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Entries in digital marketing (27)


Your Health Club Members Have Gone Digital. Why Hasn’t Your Marketing Strategy?

For your health club's marketing strategy to be successful, you have to be adept at capturing people’s attention. And, increasingly, their attention is focused online.

Digital and social marketing isn’t just for millennials—mobile drives 56% of all web traffic and two-thirds of emails are opened via mobile devices, according to a new report from Flurry.

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Building Your Fitness Business’ Social Media Muscle

This post is part of our Session Spotlight series, previewing just some of the extensive education that will feature at IHRSA 2017, March 8-11 in Los Angeles.

Simply setting up social media pages for your fitness business just doesn’t cut it anymore. For your social media channels to be a powerful marketing tool—and convert leads into members—you need a strong social strategy.

“The key to converting cold leads into paying members is to promote great content that shows them that you can help them, as opposed to just promoting your program or memberships to them all the time,” says Scott Rawcliffe, social media marketing consultant. “If you can show them you're different than the other gyms and chains, and that you can actually help them reach their goals, then you become the only choice.”

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the strategies Rawcliffe will be sharing during his Thursday, March 9 IHRSA 2017 session, “Building Social Media Muscle: Turning Fans into Paying Members & Clients.”

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Why Your Health Club Should Be on Social Media (Even if You Don't Want to Be)

"We don't have a choice on whether we do social and mobile. The choice is how well we do it." 

There's a reason that quote from Socialnomics author Erik Qualman was the lead-in on IHRSA's recent webinar on social media strategies. If you own a health club, you can no longer afford not to have a social media strategy.

Whether you lack proficiency in social media or even actively hate it, social media is here to stay—and you must make it part of your club's business strategy going forward. 

Continue reading "Why Your Health Club Should Be on Social Media (Even if You Don't Want to Be)."

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Follow These 6 Steps to Create a Community Marketing Plan for Your Gym

What’s the one of the best ways to get consumers to know, like, and trust your fitness business?

Community marketing.

By sending ambassadors into your community, participating in local events, and otherwise engaging with community members, you will build your brand at a faster rate than simply marketing online. 

Of course, online marketing and community marketing go hand-in-hand. 

“The reason why I am a firm believer in the balance between community and online marketing is because community marketing works a lot faster than online marketing,” says Lindsey Morando, co-founder of business coaching firm Get It Done Gals. “Your online marketing is like your home—once you’ve developed relationships in the community you can invite people back to check out your website and social media.”

Morando will share more of her community marketing secrets in her Thursday, December 8 webinar, “Transform Your Business & Marketing in 30 Days.”

If you want to transform your business using community marketing and don’t know where to start, follow these six steps:

1. Write down all of your ideas. (Yes, all of them.)

“A lot of people have so many ideas but they don’t have that marketing plan in place. First, I tell everyone to 'brain dump' everything on their mind—everything they want to do marketing-wise—on one sheet of paper. Get all your ideas out there.” 

2. Identify ideas that will generate revenue.

Next, Morando suggests honing in on a few key ideas that will move your business forward.

“Ultimately in order for the fitness facility to remain open, you have to bring money in the door,” she says. “Look for opportunity for income-generating activities.”

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7 Steps to Create a Powerful Social Media Strategy for Health Clubs

Social media can be an incredibly powerful weapon in your health club’s marketing arsenal—if you use it strategically. 

Recently, IHRSA conducted a webinar about how smaller health club companies can develop a strong social media strategy. Here's a summary of the recommendations offered by Kari Bedgood, vice president of marketing and PR at Active Sports Clubs.

1. Engage brand advocates. Sound difficult? It's not. A study by Statista found that 50% of employees post on social media about their place of work, and a third do so without any encouragement from their employer. So you probably have a ready-made pool of brand advocates on hand. Also, find out what your customers are saying on social media and leverage that, too. According to the Statista study, 90% of buyers trust peer recommendations.

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How to Use Content to Improve Your Health Club Member Engagement

There are a million reasons health clubs don’t actively create content—club operators are pressed for time, and they might not know what to write about or how to go about doing it. After all, they’re in the business of fitness, not blogging. 

But content marketing—the process of creating and distributing relevant and helpful content to attract, acquire, and engage customers—is an invaluable business tool. 

To help you get started, we compiled expert tips to help you create valuable content, share it with your club community, and keep members engaged and content. 

Engage Members with Helpful Content 

By posting helpful content online—whether it be a blog post, video, or graphic—you can strengthen your business’ brand identity and give members a reason to interact with you when they’re not physically in the club. 

Examples of helpful content that tends to score high interaction online are: 

  • Recipes
  • Health and workout tips
  • Industry news
  • Nutritional advice
  • Testimonials
  • Motivational quotes 

“Your website must give members a reason to return,” Frank Furness, author and consultant, Frank Furness & Associates, said at the 2016 IHRSA Institute. “You do this by posting new content—for members to come back, and to boost your site’s Google rankings.” 

