High-Powered Marketing Strategies for Health Clubs

Commercial Fitness

High-Powered Marketing Strategies for Health Clubs

Behind many successful fitness businesses is a high-powered, focused marketing campaign. Whether you're looking to improve your current marketing plan or are starting from the ground up, here are some suggestions on how to implement an effective strategy.

The following is a summarization of an education session from the 2015 IHRSA Convention, produced with full permission from IHRSA. The full-length video is available for purchase at ihrsastore.com.

About the Speaker

Alan Leach is the Area General Manager at West Wood Club Ireland and Bosnia. He has 30 years of experience in the fitness industry. He is a recognized speaker on fitness marketing who has appeared at conferences around the world. He has been featured in the IHRSA CBI magazine, as wells as many other international fitness marketing publications.

High-Powered Advertising and Marketing Strategies for Your Fitness Business

What Is Marketing?

Marketing is not just about sales promotion or advertisement. It's a way of running your business and encompasses everything from the design of your product, pricing, where your products and services are available, and their promotion. Advertising is a part of promotion and promotion is part of marketing.

Professional Marketing Strategies and Fitness Industry Impact

Professional marketing strategies can grow sales, revenue, and profitability. Leach was tasked with generating new member sales at the West Wood club in 2006. In 2003 to 2006, Ireland experienced its largest economic boom. Professional marketing strategies were put in place and, over the next few years, new member sales increased by 140%. This represents only one example of many where a good marketing campaign can increase new member sales by a sizeable amount.

What Do You Spend on Marketing?

According to the IHRSA Profiles of Success, the average club spends around $118 on marketing to recruit a new member. West Wood spends around $35 while being discerning with the money spent. If the campaign cannot deliver a sizeable number of customers, then it is not worth the investment.

What Makes a Marketing/Advertising Campaign Profitable?

Retention has a huge impact on whether or not a marketing campaign is profitable. Any good advertising campaign will generate leads and a sales system will convert leads to members, but without a functioning retention plan, these leads or members may leave fairly quickly. A good retention plan makes your marketing strategies profitable. At the end of the day, retention strategies are marketing decisions.

The Product

If you do not have a good product, it is not possible to benefit from your advertising and marketing campaigns. Ensure that your member experience is excellent and work on improvements before developing a marketing campaign.

Selling Systems

A selling system is essentially a “game plan” that a salesperson follows when interacting with a customer. Professional selling systems are vital. A great selling system can make up for weak promotion and marketing efforts. Sales training is important and can significantly and positively impact sales, revenue and profitability. It is important that salespeople have the ability to exploit marketing strategies to make them profitable, as well as training to support the business’ retention strategy.

Websites are perhaps the best source of lead generation. Your website should be connected to an internal database from which leads can be followed manually or through an automated system. Draw leads into your facility for tours and then convert them into members. Database management is key. This allows you to track targetable leads and collect names and addresses of potential clients who have shown interest in your facility. The bigger your database, the bigger your profits.

Marketing is a powerful tool that can expand your business, but it's important to have a strong foundation to promote. Once you have your sales process and membership options optimized, develop a marketing plan to give your efforts a boost. A successful marketing program will draw in new members and increase the total revenue of your business.