The New Year is here, but is your club ready? Will you do the same old marketing and get the same results as last year, or do you want to try something different and really grow your business?
How many of you will do the typical New Year sale with no enrollment? Guess what: every one of your competitors will be doing the same thing, so why should someone join your club when there are five to 10 other clubs right near you making the same offer?
You need to ask yourself one main question: Do you want a quick boost in revenue with a large jump in membership, or are you looking for something long term? We all know that January is the busiest month in the health club business with losing weight or getting back in shape as the top resolutions in America. You can capitalize on this time of year and gain a ton of members, but think about one important thing: How many will stay? More than 50 percent of Americans will not stick to their resolution in the first few months. So most likely they will quit your club in the long term. Is this the type of new member you want?
Why do people not stick to their resolution of losing weight? There are several reasons:
How can you help? Ditch the same New Year marketing campaign and really focus on what people want, and that is help with losing weight. Try marketing a weight loss program free with New Year membership. Sure, it will cost you more money with staffing, but in the long run you will gain new members that will remain members at your club because of a few things. You don’t need to have one-on-one trainers/coaches for every new member — have them try group training. This will save on payroll.
Remember what I said about new members that will remain members at your club? Here’s why:
I would suggest a six-week program. Habits are formed after six weeks of doing something, so the length of this program is crucial. Like I said before, running this program will cost money, but the members you gain from this will remain members longer than the typical person who joins in January. Therefore, you will get more monthly EFT. You will have happier members who will refer their friends. You can also develop a follow-up program that members may purchase after their free six-week program, or the trainer/coach having built relationships with the new member will flip these members into new personal training clients. Both of these options will increase your non-dues revenue.
Think about how you will position your club this New Year and what results you will drive with your marketing. Will you stay the same, or change and grow?
Donyel Cerceo is director of marketing for Merritt Athletic Clubs.