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Entries in advertising (13)


This Week in the Fitness Industry: Real Members Feature in Blink Fitness Ad Campaign 

Blink Fitness’ 2017 Ad Campaign Features Real Members
Earlier this week Blink Fitness launched its 2017 marketing campaign, “Every Body Happy,” according to a release. This year’s effort features 16 Blink members who auditioned for the campaign on social media in the fall by flaunting their confidence. From more than 2,000 submissions, 50 semi-finalists were called back for an in-person casting call event where they shared their personal fitness stories in front of an influential panel of casting agents.

A survey commissioned by Blink Fitness and conducted online by Harris Poll last month showed the following sentiments, which Blink says illustrates that it is onto something greater:

  • Roughly eight out of 10 Americans (82%) say their relationship with their body could be improved.
  • Nearly two-thirds (64%) of respondents said they find it discouraging to work towards unrealistic body images they see in the media.
  • Almost nine in 10 Americans (89%) who currently work out at a gym feel more confident about themselves when they leave the gym than when they first walk in.

Read IHRSA’s interview with Blink Fitness President Todd Magazine.

Fitness Industry Poised to Benefit from 2017 Resolutioners

The fitness market is one of the top industries poised to benefit from New Year’s Resolutions, Media Center reports. The article cites a Facebook/Wall Street Journal survey that found the number of gym check-ins on the social media platform increases by 50.0% from December to January. However, the largest decline in check-ins each year occurs in February, when check-ins drop by an estimated 10.0%. Athletic events are also positioned to grow from the influx of resolutioners in 2017. “With the aid of social media, popular outdoor events including the Iron Man, marathons, bicycle competitions and obstacle courses have become a key growth opportunity,” the article states. “The Athletic Event Organizers industry is expected to increase an annualized 2.4% over the five years to 2016, followed by another increase at an annualized rate of 1.7% over the next five years, reaching a projected $2.0 billion in revenue in 2021.”

IHRSA Webinar Preview: Capturing the Resolutionist Year-Round
On Thursday, January 12, Amanda Konigsberg, general manager for Active Wellness, will present “Capturing the Resolutionist Year-Round,” a webinar focused on membership sales and marketing strategies. To avoid your club’s slow season, Konigsberg recommends that you study the cycles in the health club industry and your own demographic area, and use that knowledge to build alternative income streams to counteract the off-season. “Just do not let attention to the alternative stream overtake a focus on the primary business,” she says. Read the full “Capturing the Resolutionist Year-Round” webinar preview.

Genesis Health Clubs Grows as Largest Club Provider in Midwest
IHRSA member Genesis Health Clubs purchased an additional Omaha area club from Nebraska Elite Sports and Fitness Complex in late December, making it the largest health club provider in the Midwest, according to a release. Nebraska Elite Sports and Fitness Complex is a 108,000-square-foot facility that includes a fitness floor, indoor running track, cycling studio, weight and cardio machines, spa, dry sauna, steam room, tennis, basketball, volleyball, and a full-service day care. “This is a very exciting time for our company,” said Rodney Steven II, owner/president of Genesis Health Clubs, “We are so excited to continue to grow in Nebraska. With 10 locations in the state, it’s now our second largest market. We are a locally owned and operated business and we aren’t going anywhere. We plan on remodeling this club to bring in our brand and to transform it into one of the nicest facilities in the Midwest.”


This Week in the Fitness Industry: Proof that Exercise is a ‘Miracle Drug’

Time Magazine Examines the Proof that Exercise is a ‘Miracle Drug’
“As time goes on, paper after paper after paper shows that the most effective, potent way that we can improve quality of life and duration of life is exercise,” said Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky, a genetic metabolic neurologist at McMaster University in Ontario, in Time Magazine’s September cover story. The article, “The New Science of Exercise,” provides an in-depth look at the scientific proof backing up the long-standing belief that exercise works like a miracle drug. “Despite public-awareness campaigns, the health benefits of exercise have not been effectively communicated to the average American,” the article stats. “Humans are notoriously bad at assessing the long-term benefits–and risks–of their lifestyle choices. And vague promises that exercise is ‘good for you’ or even ‘good for the heart’ aren’t powerful enough to motivate most people to do something they think of as a chore. Humans are, however, motivated by rewards. That is why experts like Tarnopolsky are so focused on proving that the scientific benefits of exercise–slower aging, better mood, less chronic pain, stronger vision, the list goes on–are real, measurable and almost immediate.”

