Thursday, 4 January 2018

January is Here but its not too late to get your marketing Plans in Place

Leisure and Fitness Club Marketing Strategies

January maybe upon us and most clubs will have spent the quite period in December preparing their club for what is the most important time of the year for any fitness business.

It is important to point out straight that January & February are important for more reasons than simply driving new member sales.  

- For most fitness businesses this is the start of the new finacial year and so a solid start verus your budgtes and forecasts with set you up for a solid year.  A poor start will always mean you are chasing the ball all year.
- Any membership sales taken now allows you to maximise those monthly revenues for the full 12 months of your budget.  Every month delayed reduces the revenue potential in this new financial year by 1/12th
- Getting your club operations and service right is vital as with every club in the country providing great reasons to join them you do not want to give your members and excuse to try somewhere new.
- January is often very successful due to the additional motivation of your clients to want to achieve their goals. As a club you wnat to make sure you have programs in place to facilitate this success.  This does not have to be free and can include personal training, weight loss courses and seminars.  You do however need to provide support tools for clients

With all this said, your number one priority is to deliver on your membership numbers. Membership revenue will account for anywhere from 60-95% of a clubs annual income.  It is therefore imperative you get this right.  

The old saying could not be anymore true when it comes to membership sales

Fail to plan, Plan to Fail

So, it is very easy for us to say we need to plan but what are planning:

- Your offer - what are we doing to gove potential clients a reason to enquire? 
- Your marketing activity - how will we spend our marketing budget to attract new clients to come and see us or pick up the phone?
- Your outreach plan - how and where will the team go to actively find new clients?
- Your referral activities (In-Reach Activity)- we want our members to bring friends to join.  What is our offer and how are we telling our members?

Most importantly of all:

What is your club & teams targets?

Your plans mean nothing unless you know what you need to achieve.  Starting with the revenue you need to generate you can create your monthly membership targets.  From here you can then work out your activity targets to include:

- Number of new prospects 
- Number of completed calls 
- Number of appointments made
- Number of appointments shows
- Number tours in total including Walk ins
- Number of sales
- Number of referrals

By knowing your targets you can manage your team and ensure there is a consistant focus on the task in hand.  There is no point spending a penny unless your team know their goals and expectations and then these are managed daily

Some basic rules when setting targets:
- The average club will sell on a 4:1 prospect to sale ratio.  Meaning in order to achieve 100 sales in January you will need to generate 400 new propects


Your Plans:

Your marketing plan is your back bone to how you will achieve the numbers required.  As a business we encourage all our clients to take time to create comprehensive plans to cover all the key area's.  These activities are then highlighted on a monthly day by day calendar for the team to follow through on.

Below are some ideas that can form part of each section.  Unfortunately you will have to do the research yourself as to what the exact options are available for your club but hopefully it will give you a guide:

Marketing:
As a basic rule marketing will include the things you put out to get your message out to mass audiences and include:
- Flyers - Whilst the return on a flyer is only 2-5% it still pays divident to book a slot for solus flyer drops in the peak periods.  Your competitors will be doing this so you shoukd do.  It depends on your location but 15-30,000 is the norm. Try and keep this within 5-7mile radius of the club
- Banners - these can be placed on the outside of the club, on the road side, at round-a-bouts, with agreements with other local businesses.  You may require permission from your local council so check first.
If you have a road side location then banners, flags and A-boards are essential to draw people attention to your location and your offer

- Static and Mobile Bill Boards - these can be costly but a well placed bill board can drive real traffic into your club
(The message on the bill board above got National coverage as complaints were made about it "Fat Shaming".  I dont believe that was the intention and they actually tried for humour,  The fact however a £750 bill board was on the national and local TV as well as being discussed over all social media outlets goes to show the impact a well positioned campaign can have)

- Print Advertising - Newspapers, Glossy agazines, Community free papers, business newsletters, school newsletter

- Other advertising options - These could include Taxi cab window adverts, flyers in local businesses  and coffee shops, 
- Social Media Advertising - Our suggestion is to pay to boost your posts.  The most effective ones to do this with are videos that people are likley to share.  a simple club walk through can work, however ones that are funny or interesting will support your investment with greater natural shares.

