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Additional Insights from Professionals on Marketing

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Tim Rohner.

Tim Rohner.

Mpell Promotions

How should clubs change their marketing around the new year? There are a few things clubs could do:

1. Ramp It Up. The first quarter is typically the strongest for new member acquisition. Potential buyers are in the market and motivated to join clubs. Don’t wait for them to find you — aggressively find them through every marketing channel available — for example, direct mail, e-mail, websites, social, radio and TV. This means a major portion of your annual marketing budget should be spent this quarter, and probably front-loaded.

2. Engage Your Customer. No one wants to lose a customer they just acquired.  In fact, depending upon your marketing costs, a new customer typically takes between six to 12 months to become profitable on a lifetime basis. Every club knows how to retain new members — get them using your club on a consistent basis. It follows that offering incentives to motivate new members to use your club will have an enormous bottom line impact.

3. Spice it Up. Free month! Free guest passes! No initiation fees! Seriously? Really? The only promotions more exciting are the toaster from your bank or the free DVR from your TV provider. Especially when your core offering isn’t substantially different than your competitors, you need something unique that calls attention to your club.

The three most common mistakes clubs make around this time are not capturing their fair share of the New Year’s resolution tsunami, not differentiating themselves sufficiently and not building meaningful relationships with their members. For instance, a Facebook campaign that promotes member success stories in a fun and irreverent fashion will virally generate “likes” that attract new members to your club.

As indicated previously, don’t lose those new members! Focus on engaging your members to utilize the club and motivate them to refer friends. For instance, offer a promotion where any member who uses the club 12 times in January receives a free month membership for a friend and a $25 gift card for themselves.

If your club isn’t leveraging social media to the fullest extent, make a New Year’s resolution to yourself to be aggressive in 2014. Clubs are natural social networks — use that to your advantage! This is simply a gentle reminder to wake up! It’s 2014 and social media will only get more important this year as a serious business tool to attract and retain members.

For questions, contact Tim Rohner, the VP of Sales and Marketing for Mpell Promotions, at tim@mpell.com or 760.477.9261.

Michelle Perroton.

Michelle Perroton.

Intuit Demandforce

Your club could do the following two things around the new year:

1. Focus on customer satisfaction. Since it’s much more cost effective to keep a current client, one of your main goals of the new year should be focusing on your current clients. Giving your current clients the TLC they need to be happy members of your club, ensures that after the holiday rush is over, you still have a thriving client base. Whether that means setting up a rewards program, surveying your clients to see where you can improve or thanking your clients for choosing your club, focusing on your clients at the beginning of the year will pay off in the long term.

2. Push for referrals and reviews. Studies show that 87 percent of people consult friends, family and online reviews before using a new product or service. It’s important not only to make your current clients raving fans, but also to give them a reason to share their opinions with the world! Set up a referral program at your club where current clients are rewarded for prospects they bring in, and you’ll be able to bring in new clients who already have personal connections to your club. Someone doesn’t have anyone to refer? Not a problem! Encouraging your clients to leave online reviews expressing how much they love your business is a great way to get positive reviews in front of potential clients.

One of the biggest mistakes I see when it comes to setting up a new year’s marketing plan, is that clubs wait until the new year to get things moving! While things may slow down during the holidays, your team should not. It’s important to look back on the last year and assess what your club did well and what it needs to improve upon. From there, you can set goals for the next year so you have a clear-cut plan in place once January 1 rolls around.

Maybe your goal is to grow your membership base 10 percent by April. If that’s the case, then you can put together your monthly plan so you know exactly what programs you want to run each month. Putting actionable goals in place before the new year gives your club the ability to capitalize on the new year’s rush.

After the new year’s rush subsides, it can be easy to fall into a slump, but that doesn’t mean you have to. It’s likely that you’ve had a rush of new members join during the first few months of the year, and you no doubt would like to keep those members. The mid winter and spring months are the perfect time to use your momentum to focus on customer retention and turn those new members into members for life!

For questions, contact Michelle Perroton, the Business Development Manager for Intuit Demandforce at michelle_perroton@intuit.com or 415.814.4771.

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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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