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Engage Your Members With a Vote!

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Asking people what they think by giving them a vote is one of the best ways to engage them in a conversation, and by doing so, educate them. As Americans, who live in what I still consider to be the greatest country in the world, we learned that having a voice still matters when recently an estimated 58–60 percent of voters turned out to actually cast their vote in the presidential election.

Since voting was at the top of everyone’s minds, we decided to capitalize on it in our club, and make things fun on voting day by having our own in-house vote.

What could people vote on in a health club, you may ask? Here are some examples — the type of new group exercise class to offer; a color for the new kids club walls; whether to install a new salt water chlorine system in your pools; or how much time before a Pilates class can a member reserve their spot in the class? We actually conducted voting on these last two items, and the response was overwhelming.

What happens when you give people a chance to vote, especially online, is that you get a lot of feedback. Feedback is good because you can learn from it and implement great ideas that come out of it. Even the complaints are opportunities to create new fans out of dissatisfied members. Just acknowledge the complaint and, if possible, do something about it.

Our most recent voting/marketing campaign revolved around our new outdoor pool expansion. We are building a “4-Acre Outdoor Pool Complex” and plan to install several large play structures in the zero-entry pool, as well as the lazy river. We will also install a splash pad. All of the designs for these amazing structures are so impressive that we are actually having a hard time trying to narrow our decision down to one manufacturer. So we decided that we would ask our members to decide for us. The cost factor for each of the proposals is similar and the designs are comparable, so why not?

We created a visual presentation in the lobby illustrating each proposal, set up a table and asked families to vote on their favorite. We tried very hard to present each of the choices in the same light, so that they each had a fair chance. In addition, we put promotional videos of the choices on our website and on Facebook to give people another viewpoint. We are also running the videos in our lobby while people vote. To be sure that everyone has a chance to vote, we are e-mailing our members a link to vote online. The results of the voting are posted daily to keep people interested.

I mentioned earlier that we actually launched this voting campaign on Tuesday November 8th, and even had one person ask if we were really a voting location for the presidential election? I think she had been through a pretty tough spin class and was a little delirious. One of our marketing staffers dressed up as Uncle Sam and the theme was red, white and blue.

While voting, we had a chance to talk to members one on one and answer their questions about the new pools. The framework for interaction was priceless and we have now increased the fun factor of the new pool coming exponentially, by engaging not only the adults, but the kids to vote for their favorite “slides.”

Results of this initiative have been stellar so far. We have had over 700 votes come in and one of the manufacturers is clearly in the lead. It happens to be our favorite as well, but we are most happy with the fact that we interacted positively with 700 people.

When you think about it, you can vote on almost anything. The mere act of asking for an opinion is what sets you up to be able to have a conversation and send the message that you value what your member has to say. That message of value is golden and can never be underestimated.

Linda Mitchell is the director of marketing, public relations and charitable giving for Newtown Athletic Club in Newtown, Penn. She can be reached via e-mail at linda@newtownathletic.com.

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Rachel Zabonick

Rachel Zabonick is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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