It’s a new year and as tradition dictates, it’s time to make a resolution! This year, make it a resolution for marketing your business!
Growing a successful business requires continuous marketing and successful marketing requires a plan. A comprehensive marketing plan should outline what, when and how; which in turn will help you track and analyze the results of your efforts.
A good starting point is determining where you need to increase revenue: How healthy is your dues line? How many members participate in Personal Training? Are your profit centers performing at full potential?
Once you determine the needs of your business, assign measurable objectives and prioritized your goals, do some market research, including a member plot. Find out exactly where your members are coming from, which is typically within a 3 to 5-mile radius of your business. What do they have in common? Income? Location? Age? Learning about your members and prospects, and what compels them to act, will help you to determine how to share your message.
Effective marketing campaigns use a MIX of marketing vehicles to reach their intended audiences. These can include:
- Print – share your message in all traditional forms, including guerrilla-marketing pieces.
- Direct Mail – adding call source numbers makes quantifying the effect of the piece simple and comes with the added benefit of capturing lead information.
- Digital Marketing – share your message via social media.
- E-mail Marketing – reach out to members and/or recent guests and leads, by letting them know what’s happening around the club or if there are special offers or events. Use a compelling subject line and a swift call to action encouraging prospects to “Click here”.
- TV & Radio – These marketing vehicles have a high price tag when compared with other marketing options, but can generate immediate response under the right circumstances (e.g. Live remotes).
- Community Involvement – philanthropic acts can help you stand out in the hearts and minds of your prospects and members. Costs vary, as does the amount of time and energy, but the ROI and other intangible benefits can be significant.
Your plan is starting to take shape!
The next step is deciding what your primary marketing focus will be during each month. Some months are better spent focusing externally while others should be internal.
Most clubs and studios experience similar patterns of member usage in each season of the year. The trick is to learn the nuances of your unique business and identify the best times to run referral and prospecting campaigns, challenges and retention efforts.
Plan member referral campaigns to follow big sales months. Run a weight loss challenge in mid to late winter and again late spring. Host an open house in the fall when people are getting back to their post-summer routines. And remember to reach out to former members during those same periods other prospects are actively seeking fitness solutions.
Start sketching out your plan now. You know what your business needs to grow; you’ve learned about your members and have identified prospects. You know how you want to communicate with them, and you just mapped out when you’ll run campaigns based on your goals. Now it’s time to implement your plan.
Implementing your Marketing Plan
- Work in 3 month blocks. Once you have one quarter in place, you can copy it forward, making the necessary adjustments to goals and focus, based on previous results.
- Select a campaign or theme to strengthen your brand identity. Decide on offers and expiration dates to create a sense of urgency.
- Adopt a consistent look, and message so you are immediately and easily recognized in your market.
- Create an action plan to identify the unique responsibilities of the staff involved, include dates for completion.
- Have a system in place to track leads – make it a part of your club culture to ask every new prospect how they heard about you.
- Inform your staff, especially front line and sales staff. They need to clearly understand your expectations to convert leads into members and clients.
Making a marketing resolution is a commitment to implementing a strategy that is practical, pragmatic and produces results. Planning ahead offers you freedom to focus on other things rather than scrambling to put something together on short notice.
Start now, and you will eventually have a 12-month marketing plan that will become the template for all of your future marketing. You will end up with more time to explore new opportunities to grow your business. Making it a very successful resolution indeed!