Marketing: Becoming a Proactive Marketer
You can either be a proactive marketer or a reactive marketer. Being reactive means waiting until a competitor does something, like a mass mailing, and then using that as motivation to do some of your own advertising.
You don’t want to be that gym.
Being proactive means that you have a plan for the year, and you work that plan. This is who you want to be. I design a lot of marketing plans for my clients, but I am writing this article to help you do it on your own.
Step one: Figure out your budget. How much money are you going to spend on marketing for the year? I recommend 7 percent of gross annual revenue. At least 5 percent and as much as 10 percent is a general rule, so I like to go in the middle with 7 percent. Spend more if you have a lot of competition, and less if you have little.
Step two: Break it down per month by percentage. Of the 100 percent of your marketing dollars, you are not going to disperse it evenly throughout the year. January, February and March will each require more dollars than June, July and August. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with “formula” in the subject line and I will email you back a document with the breakdown of each month.
Step three: Break your 12-month plan into 3-month chunks. Once you figure out how many dollars per month you have dedicated take three months at a time and add up the total. For example, let’s say your dollars for January are $1,500, your dollars for February are $1,200 and your dollars for March are $1,200. The total for the three months is $3,900. So, for the first quarter of the year, you will be spending $3,900 on marketing.
Step four: Decide where to spend it. This is a big decision, and a major reason why many gyms don’t have a plan and aren’t proactive marketers. Please trust me when I say that it takes time to see results. You have to pound your marketing message over and over for a long period of time. The minimum amount of time before you can measure effectiveness is about 3 to 4 months. So, what mediums are recommended? I like door hangers, newspaper inserts and 3 inch by 5 inch passes for good old fashioned guerilla marketing. Finally, direct mail pieces are a good option.
- Door hangers – 1000 minimum at a time. Find a local youth group; boy scouts, girl scouts, church group, etc. Donate $100 to $200, try to get 10 kids and have each distribute 100 hangers. Do this on a Saturday morning from 9am until noon. Buy them a couple of pizzas afterwards
- Newspaper inserts – This one gets tricky because cost is often based on quantities, and sometimes the minimum amount required can be more than you can afford. But call the newspaper, get rates and find out if they do the printing. If they do, learn the cost and compare it to your print marketing vendor. Insert on Thursdays. Why? It is a slower insert day so you will have less other ads to compete with.
- Passes – These are perfect for guerilla marketing. Go door to door to your business neighbors. Walk in, hand them a handful of passes, request that they distribute to co-workers and walk out. Revisit businesses every six weeks.
- Mailers – This is one of the easiest ways to advertise, but also one of the most expensive. All you have to do is pay the print company and let them know where you want them to go. Focus on the highest household incomes and folks over 35 years old.
Get a plan, work that plan, track your results, make adjustments along the way if necessary and contact me if you need help.
Keep changing lives.