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Health Clubs are Open — Now What?

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marketing

For the gyms and health clubs that are now open across the nation, the sentiment is: “Finally, back to business!”

But it most definitely isn’t back to business as usual, or any semblance of what it was prior to the pandemic. Every aspect of facilities, daily operations, staff responsibilities, member participation, services and programming, and more have all been upended. Nothing is the same as it was, and this fact also applies to how clubs will market their businesses.

The currently open health clubs are reporting:

  • Member usage kicked off at about 30% of normal and is gradually increasing over time.
  • Some members are coming in just to check things out, though not necessarily reactivating their memberships on the spot.
  • Freeze and cancellation requests continue trickling in.
  • New membership sign-ups are twice as frequent as before the pandemic.
  • Properly trained staff, armed with procedures and direction for members, is making a difficult transition easier.

Here is guidance on what current marketing messaging should be:

  • Safety and space are the primary concerns of returning members and setting expectations with content about cleaning/sanitizing and physical distancing efforts is key.
  • Use current images of club layouts (equipment, physical distancing signage, etc.).
  • Avoid showing pics of people in groups and facility pics from prior to physical distancing.
  • Focus on the current member experience and stay away from price-based offers.
  • Include messaging about how fitness and wellness are critical to physical health, especially as it relates to boosting immunity from viruses and emotional well-being.

And here is guidance on marketing strategies:

  • Segment campaigns into “active,” “freeze/cancelled”, and “prospect” categories to push out appropriate messaging at the appropriate time.
  • Prepare data, content, images and digital resources (videos, landing pages, etc.) to deploy as needed.
  • Include landing page pixels, call tracking and text services as calls to action that assist in tracking inquiries that enable adding to or building your prospect database.
  • Be mentally prepared to modify any of the ads prior to execution due to ongoing changes from local, state and federal groups.

From a budgeting perspective, plan for multiple marketing campaigns over the coming months. The benefits of being visible to your members and prospects are that in uncertain times, the brand will be perceived as the trusted source of fitness and wellness information in the local market. This translates to members comfortably and confidently returning to the club, and new members seeking to join the club that is visibly doing the right things.

Deneen Laprade is the VP of business development with Instinctive Insights and can be reached at dlaprade@instinctiveinsights.com,or visit instinctiveinsights.com.

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