A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.

It’s Easier when you Think

The restaurant down the street. The clothing store at the mall. The movie complex. The supermarket. Your club. They all have one thing in common: They rely, day in and day out, on perfect strangers to come in off the street and become the most important people to their business — paying customers. And very often, your club is competing for the same disposable dollars that could be spent on a dinner for two, the latest feature or a snappy new outfit. So how does your club get its fair share of paying customers in the market place? The answer is easy. Advertise effectively. The process, however, is not so easy, especially if you develop your own advertising in-house. But it can be done, and done effectively, so long as you think.

What’s your message?

Think about a typical day at your club. What are people saying? What are they doing? Are they getting pleasure out of the experience? This information is the stuff great advertising is made of. If you focus you ad messages on how people benefit from your facility, as opposed to just listing the features of your club, you give new prospects the opportunity to see themselves in your club, and get a sense of how easily they will fit in. And if they’re comfortable, they will consider joining. If they are at all intimidated, you might as well forget them.

Commit yourself to benefits-oriented advertising, and you will see your club through the eyes of your customer. Madison Avenue calls this “slice-of-life” advertising, and it can give you a bigger slice of the market. But what slice is important to you? Typically, you should concentrate your advertising on those “slices” that give you the most business. Think about your best customers in terms of facility use, tenure of membership and ancillary purchases. These are your best prospects. They may be families, muscle fanatics, deconditioned professionals or young singles. Whatever the slice, make each the focus of an ad, or series of ads. Make sure the benefits each group enjoys are apparent in the ad, and when budget and medium allows, use a photo of real, engaging, photogenic members.

Benefits-oriented advertising can be an effective long-term strategy for building memberships. But what about making next week’s payroll? This is where balance in your ad message is key. This means you need to promote the specific benefits with an attractive price or offer. This, in the prospect’s mind, is how to determine how good a value your club is. If the benefits are there, but the price is prohibitive, chances are you won’t get the prospect to act. So take a hard look at your pricing. Does it communicate that you are customer-focused? Remember, the restaurant is offering “value meals” and the movie theater is offering “bargain matinees.” If you agree they are competing for the same dollars as you, then your value must ring true.

But don’t confuse value with “free.” Too often, the free trial can backfire — attracting a lower quality customer and conveying a low-value image. Think hard about this. Give nothing away. Price your product competitively. And don’t believe for a minute that customers understand or appreciate initiation fees.

People are willing to pay a fair price, but having to pay a fee for the privilege of paying fees on a monthly basis could cost your facility memberships. Consider the “value” you offer when you reduce an initiation fee that is suspect in the consumer’s mind.

A good, effective alternative to initiation fees is an attractively priced trial membership. By offering folks a short-term opportunity with no long-term commitment, you are saying your club sells itself, that customers should give it a try for a reasonable price, and that once they complete the trial, they’ll be ready to sign up for a longer term membership.

If your advertising message contains a balance of benefits, a focus on target markets, and a reasonable offer to the customers, you will have well-developed advertising.

The only question now is where do you run your ads?

Comments are closed.