In case you blinked; it’s almost 2017!
Look around. Has your world changed?
What about your club?
- Have your demographics of your members changed?
- What about their habits?
- What about their needs?
- What about how you market your club to them? Has that changed at all?
Baby Booming the Past
As an inbound agency, we’re faced with many challenges; every club has its own challenges. We never assume that the challenges one club is having are the same as the next; every club is unique in many ways. One of the biggest challenges we have is helping clubs understand the way people are searching for a fitness club to join. In short, explaining that marketing for your fitness club, using methods of the past as a primary resource to acquire new members, no longer works the way it used to. Owners are quick to point out that the direct mail no longer is as effective as other marketing tactics but, in the next sentence, they’ll tell you they still do it – no matter how much money they’re wasting. Admittedly, this leaves us scratching our heads much of the time. Why? Because the way people shop has changed completely since the time that mailers actually worked – especially for the fitness industry.
For many owners, mailers are a means to give their club’s brand some exposure and not necessarily a hard sell tactic to get people in the club. This is understandable, but if this was the purpose of a mailer in the first place why not just send out a mailer to something that’s totally free that the public can enjoy; a workout in the park, an event at a local business, a free download? Adjusting your outbound focus to branding rather than the immediate acquisition of new members is a direct path to marketing to people the way they want to be marketed to in 2017. Your mailers would suddenly take on a life of their own, and you’ll no longer be throwing money out the window.
Where Does Your Marketing Start in 2017?
75% of people will begin their research of a fitness club to join online:
- They’re browsing for fitness related topics.
- They’re on social media having conversations with family and friends about fitness.
- They’re reading reviews of various clubs in the area on Google, Yelp! and other popular online resources.
- They’re visiting your website.
- They’re being referred to your website entirely based on their research.
- They’re responding to club offers.
This list goes on and on. The fact is that out of the hundreds of ways a person may browse online they have a chance to ultimately end up as a member of your club. Knowing that an overwhelming number of people are looking for a club to join online (especially millennials), doesn’t it make sense to put a concerted effort and investment into making sure that your club’s online image is as good as it can be?
Thousands of people drive by your club every day. Thousands of people drive by your billboards and signage. Thousands of people receive your mailers every month. But nothing is more prominent for people that are looking to join a fitness club than the number of times they look at their phone or the amount of time they spend browsing the Internet. On top of that, people are paying attention when they’re on their phone or browsing the Internet. Statistics show that people will have to drive by your club ten to twenty times before they realize you’re actually there. I mean, they see you but THEY DON’T ACTUALLY SEE YOU until they pass by a few times. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the point is that branding your club in the real world is about your look and the consistency of it to get noticed. Your website is an overwhelming, influential first impression that deserves a sincere investment every month.
If your website and online image are taking a back seat to real world marketing tactics you used in the ‘90s, you’re completely missing the primary resource for which people do their fitness research in 2017. It may be time to open up to a new world in 2017; a world that should be respected for it’s complex ability to establish the authority of your brand and win the hearts of your future members.