The Essential Guide to Planning an Effective Club Marketing Campaign
This month I would like you to talk to you about planning your lead generation and membership marketing activities. If you are starting with a blank sheet of paper then here are my top tips for achieving a successful marketing outcome and keeping your owners happy.
A well thought out Club marketing plan will include a range of objectives, all of which should be about achieving profit for your business.
Plan your activity in 12 week (3 month) cycles. January- March, April – June, July – Sept, October – December.
Start the planning process for each quarter 3 months ahead.
So, in October you should be thinking about the January to March period.
In Phase one (Month 1) of each cycle you should be creating an outline programme of your initial thoughts and ideas for the promotional period. Month 2 is the final decision time of what, when and how. Month 3 is the vital briefing and production phase when the aim is to let everyone know inside your team, about what’s happening, when, and what you expect from them.
The first “M” stands for “Market”.
This is your target Audience.
In the world of fitness marketing the main “tribes” you will be targeting will be Prospects (the people you would like to join your club), New members (those within the first 6 weeks of subscription),existing members, your “Best Spending “members (an often neglected but hugely important tribe) , your “Sleeping Membership” ( For goodness sake wake them and nurture them!),customers in a renewal of membership phase and your ex-members database.
The challenge is to run a sophisticated plan that realises the potential of all of these audiences .Because you are probably going to be running a bigger plan than ever before so you will realise the need to plan further in advance and to take the trouble to brief your colleagues comprehensively so they know what’s happening and are confident in dealing with it.
The 2nd M is “the message”. Your plan will include predominantly include activities to attract new members but will additionally, include ideas and campaigns to upsell existing members to higher ticket versions (ascension), retail more secondary products, increase the lifetime of your members, and facilitate greater member referrals.
How we deliver these “messages” to our identified market is the product of the 3rd M – “Media”.
What techniques, both offline or online are going to be most effective in getting the message home to the market?
When you consider the different tactics and outcomes that you are looking for it is vital that you choose the right media for the right message and ensure that it is the most effective method for the market you are aiming it at.
For example if you are aiming to recruit senior exercisers to join your club then a facebook post or ad campaign may not necessarily be the most effective media for you to reach the target . Equally if you are wanting to deliver a sophisticated sales message to local mums then a video embedded facebook ad campaign may be the most suitable and impacting method.Its horses for courses and its very much a combination of both offline and online . For example direct mail is back again as one of the most powerful media forms for fitness clubs.
What’s key is that you measure the results of what you do to find the most profitable uses of your marketing dollar!
You must track accurately the “metrix” (the 4th M) of all your campaigns. We mean recording the costs of each campaign against the response rates and most importantly the value generated from each customer. Too many successful campaigns are cut off too early because we didn’t realise how well they were working!
Equally, for those that don’t appear to work so well straight away, ensure that you chart the various performance stages to see if with a few minor tweaks, additional staff training and some process systemisation you can’t turn an average campaign into a huge profit generator.
Here’s a great example of that point in question.
One of our client clubs recently introduced a £ 49 fitness voucher card promotion to attract customers to their club. The conversion rate was 10% to membership and the average lifetime spend of a Club member is approximately £350. (The average length of stay x average monthly yield)
The club spent £500 on marketing the cards and sold 30 cards recovering £1500 and converting 3 to become members 3 x £350 = £1050)
So a £ 500 outlay generated £2500 and a profit of £2000.
Mindful of all of the numbers, the Club manager decided to invest in a more intense direct sales promotion to boost voucher sales.
A wise decision?
Here’s what happened next…
Instead of a press ad campaign, he hired a sales team to sell the voucher cards to companies and shops and locals door to door.
The new spend per month went up to £3500 as a result (due to the staff wages)-an increase of £3000 on the former tactic!
However voucher sales went up 400% to 120 and with a change in the membership offer the conversion % went up to 15%.
The new “Metrix” show the following financial performance;
a total spend of £3500.
Revenues from card sales of £5000 and membership take up of 120 x 15% = 30 x £350 lifetime value.
The promotion generated £15500 for an investment of £3500.
A profit of £12000 compared to the £2000 profit achieved in the ad driven campaign.
Imagine the additional profit generated if you could sell more cards, further improve the conversion, and add an extra month to the lifetime value. Exponential increases are possible.
So here’s our parting thought this month:
Amazing things happen to your club marketing performance when you understand how to analyse your campaigns and take the trouble to measure accurately the effectiveness of your strategies!
Good luck out there!
Duncan Green is Managing Director of Momentum Business Development.
He is a trusted adviser to fitness clubs globally, and his company provides advanced online sales and marketing services to UK Fitness Club operators.