- Google Adwords - I am personally not a fan unless you are part of a large chain of clubs who have the financial clout to cover the costs centrally.  A small independent, franchised or a club supporting their own marketing spend cannot compete with the pay per click costs that ammount in january.  Some key words such as Gym and your town can cost upwards of £2.50 per click.  No w a wsie investment.
You can however, invest your time and ensure your Google business page and your website are up to date with your offers, information and contact details.  A strong website and Google business page can ensure you always appear 1st page of Google and always on the google Maps

Google my business information

- Classified Listings - These are Business Directory websites that with further expand the range of websites your information appears on.  They are largely free, although some you can pay for an advanced listing.  It is also worth checking for local business directories.  Here in Nottingham we have a few such as inottingham.co.uk.  Your area is likley to have some too.  Below is a list of a few that are worth using:

- bizify.co.uk
- Yelp.co.uk
- hotfrog.co.uk
- businsslinedirectory.co.uk
- Freeindex.co.uk
- Classfinder.co.uk
- Gymuser.co.uk
- thefitmap.co.uk
- mylocalservices.co.uk

As we are talking online marketing, it is also worth placing your club details on the day pass gym site such Payasyougym.co.uk.  It is a good way of driving people into your club but also adding revenue.

Also you discount sites such as Wowcher, Group-on, Living social all allow you to offer discounted passes to yoyr club that allow you to increase traffic.  Dont devalue your facility, but by offering a discounted trial pass it will provide you with additional new leads for you to aim to convert. Remember you are not trying to make money on these passes but provide prospects, Any revenue you do make is just a small bonus.
Offers such as 10 Days for £10 - this is 10 consecutive days and so once signed up you have a set end date to be able to follow the client up with.  Remember you will only make about £3 or £4 from these by the time commission is taken.

Your Outreach Plan:]

Outreach differs from marketing in the way that this is your teams opportunity to get out and about, be visible and attract new fans and new prospects.  The aim for any outrach activity is for the tean to return with a minimum number of new leads for them to invite to the club, either for a tour or a day pass.

The key is never use it as a way to hand out flyers but to obtain genuine names and numbers from clients.

Outreach activity includes:

- Text Messages - Text to all prospects and ex-members including all your blowouts.  Its January and their mind set may have changed
- E-mails - E-mail all prospects and ex-members including all your blowouts
- Erecting a gazebo in the street and attracting people to tlk to you, sign up for a challenge or take a free pass.
- Outreach in high trafiic areas such as train stations, town centres, bowling alleys and cinemas, shopping centres and supermakets

  • Supermarkets are a great way of getting high traffic yield.  be bmindful though you are likely to need a solid pull to ensure people stop to talk to you.  Try having competitions (use spit bikes or gym equipment), wellness surveys (Heart rate, Blood Pressure and body fat measuring), or even a wheel of fortune for a chance to win a free membership amongst other prizes.
- Corporate companies - Send E-mail, fax backs to all companies 10 emplyees or more within 10 miles of your club.  It may time to gnerate the leads but will be worth it. You can offer free  passes to your club and even health awareness days or weeks.
- Attend local fayres, park runs, 10k's
- Speak to your local schools regarding creating a relationship so that you provide suppoird for their healthy eating or activity week and they place your flyers in their bag
- Run a free bootcamp once or twice a week at your local park to get leads

In reach (Referals)
Referrals are your cheapest and most effective way of generating solid leads.  An effective referral program will generate 30%+ of your membership sales each month.  There are 2 ways to achieve this

1) Point of sale referral - this is where new members are encouraged to provide you names and numbers of those they believe may join your club.  Done at point of sale is the most effective as the client is excited and noyd by their own new purchase.  There is a skill in asking for this but as with all great skills they can be learnt.

2) Post sale referral - This is often more difficult a the contact points with clients are often more brief and as with all marketing people can become blind to messages posted in the club.  Keep your message brief but pointed.  What are you asking for and what do they get in return.

In addition to putting up posters and banners, regular new member and member calls will give you opportunities to ask for referrals.  It is also a valuable tool to create a newsletter that can be e-mailed monthly or bi month. This 2-4 page newsletter needs to be brief, exciting and full of content not just offers.

If you do not already have a plan in place then don't dispair. January doesnt really start until the 3rd week of the month when pay day arrives.  Most people are like you and me, all spent up at Christmas and so dont have the opportunity to join right now.  Take this first week to create and devise and train out your plan to your team.  Most importantly of all dont be afraid to get the team involved in the plans.  If they have supported its creation they are more likley to buy into the plans.

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