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Families are the hardest audience to attract. You are not really competing with other health clubs, you are competing with soccer games, baseball games, dance recitals, swim practice and mom and dad’s busy work schedules. Families are busier than ever so how do you get your club to stand out as a family destination? I use the word destination because that is really what your club must become.
First you have to offer a wide range of programs and activities for every member of the family. You really have to have everything. You can’t just claim to have activities that will keep mom and the kids happy, you have to have them.
Then you have to know how to effectively market to the parents. Your marketing should show them how your club is going to keep everyone happy and show them how a visit to your club is no longer about “me,” it’s about “we.” Using testimonials from children is a great way of showing parents that their children will enjoy coming to your club. Use photos of actual families that are members of your club doing activities. People don’t want to see stock images of families in your club — they want to see real families they can relate to.
Other marketing is really more grassroots. The grassroots marketing is really where you will see the most traction. When it comes to family, people are very careful when making decisions that affect the entire family. Identify key promoters that are members of your club and have them promote for you. Many busy moms are often on mommy blogs or other sites and a lot of community members belong to the Facebook page of their community association. Get them to promote how much they enjoy your club with their family. A referral speaks volumes, so if a trusted member of a community says they love your club, other members of that community will want to become a part of it.
This type of marketing will go much further than any digital ad you may place on any parenting-focused website.
Donyel Cerceo is the director of marketing for Merritt Athletic Clubs.