time this week and review your advertising [might as well grab some of your competitors' ads, too]. Does it follow the Marketing Equation? How many of the 9 principles do you use in all aspects of your club advertising?
Need help or a second set of eyes on it? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org for
a complimentary critique and suggestions.
Most Owners Have No Clue How to Measure
if Their Marketing is Working
It's not easy to tell if your marketing and advertising is making you money. We know that most people take anywhere from 30 to 90+ days from the time they decide to get off their butt to the time they sign an agreement with you. If you run a full-blown campaign to drive new membership sales, you may not see the full effects until late summer or fall of 2010. Here's how to measure success of your campaigns and lead generators...
Follow the Money Trail
Your prospects leave a trail that we can follow. You never have to guess as to what works and what doesn't work. Like a good detective, let us show you how to track someone from the moment they appear to the time they join your club. Once you put your tracking system in place, all you need to do is look at the results every few weeks to see what works (and more importantly to see where you can make improvements).
If you can trace the path of your prospects, you'll save a ton of money on 'trial and error' marketing. And it's not hard. In fact, all you need to know the answer to are the following five campaign success questions:
1. How many people called my club? 2. How many people dropped by my club? 3. How many landed on my campaign landing page? 4. How many of those people toured? 5. How many of those who toured joined?
Follow this trail with every campaign you run. You'll never guess as to what your ROI was from the investment you made.
Not All Campaigns Are Created Equal
We talk to owners and ask them to define a campaign and we'll often hear, "A campaign is centered around a strong direct mailing to the community." Yes...and no. Part of the frustration with marketing is what we like to call "wide net" vs. "targeted bombing". Targeted bombing is the concept of spending a boat load of cash on printing and postage and then hoping and praying you'll get results. There is a better way.
A successful campaign doesn't have to break the bank. You need to take the Theme of the campaign and apply it everywhere in your club for a set period of time. You may include posters, banners, table top displays, flyers, print ads in magazines and local papers, and maybe even a direct mail piece. But here is where most campaigns fail - many clubs fail to integrate the campaign into every facet of their sales and service process.
Make sure your campaigns are fully developed, explained and tested in these areas, before you launch:
A) Have a landing page on your website where people go for more
information and details,
B) Make sure your Front Desk Team has a script of all details for
calls and drop ins,
C) Have your staff track drop-ins and call-ins who have responded
to the campaign.
How'd You Do?
Give yourself credit where credit is due. Make sure your analysis is done properly. Here are some actual statistics from a recent client campaign:
Calls to the Club: 64
New Web Visitors: 88
New Sales: 17
The cost of the campaign was $3,750. It included banners, flyers, lead boxes and a few other tactical pieces to drive new leads from the community and from members. This club sells memberships for $49 a month, or $500 paid in full. How well did the campaign perform for this owner? Let's take do the math.
The quick 'down and dirty' would lead you to think pretty crappy. 17 new members at $49 a month is $833 dollars. Spend $4 and get $1 back. But that's bad math!
This club's lifetime value of a membership is $882 (18 months at $49 a month). That's $14,994 for $3,750 spent. A 399% return on investment. We wish our stockbroker could match that!
Plus, the club also had 88 new leads from their website that subscribed to the e-Newsletter and Free Pass. They received a series of messages from the club, encouraging them to come in for a free trial. They are still in the buying cycle. No other area health club evens knows these people are looking at memberships. But you do... because you captured their information when they stuck their hands up!
The moral of tracking the success of a campaign? You can't just base it off the number of new memberships you get in the first 30 days. You are not giving you and your marketing the proper credit!
14 Money-Making Marketing Ideas, Programs and Tactics You Can Use Right Now!
Need some new marketing ideas to take your club from good to great? Profit Partners has 14 money-making programs and tactics that have been tested and proven throughout the USA, Canada and abroad.
Take 5 minutes NOW to watch this brief video. See how many of these 14 time-saving and money-making strategies would work in your club. So shut your door, mute your phone and focus on new health club marketing ideas for the next few minutes.
How to Sell More, Keep Your Sanity and Grow Your Club
Have you ever been fishing? Our offices are about 1 mile from the Atlantic
and occasionally, we see those Day Trip boats at the marinas.
You know, the ones where you just show up with about 100 other people
and they set you up for 4 hours on the high seas. They give you the poles
the bait...everything. Then you go out and bob around with 100 lines in the
water. All of a sudden, it seems like 20 or 30 people have there poles bent
over with fish on!
SellingMemberships is Like Fishing on a Party Boat
The more lines you've got in the water, the better chance you've got to
hook an evasive fish (or prospect). Seems logical to me. We've seen it on
the boats and in the clubs. Think of all the ways we can actively pursue
new business and improve member retention. Just like if we have more than
one line in the water, we'll catch more fish. We can treat sales the same way.
