Q. What is your advice on using mobile integrated marketing for health clubs, and how do you integrate with other traditional marketing and social media marketing such as Facebook and Twitter? – Roberta Kruse-Fordham, the General Manager of Sports, Fitness & Fun, Florida, N.Y.
A. Today’s business landscape, especially in the fitness industry, must embrace the new technologies available. Not because it’s hip or trendy, but because all of your prospects and members are using these technologies as well.
Therefore, I vehemently advocate the use of mobile marketing and social media, and you should integrate each as much as possible. Here are some of the best ways to utilize these technologies in your fitness business:
Create a Facebook Fan Page
This is very easy to do — the set up process takes only 30 seconds. From the home page of Facebook you’ll click “Create a Page.” It will walk you through the process from there. In my opinion, maintaining a Facebook fan page is as important, if not more important, than having a website. All of your prospects and members are on Facebook. You need to communicate with them where they congregate, not where you hope they’ll find you.
On your fan page, you’ll want to provide useful and interesting information. You can post a video of the week, success stories, promotions you’re running, special announcements, fitness tips and other information your members and prospective members would find useful. In addition, you’ll want to be aggressive in getting your existing members to “like” your fan page by communicating with them through letter mailings, signage in your facility, e-mail and one-on-one communication via your front desk staff.
Other Social Media Websites
Twitter, LinkedIn and all of the other various social media channels that are available could be useful, but I would warn you to not spend much time on these. I see too many gym owners spend too much time trying to generate leads through these websites, and too little time on activities that generate a much better return on your time spent.
However, you can use a free service like www.Ping.fm that will take your blog post or fan page status and will automatically send the same post to over 40 different social media sites, including those mentioned above. Automating as much of this process is key.
Text messaging is the most important of the mobile marketing strategies you can incorporate into your overall marketing mix. Whereas, postcards get less than .5 percent response, and typically only 12 percent of your recipients open an e-mail you send, nearly 100 percent of people will open a text message.
Text messaging has surpassed phone calls as the preferred mode of communication, and you as a health club owner must embrace this trend. Instead of confirming all of your appointments with a phone call, or trying to inform everyone that the spin class is canceled this afternoon, or hoping members will see your sale sign for the nutritional supplements, send a text! Phone calls are often ignored, e-mails rarely opened, but everyone pays attention to text messages.
To incorporate this into your traditional marketing, you can offer an invitation to text you for a complimentary trial membership. This offer can go on your external signage, postcard mailings, even your business cards. Also, make sure your staff is doing a good job collecting mobile numbers from walk-ins, telephone inquiries and especially new members. -CS
Curtis Mock is the host of www.fitnessbusinesstelevision.com, the TV show for fitness entrepreneurs and is the executive director of GymSuccess.com. Curtis can be reached via e-mail at Curtis@ClubSolutionsMagazine.com.