IHRSA Board Members Represent at the Motionsoft Technology Summit

Several IHRSA board members and former board members attended and spoke at the Motionsoft Technology Summit in Baltimore, MD, this week. Rick Caro, former IHRSA board president and president of Management Vision, Inc., spoke at the CIO Roundtable on Wednesday, and IHRSA Board Chair Rasmus Ingerslev presented the closing keynote address on Thursday. Read our full coverage of the Motionsoft Technology Summit.

Blink Fitness Asks Members to Audition for its 2017 Ad Campaign

Blink Fitness is inviting 300,000 members to use social media to enter the company’s brand-wide casting call for its 2017 ad campaign. The digital “audition” for the campaign, which is part of Blink’s continued effort’s to advocate for body positivity, will be open until October 7. More than 300 people have already applied since the September 12 launch. Following the submissions, the finalists will be chosen and called back to stand in front of a panel of influential “casting agents” to explain why feeling good is the new looking good. Panelists will include Dascha Polanco, known for her role as Dayanara Diaz on Orange is the New Black and NFL punter, Steve Weatherford. Blink’s 2017 campaign is an evolution of its “Every Body Happy” platform, which launched earlier this year.

IHRSA Submits Comments on Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program
On September 6, IHRSA formally submitted comments to the Center for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS) concerning the proposal that Medicare cover the cost of a preventative service incorporating physical activity and diet intervention—the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program (MDPP). The MDPP stands to be the first ever preventative service model certified for expansion by the CMS Innovation Center. With the proposal that Medicare will cover the cost of MDPP, health clubs are in an advantageous position to administer the program and become a vital component in the healthcare system. The program consists of educational sessions on healthy habits for individuals at risk of diabetes, evidenced by blood test results (and covered by Medicare), beginning with an initial six-month period with a core curriculum. The curriculum incorporates the importance of physical activity in healthy living, in addition to nutrition and stress management. The primary goal of the program is weight loss and behavior change to prevent against diabetes—both goals achievable in a health club setting. Read our full coverage on IHRSA's Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program comments.


What’s the Difference Between Marketing and Advertising Your Health Club?

The terms “marketing” and “advertising” are often used interchangeably, but their definitions are quite different—and being able to distinguish between the two is critical for creating a successful health club communications strategy. 

Elements of Effective Health Club Marketing 

“Marketing is everything we do that influences a person’s decision to buy or not to buy from us,” says Alan Leach, regional manager of West Wood Clubs in Dublin, Ireland, and Sarajevo, Bosnia. “Marketing is everything we do to influence a member’s decision to continue to buy or not to continue to buy from us (yes—retention is marketing).” 

There are some elements that Leach identifies as critical elements of an effective health club marketing strategy that you might not expect. They include: 

  • The type of group fitness classes you provide
  • The staff you chose to hire
  • The staff training you provide
  • The design of your club
  • The prices you charge
  • The location of your club
  • The programs you offer
  • The retention strategies you provide
  • The size of your parking lot  

“If all these marketing elements are wrong, no amount of advertising or sales promotions will save you,” Leach says. 

Elements of Effective Health Club Advertising 

Advertising is a component of marketing, which includes:  

  • Direct mail
  • Print, radio, and TV ads
  • Billboards and outdoor ads
  • Digital marketing
  • Special offers and promotions 

One of the keys to effective health club advertising is persuasive ad copy. 

“With great copywriting skills you can make any advertising or marketing channel profitable,” Leach says. “Sales copywriting skills are more important today that they were 100 years ago. Why? Because we have more communication channels than ever before that require great sales copy.” 

Unfortunately, it’s common for health clubs to produce ineffective advertising copy because the job isn’t assigned to the right person. 

“Today we have more amateur marketers than ever dabbling with these new tools,” Leach says. “We let staff with no advertising, marketing, sales, or copywriting experience post whatever content they want for everybody to see. This has a dramatic impact on people perception of our brand.”


This Week in the Fitness Industry: CrossFit Members Spend More at the Gym

CrossFit Members Spend More at the Gym than Other Workout Enthusiasts
CrossFit members spend more than other types of gym-goers, according to insights from Cardlytics, an Atlanta marketing firm. The Wall Street Journal reports that Cardlytics analyzed the spending patterns of people who started going to gyms in the past year. They found that CrossFit members spent an average of $120 a month at the gym—more than the $99 monthly average spent by those who take boutique cycling classes and the $75/month spent by people who take yoga, Pilates, or barre. Members of traditional multipurpose health clubs spent less than $46/month. 

