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.
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!