January is over, and with it also ends the big marketing and advertising push by health club owners. Gym marketing typically explodes in January, and for good reason: the customers are buying!
How big is the January fitness pie? Weight loss was the number one New Year’s resolution in 2012. In addition, a whopping 38 percent of resolutions were weight related (source: statisticbrain).
Health Club Promotional Marketing Plummets In February:
But health club owners cannot allow their business marketing to end on February 1. Most gyms have more competition than they did a year ago, due primarily to the rapid growth of circuit training health club franchise operators like Curves and Cuts for Women. Efforts toward network marketing and direct marketing must continue all year if a gym is to be successful in today’s business environment.
Most fitness centers, unable to afford an advertising agency to handle their marketing and advertising strategy, instead plan and purchase their own advertising promotions with varying degrees of success. Unfortunately, far too many health club owners spend all their marketing plan money in January, leaving little for the remainder of the 1st quarter.
In early February, savvy gym owners and managers are actively seeking out a free advertising and marketing strategy that they can use to boost membership beyond January results. Shrewd fitness center owners know that selling health club memberships in February is just as important as it was in January.
A Sample Health Club Marketing Plan for February:
So what can you do right now to get more members? In February it’s important to capitalize on the new members you gained in January and hit them up for referrals. These new members love your gym, they exercise eagerly every day, the novelty hasn’t yet worn off and they’re absolutely ready to help you sell memberships! All you have to do is ask.
One of the best low-cost strategies to pick up referrals from these new members is to mail them a love letter and some referral cards. No, we’re not jumping the gun on Valentine’s Day here. A ”love letter” just means that they love your health club, so why wouldn’t they refer you to their friends?
Make your letter brief, to the point, and don’t be afraid to ask for the referral! If your fitness center isn’t getting referrals, it’s probably because you’re not asking for them. Some folks in the fitness industry consider asking for referrals to be as tacky as calling your best friend to push your latest multilevel marketing scheme, but those folks typically don’t have many members. If you want to enroll more members, then you simply must include referrals in your marketing promotion this month.
Here’s an example of how this direct mail advertising letter should look:
We are excited that you’ve chosen ABC Gym to help you achieve your health and fitness goals. Please let us know if there is anything that we can do to help you succeed.
Enclosed you will find some discount passes to give to your friends and family. These valuable cards are good for a free workout and 50% off the enrollment fee. But the best part about these cards is that when one of your friends joins ABC Gym using this card, we will give you TEN dollars cash! Be sure to write your name on each card before giving them out – that way we can make sure you get credit for the referral.
It’s just our way of saying “thank you” for referring us to your friends.
Thanks again for choosing ABC Gym. We look forward to helping you achieve your health and fitness goals!
Yours In Good Health,
Gym Owner and/or Manager
You may have noticed the recommendation to pay $10 for each referral generated. The reason is that, with a cash incentive, your response rates will be much higher than normal. As for the $10 referral fee, it will take care of itself because remember that each new member will be paying you a registration fee + first month dues. In most circuit-training gyms, this initial payment works out to be in the $80 range. Paying $10 out of approximately $80 is not a bad deal, and you still get the monthly draft with no exceptions. Also, it’s important to note that you only pay this $10 referral fee to the member if their referral produces a new member for you! No new member = no referral fee.
This letter, when sent to your newest members, has selling power that will amaze you! But in order for this selling strategy to be effective, you must include a discount card for the members to give to their friends and family. Of course, it must include the basics: your logo, name, address and telephone number. A good selling technique is to also include a photo of yourself or your gym. This advertising idea works best when you also include a freebie of another service you offer, such as tanning or massage therapy.
This is a sample health club marketing plan that is guaranteed to bring in quite a few referrals, but only if you act quickly. The new members that you worked so hard to enroll in January are still excited about exercise. They’re seeing results now, and it’s important to hit them up for referrals while they’re in this state of mind. The time to act is now. Try this same advertising technique next summer, for example, and the results will be lackluster at best.
This is one advertising opportunity that is best implemented in early February, so get out that list of new members are start writing referral letters today!