Blink Fitness Video Celebrates Body Diversity
Blink Fitness—a subsidiary of Equinox—bucked the trend of using toned models in health club advertising by creating “Every Body Happy,” a marketing campaign that celebrates diverse body types, AdAge reports. The effort includes a 30-second video featuring body parts running the spectrum of shapes and sizes. "Blink stands for something different and offers a more universally relatable approach to fitness, which this campaign represents," Ellen Roggemann, vice president of marketing, said in a statement. "'Fit' looks different on everyone and we celebrate that." The video is available on Blink’s website and will be promoted on its social media channels. It will also play in Blink’s 50-plus locations. 

Millennials and Seniors Least Likely to Use Wearable Fitness Trackers
Millennials and seniors are the least likely generations to use wearable fitness trackers, but for very different reasons, mobihealthnews reports. "Millennials were more likely to select cost as their reason for not wearing their devices," Christina Hoffman, vice president of quality and strategy at Medscape, said in a presentation at HIMSS16 in Las Vegas. "On the other end of the spectrum, the Silent Generation says the reason they don’t is because a doctor hasn’t recommended it. What’s the opportunity here? The implication is that Millennials might benefit from free devices and the older generations, if the doctor says to them, this might be helpful for you, they’ll do it." The results were derived from a survey of 2,600 WebMD users.

Adrenaline May Hold the Key to Reducing Cancer Risk
Adrenaline may be the reason regular exercise reduces the risk of cancer, The Economist reports. According to a new study, injecting mice that had cancerous tumors with epinephrine—a hormone commonly known as adrenaline—reduced the growth of tumors by 61% in mice that were not physically access and 74% in mice that exercised regularly. These findings suggest that epinephrine could be used as an anti-tumor drug. The study’s lead author “is not proposing that they should be a substitute for exercise in those who are merely lazy—not least because exercise brings benefits beyond curbing oncogenesis,” the article said. “But people who are too old or too ill to be active might thus gain exercise’s anticancer benefits without the need to get sweaty.”


IHRSA 2016 Session Spotlight: Precision Marketing: Proven & Profitable Advertising Strategies

The terms “advertising” and “marketing” are often used synonymously, but they are markedly different—and if you don’t have a grasp on the two concepts, your promotional strategies might suffer. 

“Marketing is everything we do to influence a member’s decision to continue to buy or not to continue to buy from us (yes—retention is marketing),” says Alan Leach, regional manager of West Wood Clubs in Dublin, Ireland, and Sarajevo, Bosnia. “The type of group fitness classes you chose to provide, the staff you chose to hire, the staff training you provide, the design of your club, the prices you charge, the location of your club, the programs you offer, the retention strategies you provide, the size of your car-park—these are all part of your product and are all part of an effective marketing strategy. If all these marketing elements are wrong, no amount of advertising or sales promotions will save you.” 

Leach will help health club operators fine-tune their marketing efforts in his IHRSA 2016 session, “Precision Marketing: Proven & Profitable Advertising Strategies.” The Wednesday, March 23 session will help attendees: 

  • Discover the most effective advertising and marketing strategies for fitness business
  • Learn how to use the internet to advertise, promote, and grow your fitness business
  • Discover the secrets to writing high-impact and persuasive sales and marketing copy that will drive new leads into your fitness business
  • Find out how to brand, promote, and market your fitness business so budget clubs are never a threat
  • Discover lead generation advertising and marketing secrets that will pack your fitness business with more and more sales and leads 

Throughout his presentation, Leach will draw from the many successful strategies he’s employed at West Wood Clubs, including a proven “selling fitness” sales and marketing system that increased sales by 70%, 15 direct mail letters that generated over $20 million in revenue, database management that generates millions of dollars every year, internet advertising and marketing that brings in over $7 million a year, and more. 

“Profitable marketing is just as much about thinking strategically about your advertising as it is about your short-term marketing and advertising goals,” he says. “Powerful marketing concepts, such as how your club is positioned in the market, how you differentiate your club from your competitors, and how you hope to create a sustainable competitive advantage in the fitness club market, are extremely important marketing activities—far more important than the special offer you run next Tuesday. In fact, these strategic marketing decisions are probably more important than ever before, because if you can get these marketing strategies right from the start, you depend less on those special offers and discounts for your fitness club’s success.”

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What are best ways to get people in the door?

There are hundreds of ways to market and advertise your health club, with the main goal to get more members. Most owners know, and probably have tried, many of them.

