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The Latest Innovations in Marketing


Marketing is the lifeblood of your club — as the way in which your club communicates its messaging, unique selling proposition and overall branding. As a result, choosing the right marketing services, channels and partners can generate more leads and, subsequently, new members.

With this in mind, Club Solutions interviewed some of the best marketing experts in the industry to find out which innovative marketing opportunities clubs should take advantage of and how to pick the right marketing partner.

David Steel, CEO of Sneeze It

What marketing opportunities should clubs consider using? 

While offerings greatly differ by company, we can usually break it down into two sub-categories: traditional marketing and digital marketing. Traditional marketing includes billboards, radio and TV ads, newspaper ads, direct mail and shared mail. Digital marketing includes advertising packages for Google, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

What are some of the best features of these offerings? 

Lead generation ads: Facebook often offers the lowest cost-per-lead acquisition because you can choose custom audiences based on interest, demographic and behavioral habits. 

Google Ads: For the quickest impact, Google Ads are the way to go. Google offers a transactional platform where people are actually searching to join a gym or inquire with specific keywords.

Mobile experiences: Platforms are continuously looking to enhance a user’s mobile experience — the most common form of received digital advertisements. Digital agencies are taking advantage of mobile experiences through Google AMP pages and Facebook Canvas ads.

 Landing pages: Websites don’t offer a direct pathway for consumers to take advantage of exclusive offers. To ensure you’re not losing prospects within a complicated system, creating landing pages becomes very important.

Email: When email timing and offers are correct, we’ve seen great influxes of memberships purchased. You don’t want to count it out as an effective way to reach your audience. 

Texting: For those who have a strong communication statement, we’ve seen text messaging work extraordinarily well as a complement or follow-up to other digital marketing tactics.

What should clubs look for specifically in a marketing partner? 

Because gyms are a lot more complex than normal retail businesses, it’s important to find an agency and partner that has extensive experience within the fitness industry. It’s also a good idea to look for those who work with — or are at least familiar with — your club management software, customer relationship management software and any other products you might be using.

It’s important to reach members where they are: on mobile devices.

Jeramy Fishel, owner and co-founder of Instinctive Insights

What marketing opportunities should clubs consider using?

First and foremost, with all the data available today, agencies should be able to demonstrate ROI and profitability to a club. Many channels are relevant, so the dilemma becomes understanding which prospect, consumer, alumni or member should be engaged — how, how often, in what channels and when?

I’d encourage clubs to truly understand how an agency is measuring and calculating results. Clubs don’t need to get deep in the weeds and become stats nerds, but they should ask some key questions to make sure they see truth in the numbers.

What are some of the best features of these offerings? 

Internally, our company is obsessed with measuring and showing ROI and profitability to club partners. Externally, that’s valued by our clients, but they often speak about the high-touch service we provide, like project management, design, execution, data refreshes and results calls. We’re often involved on the front-side of strategy, and can share tests and ideas promulgated by other clients. Once we move beyond “proving profitability,” the conversations we have with clubs transcend execution and align with strategy, which simultaneously drives incremental gains in profit and efficiency.

What should clubs look for specifically in a marketing partner? 

Proving profitability, and sharing how attribution and presentation is handled. Everyone needs to agree on how success is measured before money is spent. We’d pop the hood on multiple channels and dial in the personas — or types of consumers — that resonate best with each, and let profit and ROI drive the channel mix and investment.

Whether it’s IP targeting, direct mail, email, Instagram, Facebook or pay-per-click (PPC) — each has its value with a subset of the population — oftentimes we’ll find a club is only able to successfully penetrate a demographic using a blend unique to that club, its brand, value proposition and geographic nuances.

Bill Konstand, president and founder of TAG Digital Marketing

What marketing opportunities should clubs consider using?  

The most pertinent ones are going to be search marketing, reaching people who use search engines like Google. Those clients are reached using either pay-per-click (PPC) or search engine optimization (SEO). And then, social media advertising — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram — is more like broadcast advertising. 

What are some of the best features of these offerings? 

With any search marketing, clubs get in front of prospects who are in the peak of the decision making process. That’s the big difference between search marketing and social media marketing — when prospects are actually ready to make a decision, there’s only one place for on-demand and up-to-date information: search engines like Google. And when people are going there, they’re looking to take action at that moment. That’s why a huge amount — 60 to 65 percent — of all mobile queries on search engines result in a call or visit to a business within 24 hours.

What should clubs look for specifically in a marketing partner?

 They should look for partners that have very specific experience with what they are and what they offer. If they’re within a franchise, they should look for somebody who has experience not just within franchising, but preferably within their own franchise, because there are idiosyncrasies to promoting a certain brand.

Matt Gibbs, co-founder and CMO of UPshow

What marketing opportunities should clubs consider using? 

It’s easy for clubs to focus 100 percent on external marketing targeted at new members, but it’s important to also invest in guiding the member journey once they’re in the gym. What’s being done to drive the outcomes that matter most to the business, such as referrals, personal training or merchandise sales? This can include digital signage, loyalty programs and social media-driven products that turn members into promoters.

What are some of the best marketing benefits/features of products like yours? 

UPshow is a member engagement platform that turns a health club’s TVs into its top marketing assets. Members get their 15 seconds of fame on the club’s TVs after they hashtag their content from within the club, while the club gets a word-of-mouth marketing boost from the influx of member content. The platform’s digital signage capabilities instantly become top-performing marketing placements, since UPshow’s content mix naturally draws constant attention to the screens.

What should clubs look for specifically in a marketing partner? 

Clubs should look for a partner that aims to become a trusted adviser over time, not just a number that’s lucky to get attention more than once a quarter or is left to the customer service bots.

Bobby Dyer

Bobby is the assistant editor of Club Solutions Magazine. He can be reached at bobby@peakemedia.com.

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