Continue reading "How to Use Content to Improve Your Health Club Member Engagement."

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Who Should Manage Your Health Club's Facebook Account?

Odds are you have a Facebook account—and the majority of your members do too; in June 2016, Facebook reported an average 1.13 billion daily active users. 

Nearly every demographic you can think of is on Facebook, from celebrities to brands to high school classmates you’d rather forget. IHRSA is on Facebook, and we even hosted Randi Zuckerberg—former Facebook employee and sister of founder Mark Zuckerberg—at IHRSA 2016. 

Facebook could serve as a major marketing tool for your health club, but many independent clubs struggle with identifying the right employee to update their account. To help club owners and operators get over this hurdle, we talked to social media expert Frank Furness, author and consultant, Frank Furness & Associates

Why It’s Important for a Health Club to Have an Active Facebook Account 

“Firstly, to connect and interact with current members,” Furness says. “Don’t try to sell—just give great information, training and nutrition tips, and the more photos and videos you have, the better the interaction will be. This will help with member retention. 

Secondly for branding and creating an awareness of your club for potential new members. Remember to always have a call-to-action at the end of each video.” 

Who Should Be Running the Health Club Facebook Page 

“Ideally someone on the marketing team who runs social and digital media,” Furness says. “This should be a full time position and not something that someone tries to do in addition to their normal job at the club.” 

No Budget for a Social Media Manager? No Problem 

Of course, some clubs aren’t able to hire a designated staff member to update Facebook and other social media. But that doesn’t mean your account should be neglected. 

“Try to find a student studying media and offer a barter deal—free membership for social media management—or get an intern,” Furness says. “Giving it to someone who already has another position at the club will not work as their priority will always be what they are paid to do. They might start off enthusiastically, but it will always wane.” 

Read more of IHRSA’s social media advice for health clubs.


Best Practices: Creating Promotional Videos Without Breaking the Bank

The following post was written by Shannon Malooly for our Best Practices series.

Question: How can we use promotional videos to boost our business without breaking the bank?

Shannon Malooly: These days most of us own smartphones, and I suggest that you use these devices to your advantage. We now have the ability to capture footage; edit, clip, and crop the content; and add music, text, and special effects. We can do it ourselves because no technical training or experience is required. And the videos, posted on your club’s website, Facebook, YouTube, or other platforms, look great!

This type of storytelling can be priceless—yet it’s practically free. Whether they’re for a promotion, a testimonial, or an informational piece, videos can capture a viewer’s attention and spark their curiosity instantaneously. They can get prospects and members to seriously consider what you have to offer. You can tell me your programs are great, but if you show me pictures of them—then, perhaps I’ll believe you.

You want proof?

The videos we’ve made on an iPad with the free iMovie app—which take about 20 minutes to create—have produced the traffic we’ve been looking for. So, as our club’s needs have grown, we’ve acquired better equipment and software to produce higher-quality video. Video marketing has climbed to the top of the list of tools you have at your disposal. With a minimum output of one video per week and a simple storyboard campaign, you can immediately increase your engagement, click-to-open, and share rates… and, then, continue to trend upward.



Strengthen Your Club’s Social Media & Digital Strategies at the IHRSA Institute

Digital tools such as search engine optimization, social networks, and mobile apps can be used to tell your health club’s story, build relationships with prospects and members, and increase brand loyalty. But, for many clubs, combining all of those elements into a cohesive digital and social media strategy can be a difficult task. 

“I’ve seen so many of the great clubs that have found the right person to [execute their new media] for them, that put a strategy in place to make it happen, and realize the benefit of social media,” says Frank Furness, author and consultant, Frank Furness & Associates. “A lot of clubs don’t understand the benefit of using new media, so they give it to someone who is doing it as just a part of their job, and it becomes less and less important because they’re doing their own job as well.”  

Furness will outline how new media can benefit health clubs in his IHRSA Institute session, “Social Media & Digital Strategies.” The Thursday, August 4 presentation will help attendees:    

  • Discover how to dominate the first page of Google to attract new members
  • Learn how to develop a 10 touch plan to retain members
  • Learn how to use Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube to build and sell your club
  • Gain an understanding of how to use social media as a marketing tool
  • Explore what makes a great website and how to attract members and keep the interest of existing members  

“We’re going to go deeper and it will be a lot more personal,” says Furness, who will be presenting at the Institute for the second time. “Because it’s a small audience I can answer more questions and get more involved—sometimes I pull up audience members’ work and look at what they’ve got, which you can’t do with a bigger audience.” 

Those who attend the "Social Media & Digital Strategies" session will leave with strategies to engage current members, retain members, and even reach out to lost members through social media. 

“My first year at the IHRSA Institute was absolutely fantastic, mainly because of the quality of people who go,” Furness says. “They’re really high caliber, super intelligent—and the networking is fantastic—so you’re almost like a little IHRSA family by the end of the three days.”

Learn more about the IHRSA Institute, August 2-5 in Chapel Hill, NC.


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.”