Three industry experts and veterans - Jay Hirschhorn, Angela Longstaffe and Melinda Lewis - chime in on methods they have used, in this week's Best Practices.

Q: Besides member referrals, what method of advertising have you found to be the most cost-effective in selling memberships and club programs?

A: We donate. All year long, we are approached by schools, charities, and other organizations for donations to various events. The majority of our marketing dollars go to offset the cost of donating personal training sessions. We have found that people who take the time to check what is on an event’s auction list, then place one or more bids, are likely interested in fitness anyway, and just needed this extra little push. Five to ten sessions usually gives us enough time to interest them in coming back over the longer term. Under this scenario, everyone wins: the schools and our company. An additional benefit is the involvement in the community and an increased awareness of our club’s many services.

Angela Longstaffe
CEO and co-owner
Body & Soul Health & Fitness
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Our most effective means of advertising is handing out 4” x 6” postcards in the neighborhood. These cards usually involve some type of savings off of our regular membership rates. These specials can be a low monthly rate, discounts on the initiation fee or a dollars-off coupon. We are located on a street with many retail establishments, a bus stop, and a subway stop around the corner, so there is always lots of pedestrian traffic. We work with a few local entrepreneurs who have developed flyer distribution businesses. Their prices are based on both the number of cards they hand out as well as how long it takes. In our urban Manhattan environment, this is the most efficient way to get our message out.

Jay Hirshhorn
J’s Big Gym
New York, N.Y.

A: We have gone to some of the largest companies in our area and met with the staff, watched how employees do their jobs, and explained how Anytime Fitness will make a positive difference in their lives. This has turned into a mutually beneficial partnership. Going out and being visible in the community gets out our message that everyone needs wellness. Dropping off flyers and posters to local businesses, to display in their employee break rooms, provides a constant reminder to workers to get motivated and improve their health. This, in turn, helps their company maintain happier employees and increase employee retention. Most importantly, we’re making a difference in people’s lives and in the way they feel about themselves.

Melinda Lewis
Anytime Fitness
Lakewood, Wash.

This entry was originally published in CBI. One of the most frequently consulted sections, Best Practices features answers from industry experts to a wide range of thought-provoking questions. 

Visit to read responses to more than 100 questions such as these or to submit a question of your own to be answered.



Best way to sell health club memberships vary 

So, does IHRSA have the perfect answer to one of the questions on every club owner and general manager's mind - What is the best method to sell memberships?

Unfortunately, we don't have a one-size-fits-all solution. It is not because we don't know but because it really depends on your area's demographics, among other factors.

But, we do have this week's Best Practices to help give those wondering some good ideas. And, there are links to other IHRSA products and features that could be of assistance.

Q: Besides member referrals, what method of advertising have you found to be the most cost-effective in selling memberships and club programs?

A: I have nine clubs (soon to be 10) in seven (soon to be eight) different towns, and each town responds differently to different types of advertising. In one town, the best thing used to be coupons sent out in multi-coupon mailer packets. Since those were discontinued, now the most effective method of advertising in that town is hiring temps to stand on busy street corners with signs on a pole, promoting various offers. In another town, the best thing is remote radio broadcast. In another town, direct mailers work best.

Roger Aaron
Anytime Fitness
Minnesota, Iowa & Nebraska

A: The most productive avenue for attracting new members is, hands-down, all things online. We focused our efforts on a revitalized website in 2010 and have been concentrating on our social media strategy since 2008. We do not do paid advertising online - instead using our blog (hosted on our website, which is important) and YouTube, we have increased our visibility on search engines. This drives prospects to our new site, which has helped us see better quality prospects that are more likely to convert. Comparing 2011 to 2010, we have increased the number of prospects and new members who found us online by over 70%.

Susan Cooper
BodyBusiness Health Club & Spa
Austin, Texas


 A: We are fortunate to be located in a secondary market where you can buy a radio ad for $20. Radio is by far our best medium for advertising our gyms - second only to word of mouth through our member referral program. And since we are centrally located in our city, advertising to our entire city makes sense. Our website and social media are probably our fastest growing media. We're also trying email blasts and would like to try mobile media in the near future.

Tony Rea
Gold's Gym
Amarillo, Texas


Club Operators: To be profiled in this column, please contact Kristen Walsh, IHRSA associate publisher, at

IHRSA has answered hundreds of questions and inquiries in the weekly column, Best Practices. Check them out here.




