5 Ways to Boost Your Club’s Digital Marketing Results

Here’s how you can enhance your club’s digital strategy without wasting time or money.

By now every club has some type of digital marketing strategy to target new recruits, build brand awareness, and promote club services. But with so much data and platforms to utilize, how do you get the best bang for your buck when executing your digital marketing and branding strategy?

One of the challenges of digital marketing is just how inconsistent it is. Best practices from as little as three years ago now feel obsolete. Should you put more effort into Facebook or Instagram? Is video more important than other content? Are chatbots effective tools for marketing? Should you invest in voice interaction services?

While health clubs have specific challenges, there are some universal trends to keep in mind. In general, digital marketing is getting more mobile, automated, and personalized.

Clubs that have embraced the newest tools in digital marketing say that you have to keep in in mind that the consumer has more autonomy than ever. In a session at IHRSA 2019 in San Diego, Shannon Malooly, sales and marketing director for The Claremont Club, said clubs have to utilize “reactive marketing.”

“Reactive marketing is the polar opposite of proactive marketing, because instead of working to anticipate changes in consumer markets, it usually takes place because of unforeseen or unplanned competition,” she says.

But digital marketing also provides plenty of opportunity. Thanks to the amount of data your CRM is collecting, you’re better able to micro-target promising prospects.

Says Malooly: “In traditional marketing, it was really hard to track and quantify where somebody came from, how they heard about the ad. Maybe they saw a billboard, or perhaps a friend told him joining was a good idea. With digital marketing, everything’s trackable. You can develop your marketing campaign based on true behaviors.”

Part of this strategic approach is based on psychographics and traceable analytics that provide rich targets and better response rates. But there are other more immediate steps you can take to help increase the effectiveness of your digital marketing that aren’t too complicated or expensive. Let’s look at five of them.

5 Ways to Boost Your Digital Marketing

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Some familiar modes of digital marketing are still important, but they have to be refined and carefully managed. This is especially true for those clubs who depend on mobile search and referrals. Here’s what you need to know.

  • SEO still matters. While the primacy of Google algorithms hasn’t changed, how people search has evolved over the years. For one, searches are more local and use phrases not keywords. Google is responsible for 94% of web search traffic, and 50% of searches are four words or longer. Also, Google searches that end in “near me” have doubled over the last year, and 72% of those who did a local search visited the business. That’s huge.
  • Calls to action (CTAs) are key—but personalize them. According to HubSpot, personalized CTAs convert 202% better than generic ones. These are known as “smart CTAs” and take into account the location of the person, browser language, and whether they’re already a customer or a lead, as well as other factors. While basic CTAs are still better than none, you need to have a digital marketing partner who can superpower your CTAs.
  • Content is still king. Videos and blogs are still essential in generating attention to your brand. According to HubSpot, marketers who prioritize blogging are 13 times more likely to see positive ROI. And according to statistics compiled by the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing generates over three times as many leads as outbound marketing and costs 62% less. And content marketing has conversion rates six times higher than other methods.
  • Social media, including Facebook, is rich territory. Alan Leach, CEO, sales trainer, and director of sales and marketing for the West Wood Club, has enjoyed great success using Facebook to attract new members. But simply posting content won’t get the job done. Advises Leach: “Use Facebook’s advertising targeting capabilities. We’ve had great success with it.”
  • Brand reputation and reviews are essential. Consider these statistics from Status Labs: 90% of internet searchers haven’t made up their mind before beginning their web search; 97% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses, with 12% looking every day; and 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

You need to stay on top of your reviews and social media mentions. Try to encourage your employees to do outreach. As Malooly says, “Almost every employee has to be involved in social media. Your entire marketing team really is the entire community at the club. Your voice has to be everywhere. You can’t just be in one place.”

We listed five areas where your digital marketing can make a difference without busting your budget. But perhaps the most important step you can take is hiring a digital marketing expert who has experience in the health club sector.

Taking the Reins of Your Digital Outreach

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With so many changes happening so quickly, it really does pay to have a team in place who understands the shifting priorities of consumers and the marketing strategies that work in the short- and long-term.

Since its founding in 2007, Club Automation has helped health clubs increase revenue, reduce costs, and engage members with their software and digital expertise. Club Automation doesn’t just provide a state-of-the-art CRM platform, they closely guide you in learning how to deliver superior and comprehensive digital marketing services.

“Our business objective is to be a one-stop shop for club owners,” says Tim Coe, website development manager for Club Automation. “We want to provide a suite of products and services that cover all their needs for every part of the member journey.”

Coe says the key is to make sure all products are integrated with one another to achieve a seamless experience for the club and its members. This is crucial in helping clubs keep track of leads, SEO impressions, social media messaging, and other important aspects of digital marketing. Club Automation will help you master:

  • Website design and hosting;
  • Paid advertising through Facebook and Google;
  • Blog writing, content creation, social media management, reputation management;
  • And the analytics and reporting required to drive and measure success.

Your digital marketing is on the job 24/7, and no club owner and his staff can keep on top of all of it. You need a partner who can manage it, while keeping your budget in mind.

“Digital marketing is constantly changing and you want a company or person that is dedicated to staying ahead of those changes,” says Coe. “When managed effectively, it gives clubs laser-focused control over where and how they spend their money. Combine this laser focus with the analytics and data tracking, and this type of marketing can be very efficient.”

To learn more about Club Automation’s software products and digital marketing services, visit their website or email them for more information.

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Jim Schmaltz

Jim Schmaltz is a contributor to IHRSA.org