Q. We’ve done well with traditional marketing strategies in the past, but we want to try something different. What are some unique marketing strategies you’ve seen working well lately? – Taylor Jarvis and Adam Bogar, the owners of Dynamic Training and Rehabilitation, Burlington, Ontario, Canada
A. While you should always keep your marketing plan full of traditional strategies that consistently bring you a positive return on your investment, it is always a good idea (and fun) to test new strategies to drive new prospects through your doors.
Here are three unique strategies that have been working well in a number of fitness centers lately.
1. Good Neighbor Testimonial
You’ll agree with me that you have a gym full of people who have lost weight, overcome illness or experienced some related success story. You’ll also agree that they live in a neighborhood somewhere relatively nearby and are surrounded by other residents. You can promote their success stories to the people who live near them.
For example, Bob lost 45 pounds in six months at your facility and feels better than he has in 20 years. Bob lives in “Example Estates,” a neighborhood with 200 homes. You’ll create a door hanger or a flyer to mail, with Bob’s picture, his success story and an invitation to try out your services.
“Your neighbor Bob on Hypothetical Avenue has lost 45 pounds in the past six months and he wants you to do the same!”
Bob will love the recognition (and if Bob is shy, he’ll certainly love the referral credit he gets for every person who brings in his flyer) and he’ll become a neighborhood celebrity. This type of marketing uses social proof that “If your neighbor Bob can do it, you can do it.” I’ve seen an even better response if you insert a one dollar bill in the mailer or stapled to the door hanger and on the flyer state “Bob has already paid for your $1 enrollment fee!”
2. Text Message Marketing
Thanks to “American Idol” asking you to text your vote, and every other advertisement these days asking you to “Text now to receive fill-in-the-blank discount,” mobile marketing is currently the new big thing. If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Nearly 100 percent of text messages are read, and consumers are addicted to their phone.
If a prospect subscribes to receive your e-mail newsletter, on average they’re going to open it less than 10 percent of the time. However, send them information or special incentives via text, and it is a nearly a flawless delivery and open rate. They of course still need to opt into your text subscription plan, but that is very easy to get them to do.
“Text FREEFITNESS to 123456 to receive a one month free membership to XYZ Fitness!”
You can put this message on road signs, billboards, direct mail, business cards, gift cards, lead boxes, flyers, door hangers, Val Pak — essentially anywhere you are already marketing, you can encourage them to text to receive something.
3. Booster Club Promotion
There are countless charities and youth organizations looking for new and creative ways to raise money. You can provide the local little league teams, school band or other groups a supply of membership cards or gift cards to your facility. They can sell these for any amount they want and they can keep all the money raised.
For example, you give them cards good for two months of memberships at your facility, and they sell these for $20 each. This is a great deal for everyone. If 100 of these are sold, the group raises $2,000, the buyer gets two months of fitness at $10 per month, and you have 100 new leads. Not only are they new leads, they are new hot leads, because they’ve already shown they are willing to pay for fitness.
You’ll want to make sure the people selling the cards are collecting the buyer’s contact information at the point of sale — so be sure to provide them a form they can fill out for anyone who purchases. You can do this with multiple groups around your community and literally have an army of salespeople going door to door on your behalf!
All three of these marketing strategies have been proven effective. Select your favorite and implement it alongside your other more traditional marketing strategies and you should experience a nice increase in traffic to your fitness business. -CS
Curtis Mock is the host of www.fitnessbusinesstelevision.com, the TV show for fitness entrepreneurs and is the executive director of GymSuccess.com. Curtis can be reached via e-mail at Curtis@ClubSolutionsMagazine.com.