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Health clubs are opening in various stages across the country, and marketers are poised and ready to help club operators deliver the critical “Now open!” message. The challenges are what the message is, how to package it, and by which channel to deliver it. The need to come back “better than ever” has never been more important, so getting the content and timing right is critical.

Here’s a breakdown of how to tackle these challenges:

  1. The “what.” The message in early reopening stages needs to focus on cleanliness and physical distancing. Current, former and future members need to be convinced the gym they’re returning to (and in many cases, considering) has taken significant measures to ensure their workout experiences are safe and sanitary.
    1. The first campaign back to market should educate and inspire confidence. Talk about new cleaning protocols and physical distancing measures. Give access to documentation about everything being done on a daily basis to maintain a clean, sanitary facility.
    2. Stress that staff is thoroughly trained and in place to guide current and new members into the new experience.
    3. Create audience-specific content. Current members should get a familiar, “welcome back” message, while former members can be invited to re-experience the club again. Appeal to the prospect’s needs to learn about the unique experience that awaits.
  2. The “how.” Packaging should be such that “clean” and “safe” dominate the early content and are worked into the brand message going forward. 
    1. Think of the clean and safe messaging as you would normally position a promotion. Be succinct and informative, and use calls to action that include reviewing new club policies online and scheduling private tours. 
    2. Take and use current pictures and videos that show the physical space as it is now, marked for physical distancing.
    3. Stay away from price-based offers and simply invite people to engage at whatever level they are comfortable. Offer digital, in-person and phone options in all ads.
  3. The “which.” The channel is determined by the audience and their current stage in life. 
    1. Data-driven marketing helps club operators identify the ideal new member acquisition targets and provides direction as to which channel is likely to be the most effective by using demographic, geographic and psychographic elements to learn about the audience before trying to connect. 
    2. Video tells your brand story like no other. It should be leveraged in digital channels and can be shared as a URL in printed collateral.
      1. Facilities that are clean, improved and marked for social distancing.
      2. Staff can welcome members back and invite new members too.
      3. Members who’ve been back to the gym can express their fresh experiences.

Create a phased marketing plan. Learn about each audience. Select appropriate channels. Deliver relevant content. Evaluate, measure, adjust and report on results to inform next steps. Repeat.

Deneen Laprade is the vice president of business development with Instinctive Insights, and can be reached at dlaprade@instinctiveinsights.com or by visiting instinctiveinsights.com.

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