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Measuring the return on investment (ROI) from your marketing initiatives is important — without being able to measure the ROI, you could be wasting precious advertising and marketing dollars on something that isn’t resulting in your end goal.
But, figuring out an ROI isn’t cut and dry, as there are many things that go in and out of the equation that aren’t strictly monetary.
First, it’s important to consider your investments — it’s easy to measure a strict number on the amount you spent in your marketing and advertising initiatives, but what about all the time you spent? Time equals money.
You also have to consider what your ultimate goals are as far as the return. You may have spent your dollars with aspirations to drive memberships in your club. What if your dollars failed at doing that, but instead increased brand awareness?
Daniela Spaid, the director of sales, marketing and public relations at Fitness Formula Clubs, based in Chicago, stated the metrics you want to watch and try to measure depend on which avenue you’re taking in your marketing efforts, and some things just aren’t measurable.
“We do a lot of outside billboards on buses and trains, and that’s really just branding — there’s not a lot of ROI calculations on those things,” said Spaid. “Everything else we do, we try to drive to a designated landing page with a unique website URL, so we know exactly where it came from. Then we’re able to track that lead — we know based on how many leads we got, how much it cost us per lead. Once we’re able to determine how many of those people join, we’re able to figure out our cost of acquisition.”
In addition, having a clearly-defined marketing goal is essential when deciding how to measure ROI. Joe Pulizzi, the founder of the Content Marketing Institute, recommended asking the following questions before trying to measure your efforts:
Are you trying to get new customers?
Are you trying to keep current customers?
Are you trying to get current customers to spend more?
After defining a clear goal, Pulizzi said it is important to then figure out your differentiation area, and he said you can do so by asking:
Why do people choose you?
What makes you different than your competitors?
Once you determine your differentiation area, Pulizzi suggested defining your marketing mission:
What do you want to be the expert in?
What can you be the best in the world at?
Then, Pulizzi explained you can start to determine what tactics and mediums you want to use.
Measuring ROI on Social Media
“Social media, for the most part, is a pay to play strategy,” said Pulizzi. “So social ROI can be determined by driving more results than what you spend.”
Spaid added that measuring ROI from social media marketing is challenging and recommended driving customers to a unique landing page, so you can measure analytics that way — in addition to the analytics provided to you by Facebook, Instagram, etc.
Measuring ROI with Email Marketing
Pulizzi believes the best tool for club owners is email subscribers. “If you can sign up people to receive your regular e-newsletter, then you can measure what the difference is between those who engage in your newsletter versus those who don’t,” he said. “Do they buy more, stay longer, spread your message and help market for you?”
So, what are some ways to earn more email subscribers and increase your email ROI? Spaid has found that giving customers something in exchange for their email information is an effective strategy. “When someone goes to our website, it will ask if they’re interested in getting a brochure, which includes rates and joining information without making a commitment,” she said. “We ask for their name and email in order to download the brochure.”
If you don’t have a digital brochure available, get creative in your initiatives. Spaid also suggested having customers calculate their BMI, requiring them to put in their name and email in order to see the results.
Measuring ROI with Traditional Marketing
While a lot of marketing gurus argue traditional marketing is dated, costly and ineffective, the health and fitness industry has an advantage on a specific traditional technique: word of mouth.
“There’s a lot of focus in the fitness industry on referrals — the best form of new business is from your existing members,” said Spaid.
Referrals are effective — but how do you measure their ROI? According to Spaid, the best way is to ask. Your membership agreement and contact forms online should include the question, “How did you hear about us?”
“You’re relying on the member to answer the box that asks that question,” said Spaid. “We can track that pretty closely, because our members get rewarded when they bring a guest, so all parties involved are benefiting from them mentioning they heard about us from a friend — and that is important for focus in the industry.”
Measuring ROI with Digital Marketing
While not completely separate from social media, a lot of digital marketing efforts include using internet advertising and paid boosts for search engine optimization (SEO).
While effective for a lot of industries, Spaid said Fitness Formula Clubs has found that any type of paid-for online advertising is outside of their comfort zone when it comes to ROI.
“It’s really expensive and competitive to pay for the specific Google AdWords,” said Spaid. “So to attract people, we work really hard to keep SEO and good content on our website to get people there organically.”
Spaid’s expert advice: Investing in a good website pays off. “Having a really good website and good software behind creating landing pages and capturing leads — we use Hubspot to do that — is the biggest investment in advertising dollars that pay off.”
Measuring ROI with Content Marketing
“It’s not about putting offers out there, but valuable content that drives them back to our website, so we do a lot of blogs, publishing around two blogs a week,” said Spaid.
Pulizzi agreed that to attract people, the most important thing you can do is deliver high-quality information consistently, and you can do this through multiple avenues.
“For example, maybe you deliver a really valuable newsletter that attracts and keeps customers, maybe you do a daily educational video that is shared with your prospect group … those people become part of your regular audience and you can convert those people into customers, or better customers,” said Pulizzi.
Finally, Pulizzi advised: Think like a media company. “Outside of your products and services, how can you deliver amazingly valuable information to your prospects and customers consistently? How can you get them to know, like and trust you without stepping into your club? If you can first build an audience that actually wants to receive your marketing information, then you can monetize that group of people through more sign-ups and selling additional products.”