How to Make Direct Mail More Effective for Your Fitness Club

If you own or manage a club, there’s as close to a 100% chance that you send out direct mail now or have in the past. You also know that mailers are largely ineffective at bringing new leads and members every month (at least, in theory). The fact is that without tools to monitor the effectiveness of your mailers, you will never actually know whether mailers are still working or not.

Inbound marketing can help you gauge the number of people coming to your club via direct mail. But, what if you aren’t using inbound technology in conjunction with your mailers? How can you make direct mail more effective for you health club?

Rule #1 – Create an Inboundy Website

solution for cold callingThe first thing you need is a website that is conditioned to convert anyone that may visit from your mailer into a lead. If your website is stagnant and an “off to the side” marketing tactic that you need just to keep up with the Joneses your mailers are sure to fail. If you’re expecting people to pick up the phone and call you from a mailer, you’re living in the past. Statistics show that over 70% of people will begin their decision-making process by doing research on the Internet. People no longer pick up the phone to move things forward. They are filling out forms on the Internet 20 to 1 over phone calls. The main reason for this is the stigma of being sold to. People know that if they call you, they have to talk with a person that is most likely going to hard sell them. This is never a pleasant experience. Even if your club doesn’t subscribe to hard-selling, it’s easy for the consumer to assume you are going to hard sell them on a membership based on what they’ve experienced in the past from making phone calls.

Create a website with content that answers prospect questions and moves them forward through simple forms. When you stop expecting them to call, you open doors to a much larger number of conversions.

Rule #2 – Lead People From Mailers to Landing Pages

If your website is inboundy and prepared to convert visitors into leads, then you have gobs of landing pages specifically designed to convert.

Virtually every mailer that goes out from fitness clubs gives a bottom of the funnel special designed to get people to buy in immediately. Examples include $0 Enrollment, 50% off, BOGO offers, etc. These types of specials only work for less than 1% of the people receiving the mailer. Why?

3 Reasons BOFU Offers Don’t Work Well in Mailers:

  1. You’re ignoring the buyer’s journey – People go through a purchasing process with all purchases. When you advertise a special like this, you are skipping about 90% of people that aren’t ready to take advantage of a bottom of the funnel special. See Rule #3.
  2. The URL on the mailer is all wrong – For any promotion you advertise in a mailer you should lead people from the mailer to straight to the landing page – NOT YOUR HOMEPAGE. How many mailers do you send out telling people about a special and you include a URL that leads to the home page in which you force people to try and find the corresponding special that see in the mailer? You’re giving your visitors a few extra steps to go through to take advantage of the special. “Extra Steps” online is a sin that will cost you a lot of money.
  3. Creativity – Many clubs lack creativity in promotions and tend to advertise the same specials over and over. The only thing that gets changed is the wording. There’s only so many ways to say “Get Started for $19.99!”

Rule #3 – Advertise to ALL Parts of Your Marketing Funnel:

To get the most out of your mailers, you need to include offers for the top (TOFU), middle (MOFU) and bottom of the funnel (BOFU) so that more people respond.

  • TOFU – Offer free ebook downloads, workouts, nutrition advice via white papers and more. Attract people that don’t have any interest in joining your club to download something free off of your website (not a trial pass), so they can get more educated about fitness, nutrition or a particular amenity(s) in your club.
  • MOFU – Trial passes, free expanded testimonial pdf downloads, free group fitness trials, consultations.
  • BOFU – Sign up offers that you’ve always been doing but instead of focusing solely on the price, focus on the bullet-pointed benefits of the deal.

Remember that phone numbers are ideal for follow-up but they are not a good marketing starting point. The world is digitally dominated and the most important piece of information you need to get from as many prospects as possible, other than their name, is their email address. You cannot effectively market to anyone without it. If you still think cold calling is your club’s ticket to more members you need to be taken out back and flogged with a stick that has the year 1995 imprinted on it.

Mailers that only include BOFU offers only convert 1 out of 100 to 1 out of 200 people depending on the offer. Mailers that include offers for all parts of the funnel will convert 1 out of every 45 people into members but will attract 500% more leads.

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