Finding the right form of advertising for your club

Getting your club's name and services out there is always a difficult endeavor. How to do it, how often, how much should you spend are just a few of the questions that need to be asked and answered before you print your first flyer, post your first Facebook entry or publish your first Tweet.

Luckily, IHRSA has gathered a few industry experts to show you how it is done at their location.

Q: What method of advertising have you found to be the most cost-effective in selling memberships and club programs?

A: Word of mouth marketing is very effective. We give members interesting stories to tell about us, and it is easy for them to spread the word about our club. We have never positioned ourselves as a fitness club but, rather, as a women’s club which happens to offer exercise programming. We offer different activities, seminars, additional services, etc. When we create these activities we give people more to talk about rather than just as a place where they exercise. It’s much more likely that they will talk about the “social club” they visit every day, than a place they just exercise. 

Bedriye Hulya


We have found event-based marketing to be successful. Throughout the year, we offer special events and programs that are open to the public. For paid programs, we give discounts to members, and offer them to the general public at a slightly higher fee. Each event brings in a few non-members who have not been to the club before. Some of them end up joining. Even if we only get one or two new members, that will typically pay for the entire event. Some events we have had success with include indoor triathlons, women's self defense classes, and fundraisers like Zumbathons and aquathons. 

Matthew Cofrancesco
Executive Director
Brooklyn Sports Club
Brooklyn, N.Y.

We advertise heavily in our local newspaper. Although some say this is an old-fashioned form of advertising, it still works for us. Sometimes you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. What we have done is renewed and updated our message, which is that we no longer have joining fees, administrative fees or processing fees. We found these to be barriers to joining. Our advertisements in the local paper tend to be big, bright and colorful, explaining to the public that it has never been easier to join a health club.

Tanya Piotrowski
Re Creation Health Club
Carnegie, Victoria, Australia


Club Operators: To be profiled in this column, please contact Kristen Walsh, IHRSA associate publisher, at


Publications, DVDs and more at IHRSA Store

IHRSA has answered hundreds of questions and inquiries in the weekly column, Best Practices. Check them out here.



Experts agree: social media is imperative

What can't social media do for your club, business and standing in the community? Really, nothing. 

As long as you have the time to dedicate to being consistent with posting news, events and information you want both your members and the community to know, it is a great extension of your Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations departments.

Q: How has your club leveraged social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter? Have you seen measurable results?

A: We reach about 3,500 people each week via social media. It’s great for real-time sharing of information, schedule changes, and happenings around the club. Newsfeeds put club information and photos in front of fans whereas in the past, we relied on them to come to us. Seeing what really goes on in a fitness training session with “real” people lowers the intimidation factor and brings people into the club who may not have otherwise visited. Our membership marketing person spends about two hours per day managing our Facebook and Twitter accounts. We also have a monitored presence at all times, so there is no need to wait until the club opens for questions, comments, etc. to be addressed.

George Vierra
Executive Director
The Works Family Health & Fitness Center
Somersworth, N.H.



A: Our club’s Facebook page and Twitter feed are extensions of our brand. We have more than 3,200 Facebook fans and more than 900 Twitter followers. We post up to five times per week to each group about special offers, unique and last-minute programs, and club updates. Our dietitian regularly shares healthy nutrition tips. We also post photos and videos of different activities taking place around the club. Our members clearly appreciate hearing from our club via social media and these posts definitely increase participation across the board.

Simon Meredith
Club Manager
East Bank Club
Chicago, Illi.



A: Social networking has been a great way for us to promote upcoming events at our two clubs. Whether we are announcing a limited time membership special or our summer and winter member parties, people flock to this type of information! We encourage our members to "tag" us in photos wearing their iNLeT gear for a chance to win VIP concert tickets at a local music venue. We've also added an awesome outdoor cross training area that's on the water. Posting photos of these classes on our Facebook page has gotten us many new members.

Phil Curtin
iNLeT Fitness
Virginia Beach, Virg.


 Visit to read responses to hundreds of questions relating to the health and fitness industry, or to submit a question of your own to be answered.

Club Operators: To be profiled in this column, please contact Kristen Walsh, IHRSA’s associate publisher, at


Casting a Better Light

© iofoto - Fotolia.comDo you watch television much? If so, then you’ve probably noticed, as CBI Editor Patricia Amend has, how health clubs sometimes get a bad rap on popular network TV shows. In this blog, she points out that, lately, they’ve been portrayed as shady, unclean, and even a little dangerous. What can you do about it? Come up with a strategy to counteract that image in your community. Read more for some useful suggestions. >>>

Click to read more ...