Throw Out At Least A Dozen Lines Off Your Boat
Until someone comes up with the magic formula to have people flocking through
your door, you better have a lot of lines in the water. When we say 'lines' we
mean things like educational brochures, tip sheets, seminars, guest trainers,
newsletters, follow up systems, member referrals and many more.
If you use a wide-range of of approaches every month to increase your sales,
I promise you'll have great results. Will all of them work all of the time? Heck NO! All the more reason to have as many 'lines in the water' as you can to catch
The secret to selling a lot of memberships is to have as many 'lines' in the water
as possible. Make sure you're doing a lot of different things to make sales. When
some don't work well in any given month, it won't matter. Other things you are
doing to make sales will be working for you.
Do More Things to Make More Sales
Here is a list of offers and promotions to get your brain going. Don't overlook the
simplest and most obvious. Sometimes they'll have the most powerful effect and
make you the most money, quickly. Here you go:
Free trial passes
Nutrition tip sheets
Fitness tip Sheets
Diet tip sheets
Member referral program
Sales person closing guidebook
Front desk prospect tips
E-Newsletter for members
Automatic follow up for prospects
Contact management for members
Guest instructors or trainers
Bundling of services
Low risk offers
Direct mail campaign
Corporate marketing program
Using Unique Selling Points
We could list 20 more, but you get the idea. How many lines can you fish with?
First, make your list. Then, determine if you have all the 'poles and bait' you
Is your club missing members from 2:00 in the afternoon until the after work crowd rushes in? Do you have a sales associate who could use a kick in the pants? Looking for something to put wind in your sails this winter?
If you have answered yes to any of these questions...read on. We'll show you how to get a 2,000% ROI or more in less than 3 days.
Market to Your Target Market
Profit Partners works closely with their clients to focus on very specific and targeted markets with their advertising. Your dollars are few and precious so we advise you to spend them wisely and where you will get the biggest bang for the buck.
If you have a few sales associates who could use either a kick in the pants or just a change in routine or if your gym is too quiet and sparse during the afternoons, you can fix that. And here is how.
Follow These 10 Easy Steps
A target market program does not have to be rocket science. Actually, we have found that the simpler we can make it, the more effective it is and the easier it is for you to track your results.
The steps below will help you get started. Your sales team will be busy, your club will become busier and you'll pocket some more cash.
Here is What We'd Like You to Do...
Step One: Identify your target. Get a map of your community. Draw a circle around a 3 to 5 mile radius. That is your geographic area. Any marketing and advertising outside that area is money flushed down the toilet.
Step Two: Who could work out in the early and late afternoon? We suggest teachers, administrators and staff. Also possibly municipal workers, local businesses and shift workers. Branch out here. You need to think about public schools. Private schools. Vocational and technical schools. Colleges and universities. Secondary, middle and elementary. Get the picture.
Step Three: Pick 2 or 3 to start. Make them big ones. You want schools that employ at least a few dozen teachers, staff and administrators.
Step Four: Prepare a powerful, one-page letter that follows the Marketing Equation addressed to the Administrator or the Principal. Make sure it Interrupts, Engages, Educates and gives a Low Risk Offer.
Step Five: Create a flyer to be read by teachers, administrators and staff. You will want to make it powerful and very simple for these people to take the next step to try your club.
Step Six: Have 100 flyers printed for each school to go with your letter. Your 'package' should look professional and neat.
Step Seven: Have your sales associate role play with you. You pretend you are the Administrator. Have them rehearse a 1 minute speech that would be given to the Administrator explaining who they are, why they stopped by, what they have and why they should distribute the flyers to each person's mail box.
Step Eight: Have the sales associate hit the road, stop by the school unannounced (late morning before lunch is the best time of day), and ask to speak to the top dog. If they can't get the top dog ask for his or her assistant. Make a short and professional presentation with a lot of smiling, thank them and then get back to the club.
Step Nine: Track activity. Make sure you have identified some way to capture the calls and drop-ins from people from the school.
Step Ten: Calculate your results. You should know how many people called or stopped in, how many toured, how many joined and what the ROI was for this program. It should take all of 30 days.
How One Club Made Over 15 Grand in a Week
As you can see from above, any health club, owner and staff can nail these ten steps in 3 days or less. It is a matter of whether you want to or not. Will this be just another good idea that sits on the shelf? That is your call.
One of our clients had a very nice return on this program and they only spent about 7 days on it. This club is located in a suburban area and had over 12 schools to choose from within a 3 mile radius. They needed afternoon activity in the club and they wanted to take one of their best salespeople and get them exposed to Corporate Sales and this program was a perfect training ground.
Here is the breakdown of the results:
3 letters and 300 flyers delivered
11 Calls and 29 drop ins
26 memberships sold
Revenue produced: $15,600 (26 x lifetime value of $600) Cost of materials: $89
The question to ask yourself is: "Do you want more afternoon activity in the club and can we make your sales team better and stronger?"
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 sameso 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 contactto 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.
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.
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.
Remember: 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.
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
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).